Superior Grade

Thinking about buying a Listed property? Here’s everything you need to know.

Historic England estimates that there are some 500,000 Listed buildings in England. The general rule of thumb is that all buildings that date back to before 1700 and survive more or less in original condition are likely to be Listed, and that most built between 1700 and 1850 will also be. Some more ‘recent’ builds may also be Listed, but anything less than 30 years old isn’t normally considered of historic interest.

“Buying a Listed property is a fantastic opportunity to own something singular and historic, part of the rich fabric of the nation. You’re not buying something homogenous; you are buying something that distinguishes you as a conservator rather than just a homeowner,” says Nick Ferrier, Director at Jackson-Stops Midhurst. “People tend to associate Listed buildings, wrongly, as problematic. Yes, there is another layer of scrutiny but this is to ensure that the owners do not do works that betray these assets and change their authenticity and character. One of the things that really disappoints me is that people think they can’t do anything to a Listed property. You can extend a Listed building and, where appropriate, you can adapt it, you just have to be mindful not to disrupt the historic fabric of the building.”

“Listed properties contribute positively to the character and appearance of an area – and living in one offers quite an individual lifestyle,” adds Martin Anslow of The Listed Property Owners’ Club (www.lpoc.co.uk) “Listed property homeowners are part of a small, exclusive group. And, of course, Listed dwellings not only include those properties designed as homes from the fourteenth century to the twentieth, but also buildings that began life as castles, churches, factories, barns, granaries, windmills, workshops or gaols!”

In England and Wales, there are three categories of Listed buildings and all appear on the national register of Listed properties, searchable on the Historic England website historicengland.org.uk: • Grade I (2.5 per cent of Listed buildings) buildings of exceptional interest. • Grade II* (5.5 per cent of Listed buildings) buildings of particular importance. • Grade II (92 per cent of Listed buildings) buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

Responsibilities that come with owning a Listed property include getting permission from your local authority, usually via the Historic Buildings Advisor, for any changes you want to make, including to the internal layout or adding an extension. You may also need to take professional advice to calculate the reinstatement value of the property for buildings insurance, as Listed buildings can cost more to rebuild than non-Listed, and you will need specialists to carry out works, often using specific materials.

“There are many architects very well versed in historic buildings and lots of excellent specialist tradespeople who are well acquainted with Listed buildings. This helps make owning one hugely satisfying rather than onerous,” says Ferrier. “Listed buildings are unique, they are part of the UK heritage, there is a joy in owning one.”

“The history of Listed buildings can be well documented and this provides owners with a chance to investigate the structural and aesthetic development of the property and even discover its previous owners,” adds Anslow.

Ferrier estimates that 5-10 per cent of the homes that Jackson-Stops sells are Listed. “We’ve always been synonymous with houses with heritage and character. In 2021 we updated our Listed Stamp, which gives buildings a seal of approval, an extra layer of authenticity,” says Ferrier.

“Some buyers do come specifically looking for a Listed home. They want something with character, history and gravitas.” If a first-time buyer expresses an interest in a Listed property, Ferrier and his team will offer guidance and advice on things to consider. Jackson-Stops has been involved in the sale and preservation of many historic and important houses and estates and was the first company to submit a Capital Transfer Tax (now Inheritance Tax) exemption report on behalf of clients in the 1970s, acting for the Trustees of the Calke Abbey Estate. The company has also worked for the National Trust, Historic England and the owners of William Morris’s Red House.

Listed properties currently for sale through Jackson-Stops range from elegant Georgian townhouses and charming Victorian homes to enchanting Tudor cottages.

THE LISTED PROPERTY OWNERS CLUB
Jackson-Stops works closely with The Listed Property Owners’ Club (LPOC), which, as the name suggests, is a valuable resource for those living in a Listed home.

The membership organisation, established in 1993, was created to offer Listed homeowners support and guidance on matters of planning, maintenance, specialist suppliers and advice on law and insurance issues.

They have a nationwide suppliers directory of restoration tradesmen. Its in-house conservation advisors can also help owners navigate planning and consent issues. Working side by side with Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, Cadw and UK Parliament, LPOC is a leading voice in the UK for knowledge, support and change within the Listed buildings sector. Additionally, the club provides its 30,000 members with a voice in Parliament to represent their views, acting as secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Listed Properties supported by 52 MPs.

Should you be considering the sale of your Listed property, please get in touch with your local office: www.jackson-stops.co.uk/branches.