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7 Considerations when Buying a Heritage Property

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in Features, Real Estate Radar, Variety

Buying a listed building isn’t like buying other property. Whether you are planning on buying the property to live in or as a commercial investment, there are a number of things that you need to consider beforehand.

Find Out the Grading

The grade that your building is listed as will affect what you can do with it, so this is vital information to have. There are three grades used in England and Wales – Grade I, Grade II, and Grade II*. Each grade has progressively fewer restrictions, with Grade I the most restrictive. You can find out a building’s listed status by checking on your local council’s website. Alternatively, you can contact the LPOC and ask them for help.

Buildings listed as Grade I are considered to be of outstanding value to the nation’s architectural or historical interests. Grade II* are buildings that are deemed of significant interest at a national level. Grade II buildings are buildings of special historic or architectural interest, but not to the same extent as a Grade I building.

You’ll Need to Apply for Consent to Make Changes

If you want to make even minor alterations to a listed building, you will need to seek the permission of the local council. Without their consent, you can’t do anything. You can even face some stiff punishments for unauthorised works. Whatever your plans are for the property, you need to be clear with yourself whether those plans are realistic.

It is generally much easier to obtain permission to add features to a listed property than to remove elements. So, for example, it will often be easier to obtain planning permission to add an extension with a swimming pool to a listed building than it would be to demolish or alter a part of the original building. You should factor in the need to obtain consent when you are deciding what you want to do with the property in the future.

Repair and Maintenance Costs

An old building is usually going to incur greater maintenance costs than a modern structure. This difference will be reflected in the upkeep costs of a listed property. If you are buying a renovated property within a listed building, you won’t incur as many of these costs. However, if you are looking to acquire the entire structure, you are going to have to shoulder the costs of maintaining it.

Who Are You Buying From?

Wherever there is something being sold, there are people looking to make some illegitimate gains. Property scams, where a con artist posing as a property tycoon sells a property that doesn’t exist or isn’t for sale, are not unheard of. Believe it or not, people do get away with this kind of scam reasonably often.

Fortunately, it is pretty easy to avoid falling victim to this kind of scam, you just need to do your due diligence. All you need to do is make sure you verify that the agents you use are legit. Alternatively, you can buy properties directly from developers, like these Property developers in Midhurst. Taking this approach cuts out the middleman, whether you are buying a property to live in or to rent out.

Have You Sought Specialist Advice?

Taking advice from the wrong surveyor can lead to you making decisions that, quite frankly, you shouldn’t. Just as you need to make sure that the entity you purchase the property from is legitimate, you also need to make sure that any advice, especially advice you are paying for, is accurate.

After you have taken ownership of the property, you will inevitably need to consult with specialists if you plan to make any alterations. It is good to develop contacts in this area early on in the process.

Is the Past Work All Authorised?

Once you exchange contracts on a property, you take on responsibility for it. If it turns out that the previous owner carried out unauthorised works without appropriate consents, you will now be responsible for removing them. You should always have the property examined by an expert to ensure that the structure you take control of is completely authorised and legal.

What is the Building’s History?

Whether you are allowed to make any alterations to a property will be determined in large part by its history. Listed buildings are valued for more than just numbers on paper; their history will carry significant weight when local authorities are making planning decisions.

Familiarising yourself with the history of the building beforehand will help you to better understand local authority decisions. It will also enable you to put forward proposals that demonstrate an awareness of the building’s history.

The UK is home to some truly beautiful pieces of architecture, much of it centuries old. Investing in a heritage property is a unique opportunity to take custody of a piece of our national history. Just make sure you know what you are getting into.

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