Is it Worth Purchasing a Listed Property?
The allure of buying and owning a listed property is easy to understand; along with the everyday joys of owning a unique home, there is the undeniable prestige that accompanies listed building ownership.
But at the same time, there are additional challenges to owning such properties that must be considered.
What is a Listed Building?
Listed buildings are those that have been declared “of special architectural or historic interest” by local or national authorities. They have a tendency to be pre-Victorian properties, but this is not always the case.
The UK is home to somewhere in the region of around 500,000 listed buildings, of which 400,000 are located in England. All listed buildings fall within one of three categories, with Grade I being the most prestigious listing of all.
Where a building is granted listed status, it extends to its surroundings and all outbuildings on the premises, not just the property itself.
What is it like to live in a Listed Property?
Living in a heritage building of historical importance can be extremely rewarding, but at the same time it is a lifestyle that comes with significantly higher building maintenance and repair costs.
Maintaining and repairing a listed building is often quite different to working on a contemporary property. Repairs and upkeep can therefore be far more expensive, and there are major restrictions placed on permitted renovations and property improvements. This is where funding with bridging loans can be useful.
One major issue encountered by owners of listed properties is that of making their homes more energy efficient; with listed buildings, the installation of double glazing or even insulating the property could be prohibited.
This often results in homes that can be quite draughty and cold during the cooler months of the year, with elevated utility bills to keep their occupants warm.
In terms of home improvements, even the most minor alterations may necessitate formal planning permission and the involvement of specialist architects.
“Any work to the fabric of a Grade II Listed building, other than simple maintenance work, will require Listed Building Consent (LBC) from your local authority,” commented Mark Hall, director of specialist listed property architects firm, Cyma Architects.
“As it is a criminal offence to carry out building work on a listed building without LBC, it is much better to check with your local authority first before starting any building work, even if it is only maintenance.”
A development finance broker can provide you with access to a suitable funding stream if this is required to complete the desired overhaul or improvements.
Minimal Scope for Major Alterations
Attempting any renovations or alterations of a more extensive nature can often be difficult for listed property owners, if not impossible. Local authorities have every right to reject proposals for most types of alterations to listed properties, even if their rightful owners believe them to be beneficial or necessary.
“If you want to make your mark on a property and make radical changes, don’t buy a listed building,” advises Mr Hall.
For those willing to take on the additional responsibilities in owning a listed property, Mr Hall stressed the importance of enlisting the right help, support and advice on planned home improvements.
“There are a number of databases of suitable craftspeople and professionals, such as The Building Conservation Directory, published by Cathedral Communications Directory; and The Listed Property Owners Club have suitably qualified members,” he said.
“Also, Historic England has some fantastic advice and guidance on their website.”
If you require any further advice on purchasing a listed property, contact a specialist broker such as UK Property Finance.