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What to check when buying a listed property

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There are somewhere in the region of half a million listed buildings across England and Wales with the number increasingly all the time. While these buildings are often highly attractive places to live, full of history and character, there are a number of thing it is important to check before buying a listed property to ensure you don’t get caught out.

What is the property’s grading?

There are three different grades of listing for buildings in the England and Wales – Grade I, Grade II and Grade II* – with Grade I involving the strictest restrictions. Knowing the exact grading of a property will give you a clearer idea of how much, if at all, you will be allowed to make changes to the property.

You can check if a property is listed on the Historic England website.

Will you get building consent for any changes you want to make?

If you want to make any changes to a listed building, no matter how minor, you will need to apply to your local authority for consent. Failing to get the proper consent before making alterations to a listed building is a criminal offence.

If you are thinking of buying a property with the intention of making changes, it is therefore sensible to do some research to get an idea of whether your plans are likely to be approved. This may involve speaking to the local authority, owners of similar listed property nearby and local contractors to get a sense of what changes other people have been able to make in the past. In cases where you are wanting to make major changes you should consider discussing these with a Planning Consultant who can guide you through the process.

How much will you need to spend on repairs and maintenance?

Listed buildings tend to be more expensive to maintain and repair than newer homes. This is partly because they are older, so are likely to have experienced more wear and tear over the years, but also because you will usually need to use specialist professionals to carry out the work. Their labour is likely to be more expensive and they will normally have to use approved materials, which can also increase costs.

It is essential to have a full structural survey before buying a listed property to identify any particular issues you will need to fix. Any problems that do exist are likely to be more expensive to put right in a listed building that in a modern home, so it is best to be aware of these as soon as possible in case you need to renegotiate the sale price.

How much will the property cost to run?

One thing people often overlook with listed properties is that they can be much more expensive to heat that modern homes. This is because they tend not to be as well insulated and to single-glazed windows. There is may be little you can do to improve a listed property’s energy efficiency, so it is a good idea to find out as much as you can about this before buying. It is worth nothing that listed building are exempt from the requirement for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when selling, so this is something you will need to discuss with the seller.

Get reliable conveyancing for listed property in England or Wales

Bird & Co Solicitors is a long-established law firm offering conveyancing services for properties across England and Wales from our 3 offices in the East Midlands.

We have been accredited by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, reflecting the high quality of our residential property services. We aim to make buying and selling property as simple, fast and cost-effective as possible, while ensuring your long-term interests are protected. Whether you are buying a listed property or considering any other kind of residential property transaction, our conveyancing solicitors can offer the experienced legal service you need.

To find out more about conveyancing for listed properties, or any other type of residential property, call us today on 01476 591711 or use our contact page for details of your nearest Bird & Co office.