A guide to buying a listed property
As experts in the Essex and Suffolk property market, the Fenn Wright team has a wealth of knowledge and experience of dealing with listed properties that can help you buy your dream period home. Here’s what we think you need to know:
What is a listed building?
Listed buildings are considered to be of national importance – either because they are of historic interest or because they contain special architectural features. As a result, they have extra legal protection within the planning system.
To confirm whether a house is listed, and to what degree, you can check the National Heritage List for England.
What do the different listings mean?
· Grade I – for buildings of the highest significance and exceptional interest
· Grade II*- particularly important buildings of more than Grade II special interest
· Grade II – for buildings of special interest which should be preserved (these make up the majority of listed buildings at 92%)
Baykers, Sible Hedingham, is an extremely attractive heavy timber framed Grade II Listed period property. On the market for OIE £1,200,000 through Fenn Wright Sudbury.
What does a listing cover?
Listing means that there will be extra control over what changes can be made to a building’s interior and exterior. Unless specified otherwise, a listing covers a whole building, including:
· Exterior, as well as other attached structures and fixtures
· Later extensions or additions
· Pre-1948 building within the curtilage of the property. (In the planning system, the term ‘curtilage’ is used to describe this attached land).
In brief, owners will need to apply for Listed Building Consent for most types of work that affect the ‘special architectural or historic interest’ of their home. It is wise to check with your local planning authority if you are at all unsure regarding what parts of a property are listed before looking into any house renovations or extensions.
Ruggs Hall, Raydon is a stunning Grade II Listed thatched cottage. On the market for £675,000 through Fenn Wright Ipswich.
What to look for in a period property
Other than doing your research where a property’s listing is concerned, there are some other key features to look out for when buying a period home to avoid unwelcome surprises. Iain Bain, one of Fenn Wright’s Senior Surveyors, gives this advice:
· If the home has a thatched roof, it is worth asking when the thatch was last replaced as they have a 25 to 30 year lifespan and generally cost, on average, £100 per square metre to have replaced.
· Woodburners are a key feature of many period properties and your surveyor will check that it has been professionally installed. Always ask to see the relevant HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme) certificate as confirmation. These should be available for all appliances installed.
· Damp can be a common issue with period timber frame properties, particularly if it has affected the condition of the principal structural timber framework.
· Woodworm and other timber infestation is another common issue in historic homes. Typically found in the loft, and present in most period homes, woodworm should ideally be covered by a treatment certificate or even an insurance policy, so it is best to ask the owner about this in advance.
· Whatever you do, always obtain a comprehensive building survey report on any period property that you’re interested in, as this should highlight anything of concern and prepare you for any work or upkeep required once you’ve moved in.
What are the benefits of owning a period property?
Older properties are usually packed with period features such as high ceilings, beautiful fireplaces and sash windows to name a few. They ooze character and the room sizes are generally far larger than you would expect to find in a newer property. It is important to remember that the local planning authority is not your enemy and you can see many fine examples of listed buildings that have been sympathetically extended or renovated in line with regulations.
Get in touch with Iain Bain and our team of surveyors for further information on listed properties.
To find out about period properties currently on the market, please contact your local branch today.
Main image is Brick House on Braxton Road, Kelvedon on the market for £1,250,000 through Fenn Wright Signature. Call our team on 01376 516464 for more information.