The Listed Property Owners Club Top 5 Tips for Buying an Historic Home
Have you ever driven past a chocolate box cottage or a sprawling historic house and dreamt about owning such a beautiful building?
Whilst living in a house full of period features and rustic charm is immensely satisfying and enjoyable, before proceeding with your dream house purchase take a little time to understand the constraints and responsibilities that come as part of ownership.
The Listed Property Owners Club (LPOC) is expert in dealing with the challenges that arise when buying and owning a listed building and has put together their top 5 tips for you to consider before making your next house purchase.
Establish whether or not the building is listed
You can call the Listed Property Owners Club who will be able to help you with establishing this information. It is an offence to make alterations to a listed property without obtaining listed building consent. You need to be aware that new owners of listed buildings can be held liable for changes made by previous owners so check that all alterations are authorised as you don’t want to take responsibility for having to reverse any unlawful changes. It is strongly advisable to take out specialist insurance protection for your listed home, such as that introduced by LPOC which covers you from pre-existing works carried out by previous owners without local authority approval.
Look for a building which suits your needs…
…and not one which needs to be radically altered to accommodate your requirements. Buildings are listed in order to preserve their character so the local planning authority will often take a conservative approach to extension or alteration. That is not to say that listed buildings cannot be altered or extended but expectations need to be realistic. Buy a listed building because of its special characteristics not despite it.
Consider the cost of proper repairs and maintenance
Traditional buildings rely on regular maintenance much more so than modern homes. Priority should be given to keeping the building dry, as excessive moisture is the cause of most problems in traditionally constructed buildings. Check the integrity and effectiveness of the roof coverings, the gutters, downpipes and drains. Lead-lined gutters need particularly close inspection as small imperfections which go unnoticed can have particularly damaging effects. Again, ensuring you have adequate protection for your listed home with the right insurance company will prove invaluable.
Plan to replace features such as doors or windows only when they are truly beyond repair
Bear in mind that traditional joinery requires regular decoration in order to prevent rapid deterioration and be aware that off-the-shelf replacements are unlikely to be acceptable to the local planning authority.
Get the right help and good professional advice is fundamentally important
Make sure that your house buyer’s survey is carried out by a building surveyor who specialises in historic buildings. The wrong surveyor, including many surveyors appointed by building societies, can give poor, inappropriate and very costly advice.
The Listed Property Owners Club is Britain’s only advice service dedicated to helping members get the most from their homes by providing detailed advice, information and support for just about every conceivable issue associated with ownership. Members benefit from a dedicated telephone helpline where you can speak to a panel of experts on conservation, VAT, law, and listed building matters. The LPOC Suppliers Directory of professionals, builders and tradesmen is the first port of call for many listed building owners across the country.
The Listed Property Show, created by The Listed Property Owners Club, brings you all the specialist information and expert help you might need in conserving, renovating or buying a listed home. Arm yourself with professional help and advice from the biggest collection of listed property suppliers and specialists during one weekend, under one roof at Olympia London and Harrogate International Centre. Tickets are FREE – contact the Listed Property Owners Club to receive yours.
Dates for your diary:
Olympia London 20-21 February 2016
Harrogate International Centre 12-13 March 2016