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Listed Buildings Advice

An insight into owning a listed building for prospective buyers

The market for period property is booming and the older the house or cottage, the more likely it is to be listed. By listing a property, it celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic features and will bring it under the consideration of the planning system so that it can be protected for future generations to enjoy.

As a general rule, all buildings built before 1700 which have survived in their original conditions are listed. This also goes for properties built between 1700 and 1840.

Under the listing system, buildings are usually listed as Grade II in the main but sometimes they fall under Grade II*. Grade II refers to a building which is deemed of a special interest whereas a Grade II* refers to a property of particular importance which is greater than having a special interest.

Alex Davies, Head of Country Houses at Hobbs Parker Estate Agents has a keen interest in listed property and can offer advice to those who are intending to purchase one. “Don’t be afraid of listing and try not to listen to the many misconceptions surrounding this type of property. There are many scare stories out there relating to listed properties some of which I believe have been misconstrued from advice given by the many agencies that have a vested interest in protecting historic buildings in England. Many of these agencies are simply seeking to protect the integrity of our valuable and utterly charming buildings. Their intentions are to work with property owners, not against them”.

Alex adds “Common confusion is often around whether alterations can be carried out or extensions, whether windows can be replaced or roof coverings changed? The answer in many cases is ‘yes’ but subject to Listed Building Consent being obtained. I am often interested to see the extensions people have carried out in keeping with the overall ‘look’ of a building and on many occasions, contemporary additions have been permitted. I believe the trick is to employ a really good architect who understands listed buildings and how Council Conservation Officers view them”.

“The other misconception is that Listing only applies to the exterior of a building and that you can, therefore, do anything you like internally, this is simply not the case. Listed building consent is required where any fundamental internal alterations are proposed and as a general rule this does not apply to the replacement of fittings such as kitchens or bathrooms but certainly the removal of walls or fireplaces as you might expect”.

It can be fascinating to own a listed property which often entails some considerable history and wonderful features- all of which makes for atmospheric surroundings and great talking points.

Additionally, listed homes are often more valuable than newer builds attracting additional value for features and architectural details that can be truly unique and most of the time, irreplaceable.

For up to date advice on your listed property, I would suggest visiting The Listed Properties Owners Club website www.lpoc.co.uk

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