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Carly O’Brien
Written by Carly O’Brien 27th March 2017

Listed Buildings - Blessing or Burden?

From quintessentially English manor houses to charming old rectories, many of the best houses for sale in Britain are listed. A Grade I listing denotes “exceptional architectural or historic interest”, Grade II* “more than special interest” and Grade II “special interest”. Most listed building owners live in a Grade II building, but what difference does a listing make?

Listed properties are often beautiful and full of character and owners fall in love with them on sight. They can be a great investment too if the property is in good repair, as a listing could increase the valuation by up to 34%. The downside is the age of the property, which means bracing yourself for potentially costly maintenance and repairs. Excessive moisture is the cause of most problems in listed buildings, so check out roof coverings, gutters, downpipes and drains before you buy. A thatched roof, although chocolate-box-pretty, will need to be repaired and replaced every few years. Specialist materials and specialist tradesmen will also hike up the bills.

If you want to stamp your personality on a property by extending the kitchen, adding a conservatory or double-glazing the mullioned windows, a listed home may not be for you. Any building work needs ‘listed building consent’ from the local planning authority, even for painting or simple repairs. Failure to comply could land you with a twelve-month prison sentence or fine, plus the cost of returning the property back to its original state. You are even liable for work carried out by the previous owner, so make sure they ticked all the necessary boxes before you buy. On the flip side, 90% of listed building consent applications are approved, if you have the patience for the paperwork and red tape.

The Listed Property Owners Club provides detailed advice, information and support, so do get in touch with them if you’re thinking of buying a listed building. And then keep them on speed dial once you exchange.

Money-pit or the love of your life – or both? We’d love to hear your listed thoughts. Get in touch via our social channels, and for houses for sale in all listed categories, check out our website at michaelgraham.co.uk