What to consider when buying a listed building

A listed building can be defined as a building of great importance or significant history. This could be due to its age, design, or because the building has once been occupied by a person or persons of historical importance. There is a list of these buildings and they are graded as I, II* or II. There are over 300,00 listed buildings in the UK. Listed buildings can be and often are occupied. Alterations and extensions can be carried out on listed buildings, however, it is worth noting that a building of listed status will often have more limitations as to the work that can be carried out. Applications to modernise the aesthetic of these buildings are likely to be rejected, however, improvements can often be made if the original style is maintained.

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Buildings described as being of historic interest are generally graded as I, buildings with a history of interest are generally graded II* or II depending on their details. Over 90% of listed buildings meet the criteria of grade II. Both the interior and exterior are considered.

It is important to keep in mind and consider the additional home buyers report cost associated with listed buildings. In addition, you may be required to reverse or remediate any prior alterations which have not applied for or received listed building consent or have not been managed in line with the approved conditions or specifications. If any alterations were made after the point at which the building was listed, regardless as to who made them, the incoming owner becomes fully liable.

Finding a surveyor

When completing listed building surveys, the surveyor must also be mindful of any signs of repairs or modifications and will need to inform the buyer of this and consider any future costs and restrictions. The survey should include a desktop planning audit involving a search of planning and environmental records. This will show previous applications and granted permissions. When this has been researched, the surveyor will have a firm basis as to what to expect prior to their visit.

Conveyancing firms such as Sam Conveyancing have years of experience in handling conveyancing transactions involving listed buildings.

In essence, if the property was built prior to 1850 and remains unrestored, there is a chance it is listed. A surveyor needs to be experienced in listed property and land as the process can be complex

Type of survey required

Prospective buyers are advised to obtain a level 3 building survey for a listed building. A level 3 building survey is a highly detailed inspection. This involves providing a detailed account of the processes of building, any issues and the approved ways in which to fix them. The survey allows prospective buyers to be given advice after the inspection. Not all minor issues are shown, but attention is drawn to any issues that require urgent attention and any that could need ongoing repairs and require additional costs.

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The depth of the survey is limited by items, including fitted carpets and cupboards. If the surveyor feels that an issue is likely but is unable to confirm, permission from the vendor will be required in order that any additional checks can be completed.

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