Purchasing a Listed Building can be a dream come true for those that love to surround themselves in a home that is filled with character and history.
However, as much as the beauty of such buildings can make for inspirational living, they can also involve costly alterations and require more excessive maintenance than a typical timber framed new build.
Before you make that big decision, or if you’ve already taken the plunge, follow these simple steps to help make home life less of a chore and more of a grand design dream.
Make maintenance a Priority
Basic housework is instantly doubled in a listed building.
It’s not what you want to hear, but when a building has been sat there for over 30 years it’s no surprise that things are little more old and rusty than when they began.
Before beginning any house work on your new home, take a checklist of everything that needs fixing or amending. It’s good practice to take a building surveyor around with you, as they can point out any problems areas, or parts of the building that you don’t have the expertise in.
This list is probably going to scare you, and you’ll be surprised that the list will sometimes continue to grow. But do the most important work first to the building and then take one task at a time.
There will always be jobs that need doing more often than others, so note them down on a calendar that is specifically for house chores only.
Making them into bite size chunks will ensure that you can continue the preservation of the house and it won’t go into disarray.
Stay true to Character
Many listed buildings are still in their original state from when they were first built, so it’s no surprise that you will want to make a few alterations to fit in with a modern lifestyle.
English Heritage can help to suggest alterations that may benefit your home and your living environment.
Many older buildings have limited windows, so a popular root is to add a conservatory to the house to encourage more natural light to enter the home.
As many older buildings do not have modern day insulation they can be extremely cold and drafty places to live, something you will soon realise as the winter months roll in.
A worthwhile investment is to add a new heating system and update the windows, but ensure to consult with any experts to make sure the stability of the house is not compromised in the process.
Know the Rules
As listed buildings are protected by law it is illegal to make any alterations without planning permission and your local councils consent.
As you now own a piece of national history, it is your responsibility to protect it and pro-long its life for generations to come.
If you’re undecided about the amends you would like make to the house contact your council to see what type of planning permission is available in the first place.
Arranging for builders and architects to visit before you know what you can do, can be a waste of time and money.
Consult with the Experts
Buying a listed building certainly never means you’re an expert in property and it can be an overwhelming project for those who aren’t aware of even basic construction.
Enlisting the help of trade professionals who are experts in the field of listed buildings can mean that any work that needs doing is taken with the strictest precautions and sympathy to building.
Listed Building maintenance is no easy chore but there are many documents online that can help you to understand the best practices for keeping the integrity of your historic home.