Listed Buildings: Making Them Work

According to Historic England there are around 500,000 listed buildings in the UK

I’m sure many would agree they can be some of the most attractive properties around. Generally, the older a building is the more likely it will be to be listed. There will be less properties of the same kind around as time goes on. For example, most houses built before 1850 and still in liveable condition are listed. Their age means they capture some of Britain’s architectural history and are often beautiful homes.

Listed buildings are categorised into two grades: Grade I and Grade II. Grade I properties are the highest category of protection and are therefore extremely rare and expensive. 91.7% of listed buildings are in Grade II. If any of us plan to invest in a listed building this is pretty much guaranteed to be the type we will deal with. The grade also refers to the premium you pay when transacting listed buildings. Although Grade II is the cheapest of these types it can still be 10% higher than the premium for a non-listed equivalent property. However, if you know what you are doing then listed houses still be profitable.

Recently ‘The Telegraph’ published an article with a few tips on how to make listed property work and I though they were helpful. One of the main problems with these types of buildings is the limited options you have with making changes. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to get planning permission. However, it is possible to get grants for any improvements and repairs. This is because you have an obligation as the owner to preserve the property otherwise you risk repossession. Don’t forget we want the same thing as the custodians, Historic England and local authorities. They know that empty buildings decay so having them full and upkept is in all of their best interest. Keeping the home liveable and up to date is also our priority. It makes the house more rentable and can increase value.

Get Advice

They also bring up things to consider when buying. First is to get advice, ask what can be done to the property or whether any changes you want to make are viable. This will help you know what you are getting into. Another thing to consider is that is that generally maintenance will be higher in listed property just by extension of them being so old. So, when buying make sure to slightly increase maintenance cost in your return on investment calculations. If the property you are looking at has had recent alterations to it make sure they were done legally. Otherwise you will inherit the liability, which no one wants to do.

The article brings up some interesting examples, one of a dilapidated church and another of a Georgian home. In both cases they were able to make significant changes to the properties and ended up having the house prices shoot up resulting in huge profits. There is a huge market of people looking for homes like these. They can be very unique due to their mix of new and traditional features. The structural limits you have with many old buildings means you have to come up with interesting solutions when making changes. So, if you have an eye for design or are interested in a little challenge listed buildings can be really rewarding and you may be surprised by how much you can do with them.

If you want to find out how to get the best out of property come along to one of our Free Property Investing Seminars


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