What you need to know before buying a listed building?

There are many listed buildings across the UK, some of which get put on the market. Due to their prestige, buyers often jump at the opportunity to but a listed building near them. However, these properties vary in ways other than their status. There are certain considerations that buyers should make before they commit to the purchase of listed building. This blog details everything you need to know. 


What is a listed building?

Listed buildings are those classed as having a particular historical or architectural interest, that is of national importance. As a result, a listed building has legal protection through its categorisation. In the UK, listed buildings are divided into three categories based on their perceived significance. In descending order, these are:  

  • Grade I  
  • Grade II* 
  • Grade II 

 As the name suggests, all listed buildings are included on the National Heritage List for England. Listed buildings can come in all shapes and sizes. As such, it is sometimes best for buyers to check the National heritage database to be sure. Oftentimes however, a building’s listed status and grade will be present in a viewing catalogue or the property’s legal pack.


What buyers need to know about listed buildings  

If you’re interested in buying a listed building, whether it’s for residential or commercial purposes, there are a number of factors that make their ownership different to other buildings. These requirements are both enshrined in property law and dictated by English Heritage. Our experienced property conveyancers have identified the following main points which buyers need to be aware of before completing the purchase of a listed building. 

Limited ability to make changes 

All grades of listed buildings come with limitations on the changes that can be made to the interior and exterior of the building. Oftentimes, this prevents renovations being made to listed buildings. This wouldn’t be a huge issue for recently constructed properties. However, most listed buildings are significant due to their age, meaning they can lack modern features such as insulation. It’s still worth reading the details of a listed building, as some will explicitly state if certain parts/areas can be altered.

Listed building consent 

Repairs that need to be made to listed buildings may require listed building consent be given from the conservation officer in your local authority. The need for consent will depend on the nature of the repairs. Typically, a small action such as replacing a roof tile won’t require consent so long as it matches the existing aesthetic. An experienced property solicitors can provide a list of which renovations are likely to need listed building consent in relation to the specific property. 

Restrictions scale in line the significance  

When buying a listed building, buyers should be aware of the grade of the building. This is important as the degree of restrictions on a Grade I listed will be significantly tighter than those on a Grade II or II*. If you buy a listed building of a grade you weren’t expecting, you may not be able to make the alterations you need to make the house your home. 

Maintenance costs

Repairs to listed buildings have the potential to expensive, as they typically require the use of specialist tradespeople. Due to the old age and unique features of many listed buildings, property surveys often reveal issues that won’t exist in modern buildings. An experienced conveyancer such as Toomey Legal will be able to advise you on the results of property surveys for listed buildings, meaning you are fully aware of the work involved. We can also help you sourced a property surveyor who specialised in historic buildings.

Home insurance 

While there isn’t a specialist type of home insurance for listed buildings, buyers should take care to consider their policy. As stated above, repairs to listed buildings have the potential to expensive, so you need a home insurance policy that accommodate this. The repairs can also take a long time as they are held to higher standards than regular buildings.


Online conveyancing solicitors for listed buildings 

At Toomey Legal, we like to take a modern approach to property conveyancing. Our team is experienced in helping people secure the property they desire, even if there are extra considerations such as with listed buildings. These houses are often large, lavish buildings with deep rooted significance to the surrounding area and beyond. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make one of these pieces of history your own. Contact us today to get a fixed fee quote that makes it clear what you will be paying.