We've all seen those glorious chocolate box, picture postcard cottages and dreamed of one day owning one.
But owning one, and selling it further down the line, is not always a bed of roses. While listed properties are incredible to look at and carry a degree of stature over owning a regular property, they are subject to many restrictions and lots of red tape.
Selling a property can often be hard enough, but owners of listed homes have added considerations to make before opting to put up the for sale board.
WHAT IS A LISTED BUILDING?
There are around half a million properties in England and Wales that are grade 2 listed, while a very small amount are grade 1 listed, meaning they are of significant and historical architectural interest.
WHAT CAN AND CAN'T YOU DO TO A LISTED PROPERTY?
Any changes to a listed building must have listed building consent. Alongside that consent, owners of listed buildings may have to undertake permitted work using specialist materials or trades in order to preserve the building's original state.
Sometimes it can be easier for owners to add to a listed property rather than remove something that is already in place. For instance, if a fireplace is mentioned in the official listing document, it's highly unlikely it would be given permission for any work to modify or remove it.
Work at listed properties can often result in increased costs, but it is essential owners comply with rules and regulations.
ADVICE FOR OWNERS LOOKING TO SELL THEIR LISTED HOME
Keep the property well maintained
The key to ensuring your listed home is in the right condition to sell is regular maintenance.
Ensure you have a budget for regular maintenance and place particular focus on keeping the building dry.
Listed homes and moisture simply don't mix and with modern building methods to keep damp at bay unlikely to be approved, ensuring things like guttering and downpipes are checked and cleared on a regular basis is a must.
Any repairs made to windows and the external parts of the building, such as repointing, should be run past a surveyor with experience in listed buildings. Staying on the right side of the conservation officer is vital.
Check whether past work was authorised
Even though you should have undertaken checks before purchasing your listed building, it can be worth double checking you didn't inherit issues with unauthorised work completed by a previous owner.
A potential buyer will almost certainly check this themselves. But even if you weren't aware of illegal work that was completed by a previous owner, as the current owner of the property it would fall on your shoulders to rectify the issue.
Make sure all work you undertake is legal - and keep all documentation!
As a vendor selling a listed property, you need to be able to prove that any work and maintenance you have completed was done with full listed building consent.
Being unable to provide this evidence will more than likely cost you your sale as most buyers will be deterred from completing on a purchase without this.
Some lenders will not mortgage a property where the vendor cannot prove work was carried out with full listed consent, but even cash buyers would be put off by a lack of evidence as this could cause problems when they come to sell the property.
Ensure you're insured
Your buildings insurance should include specialist cover as an owner of a listed property. It should also cover the rebuild cost of your property, which is likely to be more than its market value due to specialist building materials and techniques required.
Cutting back on cover is never a good idea. Indeed, some policies will cover you should you discover unauthorised work by a previous owner.
This could be worth its weight in gold if you are looking to sell and need to rectify someone else's mistakes quickly.
If you have a listed property to sell, contact your local Martin & Co branch.