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Paul Bennett, Director

If you are a history lover, an architectural buff or favour quirky characteristics, purchasing a listed property is probably high on your ‘must do’ list. There are, however, many things to take into consideration before you take the plunge and buy a slice of London’s heritage. Here is Behr & Butchoff’s listed buildings advice.

How does a building become listed?

The listing system began in 1947, created to protect buildings of special architectural or historical interest. Listed buildings in the UK are divided into various categories, and the following apply to London:-

Grade I - a building of exceptional historical and/or architectural significance

Grade II* - an especially interesting building, with historical and/or architectural importance

Grade II – a building of special interest, which needs to be preserved

Benefits of owning a listed property

A listing is a mark of special interest in a national context – usually defined by exceptional architecture from a particular period or by intact original features, such as wooden beams, ornate mouldings and detailed brickwork. Owners of listed properties are proud of their home being included on the National Heritage List for England, and this cachet – coupled with the high chances that the style and quality of the building will not be replicated - can increase the property’s value.

Before you buy

The neighbourhoods around Behr & Butchoff’s office in St John’s Wood are brimming with some of London’s most exquisite listed properties. We frequently handle the sale of period homes in streets such as Abbey Gardens, Accacia Road, Marlborough Place, Hamilton Terrace, Cavendish Avenue and Abbey Road, to name just a few. 

While there is quite a lot to consider when purchasing a listed property, don’t be put off. We are experienced in this area and will be more than happy to help you through the purchasing process. For now, the team has the following advice:-

Recognise the property’s listing – a listing covers both the interior and exterior of a property, and may also include garden walls, courtyards and even statuary within a garden. Some buildings are also ‘curtilage listed’ - meaning if your property is situated within a curtilage of, or attached to, a listed building, it may also be listed.

Buying a listed property: surveys

It is important to use a chartered surveyor who specialises in period properties to ensure the building is in good structural order and to identify any repairs required. A specialist surveyor can also check if any alterations have been made by a previous owner, as you may be required to reverse the alterations at your own cost. 

Specialist mortgages and insurance policies - the more structurally sound a building is, the easier it will be to obtain a mortgage, plus it’s worth checking that the lender is happy to lend against a listed property before an application progresses. It is also prudent to take out an insurance policy tailored to cover a listed building.

Understand the correct permissions required – owners of listed properties must not make any unauthorised alterations. Consent from the local planning authority is required for changes or extensions, both structural and aesthetic. Failure to obtain consent may result in a fine or even imprisonment.

Caring for a listed property – listed buildings are likely to need repairs and maintenance. Being that the original materials used may be weathered or outmoded, the skills and material required to complete the work may be rarer and more expensive than modern alternatives. It is sometimes possible to obtain grants for the conservation of a listed home and the Listed Property Owners' Club website is a good resource to establish whether you are eligible.

For the latest listed properties for sale and to rent in the North West London and the West End, contact Behr & Butchoff today.