Robert Williams Estate Agents, Exeter

Some people are put off buying a listed property due to the responsibilities it brings, but listed buildings have a special quality and that’s probably the reason why you’re thinking about buying it!

You’re right to be a bit wary as there are indeed certain restrictions on what you can and can’t do to listed buildings, in terms of both bringing them up to modern standards and putting your own stamp on them. Generally, though, owners of listed properties understand, respect and accept this responsibility and its limitations.

Grade II listed status doesn’t mean you can’t touch anything at all - you are simply obliged to respect the character of the building. All properties need updating at some point and there are enough Grade II listed buildings that have been modernised to see that it’s perfectly possible to include every creature comfort, from luxury fitted kitchens to wet rooms. And while alterations to an existing listed building may well mean using appropriate traditional materials and methods, it could be a requirement that modern materials are used on brand new extensions.

If you do decide to buy a listed property, it’s important to use a solicitor who is familiar not only with the area, but also with the sort of anomalies that may crop up during legal enquiries. For the same reasons, you should use a local surveyor with good experience of listed buildings, who fully understands the structure.

Finally, when it comes to making any alterations, it’s always best to involve the local listed buildings people from day one. They are generally extremely co-operative, appreciate that we live in the 21st Century regardless of the age of the building and in some cases may just be relieved that someone is prepared to take on a particular property.

We have RICS qualified Chartered Surveyors and property specialists within our team, so if you’d like some specific advice, just give us a call on 01392 204800 and we can help.

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