The UK is home to a wide range beautiful, architecturally unique, and historic homes. In fact, there are just under 500,000 listed buildings in the UK. And, some people are lucky enough to be able to live and own one of these homes.
But, what happens when it comes time to sell? What additional things do you need to bear in mind when selling a listed home?
In this article we take a look at what listed properties are, how you can find out more about your home, and the process of putting it on the market.
A listed building is a property - or other architectural feature - that’s deemed to be of particular historical, technical, or aesthetic value. These buildings are split into three categories depending on how unique they are.
The list is looked after by different heritage groups in each of the UK’s nations. Usually the buildings on the list are pretty old, but some properties built in the post-World War II period are now being added to the list.
In England and Wales the grades are as follows:
Buildings of exceptional interest. Grade I properties make up just 2.5% of all listed buildings.
Grade II *
Buildings of more than special interest. Grade II* buildings make up 5.8% of listed buildings.
Buildings of special interest warranting every effort to preserve them. These make up over 90% of the protected buildings.
In Scotland, listed buildings are graded from A to C, with Grade A being the most outstanding examples of particular periods or architectural styles.
The main implication of listing for homeowners is that you’ll have to follow certain rules about what changes you are or aren’t allowed to make. Usually you’ll have to get special permission to make most modifications. Even things like changing a fireplace might require permission.
You can apply for this ‘listed building consent’ from your local planning authority. You may find that even when you can make alterations, you will have to use techniques and materials in keeping with the history of your property.
It’s normal to find out whether your property is listed when you buy it. Your conveyancer and mortgage providers will want to conduct specific surveys to ensure that the building is in order, safe, and that any alterations are properly accounted for.
However, if you inherit, or move into a property with a partner, and are unsure if your home is listed you can easily check online.
If your home is in England, you can check whether it is listed by searching the National Heritage List.
If you live in Scotland, you can search the Historic Environment List.
And, in Wales, you can search Lle - the geo-portal.
If you want to find out more about the history of your home, check out this article.
In many ways, selling a listed home is very similar to selling a newer, or less architecturally unique home. However, there are a few things that will make the process easier.
Get all the relevant information and documents prepared upfront
When you sell a listed property, you’ll need to provide evidence that any alterations were made with the proper permission. This means both the changes that you’ve made, and any modifications made by previous owners.
If everything is in order, you should have documents proving that you had adequate listed buildings consent, and - if necessary - planning permission, to carry out any changes. You may also need to show insurance documents or receipts to prove that the work was carried out using the required techniques and materials. Get this information ready early on, so that you’ll be ready when you receive your first offer.
If you find out about an unlicensed alteration during the course of your sale, you’ll need to apply for retrospective permission, and may be required to pay a fine - even if it was a previous owner that made the changes.
It’s important to get these issues sorted as soon as possible, because they can seriously inhibit your chances of selling. Some mortgage providers will not approve funds to buy a listed property without all the proper permissions in place, which can severely limit your potential pool of buyers.
Note: ‘Listing’ usually applies to the whole building, including the interior, but it can also cover additions or extensions to the property, or structures or fixtures attached to the property.
Work with an expert
Listed buildings usually attract a particular type of home buyer: one that’s interested in the individual charm and character of your home as much as the local amenities. Because of this, working with an estate agent with experience with listed properties, can make a huge difference to your sale.
Estate agents with particular expertise in this area are better able to sell the unique features of your home. And, having the right sales pitch, and knowing which elements should be focused on in your online marketing, are all important for attracting buyers and encouraging a quicker sale.
Once you’ve decided that you’d like to sell, we’d recommend inviting a few estate agents around, and using that time to properly interview each. Ask them about their experience with listed properties, and don’t feel embarrassed about asking them to bring evidence of other similar houses they’ve sold recently.
It’s also a good idea to ask each agent to explain how they have come up with their valuation. The best estate agents will be able to point to other homes on the market, and to the unique characteristics of your home, as starting points for their valuations.
For more information on how estate agents undertake valuations, head to this post.
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