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Grade 2 listed property - can you put me off with horror stories please.

(57 Posts)
QuicheMama Sat 15-Nov-14 18:40:26

I have fallen for a property that is Grade 2 Listed. It is 3 stories in a T shape, the top floor being in the roof. I can afford to buy it, and the family loves it. I am the sole wage earner and we have three small children. Am I crazy? Will I be able to afford to maintain it? We think it might be our Forever Home. Thank you smile

AbsintheMakesTheHeart Sat 15-Nov-14 18:46:03

Our house is grade 2 listed and it's never been a problem. We're having an extension next year and the planners have stipulated that we need to use approved materials, but we would have done that anyway tbh. I think if you like old houses and period style the conditions imposed by being listed don't feel unreasonable at all. (That sounds really pompous, doesn't it?! Sorry!)

TheDogsMissingBollock Sat 15-Nov-14 18:47:18


AbsintheMakesTheHeart Sat 15-Nov-14 18:48:35

Also - meant to say, go for it if you can afford it and love it! Does it need lots of work doing or is it habitable? Survey before buying is a must.

mausmaus Sat 15-Nov-14 18:49:44

would put me off massively.
what about economical heating? double/triple glazing? family friendly internal layout?

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Sat 15-Nov-14 19:03:14

We moved in to a grade 2 listed place about 6 weeks ago; no regrets so far! One weird thing; rebuild costs for insurance are much more than the value,but DH we shopped around and found it easily enough.
We had specialist surveys as well - drains and electrics, as a surveyor friend who looked around recommended those.

I love the wooden shutters, the fireplaces and the space!

QuicheMama Sat 15-Nov-14 19:18:45

The internal layout is just perfect for our needs.
It has already had most windows double glazed in keeping, and approved.
The heating will cost a fair bit but we have budgeted for that. It has had a new system put in for heating and water about three years ago - oil.
The electrics look old but the homebuyer report is fine.
We would get a full structural survey and all the checks done, but they are worth little as we found out with our last property.
It is a long commute for me, but I think it is worth it.
There is nothing we would want to, or indeed need to change. We just love it blush
The rebuild cost is estimated at well over a million. Would that make insurance stupidly high?

Blackeyez09 Sat 15-Nov-14 20:07:03

I don't know much but I'm sure it will be more expensive to run but I feel if you love older properties this is probably the time to enjoy one as people often downsize when they are older and period properties are less practical

My personal preference is period properties and will always choose them over newer until it became impractical

thanksamillion Sat 15-Nov-14 20:17:08

I grew up in one and my parents spent every spare moment doing it up or maintaining it. If you love diy or can afford to pay people to do work then fine. Also get a full survey by some who is a specialist in historic buildings. I used to work for one and it's definitely worth paying a premium for. Other than that, go for it!

QuicheMama Sat 15-Nov-14 20:19:53

Lots of helpful info, thank you. But I want horror stories!!! wink

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sat 15-Nov-14 20:27:31

We've been in one since July.
I love it. But we thought we'd done all the sums on how much it would cost and it's still way more than we thought. If dh hadn't had an unexpected pay rise last month we'd be in the shit.

Insurance has been one of the killers, due to the high rebuild cost. Our fire alarm system needs the heads replacing and we've been quoted several thousand pounds, which I have to say we hadn't budgeted more than a few hundred for! Replacing a bathroom is going to cost about three times what a bathroom in the old house cost, and we thought we were being generous by budgeting twice as much. Etc etc. And that's with things turning out pretty well in terms of maintenance - our surveyor talked a lot of doom and gloom such as 'possible dry rot' 'possible damp problem' which has turned out not to be the case, so it's just as well we've got lucky there.

In terms of it being our forever home, I can already imagine the relief of downsizing, so though it's perfect at the moment and will be till the kids have left home, the extra space brings with it such high costs in terms of money and hassle that you really need a strong justification for needing it.

Also 80% of people who come to visit say we're insane which is annoying hmm. A minority of people go 'Oh, I wish we were brave enough to do that!' and I love them so much I want to snog them!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sat 15-Nov-14 20:29:52

Get the two books from SPAB, the Old House Handbook and the Old House Eco Handbook.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sat 15-Nov-14 20:31:01

(Was bloody brilliant for the kids' Halloween party though. smile)

TheBogQueen Sat 15-Nov-14 20:35:32

Puts is a grade 2listed apartment in a block of 8. It is 150 years old with beautiful sash windows, high ceilings etc

The roof is a bit leaky so we will pay a couple of grand fir that.

However the building has not been maintained fir decades due to greedy buy-to -let landlords wanting to make a quick buck and not instigating repairs so now we have a bill of ....

Wait for it......


For structural and repair work. This will be split between eight flats. We also are hoping for a council grant for at least 50% of costs. But it's still expensive.

PinkOboe Sat 15-Nov-14 20:37:09

Look on the English heritage website for a wealth of information.

PinkOboe Sat 15-Nov-14 20:37:44

Their recently published work into windows us particularly interesting reading

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Sat 15-Nov-14 23:13:41

Those books sound useful. I think our local council has general info on listed buildings, I imagine most would. Might be worth having a look.
I agree re. structural surveys not always being reliable; we chose to have the drains (which also looked for damp/dry rot etc) and electrics surveyed separately (didn't cost too much), as those were our major concerns.
Ring around for insurance; ours isn't massively higher than the old house (we went with The Green Insurance Company).

I probably have rose-tinted glasses on as we haven't yet come across any major nightmares!

MehsMum Sat 15-Nov-14 23:46:10

We have lived in a Grade 2 listed for over a decade. No major horror stories - just persistent unfixable rising damp in a couple of places (which never seems to cause a problem other than to the decor), and a few leaks in the roof (rubbish modern tiles which slip).

The plumbing works, the electrics work, the heating works (though the system is a bit of a bodge). We have insulated where we can and put secondary glazing in the coldest rooms. It's a pig to heat but our insulating efforts are helping there little by little.

The rooms are huge, the windows are beautiful, the layout endlessly flexible (if you don't mind going through bedrooms to get to other bedrooms). The best advice I can give you is to expect things to cost more than you expect, and to find yourself a tame surveyor/old buildings expert, who can tell you what you do need to worry out and who you need to ring. We had to get one to come and check some things out when we first moved in, and he's now a family friend.

As for insurance, I can pm you details of a good brokerage if you need such info: they saved our bacon on the point of exchange, when we were let down by a big name insurance firm, and we have been with them ever since.

Sorry, no horror stories! No regrets here smile

TheRealMaudOHara Sun 16-Nov-14 10:17:43

We moved into our Grade 2 listed house at the beginning of the year and I LOVE it. Insurance is less than it was for our poky Edwardian terrace in zone 2 (now in SW England) and running costs haven't been the shock I expected. If you're planning tons of work then it might be a nightmare but we love our house as it is (more or less!) and although work needs to be done it's perfectly inhabitable as we do a room at a time.

Ours is 350 years old and I adore sitting in the oldest part of the house with the baby asleep upstairs, working on my patchwork and thinking about the generations of women who've sat in the same place doing the same thing before me. If you're a bit of a soppy romantic you can't beat that!!

specialsubject Sun 16-Nov-14 11:23:12

bingo! Landlord-hate on an unrelated thread!

doesn't sound like the non-landlords have been that bothered about the building either...

AnnOnymity Sun 16-Nov-14 11:30:03

Ours is grade 2 listed. It is wonderful but we do live in constant fear of something expensive going wrong! The advice that out surveyor gave to us was only buy it if you can always keep a reserve fund of £10,000 to hand incase something goes wrong.

Theboulderhascaughtupwithme Sun 16-Nov-14 15:29:18

My current and last two houses have been grade two listed.

Would never now choose to live in. A modern home.

However, what I would say is, listed properties are fantastic as long as you don't need or plan to do much to them. I don't mean originally day today repairs and decor but big stuff or total refurbs. Our last place needed total refurbishment and the stress of that nearly caused the relationship to break down.

I have not found insurance to be significantly higher, but you do need to shop around and not all providers do listed building ( many do however).

Definately get homebuyers survey done but be aware they will present you with pages and pages of potential issues to cover my mind if a house has stood the test of time for hundreds of years already and is still looking good then it will certainly lady out my lifetime :-)

tigerpug Sun 16-Nov-14 17:31:20

It sounds fantastic, post a link, oh go on... please!?
We live in a Grade 2 house, bought this spring. We have penetrating damp and (historical) subsidence but we knew this before we bought and were able to reduce our offer accordingly. Even our surveyor said that he wouldn't have been put off buying for those reasons, and this really is our forever house so if it needs to be underpinned in the future then so be it. We werent going to walk away easily...
Its single glazed with cranky old sashes but still warmer than our last house with smaller fuel bills - last house was a temporary rental which was modern but big and cost us a fortune to keep warm
DH commute is long, house was over our budget, and has subsided BUT my god you wouldn't get me out of this house, i love every inch of it!
No horror stories from me, go for it....

SophieBarringtonWard Sun 16-Nov-14 19:13:55

Do link please!

Madcats Sun 16-Nov-14 19:22:56

20 years in a grade 2 18th century (Bath) stone 3 storey house here. No plans to move...The house has no foundations to speak of, but we figure that it's managed to survive enough floods and droughts to survive another century or 2. I've mostly cursed the 1960's bodges and the appalling way our trades hacked through floorboards to rewire and replumb in the 90s as if we'd never look at them.

I love 3 storey living, because the kids can play up in their rooms and we can have an oasis of calm downstairs (or vice versa).

Hiscox have been a great insurer for us.

Get a proper survey...get a surveyor used to that sort of building so that you can have a proper discussion about what needs fixing. If you plan to use the chimneys (we've just used a wood burner this Autumn, no need for central heating), get a sweep to take a look too. We were lucky that, when we had a survey done for woodworm etc, the guy observed the beetles were probably last active in the reign of Queen Victoria.

Alterations are possible. There is no consistent rhyme nor reason to what is permitted (but our local planners have been letting houses with "unpermitted alterations" from decades ago do all manner of things).

Secondary glazing etc is permissible, as long as it leaves minimal mark on the original fabric.

I love my big thick external walls and high ceilings. I love lifting a carpet or removing some wallpaper to fantasise about the lives earlier residents had.

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