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Advice on buying a grade II listed property

(72 Posts)
MGrey Mon 14-Aug-17 15:38:12

Looking to buy our first property and we've seen a grade II listed cottage which needs quite a bit of internal work. New kitchen, new back french doors, new carpets, new bannisters on landing and stairs, updating of the bathroom and ensuite, new front door, and the windows are misting so new glass in the windows. Would it be unreasonable to put an offer in 40k below the 140k asking price?

Also another quick question, the dining room leads into the kitchen via 2 steps and doorway, seen as it's a graded building what are the chances of getting planning consent to move the kitchen into the dining room and then knocking through part of the wall to create an opening to give it a more open plan feel. Bearing in mind the kitchen is quite small and looks like it has been an extension in itself.

Sorry for the long winded post. Any advice would be much appreciated.

jcscot Mon 14-Aug-17 15:51:15

We own a listed building and changes to layout (knocking down of walls, moving kitchens etc) are notoriously difficult to get approval for. Much depends on your local planning officer.

As for the price, I would imagine, given that the improvements you mention are "visible", that the rpice reflects this. When we bought our house, it was significantly less than similar (also listed) houses in better condition in the area but was priced to sell and the condition was definitely taken into account.

Just remember that repairs must be "like for like" and this can ramp up the costs considerably (use of specialist tradesmen, specific tiles/plaster/techniques etc).

jcscot Mon 14-Aug-17 15:56:36

Also, proportion is the key - a 40k reduction is almost a third below asking price which is a huge drop. You might get lucky if it's been on the market a while with little interest but I would imagine that updates like the kitchen and bathroom (unless they're falling to bits or unusable) might come under the banner of "personal taste" rather than essential works. It's a bit unfair to expect the seller to bear the cost if such improvements are down to decorative choice.

Saying that, if the survey showed significant and costly work needing done, especiallt if it was work needed to make it habitable then you might have grounds for negotiation.

olliegarchy99 Mon 14-Aug-17 15:59:18

It is sad that listed buildings are some of the best properties around in terms of quirkiness, character and charm BUT they do come with their own headaches. It is not impossible to extend/improve but as others have said it depends on the planning office and how much you want to change it.
I live in a grade 2 listed black and white cottage which has a glorious position - I have not wanted to change anything but I did find that insurance was more expensive than a 'normal' house and some insurers will not touch them

MGrey Mon 14-Aug-17 16:02:20

Thank you for the advice. It was first listed at the beginning of the year and sold but is now back on the market reduced by 10k due to the sale falling through so I will bear that in mind.

Is it also worth speaking to the planning and conservation officer at the local council office before we put an offer in?

That is something we do need to take into consideration. If we didn't move the kitchen do we still need to get planning permission to replace a new kitchen or bathroom?

muwuloruva Mon 14-Aug-17 16:03:17

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MGrey Mon 14-Aug-17 16:05:18

The wood in the kitchen under the cabinets is rotting and has holes in it and so is the wood around the back french doors. So I do think it needs reasonably replacing not just down to a case of taste.

jcscot Mon 14-Aug-17 16:06:28

Everything is just that little bit more expensive - heating (no double glazing, just the original sash windows), maintenance (replacing roof tiles with reclaimed or new pan tiles), windows (we need to a wee bit of work every year on our windows) etc. Insurance wasn't too bad for us.

The house also costs more in terms of time - tracking down craftsmen, dealing with planning when you simply want to replace the exterior light etc.

Our house is a Grade II listed Georgian terrace and we're also in a conservation area, so we have added restrictions due to that. Wouldn't live anywhere else!

Seeline Mon 14-Aug-17 16:08:53

generally if you are doing work to the actual fabric of the building you may need Listed Building Consent. If you are doing cosmetic stuff it is less likely. But always consult with the Conservation Officer before doing anything.
Planning permission is different, and may be required for actual extensions etc. Listed Buildings have less permitted development rights than 'normal houses' eg you may need permission for a detached structure, that wouldn't normally require it.

basic advice here but every property really is different in this instance.

Jux Mon 14-Aug-17 16:11:53

It depends on your Council. Some are OK with changing layout as long as externally everything looks the same. Our Grade II house was seriously changed about inside, and the Council didn't give a shiny shite.

They did onject to a satellite dish (for mum to get Sky), but actually we have a bit of roof that you simply can't see from the road so she got Sky in the end. The dish is still there, 12 years on.

jcscot Mon 14-Aug-17 16:13:18

Replacing an existing kitchen or bathroom falls under redecoration and (usually) doesn't require planning consent. The exception might be if you want to rip out a fireplace (for example) in either room to change the layout - that's likely to form part of the listing and, therefore, is protected.

It's worth looking for your house on the English Heritage website as they give details of when it was listed and (sometimes) why. It might help outline what's in the art of the possible.

Also, check with the EA why the sale fell through - if it was down to a survey issue (severe damp or something structural, for example) then the sellers are supposed to declare that issue or reflect it in the price (that might account for the 10k reduction) or have it fixed.

MGrey Mon 14-Aug-17 16:13:24

That's great thank you. We just feel we could improve it. In keeping with the house of course it's an end terrace in a more rural area. For example give it a more traditional country kitchen rather than the current white basic rotting one it has in 😊

It's great to hear advice though before we jump in. Thank you everyone in advance.

MGrey Mon 14-Aug-17 16:18:10

The EA did tell me about the sale falling through but wouldn't give me any further details. I did find her abit evasive after I said we needed to think about it.

Jux Mon 14-Aug-17 16:22:57

IME, talking to the Council before you buy about what sort of thing you want to do is sensible. They can tell you straight away whether it's OK, not a chance in hell or maybe, it depends on plans.

They like to be involved and consulted, then they know you're not going to do anything stupid which will cause them pain!

MGrey Mon 14-Aug-17 16:25:14

Thank you. I was going to call today but didn't want to look like a wally if I was jumping the gun alittle so great to know thank you.

jcscot Mon 14-Aug-17 16:29:49

Jux is right (although our local authority charge for a "pre-planning" consultation. We've not changed our layout ( it would be difficult to do due the way it's been built) but we have explored the idea of converting the attic and the cellar. The advice we received was that we were unlikely to get premission for the attic due to current building regs (so we plan to floor it properly and get some bespoke storage built in) but that the cellar would be a definitely possibility because it is large enough and has a window - plus other house in our terrace have already done the same.

Bluntness100 Mon 14-Aug-17 16:32:21

We live in a listed building and have replaced the kitchen, no consent was needed,it seldom to never is, they are supposed to be lived in. Things like replacing bathrooms, kitchens, painting, flooring etc don't need consent, what does need consent is ripping put original features like coving, fireplaces, original floors, knocking down walls, or changing the exterior. Windows, doors, even the colour of your front door, can't be changed without permission. Repairs don't need permission as long as like for like.

Of course they don't come round and inspect your property but if you sold any buyer would ask for the consent for any obvious changes.

Ours had been extended at the front, and an out building built, both are identical to the original house so you wouldn't know, they were done in keeping and with the same matierlals.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy it listed status wouldn't put me off, but the only thing uou may struggle with is knocking down a wall, however they may permit it. Listed buildings are not supposed to be preserved in time, they are protected as of historical interest, but all planning officers understand they also need to be lived in and suitable for today's way of life.

Bluntness100 Mon 14-Aug-17 16:34:17

On the price, I'd assume it was priced with the work required factored in and once done will be worth a lot more.

MGrey Mon 14-Aug-17 16:36:29

I have checked the heritage site and it tells me when it was listed, how old it is and states type of brickwork, Windows, door surrounding etc but mentions nothing internally or why it was listed. I just assumed it was because the row was built circa 1820

Bluntness100 Mon 14-Aug-17 16:39:06

Of your list

New kitchen, this doesn't need consent.
new back french doors, this will need consent and to be in line with original build.
new carpets, no consent required.
new bannisters on landing and stairs, this will need consent and be in line with original build. Why does it need new banisters?
updating of the bathroom and ensuite, no consent required.
new front door, this needs consent, why does it need a new front door? The door will have to be like the existing one.
and the windows are misting so new glass in the windows do you mean missing? This will need to be done by a specialist glazer.

MGrey Mon 14-Aug-17 16:39:53

One of the mid terraces was sold recently and went for 119k but that was immaculate inside and had a new kitchen and had been redecorated.

Bluntness100 Mon 14-Aug-17 16:41:21

Same layout?

Maybe they have over priced then, nothing wrong with a cheeky offer...

jcscot Mon 14-Aug-17 16:42:43

Some listings are very sketchy, some very detailed - listing will apply internally but until you get a planning officer inside the building, you won't know the true extent.

One caveat is that there is no statute of limitations on any works carried out without appropriate permission so if you buy the house and the planning officer comes around to view your kitchen and see if the wall can be knocked down and spots something else that he thinks is iffy, then he can slap an enforcement order on you to replace or re-do works. Make sure your lawyer does their homework if you proceed and gets details of any works done or you could find yourself paying through the nose to correct mistakes made by previous owners.

Bluntness100 Mon 14-Aug-17 16:43:32

Bear also in mind that end of terrace is usually worth quite a bit more than mid terrace, for obvious reasons. But if the size and layout was the same, then yes it would incidate it may be over priced. I'm not sure 40 k over priced though.

MGrey Mon 14-Aug-17 16:44:03

There's no hand rail on the stairs and the bannister on the landing is too wide and we have a toddler. It's a safety issue really. It's just 2 pieces of horizontal planks. Would like to put a safer more traditional bannister in.

The front door on the inside looks worn and like it's starting to rust and decay. Doesn't look at all safe, attractive or in keeping with a period property.

And I meant misting not missing. The EA said the seals must have worn it was in all windows on the glass and that the glass would need replacing.

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