I have seen a property which is 3 separate houses which are joined together and grade 2 listed. The owner is selling all three in one sale. The whole building is in need of full renovation. The main points I am in need of advice with, is. 1. if they are selling all three as one, will I need three mortgages? 2. I have never owned a listed building or converted multiple properties into one and I am unsure of how or where to start with planning or if it’s even allowed? And 3, with the property needing full renovation, what can I renovate/replace/rip out without permission.

Me and my wife have fell in love with this place, we would like to purchase it and turn it into our family home?We have only ever had bog standard semi detached houses and changed doors, windows, plastered, floor boards, electrics and so. But from what I have read up about listed houses is that everything is more expensive and more complicated as permission needs to be granted for everything internal and external which needs repairing or replacing. The local council wants over £500 for a sit down pre planning application meeting or something down them lines. I don’t want to basically pay this money for them to say no or even worse it’s possible then we buy the house and planning is rejected and were left with three houses and the bills!

I know there are lots of questions and I will admit that I have never had to apply for planning permission for any of our other houses. I feel like an trainee all over again. Also we won’t be able to buy it out right so this could also be an issue due to multiple properties.

  • Adam

    Hi Jason,

    Where to begin? That’s a lot of questions in a short space!

    Firstly I’m glad to read that you have done some digging around. Doing anything with a listed building is a very different kettle of fish to working on your regular "bog standard" semi-detached.

    To address your points;

    1) You might not need three mortgages to buy all three separate homes but you would likely need a non-standard mortgage product ie not one available from the high street. You would need to look into legal costs as well. You might be able to negotiate a deal with the solicitors to undertake all three purchases at once; three individual homes means three individual sets of paperwork for them to trawl through. More time = more cost (solicitors charge £100-300 per hour on average outside of London!)

    2) Listed buildings come with very strict regulations that govern what can and cant be done. The council will have a listed building officer/conservation officer that will have the final say on any and all proposals that relate to listed buildings in their area. It is important to understand that their job is to balance the needs/wants of the buildings owners (you) with the need to maintain the integrity of an important link to our important architectural heritage.

    If you want to find out whether your plans have got legs then you’re going to have to bite the bullet and pay up for meetings with the planners. Chances are you’ll need to have plans to show them as well so they can comment. More cost! You could seek independent planning advice from a consultant but they are also expensive!

    3) NOTHING. Even minor changes usually require approval! If the properties are in poor repair you might find the council more amenable to renovation plans so that the buildings become better maintained.
    Try to reign in your dreams of modern, bright and open plan living in a historic building though. Old properties dictate what can be achieved within them and once it is done telling you what’s what the listed building officer will pile in with the rest.

    I should also point out at this stage that the skills required to undertake this kind of work are in short supply. You might even be given a list of approved contractors that you would have to use to undertake the work. Some can be eye-wateringly expensive. Traditional materials are not cheap and traditional methods are time consuming.

    If you have really fallen for this building then do not let my warnings put you off. These kinds of projects can be richly rewarding and result in you obtaining the home of your dreams. You could always make an offer on the properties "subject to planning". If you discover that your plans will not be allowed you can move on knowing you tried without the financial outlay.

    Whatever happens I wish you luck!


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