Old buildings have a lot of charm and when you are looking for a home that is a little different it is obvious why so many people are drawn to them. However, before you do go ahead and purchase a building that is listed, it is a good idea to be aware of all the things that come with owning a listed building, as well as the fact that it is likely to be a more challenging process to make changes to the building.
This is not to say that listed buildings cannot be changed or extended at all – they can. But there will be certain guidelines and regulations that you will have to abide by to get permission to do this – for example, you may be required to use certain materials that are in keeping with the style of the original building, such as these Timberpride oak trusses, or you may need to ensure that work is done in a certain way, to keep the traditional look of the property. It is very unlikely that you will get planning permission to put a huge, modern looking extension on a 16th Century thatched cottage for example!
Before you dive into it, you should do plenty of research on the building. Getting to know the historic value, what architectural features are important and why the building is listed, are all things that will help you to put a successful planning application through. Something else to think about that is highly recommended, is that alterations and changes that are made to listed buildings are able to be changed back if needed. This is something else that will more likely make your application successful.
Making changes to the building will also provide you with an opportunity to get to know more about the building. If there is digging involved, or removal of the floorboards, it is a good idea to keep your eye open to see what else is unearthed, as with many historic buildings you may find some features that you were not even aware of. If you do find anything significant, it is worth getting in touch with a local historical society who may be able to give you more information or will certainly point you in the direction of someone that can.