Many of us love a building with history. This includes historic homes, pubs, shops, churches and various other old buildings. Buying one of these buildings can be very exciting and fulfilling – they can be an opportunity to preserve the past. But just what does it take to buy a historic building? And what are some of the important things you need to know about owning such a building? This post explains what you need to know.
Finding a historic building to buy
You likely won’t find many historic buildings through your local estate agent (although it’s always worth a look). Your best option is often to join exclusive listings sites like The Listed Property Owner’s Club and S.P.A.B that specialise in listing historic properties for sale. You should also look out for auctions for historic buildings.
Owners of these properties are not always willing to sell to anyone. In some cases, you may have to prove that you have plans or resorting or preserving the building before you’re allowed to buy.
Carrying out a survey
It’s always worth carrying out a survey before buying an older building. This can tell you exactly what condition the building is in so that you know how much work you have ahead of you.
There are surveyors that specialise in historic buildings – it could be worth looking for one of these surveyors rather than using a general surveyor.
Maintaining and restoring a historic building
Historic buildings that are ‘listed’ are often heavily protected. If you have any renovation plans, you may want to check with your local planning committee as to what is allowed. Failing to get planning permission for a renovation on a listed building could result in severe legal penalties.
Any improvements that are seen as ‘restoration’ are likely to be allowed and encouraged. This involves repairing a damaged older building to its former condition. When restoring a historic building, you will have to use original construction methods and materials. Make sure to find a construction company that is capable of handling this work.
General maintenance is important when taking on a historic building. This could involve cleaning, repainting and refinishing original materials to prevent rot and rust. You can find plenty of guides on historic home maintenance online.
Work out how to fund your historic home
All the upkeep required to preserve a historic home can get expensive. Make sure that you have a financial plan in place for restoring and maintaining the building before you commit to buying it.
A lot of people don’t realise that there are grants out there that you can use to help fund restoration of old buildings. These can be worth looking into before resorting to loans.
When it comes to funding the purchase of an old building, consider looking into specialist mortgages for old buildings. You could also try buying a building with the help of other investors, possibly turning it into a joint restoration project.
Image Credits: Simon Sikorski
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