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5 things to consider before buying a period property

By Maurice Shasha  //  Thu 20th July 2017
We have given you five things you should consider before you buy a period property.
What to consider before buying a period property
How many of us dream of buying a period property, a large house that has been a feature of its surrounding landscape for many years. Perhaps we imagine the generations of people who have lived in the house, and this would make us feel a part of an ongoing social history. To many of us, this will remain what it is: a dream.

But many people want to make this dream a reality. If you are determined to achieve your dream of living in a period property, we have listed five of the things you must be aware of before you buy such a property.

Is it listed?

One of the most important things you must do is find out if the period building you are considering buying is a listed building. In England and Wales there are three levels of listing grades:

Grade 1: Refers to buildings of historic or national architectural interest.

Grade 2: Refers to buildings of more than just local interest.

Grade 3: Refers to buildings of special architectural or historical interest.

You must find out if your chosen home is listed, and if so, what level of listing it has. The level of listing will restrict any alterations or additions you may wish to make.


Make sure your dream house is going to be warm in the winter months. It may be the present owners of the house are hardy souls who believe the answer to a cold spell is donning an extra cardigan or living under a duvet. If you are more likely to prefer a more comfortable climate to live in, investigate its insulation. In some cases, double-glazing will not be permitted, so an alternative form of insulation must be found.

Check on what been done before

You must investigate the possibility that some work may have been done on the building without the relevant authorisation. If this has happened, you will inherit the problem and be the person responsible for putting things right. However, it is possible to take out insurance to cover this - search for cover for pre-existing work carried out by the previous occupants without local authority permission.

Get a specialist to carry out a survey

Everyone should have a survey carried out when considering buying a property. However, it is important to use a surveyor who has specialist knowledge of period buildings. Hiring the wrong surveyor could result in you getting incorrect, expensive advice. You should also hire a specialist to advise you when carrying out any work on the property.

These experts will check the drains (many period buildings have clay drains) to ensure there will be no danger of cracking or subsidence in the future. They will also check for damp and mould, and other perils that may be found in period buildings.

Also, architects and planning advisors with expert knowledge of period buildings will ensure you are not breaking any of the conservation rules of the local authority.

Be aware of the costs

The costs of maintaining period buildings are far higher than those of maintaining a modern building. Period buildings will probably require more maintenance than their modern counterparts. If you have to make any repairs or general maintenance, you must budget for the cost of specialist materials and the hire of specialist tradesmen to carry out the work to specifications set down by the local planning department. It is important to be aware of the extra costs of maintaining a period building and make allowances for these extra costs in your budget.

We have mentioned the importance of hiring people who experts in their field, and the same applies to estate agents. You should commission an estate agent who has experience in selling period buildings. Plaza Estates has this experience and knowledge.

Among the many things we will check is if the building’s historical features are well-preserved, and if the building will function comfortably as a home. If you are considering buying a traditional building please contact us today. We have many years' experience of selling period buildings, and we will be happy to help you with your search for your new home.

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