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Buy a period property


What to bear in mind when buying a period property

Period houses are an attractive buy. Loosely defined as being built pre-WW1, they have great features like tall ceilings, classic fireplaces and bay windows. If you’re thinking of buying a period property then there are a few things that you need to bear in mind, that you wouldn’t if you were looking at a new build, including boiler replacement, extension restrictions, renovation costs and structural considerations.

Your period property could also be a listed one

Due to the age of period properties, its very possible that they are also listed. A listed property differs in that it means the building is protected. This can mean that getting an extension or remodelling is either very costly or impossible. Before committing to a property, check the listed buildings index.

Consider carefully how a listed building, or a conservation area, could affect your plans for your property. Ready to move into buildings are ideal for many couples looking to start a family. Equally, buying a property with space for additions can be a key buying factor for those who want to increase the value of their investment.

Boiler replacement and maintenance could be more complex

Boiler replacement and maintenance should be a serious consideration if you are buying a period property. Typically, you’ll be looking at buying one of these homes from the original owner or someone who has lived in the property for a long time. As a result, you will find that many come with older boiler units.

Boiler replacement for older properties can come at an additional cost because of the complexity. Local boiler company, LS1 Boiler Installation advise that fitting a new boiler in a period property often means upgrading piping to suit newer boiler units.

Not all boilers in period properties will need to be replaced immediately, after all boilers can last up to 15 years. Parts from older boilers, as they become replaced in most households, leads to the manufacturer stopping production of parts. This makes them harder to get and raising the cost of repair to your boiler. In the end, boiler replacement will become a must, of else you’ll be without hot water.

Get a structural survey to ensure your period property is sound

Older properties are likely to have wear and tear. Granted, the value of these properties and their appeal comes from the excellent craftsmanship, meaning that you shouldn’t be expecting significant structural issues.

Period Living note that there are some clear warning signs to watch out for when viewing a property, such as bulges and cracks that indication of wall damage, gaps in window and sloping floors. All are signs that there are some structural issues with the property, the scale of which depends on the individual building.

Before buying a period property, you should make sure to get a structural survey from a recommended body. For example, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings can advise on the best ways to remedy issues in your property, their mantra being “restoration not restore” which aims to preserve the aesthetics of period properties.

Be ready to invest in renovations

Buying a period property, over a new build, should be considered alongside the serious financial commitment you will be making. Not only can there properties be costly to purchase, but in trying to maintain what gives them their appeal, you will be required to make a serious investment. The Telegraph estimates that the cost of moving into a period property would come up to £8,100, along with annual costs for landscaping and heating the larger, high ceiling rooms.

Even if you are planning to make renovations incrementally, you will no doubt find unexpected costs whittling away at your budget. Authentic period properties may have a traditional an open fireplace with the original surround or grate. It is advised that you look into restoring rather than replacing the fireplace and check that the structure of chimney is still intact by contacting a local chimney sweep. Renovating the fire surround and tiles could cost between £500 and £2,000 alone.

It’s all worth it when you are living in and loving your period home, and armed with this understanding of the costs involved in buying a period property will ensure you don’t get buyers remorse.


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