Things you need to know when investing in a listed building

Investing in a new property or buying a new home is an exciting process. As always with any property purchase, there is a lot to think about, from location and style to the property type and age. It is even more important when you’re investing in a listed property to do your research or consult with an expert to understand what it means to own listed property.

We often suggest that when you take ownership of a listed building the building ends up owning you. Because of the importance placed upon heritage assets like listed buildings, owners are really just temporary custodians ensuring the survival of the asset.

Most listed buildings were here before us and will likely be here long after we’ve gone, too.

Taking a listed building on isn’t something to be taken lightly. That’s not to say you can’t make your own mark on your lovely new home, just that you need to be mindful of the constraints, process of permissions and potential limitations that may arise when requesting to make changes to the graded building.

Because of the listed status of a property, there will be several factors that will need to be taken into consideration. From the purchase and graded status to potential repairs, maintenance and general aesthetic changes, there is a strict system in place to ensure the integrity of the property is upheld and protected.

What is a listed building? Listed buildings are featured on the national register of properties for their architectural or historical interest/significance. Such properties are listed to ensure that the owners maintain the historical elements of the property and that any changes made do not alter the integrity of the building.


The national register and listing breakdown 

There are three different types of listing on the NHLE (National Heritage List for England) that demonstrate the level of historical importance.

You can find out the listed status of a property using the search tool on Historic England’s website.


The grading of properties is as follows:

Grade I = Only 2.5% of properties are Grade I listed, which indicates the property is of ‘exceptional interest’. Some examples of well-known Grade I listed buildings include some of the most popular UK tourist attractions, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge.

Grade II* = This grading implies that the building is more than ‘special interest’. With only 5.8% of listed properties falling into this grading category, it demonstrates architectural and historical significance.

Grade II = Most listed buildings fall into this category, highlighting them as a special interest. It is thought that around 92% of graded properties will fall into this category.

It is important to note that although the vast majority of listed buildings have been built between 1700 and 1850, there are some exceptions, such as the Royal Festival Hall and the BT Tower in London which are more recent structures but are listed due to the way they were built or because they provide notable architectural interest. As of 2016, the youngest listed building was James Stirling’s No. 1 Poultry which was completed in 1996. The oldest continuously occupied dwelling in the UK is thought to be The Saltford Manor House in Somerset which dates to around 1150.

Grade II listed building works

Investing in a listed property – things you need to know

While investing in a listed property is by no means an easy route, the character, charm, and opportunities to honour a historical building are endless.

As experts in Listed Building Renovations, we have put together a need-to-know list for anyone thinking about investing in a listed building.

  • Invest in a full structural survey from a chartered surveyor – This will be essential to understanding any possible defects that might exist with the property and ensure that you are well prepared and informed of any upcoming expenses that may arise from such issues.
  • Employ a solicitor to outline the restrictions and legalities of the listing – With listed buildings, there can be several complex restrictions about what you can and can’t do.
  • Employ an experienced builder with a history of working on listed buildings to review the property – This invaluable perspective will be complementary to the structural survey and will shed light on any potential ongoing maintenance and general upkeep issues.

“Our reputable, reliable, and knowledgeable team of award-winning professionals can inform on structural, internal and external listed building renovations, conserving original features and sympathetically extending properties to blend new accommodation and modern internals with the eccentricities of an older property.”

  • Obtaining permissions – Having the correct permissions for any proposed work is imperative. As a standard procedure, we would always recommend checking the listed permissions on [] our team of experts is always on hand to advise in the permission process, should you need any guidance or support. Most work proposed will at a minimum require Listed Building Consent but may also require Planning Permission and Building Regulations permission.
  • Love the property you’re buying – Purchasing a listed building is different from a building that is not listed. By investing in a listed building, you are effectively becoming a trustee or curator of a historically significant building. The restrictions and regulations may at times get frustrating, so it is important that you have patience, respect the process of preservation and love the property for all of its charming features.
  • Grants are available to subsidise some of the costs associated with the repairs of listed buildings – There are occasionally grants available to the owners of listed buildings for repair works, subsidised by Historic England, who oversee England’s historic environment.
  • Specialist home insurance – It is recommended that you inform the home insurance provider that your property is listed. Because of the increased material costs associated with possible re-builds and renovations, it is important to make sure your home insurance covers your property type adequately.


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