Is the building listed or in a conservation area? If so, understand the planning and legal implications . (See: Statutory protection of traditional buildings) Speak to the Conservation Officer of the local council to find out about the building. If you already have in mind specific changes you might want to make to the building, discuss them with the Conservation Officer before you commit to purchase.
Contact the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings for information and a copy of their guidelines to buying old buildings 'Look Before You Leap' . Other groups and societies may be able to help or offer guidance in respect of your particular building (See: Links ) . For example the Georgian Group are knowledgeable about buildings from the Georgian period.
Talk to friends who live in or who have an appreciation and understanding of traditional buildings. Ask them about their experiences. Make sure you gain a grasp of all that is involved in the care and the responsibility of owning an old building.
Does the building meet your needs in its existing condition? Does it have the space and facilities you require? If not, should you look for a building that does?
|An attractive historic building: but is it big enough for your needs?|
Let the valuer carrying out the mortgage valuation know if the building is listed. If possible remind the valuer that the RICS (in the 'Red Book' - the RICS Appraisal and Valuation Manual) and TEGoVA ( in the European Valuation Standards) have published guidance about valuing traditional buildings.
Before purchasing an old building seek professional advice from an architect or chartered surveyor with appropriate specialist knowledge and experience in assessing the condition of historic buildings. The names of professionals in your area may be obtained from Conservation Officer or Societies and Groups such as the SPAB.
Do make the effort to interview the architect or surveyor before appointing them. Ask them about other similar buildings that they have surveyed . Read the guidance for surveyors contained on this website and try to gauge whether the surveyor understands the properties of traditional buildings and the guidance for surveyors of traditional buildings (especially the mandatory guidance contained in the RICS guidance note "Building Surveys of Residential Property").
Be prepared to move slowly with the repair works once you have moved in - get to know the property thoroughly before acting in haste.
Plan your budget for the repair works. It is crucial that you spend your money first on essential repairs to the fabric e.g. repairs to the roof rather than on cosmetic improvements that could be damaged by a leaking roof.
|These roof works were given priority|
Think carefully before acting - don't get carried away by the appeal of an old building. Old buildings require time and patience to understand the building and to find the right people to carry out the work, in the right way.