Go back
Home Logic Living

Historic Home Renovation: Your Go-To Guide

historic home renovation

Renovating any home is full of pitfalls, regulations, time delays, red tape and expensive mistakes - until you eventually get the home of your dreams. Now take that experience and multiply it by 100… now you might understand how hard it can be to take on a historic home that is in need of renovation.

But you might also want to multiply the rewards by 100, because any historic home is going to give you so much joy and pride once it has been renovated. It really is worth it.

You may already have the final result of your renovation in mind, but have no idea how to get there. Knowing the right steps to take, the regulations and planning issues you need to be aware of and how best to fund and complete your project should be part of your project planning process.

Before you knock down a single wall or change a bathroom tap, you need to make sure you are following the rules. Our guide will point you in the right direction.

While our guide is a great start, you should remember that all councils and historic building trusts will have different regulations and rules - so get the specialists for your area involved at an early date.

They will be incredibly helpful and will walk you through the process. You can find the right people through your council website.

Picking the Right Project: An Overview

All of us will be aware of the standard ways to find a property for sale, but when it comes to historic properties, you might need to go a little further afield. As well as general online searches and auctions, you can approach your council to see if they have a list of buildings that they are hoping to sell to investors. Many of these will be in need of modernisation and some will be historic. 

You can also keep your eyes open as you travel the countryside. Many derelict properties, never make it onto the open market, but the owners may still be willing to sell.

All you need to do is put the address into the Land Registry website and you should be able to find the owner and contact them directly. It only costs £3.

historic home renovation

Is the structure of the building sound, or will major building work be required to even get it to a liveable standard? You should get a contractor/surveyor in to check this

Assessing a Property: 8 Key Questions

Once you have a property in mind, you need to check and see if it is going to be a good project for your needs. Some of the assessment questions you might want to ask will include:

●    Is the property in a good location with easy road and rail links or is it near a good school? This will have a huge impact on the final selling price.
●    Is there good parking, or the ability to add some? If your house is on a busy main road or there is no access, you will struggle to carry out some of the basic work due to a lack of space for vehicles and deliveries.
●    Have other nearby, similar properties had work done to them? This will give you an idea of how open the planners are to changes.
●    Is the property in a conservation area or is it listed? Many historic homes will be.
●    Is the structure of the building sound, or will major building work be required to even get it to a liveable standard? You should get a contractor/surveyor in to check this.
●    Can the building be modernised or must it have a traditional renovation? The latter will cost substantially more and will require expert help.
●    Will the electrics and plumbing need replacing? Plastering? New roof? Damp proofing?
●    Can you actually afford this property and the work that needs to be done on it?

historic home renovation

Your lender will usually offer from 80 - 90% of the value of the property as it currently is and they may even hold back some funds until the property is repaired. So you will need another source of funds to carry out this work unless you can negotiate with your lender

Financing Your Purchase: What Are My Options?

The process of buying an historic home is very different to buying a standard house. In many cases you will need to get a specialist mortgage that takes into account the various stages involved in a full renovation. 

Banks will usually only lend on a property that they consider to be habitable - this means it needs to have a running kitchen and bathroom. If your property falls outside of this, you will need special mortgage provision.

Your lender will usually offer from 80 - 90% of the value of the property as it currently is and they may even hold back some funds until the property is repaired. So you will need another source of funds to carry out this work unless you can negotiate with your lender.

A building insurance policy may help with this. Once the property has been completed - you can remortgage to the new value and pay your suppliers and contractors (or the loan you had to take out!).

Renovation Grants: What Do They Offer?

If you doubt you would be able to get the funding needed to carry out a historic renovation, you might find you are eligible for a renovation grant. These are usually offered by councils (although they are hard to come by) and they are means tested and have a maximum amount - usually around £20,000.

The house needs to be more than ten years old and and you need to live in it once complete. This may be a drop in the ocean for many historic homes, but could be a possibility in some parts of the country.

historic home renovation

As you can see there is much to think about before you buy or start work on a historic building. It may seem like there are too many hurdles, but the results of this type of makeover are often very rewarding

The Planning Process: What Does It Actually Involve?

Many homes can be altered under Permitted Development, however in almost all cases a historic home will need Planning Permission. This may be because it is listed or because it is in a conservation area. You should always check to make sure you do not break any planning rules - this could mean the work has to be undone.

●    If your home is listed you will need listed building consent, whether planning permission is required or not. Listing covers the interior and exterior of the building to differing degrees, so experienced advice is advised.
●    The local authority will decide on any changes to a listed building and will be considered as part of your planning application. They may choose to protect a heritage building even if it is not listed, by removing it from permitted development rights.
●    Planning permission is almost always required for the demolition of a listed property or one in a conservation area. This includes part of the building or outbuildings. If demolition is needed for the immediate safety of workers, this might be overlooked.

As you can see there is much to think about before you buy or start work on a historic building. It may seem like there are too many hurdles, but the results of this type of makeover are often very rewarding.

You are protecting a building for another generation, improving its value and providing much needed housing for the local community. Plus you can make a great profit. It really is a win win situation!

Ready to take the next step? Request your free site survey today by calling 0800 1700 636, or, alternatively, by simply clicking the button below!