This is not an exhaustive or a complete subject.  It is likely to change over time, with edits, additions and deletions, and is simply a collection of my thoughts based on many years of experience.   You should follow your instincts, not rely at all on any of this and you must always seek your own professional and legal advice.


A constant theme within the many Blog posts here is the need for vigilance, due diligence and for seeking the best advice and a thorough understanding of the property before you commit to the purchase.    There are other Blog posts here that cover unauthorised alterations and the requirement for Listed Building Consent, Building Regulations Consent and Planning Permission.   This extends beyond the condition of the property.   You also need to have a thorough understanding and awareness of the legal aspects too.

The physical size or value of the property is not a relevant factor.   The Law is what it is and it applies to all Listed Buildings.

There is a lot of information now available online that you can access yourself.   Zoopla, Google Streetview and the relevant local council Planning history records are good places to start.   Directly compare the photos you can find with the photos in the sales details.   Look for any changes in the floorpans.  Have walls been taken out, or added, en-suite bathrooms added etc.?   Are there new windows in place, or perhaps a chimney is missing etc..?

I always recommend that my clients invest into using a specialist Property Lawyer – not simply a local solicitor or online conveyancer.   At the point of purchase of any Listed Building, the buyer needs experienced legal advice and not only the minimum tick-box and legal form filling.  A Property Lawyer will probably cost more money, but will provide a more thorough legal service that goes beyond the minimum necessary to process the transaction for the purchase and will look to protect your interests.

It is of considerable importance that the paperwork is looked at closely, and probing questions should be asked about missing documentation and responses from the seller such as “I don’t know” should not be accepted without even further probing.   An experienced Property Lawyer will ask appropriate and detailed questions.   When you buy a Listed Building, you are also buying the legal liability for any unauthorised alterations that have been made by the current or former owners.

I have written a separate Blog post on the use of Indemnity Policies, which I would suggest you take a look at.

Using a specialist Property Lawyer will probably cost you more money but that will be good money worth spending.

If your own initial observations give you reasons to question whether the vendors are being truthful and honest with you, then ask them some direct questions.   Don’t be shy.   Ask them for proof of Consent for the new windows, underfloor heating, ensuite bathrooms and other such changes that you have spotted.  Don’t be fobbed off by claims of “we know the Conservation Officer and were told its all ok“.  Everything should be documented and you can save yourself much time and money by asking direct questions from the outset before you commit to costs of a lawyer or a survey.   If it all sounds suspicious and rather vague, then it probably is.   It is much easier to simply walk away at the start rather than give yourself stress and worry.   Of course, everything can be fixed and throwing money at it will solve any problem.   However, the reality is that very few vendors would be willing to accept a sizeable reduction in the purchase price to accommodate the absences of documentation or the possibility of reversing works done.


Disclaimer:   Anything posted in this Blog is for general information only and it is not in any way intended to provide any advice, legal or otherwise, on any general or specific matter that you can rely on.  You should always seek your own legal advice.