Over the last couple of decades or so there has been an increasingly larger uptake of modern and minimalistic finishes. Homeowners seem desperate to keep features to an absolute minimum in their property, with this deemed as the most stylish way to go. However, this doesn’t mean that there is no longer a market for rustic properties, with many people opting to snap these up before adding their modern decorations to the interior – thus creating the perfect blend.

Unfortunately, buying an older property can prompt several obstacles that are not prevalent if you were buying a newly built house. These issues can thwart a lot of renovation projects significantly, which is why the rest of this guest post will take a look at them in more detail.

Conservation Areas

The fact that there are over 8,000 conservation areas in the UK highlights how big this problem could be – especially as many of these areas cater for numerous properties at one time. In fact, on some occasions a whole village could be classed as a conservation area, meaning that there are an unbelievable number of homes that fall into this category.

It is absolutely crucial to check whether or not the building you are looking at is in one of these locations, as these can prompt multiple stumbling blocks. You won’t be able to make any significant changes to the exterior of the building without seeking permission, with these even stretching to areas such as the windows. Fortunately, you are free to do what you like to the interior, which isn’t the case with the next statutory restriction…

Listed Buildings

Listed buildings prove to be even more troublesome and it doesn’t matter what type of listing your property has been handed, you’ll still need to acquire listed building consent before progressing on any renovations. This applies both inside out and outside the property and if you are planning on making any wholesale changes, you may as well scrap them up now. Unless you are lucky, English Heritage will rarely grant permission for any significant alterations – whether it’s removing a cornice or a staircase from inside the property or anything else minor. The amount of restrictions placed on these buildings can be horrific at times, although on a more positive note you may not have to satisfy Part L of the building regulations as much.


If we move away from the legislative side briefly, you also have to consider that it might be difficult to make any alterations appear ‘right’. Unsurprisingly, it’s much more difficult to acquire materials that were used many years ago and while you might come close, there will always be mild differences that might make the building appear a little unnatural. For example, if you were looking to buy an old property with a slate roof, the chances of finding an exact match for the shade of the slate are slim to say the least.

Planning Permission

Finally, we’ll move back to the regulations. Planning permission has been a thorn in the side of the homeowner for many a year, but with old buildings prepare for the pressure to intensify. Planners notoriously like to protect the historic built environment and this means that they are likely to question any changes, whether small or large, to the exterior of the property you are planning. Considering the fact that each planning application will cost you a modest fee, you must consider whether or not the whole saga will be worthwhile.