Buying an historic home or castle

A substantial historic home or even a castle might not be as expensive to buy as you imagine. But before you picture yourself as lord of the manor, there are several factors you need to take into account.

Buying a unique period property can sometimes cost comparatively less than a smaller home, however ownership of this sort of home can be a fulltime job and be expensive as well.


This is the main stumbling block for historic home ownership. A sizeable property will always need work to be carried out on it and the variety of jobs to be done is extensive. A new roof, rewiring, structural repairs, damp and subsidence are just a few examples of problems that affect older properties. When the property is substantial, the repair bill will be too.

As well as the potentially crippling cost, the job of sorting out tradespeople and dealing with endless repairs isn’t for everyone. It is time-consuming and has the potential to turn a dream sour unless you are thoroughly prepared for what you will face.

As well as repairs and maintenance, ordinary expenses such as heating and insurance can be many times what they would be in a more standard property.

Listed status

To add to the difficulties of repairs and maintenance, listed status will make everything harder. A Grade II listed building will have numerous restrictions when it comes to replacing or repairing the fabric of the property.

Alterations will require listed building consent, which can be a lengthy process to obtain, and failure to put this in place before doing the work can be a criminal offence, with penalties of up to

two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. The materials that you will need to use to carry out any work will almost certainly be more expensive than those used as standard. For example, cast iron gutters and downpipes instead of plastic.

The listing can extend to the interiors as well, and also to outbuildings, walls or even trees.

If your property is of exceptional interest, historically significant or particularly old, it may be Grade I listed. Restrictions on works are even more severe.

It comes with an estate

While this might seem like a bonus, a large amount of land will need managing. The grounds and gardens will need upkeep and if there is farmland or other estate land, this will need to be rented out or cared for. If you don’t have the time or experience to deal with it, you will need to employ someone to ensure that it doesn’t get out of hand.

Benefits of living in an historic home or castle

If you understand the pitfalls and are still willing to take on an historic home or even a castle, there are benefits to be had.

A well-maintained historic property can be a good investment, keeping its value well and even outpacing newer homes. But for most of those living in unique heritage properties, it is simply the joy of owning a unique piece of history that makes it all worthwhile.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home and you would like to speak to one of our expert lawyers, ring us on 0345 2413100 or email us at

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