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Chester loves period properties but how easy are they to renovate?

Chester is so fortunate to have such a fabulous collection of period property.  Many purchasers will only look at period property to purchase because of their love of history and the unusual and unique features that they often have. Property owners can find renovation of such properties to be a labour of love but they can also be a minefield of planning constraints and unforeseen problems.

Permitted Development

Many character properties have limited permitted development rights on them, especially when located in conservation areas. It is a clever idea to check with your local planning office whether, the area you are looking to buy in has relaxed rights or not, due to the fact it could make the renovation and planning process much easier.

If permitted development rights have not been relaxed, check how strict the local council is on renovation. Sometimes it is considered that such renovations are an opportunity to ‘Improve the appearance of the conservation area’, which makes sense but can sometimes become more costly than originally anticipated, especially when working on a budget.

Depending on your property, conservation officers may insist that you use traditional building materials and techniques, although this gives a wonderful finish to the property it can usually be more expensive, leading to a knock-on effect on the overall budget, for example some lime plasters, which many character properties use, require special breathable paints which again can be more costly, but they do add wonderful character to the property.

Survey to identify issues

One of the major factors to take into consideration when seeking to purchase and renovate character properties, is to undertake a structural survey, to see if there are any underlying problems that may affect the property, it is also key to look out for is obvious signs of damp or cracking, if there are any obvious signs of this, it may be an idea to look in more detail and potentially bring it up with the current owners to assess the severity of any potential problems.

Although the renovation process can seem stressful and daunting, the reward it can provide once the property is finally finished to your exacting standard, then there is nothing more satisfying, bringing an older property back to life and enter a new era of the properties history. At Homesale and Homelet we would be delighted to help you with any questions in relation to your period property, please contact us on 01244 313900 or email me at