How to prevent heartache when buying a period home in Chelmsford

When it comes to your next home, what will catch your eye? Are you someone who can’t wait to own a pristine new build or are you looking for a charming period property? You may have ambitions to restore an architectural treasure within Chelmsford or buy a historical home bursting with character, but before you fall head over heels in love with those quirks and nooks and crannies you must stop and think. Your home is the largest and often most important purchase in your life, and there are often many challenges when buying an older house, which is why we want to ensure you have considered all the pros and cons to prevent heartache when buying a period property.


What is a period property?


A ‘period property’ tends to refer to those properties built before World War I. In the UK, some of the oldest surviving period homes date from the 1400s, and over the following years there were a variety of evolving architectural styles through the Tudor period, the popular Georgian, to the Victorian era and on to the Edwardian style during the early 1900s.



The popularity of period properties shows no sign of waning, in fact Georgian properties often top the most popular and architecturally desirable homes in the UK. Each property period is known for its unique style and construction, for example people love the proportions of Georgian properties as they were built formulaic and symmetrical.


It’s not just the beams, ornate fireplaces, and other glorious features that attract buyers, it is often said that older properties are ‘solid’. This is due to the quality building materials and superior build quality, such as thicker walls, and despite the many decades of wear and tear since their construction, they are still standing.


Undertake thorough checks


Even though period properties have a reputation of being solidly built, and despite them still standing for 100 years and longer, they are not without their flaws.  And when it comes to purchasing such a home, it is important that you undertake thorough checks so you completely understand the property you are taking on, which is why you need to choose the right survey.



When it comes to choosing a survey, you should always choose the one that is best for the age and the condition of the home you are buying.  The most commonly chosen survey by buyers is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Level 2 Home Survey, but when you are purchasing an older property we recommend that you look at a more comprehensive survey, RICS Level 3 Building Survey.


Building Surveys are suitable for buildings older than 50 years, those that are historic, listed, or of unusual design.  A Building Survey could also be beneficial if you have major concerns about the condition of the property or if you are planning significant work. With this survey, the RICS surveyor will be very ‘hands-on’ checking the attic and even under the floorboards.




The subsequent comprehensive report will provide you with in-depth details of the condition of the property as well as give you advice on any defects, repairs and maintenance. It will also highlight potential issues such as damp, structural issues such as subsidence, roof damage, woodworm, wet and dry rot, renovations that have been completed without the relevant consent and much more.


Why is it important?


All surveys come at a cost, but not investing in the correct survey is one of the classic pitfalls of buying a period home.  There are bound to be some hidden problems; you may convince yourself that no matter what you find you will be able to cope, blinded by love and some breathtaking historical features. We know how easy it is to be spellbound by the magic such a home possesses. When you step through the door, the smells, the character and the unique period features can easily distract you from reality.

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