Charm and character are qualities often associated with heritage-listed residential properties. But what some real estate agents describe as “charm” and “character” can translate as “in serious need of renovations”. And so, like any worthwhile pursuit, buying a heritage property requires a little perspiration. The results, however, are certainly worth it. There are numerous heritage properties located in the Cooma, Bega, Merimbula and Eden areas, and if you are thinking of buying one you should do your research first.
Heritage properties attract a certain type of buyer, but vendors need to ensure renovations suit the house or risk lowering value. Most buyers will already know if the building is heritage listed and will be aware of its unique appeal. It’s a selling point when people know more about the property’s story. People appreciate the fact work on the place is done right.
People looking to buy such properties need to run their checks before reaching for the back pocket. Before buying, it is a good idea to obtain an inventory sheet for a heritage item, which includes the history of the site and why it is significant. When owners submit their development application, a heritage impact statement will have to be included.
It’s best to contact the local council to see what type of restrictions it has on it, especially what guidelines apply.
The major concern with heritage properties is they are riddled with red tape and demand expensive renovations. State listing normally prevents demolition and neglected maintenance. A property listed on the State Heritage Register cannot be demolished once listed.
So are they worth the hassle? Some buyers love them, others don’t like the restrictions they bring. For most of us, the act of buying a home is an emotional journey. The home is, after all, an extension of ourselves, our family and our place in the world. For some, the appeal of a century-old home of historical significance can be hard to resist, while others may be discouraged by the restrictions heritage homes bring.
State and local governments, and heritage councils, bestow a heritage listing on properties, and in some cases entire streets or suburbs, that are historically significant or boast architecture worth preserving. A heritage listing ensures historically important buildings are not easily demolished, and therefore carries restrictions on redevelopment. That deters some home buyers, and some banks.
Some lenders, most notably Suncorp and Adelaide Bank, steer clear of granting loans on heritage-listed homes. Other lenders, St George and Westpac among them, grant approval but rarely lend more than 80 percent of the property’s value. Lenders see heritage-listed properties as being more difficult to sell than non-heritage-listed properties. By reducing the amount they lend, they reduce their risk in the event of having to call in the mortgage.
Councils are usually concerned with the external appearance of a heritage-listed home, how it blends into the original streetscape and rarely place restrictions on internal renovations of heritage homes. Some buyers are drawn to the original features of heritage homes, such as fireplaces, decorated ceilings and picture rails. And they are willing to pay a premium for original homes that have not been altered.
Like any other decision or choice in life it generally comes down to personal taste and knowing oneself. There is little to be gained in purchasing an historic home if you are not a passionate and dedicated renovator who (and other family members) are prepared to live in uncomfortable surroundings from time to time while bathrooms are replumbed and walls plastered. Unless of course you are in the fortunate position of being able to have the house compltely restored whilst living somewhere else.
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