Filled with character, heritage-listed homes are like tiny time warps on suburban streets, providing passers-by with a peek into Australia’s past, a time before we were born. Though beautiful and worth preservation, heritage listed properties come with a slew of rules and regulations owners have to live by, should they choose to purchase one. While these properties are often beautiful and certainly worth the work, not everyone is prepared to jump the hoops required for restoring one. Before you fall in love with the romanticised real-estate sell of a heritage-listed property, these are the general things you need to be aware of before buying one.
"A property needs to be unique, historically important or have architecture that is worth preserving for it to be listed as heritage."
Rules and regulations vary
The rules and regulations surrounding the renovation and maintenance of heritage listed properties vary from state to state, council to council, so you will need to consult with your local council on any plans you have for undertaking work on the property before you begin them.
You can make a heritage-listed property ‘liveable’
This means you are allowed to install things like phone lines, internet connections, fire alarms, and rewire what needs to be repaired of adjusted to make it suitable for modern-day living essentials.
You can install new light fittings and fixtures
Provided the fixtures don’t detract or damage the original appearance, especially in the case of ornate ceilings.
You can make repairs
You can lay new copper pipes and replace gutters, but you must use steel, not powder-coated aluminium. Totally rotted windows an be replaced with windows from the same era only, so you’ll need to visit a second hand building yard or ask a joiner to build a bespoke brand new one.
You can open up an enclosed original terrace balcony by removing any non-original windows, you can also remove tiles and balustrade that haven’t worn well.
You can replace the kitchen and bathroom
Owners of heritage-listed properties are (generally speaking) always allowed to instal contemporary kitchens and bathrooms suitable to modern day lifestyles. You are allowed to install things such as a splash back, change the tiles, get new bench tops and new appliances.
You can’t change the original structure
While you can renovate the back rooms of a heritage listed property after obtaining the appropriate permissions, you must preserve the original structure of the front few rooms.
You can’t change the street façade
The way a heritage listed property looks from the street usually has to be preserved from top to bottom regardless of who owns it. However, you can add-on to the back of the building.
You’ll need an emergency fund
When bringing a heritage-listed property up to liveable condition, you can sometimes come across unpleasant discoveries such as hidden structural damage. You’ll need an emergency fund to compensate for these unfortunate finds.
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