Buying a listed property in Scotland: what you need to know

listed home kintyre

If you love older, characterful properties, you may find yourself eyeing up a listed building as a potential home.

They certainly make charming places to live but how does listed status actually affect your ownership?

Well, in Scotland there are three categories of listed building.

Category A buildings are of national importance in terms of either their architecture or historical value. This category also covers good or marginally altered examples of a particular period, style or building type.

Category B means a building of regional or local importance, a major example of a particular style or period, which may have been altered.

Finally, a Category C building is one of local importance, a lesser example of any period and one that may have been moderately altered.

The good news is buying a listed property only really becomes an issue if you’re considering making a change or a repair, but here are some things you need to be aware of before you buy a listed house.

Specialist surveys

Before you buy it’s worth getting a survey done by a surveyor who specialises in historic buildings, just to ensure there are no skeletons in the cupboard (or ghosts in the attic!).

When you’re working out your budget, it’s also worth remembering traditional buildings typically need more maintenance than a modern home. Make sure the property has been kept as dry as possible as excessive moisture is a major cause of problems.


If you want to carry out an alternation, an extension or a demolition, you must apply for listed building consent. After all, no-one likes to see a conservatory bolted on to a castle or a water slide in the moat (actually we would like to see the slide!).

Contact your local council first as they should be able to advise you if any changes require consent.


It always pays to make the call before you start doing any work on a listed property. Chances are if you’re simply replacing old for new in a way that doesn’t alter the character of the building, you won’t need consent – but double check with your local council’s planning department first.

Have details of the materials that will be used as well as the method.

Occasionally, a modern building method is not suitable and a specialist tradesperson is needed.


Having specialist insurance in place could prove invaluable. When you’re negotiating with a provider make sure the policy covers pre-existing work carried out by previous owners without local authority approval.

Now for the really exciting bit: touring everything from stately homes and cool castles to mini-mansions and terrific townhouses on s1homes.

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