Insuring, buying and selling heritage places

Advice for owners and tenants on insuring, buying or selling historic properties.

Buying and selling

Buyers choose properties for any number of reasons: location, price, charm, character.

For some, owning a place that has played a role in the history of Western Australia has a special appeal. It is not just about the charm or architectural style, it’s the ambience created by the layers of history attached to the place. Heritage cannot be recreated, and it is this point of difference that can be a major selling point for a property.

Many prospective buyers are prepared to pay a premium for a well-cared for heritage property. Others relish the challenge of restoring and adapting a heritage building into a contemporary family home.

Heritage listing means that the heritage of a place has been identified as being of special importance to the local community or the State.

There are three main heritage listing types in Western Australia that are established through legislation: local heritage surveys, local government heritage lists and the State Register of Heritage Places. Regardless of listing type, the property values of heritage listed homes tend to perform just as well as non-heritage listed places, and often better - particularly in areas with a high concentration of listed or character homes. Like any property, its value will be affected by a range of factors including size, location, the quality and maintenance of the property.

For more information, refer to the Heritage Council’s Buying and selling heritage listed residential properties brochure.

Insuring heritage places

There are more than 100,000 heritage-listed properties in Australia, and most are routinely insured in the same way as any other property.

Generally, you are able to insure any place that is in sound condition and occupied. However, some insurance companies have a policy of not insuring heritage-listed buildings. Talk to your insurance company or consult an insurance broker for more information. Normal insurance cover is usually sufficient for heritage-listed properties but, like all property owners, you should obtain adequate coverage to replace materials on a like-for-like basis.

Difficulties may be encountered obtaining insurance for a heritage-listed property when going through a call centre. This is because call centres are set up to deal primarily with new buildings or ‘standard’ policies.

Any problems can normally be overcome by finding the right person within your preferred insurer and providing them with the information they need to cover your property. Arranging your insurance through a reputable insurance broker is an alternative to dealing with an individual insurer.

For more information on insuring heritage places, refer to the Heritage Councils’ Insuring your heritage listed property guide.

Useful publications

Page last reviewed 28 June 2019
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