What does 'Period Conversion' mean when buying a property?

Find out what Period Conversion means when you are buying a property. 'What does Period Conversion mean?' plus over 150 other property related terms and jargon in plain English

Period Conversion

Do you keep seeing properties which are listed as period conversions? What exactly does it mean?

Well the 'period' part refers to a period in history. The three most common are Georgian (1714 to 1830), Victorian (1830s to 1901) and Edwardian (1901 to 1910).

Although buildings exist from earlier periods these are usually called directly by the period name - e.g. "A Tudor House".

After 1910 properties are usually referred to as "Pre-War" (up to 1939) or "Post War" (the first two decades after 1945) and from then on "New Build" or by the decade they were built - e.g. "in a 1980s development".

So "period" is most often used to describe a property built between 1714 and 1910. During this time the most common property by far were houses although Victorians did get into apartment building to some degree and called them 'mansions' even though they had little to do with mansion houses.

As demand for property increased in many cities period houses were converted into apartments - and this is where the term "conversion" comes from.

Is a period conversion a good or bad idea?

Estate agents point out when a property is a "period conversion" for a reason.

Some people love them. They can have character with bay windows or antique wooden doors or floorboards ideal for sanding down and varnishing or tiled and iron grated fireplaces. In many ways they are just less boring than apartments that were made to be apartments.

Others hate them because conversions carried out decades ago didn't require much in the way of building control which means those little things like noise insulation can be sadly lacking and you can then enjoy an evening listening to whatever your neighbour downstairs is watching on TV or if you're downstairs you can here the floorboards creak as your upstairs neighbour walks around.

Period properties can also have higher maintenance bills such as the expense of replacing wood sash windows or an aging roof.

Note however that calling a property a "period conversions" doesn't mean it will have any of the old characteristics from yesteryear. When some were converted this also meant getting rid of what were then considered "old and ugly doors". The person carrying out the conversion might have replaced the wood sash windows with lovely UPVC units.

In other words there is no legal definition of what a "Period conversion" actually means beyond the property being built before 1910 as something other than what it is now.

To learn all the lingo you need to know when purchasing a property pick up a copy of my ebook How to Really Buy a Property.

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