How to check if a property is a listed building

Listed buildings provide a lot of character to a home, but how do you check if the property you wish to purchase is listed?

In England and Wales, there are three levels of listing.  Grade 1 is a building of exceptional national architectural or historic importance. Grade 2* are buildings of particular national importance or special interest, and Grade 2 are of special architectural or historic interest. 

If you believe a property is listed, collate as much information as possible. Only part of a building may be listed.  You can check freely online on the English Heritage database or Heritage Gateway, located via Google.

Purchasing a listed building does not mean you cannot modify parts of the building. Generally, it is easier to get permission to extend a listed building than to remove part of it.  If you get approval, you will typically need to use similar materials to the original build, which can be more expensive and time-consuming.