What to look for in a period property

You can be sure that we always have a fabulous choice of period properties to view in East Anglia.

Posted: May 24, 2022

Period Property

If you were a fly on the wall for any first discussion we have with potential buyers, you would hear one word crop up time and time again – character. Character makes a house a home, and the easiest way to get this is to choose a period property. The UK is unique in its plethora of period properties. You can be sure that we always have a fabulous choice of period properties to view in East Anglia.

However, before diving right in, it’s essential to consider the different features, the potential pitfalls, and everything you need to look for in a period property.

What is a period property?

There are different definitions, but a period property was constructed before the First World War for most. In many cases, this applies to Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian properties, denoted as such by the reigning monarch at the time of construction. The Georgian period is so long as it covers the reigns of four kings; so many period properties are Georgian!

Period properties are always popular. The styles are timeless, and the aesthetics bring about the all-important character many people want. What’s more, these properties stand the test of time. Build quality seems superior, interiors are spacious in a way you don’t get with some more mass produced newer properties, and they often sit on larger plots.

As such, it’s common to pay a premium for a period property. However, these houses hold their value, which can be increased further through careful renovation and restoration.



What features should you look for in a period property?

Your attention should turn to period features when looking at a period property. Period features are the original features built into the property. Period features that add character and that you want to look for include:


Before the days of central heating, the home hearths were the focal point of the interiors. Look for ornate and impressive original fireplaces.


The nature of the windows will be in keeping with the property. Expect sash windows and beautiful bays. In some cases, you may even find the original stained glass.

Original flooring

Restored decorative wood or tiled flooring is often a feature of period properties. Usually, previous owners have covered them, and it may be possible to expose them once more.

Decorative features

Decorative features characteristic of period properties include high skirting boards, wall panelling, moulded coving and ceiling roses.

15th century Grade II Listed timber framed property

Types of period property

The different ‘periods’ each come with distinct characteristics:


Georgian properties are typically beautifully proportioned with tall windows and symmetrical features. The front door is often domineering, and pillars may frame it. Inside, ceilings are generally high, rooms are large, and you can expect beautiful fireplaces.

Often built from locally sourced brick or stone, famous Georgian properties in Suffolk include Ickworth House in Bury St Edmunds and many properties in the market town of Sudbury.


Smaller bricks and bay windows characterise Victorian properties. Typically, they were more space-saving than Georgian properties. Inside, fireplaces tend to be ornate, and you can spot beautiful coving.

Fine examples of Victorian housing can be found in Haverhill, west Suffolk and Bury St Edmunds.


Edwardian properties aren’t dissimilar from Victorian, but they generally tend to be a little larger than Victorian properties, and some argue they are more stylish. Throughout, there are usually wood features.

Due to the expansion of the railways, Edwardian homes were increasingly built in the suburbs. With more space for each plot, the homes often enjoyed front and rear gardens.

Stuart and Tudor

Stuart and Tudor properties (covering the 15th to 18th centuries) are typically timber framed with exposed beams, inglenook fireplaces and cosy living rooms. From thatched cottages to larger hall houses and farmhouses they form the heart of many of Suffolk and Essex’s villages as well as often being in quiet, rural locations.

17th century listed farmhouse

What pitfalls should you look for in a period property?

It’s essential to be aware of the potential pitfalls with older properties.

You should check when rewiring took place as it could be very dated. Check also for heating and insulation. Period properties can be pretty inefficient, so consider this. Windows may need replacing with similar style equivalents, and you may need to make changes to insulation and the roof.

Consider the condition of all original features and which may need restoring. It is always best to restore rather than completely replace in terms of helping the property hold its value and appeal to future buyers.

You must look out for common concerns with period properties, including damp problems (evidenced with discoloured walls, bubbling paintwork or peeling wallpaper) and woodworm.

Consider all modern amenities and contemporary living, paying careful consideration as to how the layout will work for you.

Finally, always make sure you know if the property is listed or in a Conservation Area, as this will affect any changes you want to make to the property.

You can get specialist period property surveys.

Find your perfect period property

Our experienced staff have been dealing with all types of property throughout the region for many years and our eight prominently located offices are ideally situated to assist clients relocating within Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.

Discover your next period property with David Burr