Renovating a heritage home can be hugely satisfying but also has massive potential to turn into a disaster. You can get caught up with the romance of the property and spend huge sums of money on restoring the minute details that define its era.

It is a privilege to own a heritage property, being the custodians of a small part or Australian history but it can also be a balancing act between preserving the heritage and taking on a costly exercise in restoration. Of course, if your property is covered by a heritage overlay  or is listed in the State Heritage Register you have a legal obligation to abide by the rules. This is a responsibility you adopt when you buy the property.

It is said that renovating a heritage home shouldn’t cost more than any other home but you do need to apply a little commonsense and resourcefulness.



Work is generally encouraged on heritage-listed homes to ensure a house is properly maintained and appropriate for contemporary use; you just need to know what aspects of the original building are particularly important for maintaining its character.
When considering buying a place, check whether it’s listed by the local or state government. If it’s the latter, then typically it’s a more significant building and how it can be altered will be more tightly controlled.

It’s always worth finding a good heritage advisor who will work through the design stage and respond to council on your behalf. The good news is you may be eligible for heritage incentives if you’re doing something that’s deemed to be of benefit, including free advice, loan subsidies or grants.


Heritage-listed homes can have features rarely seen in modern dwellings, such as pressed metal walls or ceilings, it can be more difficult and expensive to find tradespeople with the skills to complete restoration work. There could be possible hidden costs you won’t know about until you buy the property.  In this case, be sure to have some contingency finance to cover any unforeseen expenses.

On the plus side, government grants are available to assist with the restoration and maintenance of heritage homes, though they can have strings attached. Owners need to formally apply for a grant through the appropriate heritage body. Grant funding is usually drip-fed to owners in a series of payments, often with the full balance payable only after the works have been completed and approved by the heritage authority. So you may need to rely on your own financial resources to fund the job through to completion.


We believe there’s no project too grand or too modest for our dedicated team. We want our passion for craftsmanship shine through in every project, regardless of the size.

Connect with us at our Fitzroy office or reach out via phone or email to discuss how we can help.