One of the first challenges is finding a period house to buy. If you are researching an area, it can be worth approaching owners direct; if they are considering selling you may be the first in the queue.
Try a letter like the following:
"Dear Sir or Madam,
My wife and I are hoping to buy a home in this area, and we have been looking for suitable houses. Walking by, we very much liked your property – I wondered if you had considered selling your home in the near future, and if so, would you be interested in selling privately, rather than through an estate agent?
We are in a very good position to buy, having already received offers on our home, and have finance ready for a purchase. If you are interested in selling, please give us a ring and perhaps we could take a look at your property with a view to making an offer?
Please be assured that we are genuine local buyers looking for a single house; we are not acting on behalf of anyone else such as an estate agency or developers – we have a young family and are simply seeking a larger home.
Please accept our apologies for bothering you if you are not interested in selling, but if you are, then we hope to hear from you."