Barn Conversions: What You Need to Know

Barn Conversions: What You Need to Know

Transforming an existing property is one of the most satisfying things you can do in life. It’s the joy of seeing what was once a disused pile of bricks, metal and glass become something so much more – a home where you can live happily.

Every single day properties are transformed, from terraced houses to stately homes, but there are few finer candidates for conversion than the nations disused barns.

A holdover from a society which was primarily agricultural, the UK is currently home to tens of thousands of disused barns, located up and down the country. They boast superb rural placement and, often, a design that’s ripe for transformation.

At Bespoke, we’ve helped numerous clients transform barns of all shapes and sizes, so we like to think we know a little about barn conversions. Here is what you need to know.


How Much Should You Pay?

Buying a barn is the first step to achieving your dream of transforming a barn, but how much should you be paying for one?

Prices will vary dramatically as location, size, condition and land rights differ from property to property, so getting a firm idea of how much you should be paying is difficult. However, when listing barns estate agents typically attempt to ascertain the value of the barn after conversion and then list the unconverted barn at around 40% of that value. This is to take into account the risk and work that’s required to take on in order to complete a conversion.

By involving Bespoke Builders at an early stage, you can determine whether a barn is actually worth the money being demanded.


What Do You Need to Keep in Mind?

When you’re choosing a barn, there’s much you need to keep in mind. Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:


  • Is the barn well located? If you’re single and work from home, the location of your barn might not matter all that much, but for many, its proximity to schools, shops, healthcare and entertainment will be vital. Living away from everything might seem appealing, but are the practicalities of that really for you?


  • Is the barn a listed building? The listed building programme has saved countless historically and culturally valuable buildings by protecting them from alterations which would affect their character. However, if your barn is listed it means that making meaningful changes will be an uphill struggle that requires significant permission.


  • Is the barn already hooked up to utilities? Gas, water and electricity are vital for any property, even if you’re operating an eco-home and hooking them up yourself can be costly.


  • Are you aware of the conversion costs? Going into your purchase with a closely budgeted and realistic plan for the conversion is the smart way to go.


  • Does the barn have planning permission? Existing planning permission on a barn will push its value up significantly, but it will save you time and money in the application process yourself.


  • Is the barn suitable for conversion? Not every barn is suitable to be converted into a home. Some are too large whilst others might be too small, and there are often issues with structural stability in some older barns, making conversion unsuitable.