Barns for Sale: A Comprehensive Guide to Finding Your Perfect Space
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Barns are one of the most charming and iconic types of rural architecture. These buildings are usually large and made of wood, brick, or stone, with a pitched roof and spacious interior.
Historically, barns played a crucial role in agriculture, serving as storage space for crops, shelter for livestock, and workspace for farmers.
Today, barns have become popular as unique and rustic homes, vacation retreats, and event spaces.
Buying a barn for sale can be a rewarding and exciting experience, whether you’re looking for a cosy home in the countryside or a project to restore and convert into a livable space.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the types of barns, the factors to consider when buying one, how to find them, and the pros and cons of owning one.
Barns suitable for conversion
Many types of barns in the UK have been converted into residential dwellings, particularly in rural areas with a housing shortage.
However, the most commonly converted barn type is the traditional timber-framed, threshing barn. These large, open-plan structures are often considered ideal for conversion due to their size and character features, such as exposed timber beams and high ceilings.
Other barns, such as cattle or granaries, are less commonly converted as they may not have the same potential for residential use due to their original purpose and design.
However, they may be adapted for other uses, such as workshops or storage.
In recent years, a trend has been for converting modern agricultural buildings into residential properties, such as grain stores or livestock buildings.
These often have a more modern design and construction but can offer spacious and flexible accommodation.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Barn
Buying a barn can be exciting, but it is crucial to consider certain factors to ensure you get the best value for your investment.
Here are some key factors to consider when looking for a barn.
Location and Surroundings
Location is a crucial factor to consider when buying a barn. The barn should be located in a convenient and accessible location.
Consider proximity to amenities, schools, hospitals, and shopping centres.
You should also consider the surroundings of the barn.
Is it in a peaceful and quiet location or a noisy area?
Size and Layout of the Barn
The size and layout of the barn are important considerations when buying a barn.
Consider the size of the barn and whether it is suitable for your intended purpose.
You should also consider the barn’s layout and how it fits your plans.
Does the barn have the right space for the rooms and amenities you require?
Structural Integrity and Condition
The structural integrity and condition of the barn are crucial factors to consider when buying a barn.
Conducting a thorough barn inspection to check for any structural defects or issues is essential.
Check for cracks in the walls and foundations, water damage, and signs of pest infestation.
You should also check the roof to ensure it is in good condition and not leaking.
Planning Permission and Building Regulations
Before buying a barn, it is crucial to check if any planning permission or building regulations apply to the barn.
Some barns may have restrictions on the type of development that can be done on them.
Check with the local planning authority to ensure you know any restrictions before purchasing.
In conclusion, buying a barn requires careful consideration of several factors.
The location and surroundings, size and layout of the barn, structural integrity and condition, and planning permission and building regulations are crucial factors to consider before purchasing.
By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when buying a barn.
How to Find Barns for Sale
When it comes to finding barns for sale, there are various ways to go about it. Here are some methods you can use:
The internet is a great place to start when looking for barns listed for sale.
There are general property websites, auction websites, and even specialist property portals like DerelictProperty.net.
Most of these property portals allow you to use filters to refine your search and find barns that meet your specific requirements.
Estate agents can be a useful resource when looking for specific property requirements. They often have access to exclusive listings that aren’t available elsewhere.
Additionally, an experienced estate agent can provide valuable guidance and advice throughout the buying process, including helping you negotiate the price and navigate legal issues.
Barns are often sold at auctions, which can be a great way to find a bargain.
However, it’s important to research beforehand and set a budget to avoid getting carried away in the bidding process.
You should also be aware that additional fees and charges may be associated with buying a property at auction.
Local newspapers and classifieds
Local newspapers and classifieds can be a good source of information on barns for sale in your area.
Check the property section regularly and look out for adverts. You could also place your own “wanted” ad, which may attract sellers looking to sell their barn privately.
Regardless of your chosen method, it’s important to approach your search with a clear idea of what you’re looking for.
Consider factors such as location, size, and budget, and be prepared to be patient – finding the perfect barn may take some time.
Restoring and Converting Barns
Restoring and converting a barn can be an exciting and rewarding project, but it can also be a challenging one. Here are some key things to consider when taking on this type of project.
Read our article on the most common unexpected issues when renovating derelict property to learn more.
Outline the Process of Restoring and Converting a Barn
Before beginning any restoration or conversion work, it’s important to assess the barn’s condition and determine what needs to be done.
This may involve hiring a professional surveyor or builder to provide expert advice.
The process typically involves several stages, including:
- Planning and design
- Obtaining necessary permissions and permits
- Site preparation and demolition (if required)
- Repairing and reinforcing the structure
- Installing plumbing, electrical, and heating systems
- Insulating and finishing the interior
- Landscaping and exterior design
Explain the Costs Involved
Restoring and converting a barn can be an expensive project, with costs varying depending on factors such as the size and condition of the barn, the extent of the work required, and the quality of materials used. It’s important to set a realistic budget and factor in unexpected costs that may arise.
Some costs to consider:
- Initial purchase price of the barn
- Professional fees (surveyors, architects, engineers, builders, etc.)
- Materials and equipment
- Permits and planning fees
- Labour costs
Common Challenges and Pitfalls in Barn Restorations and Conversions
Restoring and converting a barn can present a number of challenges and potential pitfalls, including:
- Structural issues, such as rot, rust, or damage from pests or weather
- Planning and building regulations that must be adhered to
- Difficulties in obtaining necessary permits or permissions
- High costs and unexpected expenses
- Complex or unusual design considerations
- Delays or complications due to weather or other external factors
It’s important to be aware of these challenges and plan accordingly to minimize their impact on the project.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Barn
If you’re considering buying and converting a barn, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of buying a barn.
Barns have unique characteristics and charm, making them stand out from other properties.
A converted barn can make for a unique and interesting living space.
Barns offer plenty of space, making them ideal for various uses.
You can convert a barn into a spacious family home or use it as a workshop, studio, or storage space.
Barns are often located in rural areas, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you’re looking for a peaceful and quiet living environment, a barn in the countryside could be the perfect fit.
Potential for Profit
If you’re willing to put in the work, barns can be an excellent investment.
You can buy a derelict or unconverted barn for a relatively low price, restore it, and sell it for a profit.
High Restoration Costs
Restoring and converting a barn can be a costly and time-consuming process.
Depending on the barn’s condition and the extent of the restoration work required, you could spend a lot of money.
Barns are typically located in rural areas, so access to amenities like shops, schools, and healthcare facilities may be limited.
This can make daily life more challenging, especially if you have a family.
Planning and Building Regulations
Before converting a barn into a livable space, you must obtain planning permission and adhere to building regulations.
This can be a complex and time-consuming process, and there is no guarantee that your application will be approved.
Barns are often old structures, so they may have structural issues that must be addressed.
This can be costly and time-consuming, and it’s important to have a thorough structural survey carried out before making a purchase.
In conclusion, buying a barn for sale can be a unique and rewarding experience, but it’s important to consider the pros and cons before deciding.
If you’re willing to put in the work, a barn could be an excellent investment, but if you’re looking for a property requiring minimal effort, a barn may not be the right choice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can derelict barns be restored and converted into livable spaces?
Yes, derelict barns can be restored and converted into livable spaces.
However, restoration can be challenging and expensive, especially if the barn is in disrepair.
It is important to carefully evaluate the barn’s condition and develop a detailed plan for restoration before embarking on the project.
Additionally, you may need to obtain planning permission from your local council before converting the barn into a livable space.
Are derelict barns cheaper than other types of barns?
Derelict barns are often sold at a lower price than other types of barns, but this is not always the case.
The price of a barn will depend on various factors, such as its location, size, and condition.
Sometimes, a derelict barn may be sold at a higher price if it is located in a desirable area or has a unique architectural design.
It is important to carefully evaluate the price of a barn before making an offer, considering the cost of restoration and conversion.
Are there any restrictions on what I can use a converted barn for?
Depending on your local planning policies, there may be restrictions on what you can use a converted barn for.
For example, some councils may restrict using converted barns for commercial purposes, such as running a business from the property.
It is important to check the planning permission and local planning policies before purchasing a barn for conversion.
How long does it take to restore and convert a barn?
Restoring and converting a barn can take anywhere from several months to a few years, depending on the size and complexity of the project.
Can I do the restoration and conversion work, or do I need to hire professionals?
While some DIY enthusiasts may be able to handle certain aspects of the project, such as interior finishes or landscaping, it’s generally advisable to hire professionals and essential tradespeople for the more complex and technical work, such as structural repairs and installation of plumbing and electrical systems.
How much does it cost to convert a barn into a livable space?
The cost of converting a barn into a livable space can vary widely depending on many factors but is generally in the range of £100,000 to £300,000 or more.
Overall, buying a barn can be an exciting and rewarding investment.
However, it is important to evaluate the different types of barns carefully, consider the factors that may impact your purchase, and develop a detailed plan for restoration and conversion.
By following the information in this article, you can be confident in purchasing a barn and transforming it into a livable space that suits your needs and lifestyle.
Always consult with professionals, such as surveyors and estate agents, to ensure a successful purchase and conversion process.