Well-designed barn conversions are amongst some of the most beautiful homes in the British countryside, usually enhanced by stunning views because of their rural location. However, the project of converting a dilapidated farm building into your dream home can be both complex and expensive, so it's essential that you draw up a detailed budget that takes all of the various costs into account.
When it comes to buying a barn to convert, properties that already have planning permission in place will likely be much more expensive, but you need to think about whether the extra outlay is worth it and whether the plans in place fit your own ideas/expectations for the completed conversion.
Applying for planning permission is likely to involve the need to consult professional architectural services or chartered surveyors in order to construct the proper plans. Architectural engineers are likely to be less expensive than full architects; however, this could prove to be a false economy. Using less qualified professionals may lead to a need to employ more contractors as the project continues, to make up for the shortfall in skills you would have obtained had you just employed an architect from the outset. At the end of the day, it will be up to you to anticipate how many problems might arise based on the complexity of your project. A more extensive undertaking is likely to require more expert participation.
How much land do you want?
The price of the land that you will buy with a barn is also likely to comprise of a substantial portion of the asking price, so you need to think carefully about how much you might require. An average family will easily be able to live comfortably on a quarter of an acreof land, so if more comes with the barn you are thinking of getting, you might want to consider how else you could make money out of or dispose of the land to help fund the construction work on yoru barn.
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You need to find out what (if any) utilities are included on the site and how hard it will be to install them if required. Barns in more remote locations may be harder to service and normal supply lines may not be an option. Every new utility that you need to get installed will push up your conversion costs and may increase the time it takes to complete the project. You may be able to substitute some utilities with new technologies or alternative sources. Considering options that will also help to improve the energy consumption of your conversion is also likely to help you obtain the planning permission that you need, as planning authorities are under government instructions to promote more eco-friendly housing solutions.
The types of materials and finishing products you will require will depend largely on how you intend to use or dispose of your property once the barn conversion is complete. If you plan to live in the property yourself and use it as your family home, then you are quite likely to want to use the best materials available on your budget. If you are intending to sell the property on once it is complete, then you may be able to make considerable savings by opting for less costly materials. In either case, it is important to keep to your budget as much as possible. If you deviate from the budget, it should (where possible) only be for things that will add equal or greater value to your property.
You'll also need to plan for costs like professional and legal fees as well, including your architect, project management and possibly specialist planning advice.
Ultimately, the actual conversion costs will depend on the size of the barn in question, the specifications you are working to and the quality of the finishing materials you are planning to use. Carrying out work yourself can help to reduce your costs, but is likely to increase the time taken until completion.
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