The prospect of living in a property with unique character, surrounded by countryside is an appealing one for many, and the reason why so many barn conversions for sale in Norfolk are so sought after.
Barn conversions offer a unique and special living space, and as expert Norfolk property finders, we are frequently approached by clients wishing to buy this type of property.
It is this ‘unique conversion’ aspect that is most appealing to buyers because you have a clean slate (with the structure intact) to go about designing a dream dwelling. In this respect, converting a barn is like building your own home from scratch.
If that’s the route you plan on going down for your next home, then the good news is that it’s easier than ever to carry out a barn conversion.
New permitted development rights mean you often don’t need planning permission to go ahead, provided you meet certain criteria outlined by the local authority.
What exactly is a barn conversion?
A barn conversion involves developing an old farm building – which probably once held cows, horses and old farming equipment – into a sought-after residential development and rather spacious home.
Barn conversions are often open-plan, and frequently have exposed beams, high, vaulted ceilings and large windows, are often wonderfully unique.
It also retains a little history of the area. There’s also something lovely – and sustainable, of course – about reusing an old, unused building and making it into a cosy home.
What about buying an already converted barn?
It may be, though, that you don’t want the hassle of having to do all the tendering and research when it comes to finding the right architect and team of builders to carry out a barn conversion.
There is also the question of where you’ll stay while the work is being carried out. And that’s why there is also a healthy amount of people out there prepared to move into a barn someone else has converted.
Pros and Cons of a barn conversion
There are usually pluses and minuses to any property transformation – and a barn conversion is one of them. Here we list the ‘good’ side of barn conversions and the potential pitfalls:
Pros of a barn conversion
If you’re building from scratch, you’ll have an intimate knowledge of your home and its workings, thanks to the fact you were right there at the start.
That means if anything goes wrong, you should have a good idea of where – and how – to fix it.
Barn conversions have uniqueness and plenty of character.
Barns are so large that they’re perfect for open-plan living. Contemporary design is all about the space – and you’ll find plenty of that in a barn conversion.
Doing your own conversion, you get to decide on every aspect of your conversion, from where the glass panels should go and whether to retain any existing barn features to what the taps should look like.
You’re in the country, surrounded by greenery and the type of non-polluted air that it brings.
You’ll also have great views – superb views, in fact, because you may be lucky enough to have a converted barn in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
You are reusing the structure of an old building.
But if you are building from scratch, then you also get to decide on the plumbing, heating etc.
And that allows you to add in sustainable items, such as ground source heating, solar panels, a rainwater irrigation system etc.
Barn conversions are always going to be popular, so when you come to sell and move on, you’ll probably be faced with a stampede of buyers (unless you decide to sell privately, of course) and at which point you set your own price.
Chances are, though, the property will almost certainly have increased in value since you’ve been there.
Cons of a barn conversion
Some barn conversions have issues with accessing the land of nearby properties, so it’s always worth checking out your access rights beforehand.
Expensive to heat
If the conversion was carried out pre-Millennium, then it probably won’t have ‘green’ heating elements.
In this case, utility bills may be high.
Your barn conversion will almost certainly be in the country and could be miles from the nearest village. Make sure you are happy with the remoteness before you move.
It could be that the planning authority wants you to use a particular material for the external structure. That could be difficult to find and costly.
The floors may need to be underpinned, and a course of damp proofing and insulation carried out – all of which can be extremely costly.
Barn conversions for sale in Norfolk
Because of its rural nature and farming heritage, East Anglia is ripe for barn conversions – whether that’s old farmyard buildings ready to be converted or existing properties where someone else has done all the work.
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