Mortgage for Barn Conversion

“We tailor our advice to you and manage everything with the lender from that initial application all the way through to your mortgage offer. Then we work with your solicitors right through to completion.”

Mike Haupt – Mortgage Adviser 

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Mortgage for Barn Conversion

Mike Haupt talks us through getting a mortgage for a barn conversion.

What is a barn conversion?

Typically it’s where a farm or agricultural building once used for cattle or storage, or whatever it might be, is converted from agricultural use into a residential property to live in.

Can I get a mortgage to convert a barn? Can I get a mortgage on a barn with planning permission?

You definitely can convert a barn, but they are rarely straightforward. They take a lot of effort and a lot of planning and research. You really need to consider the type of barn you want to convert, the location and the condition it’s in at the moment. 

You’ve also got to think about planning permission – has it all been granted or not? Does it need to be applied for? What restrictions are in place? Do you need any additional consents? Is it a listed building, for example? Are there any agricultural ties that remain on the building?

You also need to consider the people you’re working with – the architect, the tradespeople and financial providers. Can you work with people like us here at Tomorrow mortgages or will you need a specialist barn conversion lender? 

But in the end, you can get a mortgage to convert a barn. If it’s got planning permission to start with, that makes life easier. There is still a huge amount of work and research that needs to be done before you can start the process of converting that barn.

How does a barn conversion mortgage work and is it difficult to get one?

Barn conversions can be incredibly rewarding and give you that dream home you’ve always wanted. As I mentioned, a huge amount of planning and research needs to go into it. You need to make sure you’re comfortable with what you’re doing and you can afford not just to start, but to finish the project. 

On the mortgage side, you need to explore whether you need a straightforward residential mortgage – if it’s already converted, for example – or if we need to look at a bridging loan or a self-build mortgage. It is a bit of a challenge, but there are definitely options out there.

Will I need planning permission for a barn conversion and when is full planning permission required?

You absolutely will need plan permission for a barn conversion and you’ve got to consider other factors, such as whether that barn is listed. If so, you need to make sure that the tradespeople you’re using stay within the laws and the allowances for that listed building. 

For more help on that we’ve done a couple of podcasts around listed building mortgages, which might be worth a listen.

Planning permission is almost the first thing you’re going to need to organise. At the moment I have a client who is buying a coffee shop and there’s currently a restriction on its opening times. So before they’ve even applied for the mortgage and had anything agreed, the first thing we’re doing is applying for permission to change the opening times, as part of the offer on the property. 

It’s very much the first thing you need to do. It might well be part of the process of buying the property. It’s definitely something we can talk through with the local agent so you’re really comfortable with the process.

What type of mortgage will I need for a barn conversion?

You might need different kinds of mortgage. For example, if you are buying a barn that’s being converted by another developer, that has had all the sign-offs and is ready to move into, you’re probably looking at a standard residential mortgage. 

If you’re looking at a barn that’s basically derelict with no roof or windows, just the shell of the building, you might need bridging finance or a self-build mortgage. It will very much depend upon the circumstances. 

Factors include how long you need the money for, how much money you need and different things along the way. That’s all part of the conversation we would have with yourselves. But you’re looking at one of those three types of finance – a residential mortgage, bridging loan or a self-build mortgage.

How much can I borrow for a mortgage on a barn conversion?

First of all your personal circumstances are going to come into it. There will always be income assessment and also a look at what the future property is going to be worth. Your borrowing will also be influenced by the deposit you’re putting in, which is typically about 25%.

It will also be affected by the costs for the work. So the amount you can borrow will vary massively from person to person. The best way to get an answer to that question is to have a conversation with a broker and go through your plans. We will find a lender and make sure that money is available to you.

Can I get a mortgage for a barn conversion that has agricultural restrictions?

Yes, but it very much depends on what that agricultural restriction is. Some of those can be very light while others can be very imposing. 

Again, as we go through the process of looking at the property from the outset we would make sure you understand what they are and talk to different lenders to make sure that when you get to the point of application and survey there are no surprises coming your way.

Can I get a mortgage for a barn conversion on a listed building?

Yes, although it will very much depend on what that listed building status is. For example, a grade one listed building will make things a lot more difficult than a grade two listed building so it would very much depend on the listing itself.

If you’re looking at a listed barn conversion, have a listen to our listed buildings episode – there’s lots of information there that might be useful.

Does It Cost For An Initial Chat?

Please don’t be afraid to pick up the telephone. Contact us with any questions or any conversations you want to have. There’s no commitment, there’s no silly questions. I’m here to try and help put your mind at ease, so let’s have a conversation and answer your questions.

Can I get a mortgage for a barn conversion if I’m a First Time Buyer? 

Yes, and everything we’ve spoken about applies in the same way. It’s all about going through that research process and making sure that you are really comfortable with what you’re doing. It’s certainly a challenge for an experienced person, let alone a First Time Buyer.

Can I get a mortgage for a barn conversion with bad credit?

Yes, but it would depend on what the bad credit is and it will be very much specific to the lender and the individual. Let’s have a conversation around it. Let’s work out what it looks like from the outset and see if we can find their lenders from there.

What other types of building do lenders accept for conversion mortgages?

We’ve probably all watched a bit of Grand Designs and seen those buildings being built. I was actually watching one last week in London where they converted their garage into a property. 

The key questions are, can it be converted and will it provide suitable security to the lender, building control and the planning office at the end of it all? Things like garages and warehouses for example, can be converted – but you’ve got to do your research from the very beginning. 

What are the alternatives to a barn conversion mortgage? 

It will very much depend upon what the property is and whether we are looking at a bridging loan or self-build, or just a standard residential mortgage. Those are things we’d really need to discuss at the very beginning of your journey in terms of looking to buy that property.

How much does it cost to convert a barn into a house in the UK?

It varies massively, depending on how much the building costs are for how you want to spec it. But typical costs are anywhere between £100,000 to £500,000 depending on what you want to do. 

The people to answer those questions for you from the beginning are your architects and your tradespeople. You can get good quality quotes and estimates on the work you’re going to do so you’ve got a really clear picture from the outset. 

Assess what it will cost and then add a fairly sizeable contingency in the background as well. As always, preparation is key.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of mortgaging a barn conversion? 

It can be incredibly rewarding to convert a barn into your dream home – how amazing to walk in once it’s finished and know that you’ve built this home the way you want it. I can understand why people buy into the dream of wanting to do this. 

But it’s rarely straightforward. We know from Grand Designs how stressful it is. You’ve got to go in knowing that it’s probably not going to be straightforward, and there’s probably going to be a few twists and turns along the way – but could be massively rewarding at the end of all. 

What surveys are needed when applying for a mortgage on a barn conversion?

It’s going to be extensive, but it also depends where you are with the process. You’re going to be looking at structural surveys and local planning surveys. 

Again, you need to talk to your architect, your tradespeople, the planning office, the listed building office, if applicable, and also the mortgage company to really understand what you’re going to need – or not.

Are converted barns difficult to sell?

It’s a tricky one to answer because there’s so many factors involved. But if you’ve got the right sign offs from the planning office, building control, listed building consent (if required) – and that property is suitable security for the lender, then no, it shouldn’t be hard to sell. 

As part of that initial process, make sure you really understand where you need to get to. As I was always taught by my dad, the day you buy is the day you sell – so do your research and you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into at a later date.

How do you apply for a mortgage on a barn conversion?

Applying is probably the one of the last things that we do. As you’ve probably gathered by now, there’s a lot of research to complete. Find the people you want to work with and really understand what’s needed in converting that barn. 

Once we know who the lender is going to be, applying will be dependent upon the paperwork they want. You’re typically going to have to provide details of your income and expenditure. 

There may be additional requirements that the bank will ask for. They might want a full schedule of works, cost of works and different bits and pieces. It would be individual to you as the customer, so we would just go through it with you and make sure we know in advance what we need so we’ve got that all prepared and planned for.

How can a mortgage broker help? 

I think I’ve demonstrated the amount of work that’s needed and making sure you’re working with people you trust. It is going to be a complex and fairly stressful process. Finding really good architects, tradespeople, conveyancers to help you with all the legal work and good people from a finance point of view are really key. 

Make sure you know who those people are now. Really do your homework. It’s not going to be a quick process, so be clear about where you’re going with it all.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up with your mortgage repayments. 

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