Buying barns for conversion

Barn layout.JPG

Here is a bit about the background to our barn adventure. We had been looking for a project such as this for a long time. Our house was on the market and we were on the hunt for a building plot or a barn conversion, but only with planning permission in place. We were prepared to consider anywhere......... as long as it was in Derbyshire.  Still plenty of scope there, then. However, it soon became apparent that what we wanted and what we could afford were two very different things. No surprises there. We actually found a farmhouse and derelict barn in the White Peak area of Derbyshire which we would be able to afford (just) if we sold our house for the asking price. We were full of enthusiasm, regularly driving the not inconsiderable 30 miles up into deepest Derbyshire to investigate the area and plan our future. We made an offer and it was accepted - whoohoo. All we had to do was to sell our house for the asking price and persuade our teenage/young adult children that it was a great idea and all would be well. Needless to say we failed on both counts and our dream home was sold to someone else. It was a bitter blow, but in hindsight meant to be.  Four years down the line we still hadn't sold our house, in fact we had taken it off the market due to family and work reasons and we were restricting our search to a much smaller radius as our children had either left home and settled locally, or planned to when funds or weddings allowed. The financial climate was also against us and we gradually reduced the asking price of our house and reduced the price limit in internet house searches accordingly.

In spring last year we once again marketed our house, aiming at a different price bracket (ie reduced the price again). That, combined with the upturn in the housing market, meant that a lot more interest was being shown in our house. Time to house hunt in earnest. We had spotted 'our' barns originally in 2010 but they were beyond our means until they too seemed to be struggling to sell and the price started to come down. They were on the market, and then they were off, and then on again.  We had a formal viewing that summer and once again allowed our hopes to rise. At that time another set of barns within a mile of 'ours' were also on the market. An absolute barn bonanza. These were a bigger range of barns and consequently a bigger development proposition. Too big for us, we concluded, although we gave them a lot of consideration. It was all academic anyhow because we had still not sold and so couldn't proceed with anything. Then 'our' barns disappeared off the internet search and then the other  barns. All gone and time to move on.  We changed tack and started looking at building plots and house renovations. We accepted an offer on our house. Hoorah. We stipulated that we wouldn't move before (one of) our daughter's wedding and so had a little breathing room to find somewhere for ourselves. We found a couple we liked but one sold quickly and the other......weeeelll, we could see the potential, but......was it right for us? We decided to pop round to 'our' barns and make absolutely sure that there was no hope, and lo and behold, they had not been sold - yet - but a sale had been agreed. Oh well, that was that, then.  In the meantime, our sale fell through, booooo.....but then sold again. hoorayyyy. Our two remaining children at home investigated the possibility of buying a house together, and joy, they were able to get a mortgage. So now we were house hunting with them and also for ourselves, and we had a wedding looming. Busy times! We looked again at the house for renovation we had been considering and nearly made an offer. But just to be on the safe side, I made one last phone call to find out about the barns, just to make absolutely sure that they were out of the picture. As fate would have it, the sale had fallen through and if we could come up with the right offer, they could become ours, otherwise we could take our chance at their impending auction. To cut a very long story shorter, we managed to avoid an auction and became the proud, if trepidatious owners in December 2014.