Did you know that a survey conducted by propertyfinder.com showed that church conversions are Britain’s favourite conversions? They’re even more popular than barn conversions, which always score high marks. What are the reasons behind this? Firstly and most importantly, they provide an airy and bright space full with character; high ceilings and large windows are among the most desirable features of a property.
According to Stuart Flint of Knight Frank estate agency in Birmingham, if a church conversion attracts 30 viewings, a conventional home on sale only attracts 12. That’s an indicator just how attractive church conversions are in buyers’ eyes. They can be difficult however. There are many obstacles before the property can be lived in, such as applying for planning permission and getting consent from English Heritage (if the church is Grade I listed). An alternative is of course to buy an already converted church, but some homeowners prefer to do it all themselves.
Different churches have different regulations, so converting an Anglican church has other regulations than a Methodist church. The latter, for instance, are not listed and are therefore easier to alter. Anglican churches, on the other hand, require The Church of England’s approval before conversion. According to churchofengland.org, around 20 churches are closed for worship each year.
Other than high ceilings and large windows, churches often have a convenient, central location. They’re ideal for open plan living and can provide the ultimate living space for homeowners that don’t necessarily require lots of bedrooms. A mezzanine level can work well, as it might be difficult to get permission for multiple rooms on ground level. Since there’s plenty of space to build vertically, there are excellent storage opportunities. The biggest advantage however is the unique features. Vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows and mullions are hard to beat.
Churches weren’t built for people to live in them, so therefore they lack amenities. Some might even be so old that they lack electricity, and don’t take bathrooms for granted. Churches are also anything but energy efficient, although that can be combated with underfloor heating.
There are slim chances that the planning permission allows for any alterations to the exterior, and for some churches specialist tradesmen are required to deal with typical issues such as rot and lead roofing. Bear in mind, that these services might not come cheap. Also bear in mind that there might be unexpected inhabitants already residing in the church, such as bats, which might be legally protected.
Graveyards might also be a key factor for buyers looking into converting. Graveyards are often public, and so homeowners might have to put up with visitors. Gravestones can be moved, but human remains are unlikely to go anywhere. This of course, depends from church to church, and if the grounds are bought or not.
Have you acquired a church and looking to alter it? If so, post your job for free. Up to 3 tradesmen will get in touch to quote and to ensure you get the right tradesman for the job you can look at their previous customer reviews, as well as photos from past projects. If you’re hunting for a church conversion, start looking at the closed cchurches listed by The Church of England.