Table of Contents
- Church Buildings For Sale in the UK
- Closed Churches In The UK
- Do I Need Planning Permission For A Church Conversion?
- Derelict Churches FAQ
- Where Can I Find Church Buildings For Sale?
- Pros And Cons Of Buying A Church Building
- Can I Get A Mortgage On A Church Building?
- Problems With Converting A Church
- Surveys On Church Buildings
Church Buildings For Sale in the UK
Many old buildings are renovated for use as residential properties and there is now a growing demand for empty church buildings that are no longer used for worship. Around twenty churches a year are subject to closure in the UK and these may be available to buy either as a freehold or leasehold property.
There are a number of questions that arise if you want to find and renovate a church to make it into a family home. Planning permission will almost certainly be needed and if the building is listed there may be objections to major changes to the structure and specific materials must be used.
Church buildings for sale are in demand. Churches offer large spaces with a lot of scope but can be difficult to convert and finding the right one is not a simple task. Below you will find the answer to some of the questions that arise around the renovation of a church to make it into a home.
Closed Churches In The UK
If the demand for using a church is reduced due to the falling congregation, the building may be deconsecrated and closed. When this happens the church authorities often decide to sell off the building to provide funds for other use. Although some of the buildings might be sold off to retail or hospitality services, many will be available for buyers who want to change a church building into a residential property.
Converting a church building is not an easy task. The sheer size of some buildings and the lack of any kind of modern heating can be difficult challenges. Although the building may require some significant alterations, you may be restricted by the age of the property especially if it is listed. However, choose the right building and you could be on the road to getting a beautiful and individual home.
Do I Need Planning Permission For A Church Conversion?
Planning permission will normally be needed to convert a church into a residential property. You will be changing the use of a building as well as making extensive alterations to the interior during your property renovation project. Your local planning authority is the first place to approach for information about the kind of application needed.
Derelict Churches FAQ
Can I Turn An Old Church Into A Home?
Yes you can turn a church into a home subject to certain conditions. The church authorities must first deconsecrate the church building. You will need planning permission from the local authority to change the use of the building and may have to agree to using specific materials if the building is listed. Architects fees are high so be prepared to add 20% to the cost of the building and renovation costs.
Do Converted Churches Have Restrictions?
Some deeds of church buildings have restrictive clauses. If there is a graveyard, relatives may have the right to visit the burial ground. You may be prohibited or restricted from changing the exterior of the church especially if it is a grade listed building. The details of any restrictions should be carefully checked before you buy.
How Can I Buy A Church Building?
The first step is to find a suitable property. You can find one already converted or choose a property that needs converting. Check out websites that specialise in unusual buildings or look on the Church of England website where available properties are listed. You can also contact English Heritage for advice.
Where Can I Find Church Buildings For Sale?
The Church of England lists all churches that have been closed and which are available to buy. You can add your name and address to the list of interested parties on their website. There are church buildings for sale all around the UK. Some closed churches and chapels are offered at auction and there are some websites that specialise in unusual properties that could be converted into homes.
Many closed churches have already been converted into residential properties. However, most are in the original state and will need extensive internal renovations to turn them into beautiful homes.
Pros And Cons Of Buying A Church Building
The popularity of unusual buildings is growing and it has been forecast that many more of the empty churches and chapels in the UK will be sold for conversion in 2020. Taking any old building and converting it into a home is always a challenge but church buildings can be particularly complex. First let’s look at the advantages of renovating this kind of property.
Location is all important and many closed churches are situated where you would not be able to put a new build. You could find the perfect location in a town or city close to all amenities. Church buildings are individual and distinctive. Many come complete with beautiful old stained glass windows that provide loads of natural light. Typically, the space inside a church is large and can be converted into open space living whilst making the most of the original design.
There are also disadvantages to buying an old church. Most buildings for sale will be in poor condition and are constructed with old materials. If there is a listed status it could cost a lot of money to renovate. The beautiful stained glass windows will create draughts so heating bills could be very high. If you buy a church that has a graveyard you could find your privacy disturbed by visitors. Finally, the shortage of suitable properties means prices are high.
Can I Get A Mortgage On A Church Building?
It is relatively simple to get a mortgage of a church building that has already been converted but more complicated if you are buying a closed church that has fallen into disrepair. You will need a large deposit and also to pay an architect to provide a quotation for the costs involved. The lender will require a valuation. If the total amount of the required mortgage exceeds the current valuation plus the renovation costs it is unlikely the lender will approve the loan. However, there are some specialist lenders so it pays to shop around.
Problems With Converting A Church
There are many factors to take into consideration when doing a church conversion. Problems with insulation mean you could experience noise and cold so your builder will need to take this into account. It is unlikely you will be able to make any extensive changes to the exterior of the building and there could be problems with high ceilings. Some churches have dry or wet rot and often lead on the roof needs to be replaced. Take into account all the problems that could arise before committing to buying a church building for sale.
Surveys On Church Buildings
Getting a survey for a church building is essential. Many of the properties have been left unattended for years until they are finally deconsecrated and sold. This can bring up problems with the structure so a special survey will be needed. Keep this in mind when searching for church buildings for sale on the UK market.
There could be damp, loose slates or damaged roof lead and dangerous gaps in the window frames. Use a chartered surveyor who is a member of RICS (Royal Institute of Charted Surveyors) and make sure that the architect you choose is a member of RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). Obtaining a professional property survey will ensure that your plans for conversion can go ahead with the least amount of difficulty.