If you are looking for a home oozing with character a converted barn will tick a lot of your boxes.

Even one in need of conversion might suit you. They can make fantastic projects although they won’t be the right choice for everyone.

You are going to need a lot of time, patience and deep pockets.

Living in the countryside is something of a dream for many of us; we feel a longing to lead a simple life while enjoying all mod cons.

Barns and barn conversions are hugely sought after properties and can fetch a tidy price even before conversion.

One of your biggest hurdles will be to convince local planners that a barn conversion is a good move. Local authorities are under pressure from central government to find new uses for old buildings to keep the rural economy healthy.

Before you buy, check the barn's planning status carefully. If it’s already been given planning permission for change of use be prepared to pay a premium price..

If it hasn't got change of use permission you’ll need to find a specialist, probably an architect or builder, to draw up conversion plans and discuss them with the local planning officer. Don't buy anything unless you get a positive response, otherwise you could end up with a useless, derelict barn.

Planning authorities are extremely strict on exactly what can and cannot be done with a barn. Although local authorities are under government pressure to preserve historic rural buildings, converting them into homes is fairly low on their list. They prefer them to have a use that will enrich the local community.

Barns were built for many different purposes, mainly for storage, sheltering livestock during bad weather, and as somewhere agricultural tasks can be carried out. They are often built using local materials; flint and sandstone were popular materials in Sussex and barns constructed with them are more likely to be standing than those built from timber.

Barns built for storage will usually have high doors to allow vehicle access and windows placed to shed light on the work that was undertaken within them. Smaller barns were used for livestock As with other historic buildings you must make sure that your mortgage lender is willing to make the investment. Many have special rates for this kind of building so check first before making any kind of commitment.