How to convert a commercial property to residential?

Converting a commercial property into residential is becoming increasingly common within the UK. Although this market continues to show potential, it’s still essential you learn how to successfully convert a commercial property.  

Step 1 – check if there’s an exception 

A lot of commercial buildings are now eligible to be converted to residential. However, there are some exceptions, for example:  

  • Listed buildings 
  • Buildings within conservation areas or national parks  
  • Properties within areas of natural beauty/ scientific interest.  
  • Buildings within safety hazard areas  

If you are unsure if your property is one of those then it would be best to check. In addition, some of the examples might be acceptable to convert, but you would need to apply for full planning permission.  

Step 2 – identifying the buildings use class

All of the buildings in the UK are placed in a use class. Some of the classes include: 

  • A class – shops, restaurants, and businesses that provide professional services.  
  • B class – offices, storage facilities and warehouses 
  • D class – schools, doctors, cinemas, and other leisure facilities  

In order to convert a commercial building, you will need to apply to change the use class.  

Step 3 – budget  

Before you even think about looking on the market for properties, you need to work out how much you can afford to spend on your project. It is also smart to over budget, just in case of any unexpected additional costs.  

Step 4 – planning permission  

Some of the conversions won’t require planning permission. However, the buildings must be 150 square meters or smaller, if your plans include changing the appearance of the exterior or extending then you may need planning permission.  

Step 5 – finding the property 

Commercial to residential conversions offers a lot of profit potential. It is important to think about what you can do with the property after the conversion. For example, if you’re renting make sure there are plenty of interested tenants, and that you are able to make enough profit. Before you buy you should also look into the surrounding area and see if you like the place.  

Advantages of converting commercial to residential –  

  • Prices are competitive – many commercial properties remain empty, which has forced property owners to ask for less. 
  • Commercial properties are usually located in popular locations. This will be very attractive to the growing tenant demand.  
  • You can turn commercial properties into HMOs. Which is a great investment.  

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