Anyone looking to buy a farm will be familiar with a phrase that exists in most sales brochures.
Run-down houses and buildings are often described as having “potential, subject to the necessary permissions”.
There is plenty on the market for those looking to take on a project – some with pre-existing permissions to carry out work and others where there is an opportunity to take advantage of more relaxed planning regulations.
So at a time when landowners are being told to examine all their opportunities to generate income and add value, should they be viewing wrecks as rough diamonds?
Shaun Jones, rural director at Halls, says there is plenty of interest in small-scale building projects from lifestyle buyers, property developers and farmers. But he says they are discerning.
Halls recently received strong offers in excess of the £250,000 guide price for Kempton Farm Barns near Ludlow in Shropshire.
Planning permission exists to convert the run-down stone buildings to six houses and Mr Jones thinks sensible pricing was the key to attracting competitive bids.
He said: “Buyers [looking for a project] often want the isolation, so having no near neighbours is a big thing.
“Having a little bit of land surrounding the property, plus views, always helps.
“As ever, the right thing in the right place at the right price will always be attractive, but there are examples out there of sellers who have unrealistic expectations of what price they will get.”
Jack Mitchell, associate at Carter Jonas, agrees that buyers will look at the finances carefully.
“The building work is going to cost the same amount whether the farm is in a good location or not,” he said.
“Eventually someone is going to want to realise the value of the property and should consider what their next buyer will think.
“Are there neighbours, pylons, footpaths or railway lines? What are the views like? Is the finished article going to be worth the investment? Every project must wash its own face.”
What’s on the market
Treswen Farm, near Launceston, Cornwall
A 122-acre grassland farm with a Grade 2-listed farmhouse and listed barns with potential for £1.2m with DR Kivell.
Addiscott Farm, near Okehampton, Devon
Stags has nearly 90 acres of pasture in a ring fence around stone livestock buildings and a farmhouse needing renovation at a guide price of £1.31m.
Hard Crag, near Ulverston, Cumbria
A guide price of £795,000 has been set by H&H Michael CL Hodgson for a yeoman-style farmhouse and buildings with planning permission surrounded by 36 acres.
The Oaks, near Chester, Cheshire
The buildings on this 168-acre former golf course have consent for conversion to a house, but the buyer will need to plough up the fairways to create farmland. Strutt & Parker says it’s a genuine option at £2.3m.
Glanymor Farm, near Cardigan, Pembrokeshire
JJ Morris says the coastal location and 82 acres of land will appeal to lifestyle buyers and small farmers alike with a £900,000 guide price and a farmhouse requiring renovation.
East Rountengill, near Leyburn, North Yorkshire
It’s the third time in five years Robin Jessop has sold this 53-acre smallholding with house requiring full renovation. A guide price of £450,000 to £500,000 has been set.
Manor Farm, Alburgh, Norfolk
The large farmhouse needs complete renovation and the traditional buildings could also be developed to support the 162-acre arable and grassland unit being sold through Brown & Co for £1.795m.
Troakes Farm, near Taunton, Somerset
A run-down farmhouse in 16 acres of grass with a range of buildings that also carry potential for conversion at a guide price of £795,000.