Buying a Commercial Property to Live In

Added on January 7th 2018

During times of economic downturn, there’s often a lot of vacant commercial premises available. This can work out well for househunters as they can buy one of these empty properties and convert it into a home – they’re often cheaper than residential properties because of market saturation. Don’t rush into buying that warehouse just yet, though, as you need to make sure this route is right for you.

There may be some extra costs

You may be looking at a cheap commercial property, but you have to take into account the costs of conversion. Converting the building into a residential may cost more than you expect, as extra work may be needed to comply with residential regulations. Find this out before you make an offer.

Think about your access points

Many commercial properties are in the middle of town so there may be issues with access and parking. Imagine finding your ideal property and then finding that your ideal parking spot is ten minutes away… You also need to look out for one-way systems or even tolls. There may be joint entranceways to contend with too, if a property above your prospective new home is already in use. This can have an impact on your remodelling plans, so find out as soon as you can.

What’s outside also counts

It’s easier than ever to convert a commercial building into a residential, but only on the inside. If you’re planning to change the outside, then you’ll need planning permission. You may not get that permission if you’re buying a shop in a market town, because there could be a covenant that says the outside of the building must look like its neighbours. If you do get planning permission, you may need to use particular materials, which could bump up the cost.

Take in the surroundings

While it can be handy to be in the centre of things – shops, buses, trains and clubs – you can also find yourself…in the centre of things. If you’re after a quiet life, then the pubs, takeaways, shops and cafes might not be ideal for you. You can consider soundproofing, of course, but you might also want to consider a place a little further out.

You may have to wait


You may have to wait some time before you can buy the place. Some local authorities ask that a commercial property stays on the market for at least six months before they can think about changing the use of the building. This is to prove that there’s no real market for commercial properties in the area. It’s a pain, but it’s worth the wait if your heart’s set on it.

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