ESTATE agents are struggling to sell a luxury home that has been converted from a former Methodist chapel – because it has a graveyard as its front garden.
Buyers have been spooked by more than 20 old headstones and tombs covering the front lawn of the three-bedroom house at North Lopham near Diss, Norfolk.
The price of the Grade Two listed home has been slashed by more than £100,000 to £490,000 since it first went on the market last April.
The house, which dates back to 1810, was a chapel until it closed in 2014 due to its dwindling congregation.
It was snapped up by a property developer and has now been beautifully converted into a trendy home with a 25ft by 35ft open plan double height living room and kitchen.
Estate agents Bedfords are now hoping that buyers will overcome their fears about the graves and snap it up at its cut price.
Emmerson Dutton, a partner at Bedfords office in Bury St Edmunds office, said: “I am sure that the gravestones have been a factor in putting off some buyers.
“It is a very stylish property, but the activity levels around it have certainly been lower than we would expect.
“I think the people who are concerned about the graves don’t go as far as asking for a viewing. We are not trying to hide the gravestones away so the details clearly show them.
“But although the house still has the original two doors at the front, the main entrance is at the back via a driveway on the side.
“It means that people don’t have to walk down the path between the graves into the house.
It might be that once a year, on Halloween, it becomes an issue
Emmerson Dutton, a partner at Bedfords
“Also when you are inside the house, you are not really overlooking the graves because of the layout inside.
“I am hoping that perhaps it might appeal to someone from outside the area.”
Mr Dutton said the chapel had been bought and turned into a high-quality home with “a wonderful light-filled interior” by a local developer.
The developer originally planned to live there before changing his mind and putting it on the market as he wanted to move nearer his children’s’ schools.
It was originally up for sale at £595,000 with a different agent before it was taken on by Bedfords, who cut the price to £550,000 before cutting it again.
A FAMILY HOME
Mr Dutton believes the house, which has a new roof and windows, is worth at least £100,000 more than its price tag due to the quality of the conversion.
He said: “It just seems buyers are put off which is such a shame as the cost of the conversion far outweighs the price it’s for sale for.
“Someone is going to get a real bargain. It might be that once a year, on Halloween, it becomes an issue but most people could live with that.”
It has 2,245 square feet of living space and underfloor heating with a castellated side extension still bearing the name “Wesleyan Day School.”
The graveyard at the front is still owned by the church authorities on a 999-year lease, meaning they are responsible for its upkeep.
Among the graves is a headstone belonging to Jon Cousins, a minister of a Methodist chapel in Diss who died 49 in 1805.
The master bedroom with an en suite bathroom is on the ground floor along with two further bedrooms, a utility room, and family bathroom.
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Downstairs is a kitchen with oak flooring and state of the art cabinets, an island, granite worktops and a range-style oven.
The first floor has a galleried landing around three sides of the building which Bedfords say could be used as a playroom, study areas or hobby space.
There is also plenty of built-in storage space and a good-sized garden at the rear with a double cart lodge.