How to Sell Your Old Barn in Pennsylvania: A Barn-selling Guide
So, you’ve made the decision to sell your barn in Pennsylvania (if you’re still struggling to make this decision, check out this blog post first). Selling a barn can be a difficult process, and there aren’t many resources available to help. There are multiple factors you’ll need to identify about your barn in order to get the right value for it, and with so many other barns on the market, it’s important to have all the details down.
Here are the following things you should know before you begin searching for companies that buy barns in Pennsylvania:
The condition of the barn
This is the first thing you’ll want to inspect. A barn in ideal condition would be free of any roof damage and protected from the elements, as well as any invasive insects. You’ll need to check the barn for rotting, mold or mildew, insect infestation, and moisture content. And if your barn was painted in 1978 or earlier, you’ll need to identify if the paint contains lead. These conditions will decrease the value of the wood and therefore the value of the barn overall.
But if you do find these issues in your barn, not all hope is lost. Rot can not be fixed but if you find the wood has been waterlogged or infested with insects, it can be treated by kiln-drying, a process in which wood is heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, killing all insect larvae and removing moisture.
Lead paint can also be stripped and removed, and although you can do this yourself, you’ll want to consider hiring a licensed abatement contractor to ensure the work is done properly.
Reputable barn salvage companies in Pennsylvania have everything needed to dismantle and restore the wood from your old barn and is often the most efficient and profitable way to sell your barn.
The age of the barn
The older the barn is, the more likely it’s made of “old-growth” wood. Old-growth wood is wood from trees that grew for hundreds of years. Most wood today comes from new-growth wood, which is cultivated from the tree just 10-20 years from the day it was planted. The main difference between the two is that old-growth wood has tightly packed growth rings, making it far denser than new-growth wood. This means the wood is stronger, and more resistant to rot and termites.
But determining the age of your barn and its wood can be difficult. Unless the property has been passed down from generation to generation and the records were well kept, you’ll need to use other means to identify the barn’s age.
Check to see if the wood is hand-hewn or sawn. This will narrow down the time period in which it was built, depending on your area.
Check the barns frame. The first barns were constructed with vertical beams, but by the mid-to-late 1800s, storage for hay bales became more important and thus barn frames became taller to accommodate them.
Check your local city and county tax records. This will tell you when building began on the property and therefore a good starting date.
Most reputable barn reclamation companies with be able to help you identify the age and value of your barn. This can be discussed with them during the quote process.
The type of wood the barn is made of
Unfortunately, there isn't a national standard on pricing of vintage wood. However, there are clear price differences between different types of wood, and determining what type your barn is made of will help narrow down its value.
Earlier we said that old-growth is more dense than new-growth wood, and while this is still true, not all old-growth woods are equally dense. There are two main types; Hardwood and Softwood. Hardwood is generally denser and stronger than softwood, and takes longer to grow, making it less abundant and therefore more expensive. Softwood grows faster and is more flexible in terms of constructions projects, and less expensive due to its availability and relatively weaker strength.
The most common wood old barns were built from in Pennsylvania are:
White Oak (Highest Value)
Chestnut (Highest Value)
Sometimes an easy way to determine which type you have is by using your fingernail. Press your fingernail down on the wood you're inspecting and drag your nail across the surface. If it leaves a mark, then it's most likely a softwood, and the deeper the mark, the softer the wood is. If it doesn't leave a noticeable mark of any kind, it's most likely a hardwood. Once you've determined which one you have, you can then try to identify the specific species of wood you have.
All reputable barn reclamation companies who buy barns in Pennsylvania will be able to help you identify the species of lumber that your barn has been built from.
The size of the barn
This is self-explanatory, but the larger the barn, the more salvageable wood, and the higher the value. Barns come in all different shapes and sizes. In the early 1700s, when sawn lumber became more attainable, farmers began building taller barns to accommodate their storage needs while taking up the same amount of lot space. They would often build additions as well.
Barn buyers in Pennsylvania will be looking for how many board feet of lumber is located within the barn. This is a long, tedious process. The buyer will measure every square inch of the barn to determine how much salvageable lumber is there. To help them get started, simply measure the width and length of the base in feet when filling reputable barn buyers online quote forms. If a buyer gives you a quote without doing this process they are most likely quoting you low. Buyers that take detailed measurements are making sure they are paying you for every inch they are purchasing.
Pricing your barn
Once you've determined all of the factors listed above, you can begin estimating a price for the barn. But keep in mind that your barn is going to be valued by many different factors. Condition, species, cut marks, age, color, board footage, location and obstacles on dismantling are just a few of the factors that will determine value.
There's no magic formula that will tell you exactly what your barn is worth, and you'll likely need to have a professional assess your barn and give you a free quote to know it's exact value.
If you'd like to request a free quote for your barn from one of the most reputable barn reclamation companies in Pennsylvania, you should click the link here.