Find a Suitable Plot for Self-Build Projects

Introduction

Prior to even considering looking for a plot of land it is essential that the potential buyer is able to define their requirements.

  • Location
  • How much you can afford to spend
  • The amount of land that you will require
  • The overall size and design of the house you wish

As developers are aware the most challenging aspect of the whole self build process is the identification of a suitable plot of land at of course the right price. Good plots by their very nature tend to move fast so where possible place yourself in that position by researching and networking regularly so that you are among the first to be made aware of opportunities as soon as they come on the market.

Let us consider ways that may assist that process.

1. Land Agents

Check out the local yellow pages or yell.com for Land Agents see what they have currently available, advise them of your requirements and use them to find a suitable plot of land for you.

2. Estate Agents

Contact them on a regular basis, let them know of your specific requirements they are a fantastic source of local information. Whilst not all Estate agents deal with building plots it is important to remember that most plots sold in England and Wales are carried out via estate agents.

3. Local Self Builders and Developers

One potential source of plots of land once you have identified your area is local builders and developers. Chat to the land buyer at the local builders particularly in the current market, many banks are encouraging local builders to reduce their land banks and this can often present considerable opportunity to the self builder. Keep in touch with them as they often have plots on the outskirts of their developments which may be ideal for your purposes.

4. Local Authorities

From time to time Local Authorities will sell off plots of land with development potential. Speak to their Estates Department and be put on their mailing list in order that you are alerted to potential opportunities in the future which may satisfy your needs. Within new towns that are still expanding often Local Councils reserve a proportion of serviced plots specifically for self builders.

5. Potential Private Sellers

The Local Council's website normally provides a Weekly Listing of those applicants for Outline Planning Permission. It is possible to contact these applicants directly to see whether they would consider selling to you obviously subject to Outline Planning Permission being granted for the plot of land.

6. Specialist Land Finding Agencies/Databases

There are a large number of commercial databases. The majority of these will charge an annual fee in order that you are able to view their listed plots. These are also useful for you to gain an early indication of the value of land in your elected location. These sites are regularly updated and several will forward e-mails of those that match your requirements.

7. Self Build Companies

Where it is your intention to use a self build company, these companies obviously have a vested interest in you securing a suitable piece of land for that build i.e. they assist with that process - they get a sale which is merely a potential sale till you find suitable land. They will retain lists of both suitable building plots and local land agents - make use of their contacts.

8. Other Self Builders

Check out the internet there are many self build clubs and associations in the UK join them and network wherever possible. In some instances it may be possible for several to join together and buy a larger piece of land which meets all of their individual requirements.

9. Demolition / Re-build Existing House

One opportunity that is often overlooked by novice self builders is the possibility of demolishing an existing building and rebuilding a house to meet your requirements. In particular look out for plots with an existing low quality or unsightly building which has demolition potential.

10. Property Auctions

Many plots of land are sold through property auctions. Those unfamiliar with the process of auctions should familiarise themselves with the auction process and the opportunities to buy in advance of the auction and indeed following the auction where the seller's reserve price has not been met.

11. Own Research

Check out potential opportunities using tools such as Google Earth and by referring to the Local Development Plan.

So How Would You Evaluate a Potential Plot? »

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John Rice (+44) 01250 870 895
John@SelfBuildMentor.com