Finding Land For Your Self-build
In order to find a building plot where you can build your own home you are up against some fierce competition – other self-builders as well as full-time land finders, small builders and the larger property development industry. While none of the following suggestions are guaranteed routes to a site they will certainly ease the process of finding self-build land for sale. For the best chance of success, try as many of them as you can manage:
Keep Your Mind Open
The main reason people fail to purchase a self-build plot is because they do not compromise, refusing to accept anything less than their dream location. Often, your dream plot will not exist. Before you start to look, think carefully about what you really need and what you can do without.
Google Maps and Google Street View are useful resources when looking for self-build land for sale. They will help you to identify gaps in streets, small bungalows on large bits of land, potential back-land plots (space at the rear of existing houses) and brownfield sites (land that has been previously used for development) – all of which are ripe for homebuilding and redevelopment.
Use Land-Listing Agencies
While there is not currently a service that collects planning data in a format suitable to those hunting for a single plot to build their own home, there are specialist land-listing agencies that collect information from private individuals and estate agents selling land to make it available to subscribers.
Subscribing to a land-listing service like this is a good starting point; it can save you a lot of legwork and usually offers a good range of self-build land for sale in different locations. You will also get an idea of who is selling land in your target areas, when land is coming up for sale and approximate prices.
Visit Planning Departments
To get planning approval to custom-build on a piece of land, an application must be submitted which will then become a matter of public record. This means anyone can walk into any planning department and ask to see the planning register – in which all applications and decisions (where they have been reached) are recorded. Many councils now publish these on their websites too.
When looking for land, you could search recent applications for single houses and properties as there might be further room for development on nearby land. Even if you find a promising location but approval has not yet been granted (because the planners insist on seeing a full design first) there is no reason why you should not contact the land owners to enquire about possible land buying opportunities.
Visit Estate Agents And Auctions
You might think estate agents are the best professionals to go to when looking for land but they will not always be able to help. The commission earned from land sales is not as attractive as that earned from selling houses, meaning many agents – especially large chains – have no interest in selling land. Local agents, or those running auctions, are more likely to have something of interest on their lists. You will usually find one or two specialist local agents in a given area who will be willing to help.
In the event you decide to sell your house and then rent a property while searching for a plot, it would be wise to use the services of an estate agent who also sells land to your full advantage. Form a relationship with your estate agents to be in with a better chance of learning about any upcoming auctions, or good properties they are offered, straight away.
Look Out For Custom-Build Schemes
Many plots come to market through the custom-build route, enabling property developers and councils the opportunity to buy release land for large-scale self-build projects. These plots could be on the edge of a new development community of self-built homes planned by a council. Self-build land for sale could also be found in a large gap between or behind houses. It is usually easier to get planning approval for a development in-between, or next to, existing houses. A space beside a house, especially with easy access to the road, is a potential plot as is a space in a large back garden that allows side-access for vehicles.
Check out plotfinder.net for details of self-build plots as they emerge as well the government-endorsed Self Build Portal.
Disused Land And Brownfield Sites
It is easy not to recognise disused land and brownfield sites as desirable plots for your dream home at first glance. It takes a lot of imagination to see a petrol-filling station, a telephone exchange, an abandoned industrial unit or a scrap yard as a prime homebuilding location. But any of these are a possibility, subject to planning approval.
Say, for example, you saw a number of gardens that were too small to add much to the houses they belonged to. But you also noticed that, if pieced together, the land used for these gardens would be big enough to create a considerable self-build plot. Why not take a leaf from the professional property developer’s book and consider assembling your own site? You will need tact, patience and a bit of business acumen but it can be done and some homeowners are delighted to realise that a small bit of their garden can actually earn them money.
Contact us for more information about our services or fill in our online form with a few details of your self-build project for a free quotation.