Unless you are lucky enough to already own a suitable piece of land, most budding self-builders will need to hunt high and low for that elusive plot. It’s crucial to keep an open mind. Before looking, carefully consider what you deem to be the essential requirements of a potential plot, then create a list of your ideal requirements and keep these separate. This will help you to clarify what you can and can’t compromise on.
In order to make the potentially arduous task of finding your dream plot as successful, make sure you are utilising all available resources.
There are various specialist websites that list many self-build plots and all the popular property search websites will also sometimes list self-build plots. Exploring these sites will not only let you know what’s available where, but will also highlight differences in market value according to location. Another useful website is The Land Bank Partnership, which specialises in the sale of land with planning consent or the potential for residential development in the West/South West of England.
Although not all estate agents are interested in selling land, it is worth approaching them to let them know you are looking for a plot – especially those who run auctions – but keep in contact so you stay fresh in their mind. Another site finding technique is offering a finder’s fee to planning agents and architects.
Keep a look out for potential opportunities within your ideal location, such as large unattended gardens and neglected buildings. If you find somewhere that looks like it would suit redevelopment, but it isn’t up for sale, don’t be afraid to approach the owners – they might be happy to negotiate a price.
Your local council is another useful resource. More than 130 local councils in England are already taking action to help boost the opportunities available for people who want to build their own home. Such actions include identifying suitable sites or locations for potential private homebuilding and disposing of public land. You can also check the local Planning Register – which many councils now publish online – as it lists all planning applications and decisions. Many people apply for planning application before selling a plot as it increases its value. By spotting such plots before they go on sale, you will be able to approach the owner before others are aware it’s even up for sale – look for recent applications, preferably outline, for single houses.
It’s also worth networking and advertising your search online through social media and forums, as well as in the local press, pubs and shops – even contacting mobile workers and asking them to keep an eye out, such as taxi drivers and gardeners, might lead to something.