A plot is anything and anywhere – it’s just knowing where, and how, to look
A plot isn’t just a piece of open, grassy land surrounded by a neat fence – it’s a row of disused garages, an old yard or a run-down house, so keep an open mind when searching.
Identify the area you want to live
Get to know it really well. Study maps and look on sites like google earth to spot underused sites or large gardens that could potentially be sold as building plots.
Friends, family, builders, estate agents, developers are good sources to find out what might be coming on the market and who might be looking to sell.
‘Land costs should be around 40 per cent of your budget’
Your own garden
It could make a suitable plot, particularly if it already backs onto a road or a new access could be created. However, speak to your local planning department to see if it’s a feasible option before investing any money in the project.
Local council planning register and estates department
The register will identify who’s applied for planning, including those seeking permission so that they can sell their site on at a higher profit. This could give you a head start on which sites may soon be coming on the market.
Demolish and rebuild
Although it’s a more expensive option, it has distinct advantages – services will already be on site, access will be in place and it will have an already established garden. Guidelines about replacing dwelling varies from between local authorities, so you may have to replace like for like.
Buying at auction can be stressful, but you can bag a real bargain. There’s usually around one month between notification of the auction and the sale, so use this time to arrange finance and surveys if you are seriously interested in buying.
These have been previously developed and might not seem particularly desirable, but can offer some great opportunities because planners are usually keen to see these sites tidied up.
Speaking to other self-builders is a great way to find out about plots that may not have been suitable for them, but could be perfect for you. Join self-build discussion sites, where you can talk to other self-builders and share experiences.
If you have spotted a piece of seemingly abandoned land, contact the HM Land Registry to find out who owns the land. A registered title will include the details of the owners, their address, as well as any covenants, charges and easements affecting the land.
Plotsearch has a database of thousands of properties and plots for sale all over the UK that you can view from the comfort of your own home.
Quote: James McDonald, BuildStore Image: Jefferson Smith