Potton’s Marketing Manager, Fae Perkins, offers some advice on how to find that all-important building plot!
It all starts with land. With so many people wanting to self build, finding a plot is the barrier to many people fulfilling their self build dream.
Where to begin
It makes sense for you to answer a few fundamental questions before you start your search for the perfect plot. Which areas do you want to live in? What’s your budget for land? How much garden would you want from the plot? Are you looking to build a bungalow, two-storey house or 7 bedroom mansion? All these things will influence how and where to start looking.
Narrow your search
Many people assume that the broader the area the more luck they’ll have finding a plot. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Whilst it is recommended to have a few areas in mind, it is in fact best to hone in on specific towns or villages and start your search from here. Having a radius too wide may mean you miss plots and can’t see the wood for the trees.
Think outside the box
Though many of the traditional approaches, such as trawling plot search websites, could be successful for some, here at the Self Build Academy we encourage you to try some more innovative methods in your search for a piece of land.
Take a walk or drive around the towns or villages you’d like to build in. Really look around and identify any corner plots that may have large gardens with potential for development. The owner may be looking to sell a small part of their garden off.
Send letters out. You can usually find local distribution companies who will drop letters or fliers on your behalf, from as little as £30/1,000. Draft a simple letter stating that you’re looking for a plot for a self build and include your contact details. You never know what could come of it and this is a successful marketing tactic for local estate agents when they are in need of properties in your area.
Place an advert in a village magazine or local newspaper. Ask if you can put up a small notice in local shops or pubs. Local people know the area and people talk. If someone has a large garden or plot for sale you may well be the first person they call.
Knock on doors or approach the local council where you see sites with overgrown gardens or run-down properties – these could be potential sites. Most Councils have to bring a derelict site back into use within 6 months or offer it up for sale. If a site has sat dormant for a while and is council owned then this could offer an opportunity!
Infill plots or disused land may look narrow and uninviting but can often provide surprising opportunities for building your dream property in towns or cities. Every site is unique and the designs can be tailored to make the home truly yours.
Speak to professionals such as surveyors, architects and builders as they'll be in the know.
Visit estate agents & land agents in your area and register your interest with them.
‘How to find land’ – One day course
Potton’s Self Build Academy offers a one-day ‘How to find land’ course which covers the above advice in more detail and offers information on appraising a potential plot including what to look out for. To find out more and book please visit www.selfbuildacademy.co.uk.
You can also download our FREE Land Appraisal Document which offers top tips and information for those looking for land, including what to look out for and answering the all-important question 'is it a plot or not?'
Remember, do not purchase a plot without Outline or Detailed Planning Permission as you may not be able to build on it, you do not want to be left with an expensive field. It’s recommended that you take advice from your solicitor prior to buying any property or piece of land.