Want to build your own home? How do you find that plot of land?
Property expert Kate Faulkner begins a regular series of exclusive articles for WhatHouse? by looking at how you might secure the perfect plot on which to build your dream home...
We have all enjoyed watching many a programme about people buying land and building their own Grand Design, but in the main once we start watching, the land has already been secured.
Sometimes the plot of land is available because the parents live in an area where they have land ‘going spare’ and don’t seem to mind having kids and grandkids as permanent neighbours a stone’s throw away.
However for most of us, we’ll need to go in search of a plot and that is likely to mean some sort of compromise on location or price to get the space needed, so to find the land you want, be prepared to be patient and take your time to find the right place to build.
There are three main ways to find your own plot of grand design heaven:
On-line search sites
These can be a great way to just research what the cost of a plot of land would be so you can work out where you can afford and how big a plot you can buy.
Most of these services charge, but the good ones will allow you free access for a few weeks. If they don’t and there is a phone number, it might be worth giving them a call to ask to take a look before you spend any money.
Questions to ask include find out how often they update the information and plots for sale. If they don’t do this regularly, you may be paying for a search facility, only to be disappointed it was actually sold some months ago. Ideally the information should be update every couple of weeks at least, an example is www.plotsearch.co.uk
If you have a free subscription and find the service useful, just check whether the plots have planning permission. There are two types, one called ‘outline’ planning where ‘in principle’ the planners have agreed to drawings, the best is ‘full planning permission’ where everything has been approved. If they are selling plots with no planning approval, the chances are it will be difficult to get it or it may take years.
Local agents, land surveyors and auctioneers
Many agents who are also members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors tend to offer plots of land for sale. Many of them work with local owners to maximise the earnings from the land they own so know what is likely to come up for sale, whether planning would be possible or has already been agreed or indeed whether the landowner might be willing to sell.
The cost of marketing the land is typically born by the seller although you might have to pay for the auction catalogue. Another good service is offered by www.eigroup.co.uk which sends alerts for several areas of your choice about what plots are coming up.
Knock on doors!
You may not feel overly comfortable with finding land this way, but it can be a great way to find somewhere to build. It might be the seller was contemplating selling the whole property to downsize and release some capital but hadn’t realised they could sell part of their land and stay put.
For more information and checklists on how to build your own home, do visit www.propertychecklists.co.uk and if you have any questions, feel free to email.