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Category: Self Build

Finding a self build plot is hard. And it is getting harder as more people are realising that it doesn’t have to be just a dream to build your own home. Not to mention the enormous satisfaction of being part of the creative process for your home, there are significant financial benefits to building your own home.

What Type of Building Plot to Look for and Where to Find it?

We have some projects that are really useful to help you decide what kind of building plot that you need. There are a range of options when it comes to self or custom building which it is worth understanding before you begin. We explain these options in our project about self building land and plots.

When it comes to the actual hard work on finding the type of plot that you have decided suits you best, we have outlined the top way to find land that you have in our projects on the sources of self build land.

Old and abandoned building can be selfbuild plots

Imagination is often needed to find the most exciting self build plots

One of the most effective methods of finding land is getting out there and scouting around your preferred neighbourhood. Once you found a suitable self-build plot then you have to find the owner and persuade them that they should sell it – to you!

Tips for Scouting for Self Build Plots

Obviously you can do lots of work online these days, but eventually you might be forced to get out and scout around for a suitable building plot on the street. This is the way to get a piece of land before anyone else and where you might be able get a real bargain that will make your project viable.

Here are our top tips for scouting for self build plots:

  1. Get out on foot – you will see plots that you easily miss speeding by in the car. On foot you can take the time to size up the plot and understand the potential, something you simply can’t do in a car or using Google Streetview.
  2. Think about planning – This approach by it’s very nature is likely to reward you with a plot that doesn’t have planning, which is where much of the financial saving will come from. Make sure you don’t get lumbered with a plot that can’t get planning for your build.
  3. Think about access – Both for the build and for when the home is built. Is there some where to park and will you be able to get all the necessary services to it.
  4. Imagination – You have to see what hardnosed developers have overlooked. Think about brown field sites; an old filling station or industrial unit might be the perfect location. You might have to ‘assemble’ a site from the end of several gardens, for example.
    An under used industrial/commercial site might have potential as a building plot
  5. Industrial units are a possible selfbuild plot

    An under used industrial/commercial site might have potential as a building plot

  6. Sell yourself – All else being equal no one want to sell to a developer, but a potential lovely neighbour who would be a delight to live next to is a another matter – that’s what you have to be!

Tips for Planning Permission on a Potential Building Plot

By getting out there and finding your own building plot, it is much more unlikely to have got any form of planning consent. This makes it so much cheaper, but is a risk that you need to be aware of. There are a few tips that can help you find a plot that is more likely to get approval easily:

  • Look for plots next to existing houses and approval is more likely. Infill plots are idea, but also gaps behind of next to an existing house, particularly if there is easy access to a road, are usually a pretty safe bet. A building plot that looks to be available for sale
  • Plot waiting for selfbuild home

    A building plot that looks to be available for sale

  • Look for similar houses to the type you want to build. You are more likely to get permission for something that is in keeping with the surrounding area, also your home when finished is going to fit in rather than being ‘over developed’ and being a mansion on an estate of small houses, which can look odd and be hard to sell.
  • Use the Local Plan. Local authorities should have a Local Plan which outlines what their planning guidelines are. Since these have been produced locally by the council and in a consultation process if should give you a good feel about what the community feel is acceptable for development in their area.
  • Look at recent planning applications in the area to see what has been given consent (you might even find a suitable plot there too). This will give you feel for what is likely to be approved and any conditions that might be necessary.
  • Small or narrow sites can be overlooked, but might still be possible to get a house on. Ensure that they have suitable access and windows are not going to overlook any neighbours as this could stop the application in it’s tracks.

When you talk to most of the successful self builders, they tend to agree that finding a building plot if one of the hardest parts, along with the finances, which we cover in our project on self build mortgages.

Corner plots are great for selfbuild projects

Plots with potential for self build are easy to spot when you have your ‘eye in’

Likewise these successful self-builders often say that the two most fruitful sources of their building plots were either ‘word of mouth’ or scouting for land themselves. Clearly the more people you tell about your search the more eyes and ears you have out there on your side, but scouting out a plot yourself is also very effective.

Make sure you know what you are looking for – we help with the types of plot in our project about self build land – and that you are flexible. There is no such thing as the perfect building plot, as there is always some compromise, but don’t let that put you off. As a self builder you have the control of the design and build and you can often turn a compromise into a wonderful feature.


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