As more and more people become interested in building their own home, additional help is being offered to support potential Self Builders in their pursuit of plots. Councils are releasing serviced plots in some areas to encourage the Self Build industry – but what if the area you want to live in doesn’t offer these? What route can you take to find the ideal plot for your Self Build dream?
Identify Your Location
Having a good think about where you would like to Self Build is the best place to start. Giving yourself too wide an area to search for plots can be overwhelming, and may sap a lot of your time and energy through travelling around and researching individual plots. If you can identify a specific and practicable area to search thoroughly, you can concentrate your effort on finding a plot in an ideal location for your family’s Self Build project.
To help outline an area, there are many websites available listing plots of land by region in the UK. With information on prices and planning permission, alongside pictures of the plots, these web pages are a solid starting point for your search. A particularly useful website for accessing plot information is www.theselfbuilddirectory.co.uk – which lists all of the plot-finding websites. Typically, Self Builders register with Plotfinder, which has access to the largest selection of sites for sale in the UK.
Once you have settled on your areas, spend time visiting them to get a feel for the location. Score the specific areas on aspects that matter to you – for example, is it important to be secluded, or near a town or village? Are there accessible commuter links to shops, restaurants and pubs, for example? The location of your Self Build is just as important as the design, so it is worth approaching these questions as early as possible to get the most out of your new home.
Contact People In The Know
Alternatively, registering your interest with estate and land agents in your favoured area can have a successful impact on your Self Build plot search. By staying in touch with local surveyors and architects, you might be able to receive information about new plots very early and as they become available.
Contacting people with experience in property auctions can be beneficial to finding the right plot for your Self Build too. There are a number of websites offering updates on forthcoming auctions – and consulting them is useful to gauge what type of plots go out to auction. Plots suitable for single houses are regularly sold at auction, and tend to be brownfield sites which suit renovation projects, or require demolition before new Self Builds can begin. Popular online auction sites include www.allsop.co.uk, and www.savills.co.uk.
Do It Yourself!
Taking a hands-on approach to finding a Self Build plot can be fun and quite motivating, but bear in mind it may be a little time-consuming. Exploring the area you would like to build in gives you the opportunity to look at potential plots that might not be available through mainstream channels. Looking into overgrown side gardens, disused garage blocks and other derelict properties can open up potential plot opportunities.
By using Ordnance Survey maps, or online services such as Google Maps, you can gain insight into boundaries. Calling or writing to locals with enquiries about parts of their land can often be a great way of unlocking a previously unavailable plot for your Self Build.
The more unorthodox methods for finding sites include putting ‘Land Wanted’ adverts in local newspapers – or appealing to locals with leaflets enquiring if they have extra land available suitable for a new home. Owners may never have realised they were sitting with a source of income for themselves until somebody states an interest – so always ask if you find a plot you think might work for your Self Build project!
Some real Self Build adventurers have even gone to their local helicopter flying school to hire a helicopter for an hour. It can be surprising how out of date Google Maps can be in some areas, so getting a good look at a large area in a helicopter can be a valuable investment at around £200 for an hour!
The Things To Remember
Due to the high number of protected areas across the UK, planning regulations have had an effect on the greenfield sites available to potential Self Builders. Many greenfield sites have already been picked up by housing developers, meaning that the plot options available to new Self Builders, in high-demand areas, tend to come in the form of previously developed brownfield sites.
When budgeting your Self Build project, the amount you set aside for your plot will be the largest single purchase you will make. Your budget can play a significant role in what type of plot you are able to acquire, meaning the design you perhaps envisaged might have to be compromised if you can’t afford a site to suit your original plan.
Finding a suitable and affordable plot can be difficult in certain areas, so looking into a group Self Build project on a larger plot can sometimes be a cheaper alternative to doing it alone.
Upon finding a plot you might like, have it properly surveyed by a fully qualified land surveyor, especially if the site does not have planning permission. It is always a good idea to have the boundaries checked, as doing so could save you from any costly neighbour disputes further down the line.
Finding the ideal plot for your dream Self Build takes time, and there can be several frustrations along the way – but by planning carefully and consulting the variety of options available, you might just find a Self Build plot for a bargain, or a site that captures your imagination. The perfect plot for you might be right under your nose – so get searching!
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