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Building Plots for Sale

Building Plots for SaleAlthough it is very important to look out for a number of factors when purchasing perfect plot of land for building, few of the main sources you should consider are:

Estate Agents

Estate agents sell most building plots. Looking for a plot is no different from looking for a house to buy - you need to work out roughly what you want and register with a number of estate agents and keep in touch.

Buying At Auction

Many Plots are sold at auction. Held nationally, regionally and locally, you can find out about them through local advertising, on 'for sale' boards or auctioneer's websites.

Councils And Large Companies

Once in a while, a local council will sell off building plots, and it is worth contacting their estate departments. Similarly, large companies, particularly, utility companies (water, electricity, gas) have land holdings, portions of which get sold off from time to time.

Land finding Agencies

These are companies that maintain databases of land for sale, and to which you can register. They either send you details of suitable plots or you can search on their website(s). For a modest fee these services provide a wealth of information about plots coming on to the market, who is selling and the asking price.

Self Build Package Companies and Builder's merchants

Self-build package companies can provide help in various ways, from maintaining land lists to actively searching for suitable sites, Builder's Merchants often have self-build clubs and circulate lists of plots to their members. A local builders' merchant is also a good place to put 'Land Wanted' card.

Employing an Agent

A few estate agents specialize with building land and will look for plots of building land on your behalf. This is done in return for a commission of 1 or 2 percent, which you pay if you do but the building plot they introduced to you.

Using A Plot Hunter

The term Plot Hunter is a label used for consultants who advise on land finding, planning permission and site suitability. Few professionals offer this range of services because it combines the expertise of an estate agent, a planning consultant and a building surveyor/architect. If you need someone to help you analyse your plot, try to find a planning consultant who is also a chartered surveyor and therefore has the required breadth of knowledge. As with other professionals, a recommendation is often the best way to find a suitable land consultant.

Networking

You can engage your friends, colleagues and family in your search, either just by letting them know you are looking or by offering them a reward if they find you a plot. A sum of £500 or even £ 1,000 is a small percentage of the average self build budget, so well worth paying if it gets you what you want.

Finding land that is not on the market

There is nothing to stop you spotting and exploiting new opportunities for yourself. Builders and developers do this as a matter of routine, and you can use their methods. One option is to approach them direct. They often keep land banks and are, from time to time, prepared to sell off a single plot or a plot on a larger site they are developing. You might encourage them to part with some land by offering them an incentive, such as getting them involved in your build.

Seeking Professional Help

Professionals, such as architects, building surveyors and planning consultants, handle applications for new houses and so might be able to put you in touch with owners who are willing to sell. You could be lucky and do a deal direct with an owner; at the very least, you will be aware of an opportunity before it goes to an estate agent, putting you ahead of the market.

Using Council Records

All new houses require planning permission and there is nothing to stop you looking through lists of planning applications and approvals at the local council offices or on its website. There will be detailed maps showing where applications have been made and planning permission granted. You can see, for example, whether applications have been made on infill or back garden plots in a particular area. Records will show whether permission was granted. These records are public information, and include a description of what has been applied for, together with contact details for the owner or their professional representatives.

Looking on the Ground

You can take a more direct approach and go in search of land where a new house could be built or where there are buildings suitable for conversion. In towns and villages this might be a front, side or back garden, a small orchard or paddock. It could be parts of two or even more gardens. Also, look for derelict, unused sites or closed-down business premises.Driving, cycling or walking around gives you part of the picture, but it often helps to consult Ordnance Survey maps to see exactly where there are suitable spaces to build. Trees, hedges, walls, undergrowth and existing buildings can all disguise possible opportunities when you're just looking on the ground.

Demolution and rebuild opportunities

In the countryside, opportunities to create new-built homes are likely to be limited to demolition and rebuild. Old cottages and farmhouses, wooden bungalows and chalets are all suitable candidates for replacement. Beware, however, of derelict houses. If the building is too far gone, the council might not let you replace it. In some areas councils restrict the size of any replacement to something not much bigger than the original.

Potential Conversions

Farm buildings, barns, coach houses, mills, and even pubs, might be suitable for conversion. You might also come across something like an old scrap yard, where there is potential to give up the existing use in exchange for a new house.

-  James M

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