Finding a building plot

Every year, around 13,000 people in the UK successfully self-build. There is a vast amount of building plots out there and a vast amount of opportunity. Not sure where to start? Our tips will help you identify the ideal plot for your self-build project.

How to find a building plot

Finding the ideal building plot may seem like a daunting task but it is the first and most important step to ensuring a successful self-build.

There are three key things to consider when it comes to finding a building plot:

  1. Planning permission – Obtaining planning permission can take months. As a general rule, it’s ideal to identify land that already has planning permission in place.
  2. Geographical location – A common mistake when choosing an area is searching too wide. By focusing on a specific geographical location, it will be much easier for you to find the right area.  
  3. Support – It’s important to consider the support of an architect beforehand – they are trained to look for opportunities, assess building land and uncover potential pitfalls.

Speak to the experts

Local estate agents may not sell much self-build land, but they are a hub of information with excellent contacts such as property developers and landowners.

Make contact with the owners of large estates in your target area. They could have buildings independent of the main residence with planning possibilities. Local surveyors and architects may also be among the first to know about new plots too.

Estate agents in house

Where to build?

Once you’re set on your preferred area, explore your potential new home town or village to identify suitable infill plots – spaces which are surrounded by other properties and which are suitable, therefore, for infilling.

Keep an open mind and explore areas off the beaten track – you could identify a derelict garage block or other overlooked site ripe for redevelopment.

No-one knows the area better than the locals so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself as a potential purchaser. Homeowners could have land they have never considered as a potential source of revenue.

Keep track of the local authorities online registry of planning permission applications. Applicants may not necessarily be looking to build but may be looking to sell the plot. Get in touch as they could be open to selling the land to you directly.

Be familiar with local planning designations such as wildlife conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks and green belt areas – they are likely to have special restrictions attached to them. Having this information to hand prior to choosing a building plot will make your self-build search much easier.

Use Google Earth to pinpoint any potential infill plots or larger gardens with room to build on

Finding the perfect plot may take time and effort but with a positive attitude and thorough research, the journey from page to plot can be easily achieved.

Sources of land

House with magnifying glass

Finding land can be about striking it lucky, but it can also be about reaching out  far and wide, using many different routes to find your perfect space. Before even thinking about finding the plot you need to think about location, budget and the amount of land you'll need for your home.

Once you've done this, the fun begins with so many potential sources of land. Local authorities, other self-builders, auctions, private sellers, specialist land finding agents and developers, community housing associations and specialist databases to name a few.

A good place to find other ideas is the self build portal from the National Custom and Self Build Association.

Step by step guide to finding a plot

Step by step guide to finding a self-build plot

Finding a building plot for self-build can seem like a daunting task, but you’re not alone, every self-builder is in the same shoes. Our step-by-step process will help make your journey from page to plot more seamless.