Find­ing land

Find­ing land is the first and big­gest hur­dle – and it de­ters many prospec­tive self-builders. Un­less you are lucky enough to own land, find­ing a suit­able plot from scratch is likely to take time and ef­fort. Not only are the most pop­u­lar ar­eas highly de­velo

The Oban Times - - SELF BUILD & RENOVATION -

A re­cent sur­vey by the Na­tional Cus­tom and Self­Build As­so­ci­a­tion (NaCSBA) re­vealed the tough­est ob­sta­cles faced by self-build hope­fuls. A stag­ger­ing 56 per cent claimed find­ing an af­ford­able/suit­able site with which to build their own home was by far the big­gest chal­lenge they faced. Mike Hard­wick, NaCSBA CEO, said, ‘ These fig­ures make in­ter­est­ing read­ing and echo the views of self and cus­tom builders that I meet. The de­mand for land is still well above the avail­able sup­ply and so many of our sup­port­ers are ea­ger to start their projects in the next cou­ple of years but are held back by this crit­i­cal short­fall.’ Start­ing a self-build can be very easy if you or your fam­ily al­ready own a suit­able piece of land, or it may take years of ef­fort if you have geo­graph­i­cal or bud­getary con­straints. Once you have worked out what bud­get you have avail­able, you can find out about plots of land for sale which may be suit­able for self build from a num­ber of sources. There are sev­eral web­sites that al­low you to search for de­tails of plots for sale, al­though for some of these you need to pay a fee for mem­ber­ship. A range of web­sites are avail­able, such as Build­store-Plot­search, UK Land Di­rec­tory Ltd or You can also look around for other po­ten­tial sites in the area you are in­ter­ested in by: search­ing the Scot­tish Prop­erty web­site for suit­able pub­lic sec­tor land for sale; check­ing your lo­cal So­lic­i­tors Prop­erty Cen­tre or es­tate agents; look­ing out for ‘For Sale’ signs; ap­proach­ing lo­cal pri­vate de­vel­op­ers with un­de­vel­oped or partly de­vel­oped land to see if they would con­sider sell­ing you a plot; see­ing if there are any com­mu­nity trusts in the area which may have land avail­able for self builders, es­pe­cially if you want to build in a ru­ral area; con­sid­er­ing sites with a derelict prop­erty which could be de­mol­ished or sub­stan­tially ren­o­vated. See es­tate agents or the Build­ings at Risk Reg­is­ter to find pos­si­ble prop­er­ties. Some other meth­ods for plot hunt­ing in­clude net­work­ing (ask all your friends on Face­book to look out for one for you, for ex­am­ple); con­tact­ing es­tate agents and landown­ers, check­ing out auc­tion houses, hir­ing agents to search for you, advertising in the lo­cal press, in pubs and shops, and with mo­bile work­ers such as taxi driv­ers, mo­bile gar­den­ers and hair­dressers. You can also search an area for an un­tended gar­den or ne­glected build­ing, and then ap­proach the own­ers. If you have a de­fined search area, buy a high res­o­lu­tion Ord­nance Sur­vey map as this can some­times help you iden­tify quirky po­ten­tial in­fill sites that are not vis­i­ble from the main roads. Google Earth can some­times be use­ful for this too.

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