Choosing a plot of land for your self-build home

Choosing a plot for your self-build home

Building your own home is an exciting endeavor; for some, it fulfils a life-long ambition. But before you can begin planning the layout and debating options for your dream kitchen, you must first address the matter of finding – and purchasing – the plot for your new home. 

Finding your plot is one of the most challenging aspects of any self build journey; so much so that hundreds of people never make it past the first step. Yet that needn’t be the case.

With MyPlot you can now find and purchase the ideal plot for your new home in several straightforward steps. Quick and easy, it’s an (almost!) painless process that we hope will help to encourage more people in the UK to build their own home. 

While finding the perfect parcel of land, whether in a smart suburb with a coffee shop culture, or a rural idyll with fields for miles and silent skies – or somewhere in between – there are several things to consider when making what is perhaps the most important decision of any self build project.

1

Location, location, location

The ease with which your home secures the requisite planning permission depends, to a large extent, on where it is located. Land close to or within a conservation area or an area of attractive landscape will, understandably, come with much more stringent conditions than a plot of land within a developed urban location.

Those purchasing a property with the intention of demolishing it and building on the land may find it more straightforward to secure planning permission, yet they will pay a premium for the privilege and will most likely find that it comes with more constraints.

2

Securing planning permission

You should think carefully about the time and effort you’re prepared to invest in securing planning permission when selecting your plot. In England, around 75% of planning applications are granted – if yours is refused, you can amend and resubmit the application or lodge an appeal with the planning inspectorate. Around 40% of those originally refused are later granted. It’s always preferable to discuss any plans with nearby homeowners before making an application, while taking expert advice.

A planning consultant will be able to advise you on navigating the rules to achieve your goals, while preventing discord with your new neighbours. Take a look at our specialist suppliers listings to find one that might be able to help.

3

Be clear on any constraints

Some plots will inevitably come with constraints – make sure you’ve asked all the necessary questions and are clear on any issues that may arise when it comes to submitting a planning application. Some of the most obvious questions to consider are whether the plot is large enough to accommodate the home you want, without making compromises, and whether access is available without impinging on private land.

While you might have your eye on a rural bolt-hole, what is the distance from your prospective home to power, utilities and sewerage?

Make sure that practical considerations are covered – think about natural light and availability of sunlight throughout the day, as well as the configuration of the land. A sloping site doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, but it can make construction more difficult and raise build costs. It may also affect the type of home you’re able to build.

4

Building a sound investment

While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a self build project, it’s important to give careful consideration to the future, ensuring that your time and money is being ploughed into a wise investment. Every road and area has a ceiling price – make sure that the build value of your home isn’t likely to exceed it. 

While you’ll want to enjoy the fruits of your labour – perhaps the intention is to build your “forever home” – the house will be sold eventually and, whether it’s yourselves or your children doing the selling, you’ll want to make sure that, as an asset, it performs well.

5

Be prepared for the unpredictable

With any self build project, you’re never free from the unexpected, but by considering all the practicalities you’ll reduce the chance of any nasty surprises.