Monday, 5 July 2010

Finding and buying land

Finding that perfect plot of land, one that ticks all the boxes can be one of the most challenging aspects of building a home. And once you’ve found a plot, there are many legal and financial considerations involved before you can actually buy it.

Top Tips For Finding & Buying Land:

1. Subscribe to an online land database – PlotSearch is currently the UK’s biggest, with more than 9,000 building opportunities. A lifetime subscription to the database costs just £40 – money well-spent!

2. Be proactive and get to know the area you want to live in – chat with the locals and let them know you are plot-hunting.

3. Search the local planning register for recent planning applications, particularly those for a single dwelling.

4. Draw up a legal and binding agreement with a plot-owner so that you don’t miss out.
Wherever possible, contact the owner of a plot, as opposed to the agent.

5. Work out the approximate value of a plot – remember they all have a ceiling value, so be sure that you are not going to over or under develop the plot.

6. Carry out some simple research of the neighbourhood and surrounding area before you buy, to make sure you get the most out of your plot and improve your chances of obtaining planning permission.

7. Just because a plot has no access to electricity that doesn’t make it less desirable – generators, solar, wind and water power are all good alternatives.

8. Lack of mains water on a plot can easily be solved through use of a bore hole (in 90% of the country), and rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling can also be used.

9. Geothermal sources are becoming increasingly popular, instead of mains gas; common alternatives also include oil and LPG.

10. Cheap alternatives are available if a plot has no access to a mains sewer, for example, the use of a septic tank or cesspool.

11. Self builders should buy land through private treaty, where the price is agreed between the parties; this includes auctions and tenders.

12. Always study all the details in the contracts before you commit to buying a plot.

13. At auctions, don’t get carried away - set your own set ceiling price, and don’t overbid.

14. Tender bids are not legally binding, so don’t expect that it will always result in a sale, even if you are the highest bidder.

15. If the plot deeds are missing, its essential to obtain an indemnity insurance policy.

16. Make sure that the plot has legal public access.

17. Check for ransom strips; if one is present, make sure all efforts are made to find the proper owner.

18. Never buy a plot of land without knowing if planning permission can be obtained.

19. Familiarise yourself with the planning types and conditions, and check the expiry date of consents on any plot you are thinking of purchasing.


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