What Can I Buy?

If you are expecting to stumble across your dream plot then, unfortunately, you are going to have to think again.

What Can I Buy?

If you are expecting to stumble across your dream plot then unfortunately you are going to have to think again. If you have ambitions to build your dream home you will have to be flexible with your requirements and committed in your search.

Knowing the wide variety of possible sites available may well stop you from searching for years, or never finding a plot at all.

So here is our guide for all the different build locations.

Infill site:

An infill site would be considered a “traditional” plot for a self build. It can be defined as “the conversion of empty plots, normally within urban and sub-urban areas, into housing. The plots are found in gaps between housing along the street scene.”

These sites, found in an urban environment, make up a considerable percentage of the sites used for self build projects every year. In most cases if you are able to identify one of these plots then construction is normally allowed.

However it must be highlighted that just because there is a clear gap between housing in a built up area, it does not mean the plot is appropriate for development. It is crucial that when you identify one of these plots you should check the council’s policy on new housing, as well as the local development framework.

Garden plot:

A garden plot can allow the self builder to get an advantage over developers. The garden plot is exactly as the name would suggest, consisting of a portion of a current households land.

In most cases the plot is perfect for the one-off self build opportunity rather than a development of a number of houses. After a garden plot is sold, the seller will most likely continue to live in their current house. In this case the seller would prefer that the plot is used for a single dwelling built by an individual.

There are still a few constraints that must be adhered to before planning permission can be granted. These include ensuring both properties have ample gardens, there should be no invasion of neighbour’s privacy and the new build should be afforded with its own access whilst not inhibiting others access.

Demolition and rebuild:

Often it is not possible to find an undeveloped plot, with land in the south-east proving particularly difficult.

The demolition and rebuild sector of the market is more prevalent in rural regions, as it is much easier to acquire planning permission in these rural areas. It may also offer you the possibility of living in the house you plan on demolishing whilst you complete your self build, hence solving the accommodation problem during your build and also allowing you to live on site.

Most councils set out their own restrictions for demolition and rebuild, these should be investigated thoroughly as many have their own specific policies on scale and location of the new build. Councils hold tight restrictions on what percentage increase in size the new build can have in relation to the demolished house. This is particularly noticed in green belt areas.

Conversions and renovations:

Conversions from a variety of commercial buildings, for example shops, pubs or barns, can prove an affordable option for a unique home full of character.

Unfortunately in comparison to other potential plots they do throw up the most complications. In particular there can be substantial difficulty surrounding the conversion of buildings away from a commercial to residential use.

If residential use is granted, due to there being a case made that commercial use of the buildings is not viable, it is still necessary to ensure the exterior of the building and the history behind the structure is maintained. Although this can result in a spectacular home, it can also prove extremely costly.

Renovations can prove a simpler route than a conversion. They generally require little work to the outer shell of the building and hence there are few difficulties with planning permission.

The difficulty lies in being able to create the image of your dream home within a confined space. It is also problematic to create any equity gain from your build without undertaking a substantial amount of work.

Now you know there are so many different possible plots out there for you, read our section Where can I buy it to find out all the different possible routes you can take to find that plot you have been looking for.

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