How to Find the Perfect Plot for your self-build
For many, finding the perfect plot of land is the start of the home building process but it can be a daunting task for first-timers and those of us who are inexperienced. In reality, there are plenty of people out there ready to help and guide you through the process and the “perfect plot” is determined by only a few key factors. Over the years we’ve worked on loads of different projects on various plots of land so we thought we’d collect together some of the key points that, in our opinion, make the perfect self-build plot.
Set Your Budget
The first stage in the process, as with almost every aspect of building your own home, is to determine your budget. There are various rules of thumb to follow but for most self-build projects the plot of land will command between 20-40% of your total budget. This might seem like a substantial amount but, as we regularly hear from property experts, location is very important and plot prices will vary considerably depending on where in the world (or Northern Ireland if you’re a local reader…) you want to buy and build!
Talk to the Experts
We would recommend talking to experts regardless of your experience but if you’re a first-time buyer (and self-builder) then we would consider this an essential part of the process. Who are these experts? They could be estate agents, architects like us, solicitors, builders or developers. Each profession will have their own thoughts and opinions on what makes the perfect plot of land so talking to as many people as possible will give you a clearer, fuller picture of what exactly you should be looking for.
Analyse the Area
This is where most people actually begin the perfect plot process. As mentioned above, location is extremely important and impacts everything from your own happiness in your new home to the property value, should you ever want to sell in the future. Analysing what you can get, and where, will help you hone in on the perfect plot. Analysis of the surrounding area will also help shape your future project plans alongside your chosen architect. Surrounding buildings, or lack thereof, will most likely impact the design and style of your new home.
As a result of these impacts, you should carefully study your new potential neighbourhood and consider whether or not your self-build project will work there.
Identify Vehicle and Services Access
Another major factor in determining the perfect plot is to identify vehicle access via main roads and access to key services like water, gas and electric. Without proper vehicle access, the plot is unlikely to get planning permission, if it hasn’t already, as builders won’t have the access they need to carry out their work. Similarly, if the plot doesn’t have proper access to the services and amenities mentioned above you will have to budget for these features to be installed and connected to your future home. Awareness is key here. Identify exactly what the property needs or already has and then make an informed decision from there.
Identify Planning Permissions
Planning permission is a serious issue and we would highly recommend that you never purchase a plot of land under the assumption that planning permission will be granted. There are so many factors at play when undertaking your own self-build project that you should treat planning permission like a “black or white” issue. The plot of land in question either has planning permission or it hasn’t and if it hasn’t then we recommend waiting until everything is officially signed off or moving on to the next plot of land on your list.
Make Your Move
After everything has been thoroughly considered it’s time to make your move. It might seem strange, especially if you’re a first-time self-builder, to commit such a large amount of money to a plot of land and nothing else but this is the first stage of the self-build process. Talk to the experts in your world, make sure the plot ticks as many boxes as possible and then go for it. After that, you can look forward to the design process and eventually be laying those first foundations.