There’s no exact starting point for finding land for a custom or self build project. But make sure you have registered with the local authority where you wish to build. This is strongly advised.
Some other methods for plot hunting include:
- Networking (ask all your friends on Facebook to look out 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.
A word of warning
Don’t get conned into buying land by a property scam company. These organisations often advertise plots of land that will never realistically get planning permission (for example, in areas that are protected by the Green Belt etc).
If someone is selling a wonderful plot of land at an unbelievable price there’s got to be something wrong.
And if you buy a site like this – usually still costing tens of thousands of pounds – you’re very unlikely to ever recover your money. Be warned.
There are a number specialist ‘plot finding’ websites that you could investigate. Collectively, they list thousands of self build plots in the UK and offer a powerful way of searching and contacting listed vendors:
Additionally, there are other online sources that sometimes list self build plots, including PrimeLocation, Rightmove, Zoopla and Movehut.
Plus, there’s The Land Bank Partnership, a useful site which specialises in the sale of land with a planning consent or the potential for residential development in the West/South West of England.
You can also search an area for an untended garden or neglected building etc and then approach the owners.
If you have a defined search area buy yourself 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.
Other site finding techniques include:
- Offering a finder‘s fee to planning agents and architects.
- Checking at the local planning office for permissions granted but not started.
- Joining (or setting up) a local self build club or group where members share leads and help each other to hunt.
For a group build, you can also approach a parish council and ask them to suggest a suitable site. If your plans include affordable homes for local people in housing need, they should support your efforts. Or look through the list of public land for sale by the Homes and Communities Agency.
If you’d like to join a local self build group, HousePlanner has a list.
Finally, you could consider finding land via an auction.