How To Find Land For Your Self Build

how to find land for self build

When you decide you want to self build, one of the first steps is finding land. However, finding land for your self build is not always an easy feat to accomplish.

In 2020, around 15,000 homes were self built by individuals around the UK. It’s an increasingly popular way to obtain your forever home – one that is perfect for you in every way.

While self building as a method is constantly gaining traction, many people don’t know how to find land for their self build. We’ll be outlining some of the ways you can find land if you are looking to self build.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

How To Find Land For Your Self Build

When you’re seeking out land for your self build, the first thing you should do is register with your local authorities. Specifically, you need to get yourself on the “Right to Build” register.

Local authorities have a legal obligation to keep track of the demand for self build plots in their area. However, if they don’t know that you are looking for land, they won’t be able to help you.

Aside from getting on the “Right to Build” register, there are various other ways you can find land for your self build.

1. Search on the Local Authority Website

If you’re the type who likes to take matters into your own hands, this is a great active approach to finding a good plot for your self build.

Your local authority’s website will likely have planning applications in progress. You can check who is listing their plot on the website, and reach out to them before their plot has even been placed on the market.

2. Look for Buildings

Many people don’t realise this, but a vast number of self builds are not created on empty sites. Many are situated on an area that previously contained a permanent or temporary structure. In fact, nearly half of self builders choose a plot with an existing building for their self build project.

Next time you’re taking a walk or a drive through the neighbourhood of your choice, don’t just look for empty plots – keep an eye out for houses, bungalows, or other structures that may be up for sale or no longer in use.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you will need to set aside money for the demolition costs – but on the flip side, you are far more likely to receive planning permission if there is already a building on site.

3. Learn to Value a Plot

If you’re planning to get land for self-building, it’s important that you learn how to value a plot so you don’t fall victim to swindlers.

You can value a plot of land by reference to what could potentially be built on it. To calculate the value of the land, get the land cost, the build cost, and a 20% to 30% margin. All of these elements should add up to the end value of the house that can be built upon it.

Alternatively, you can start from the end value of the house and use that to calculate the other elements of the equation.

There are other ways to value plots of land too. What’s important is that you do so before making a purchase.

4. Don’t Get Carried Away

When planning a self-build, it’s easy to get carried away. After all, a well-designed self build project is the house of your dreams – the best way to guarantee a forever home that you will love.

Getting excited is very understandable. However, if you want to start your project on the right foot, you need to stay focused.

If you’re looking for land, you need to ensure that the plots you consider are in line with local planning policies. Resist the urge to a bargain plot of land thinking that “it should get planning permission eventually”, even if it’s perfect in every way.

5. Be Careful of Scams

While it’s important to stay focused on finding land for your self build, it’s also equally important to watch out for scams.

If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. For instance, if a plot of land on the market is valued much cheaper than the average in its location, you need to be careful.

Chances are, there’s no chance of that land getting planning permission – or there is something else wrong with it. Be wary of these deals.

6. Talk to the Locals

Although we live in a digital age, word-of-mouth advertising is still very powerful. Don’t be afraid to take a walk or drive into the neighborhood of your choice and speak to the locals about potential land for sale. You never know, you just might run into someone who was planning on listing their plot on the local authority’s website or perhaps just contemplating putting it up for sale.

To be more realistic, the chances of this happening are quite slim. However, the mere act of making your intentions known has a high chance of yielding results.

Perhaps you have found a piece of land that you want to buy. You could approach the owner of the property directly or send them a letter stating your intentions as a potential buyer.

Even if you don’t get a response right away, you have succeeded in planting yourself at the top of their list should they decide to sell their land in the future. Alternatively, if there is no chance of them selling to you, they may know someone else who plans on selling their land and could recommend you to them.

You can always get help from local distribution companies who drop flyers through letterboxes on your behalf. This is a strategy that has worked many times in the past.


There are plenty of ways to find land for a self build. If you are determined enough, you can always get land for your self-build project. But bear in mind that when you do find the plot you’ve been looking for, there might be some additional costs you might have to meet. For instance, you might be required to pay some legal fees, stamp duties, and payments to local authorities.

Feeling confused about all of your options? We can help with every step of your journey, from concept to completion. Contact us today for help with your self build.

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