How to find your ideal development land plot

Avoiding the common and costly pitfalls!

Starting out on your search

313291_5522It’s everyone’s dream to build their own home on a beautiful plot with a great aspect, in idyllic surroundings yet close enough to common amenities and commercial centres, to avoid being too isolated. A house that has everything you’ve ever needed; can grow with your family and your ever changing demands. Who wouldn’t want that?

But locating the perfect site that will grant you all of these wishes, not to mention planning consent is never easy. In fact, it can be a very bumpy ride if one is not prepared!

When seeking out development plots these days, it is easier said than done to land the best plot (excuse the pun!). The best land has a tendency to be snapped up and whipped away by greedy developers at the blink of an eye and in many cases, they get the inside track before the everyday single home builder would even have an inkling that a plot was even on the market. It’s a tough and cruel business.

According the recent statistics, around 70% of land that comes onto the market is brownfield – land that was either owned or occupied by a previous permanent structure that has become vacant, unused or derelict and is not considered a reserve or detrimental to the environment if redeveloped. The remaining 30% is greenbelt – untouched, undeveloped land that could be owned by a wide range of individuals or bodies that may prove a worthwhile investment if the circumstances are right.

So where do I find development land?

There’s a whole range of options out there now and with the internet becoming an everyday part of our lives, whether on our phones, smart devices or what are now considered old fashioned PCs, we have a great deal of power at our fingertips. Still, some of the more traditional routes are still worth considering but here’s a few for starters:

Estate Agents

Yes, believe it or not but estate agents still do have a good number of quality plots on the market. Although they are largely in the business of marketing residential or commercial dwellings; on the odd occasion some agents do come across the odd plot of land that is worth a look.

Even if the agent doesn’t have any land for sale at the time, it’s always worth leaving your details with them, explaining that you are in the market for a development plot and to consider you if they are offered any in future. You’d be surprised how much an approach like this can open doors.

Many estate agents are very well connected with property developers, building trades and investors so your intent to buy may just get heard by the right people just when you least expect it. So never write off this option when you start your search.

Land Agents

Land agents should naturally be your first point of contact. As they deal solely in land plots, with or without planning consent, they will be the best to advise and guide you on the processes. However, land agents are few and far between and aren’t as commonplace on the high street as their estate agent counterparts.

So if you do find one, make sure you register with them and tell them about your plans. We at Development Land for Sale would also be happy to work with you so please ensure you speak to us if you need an agent.


Once you’ve checked all of the normal boxes, then it’s time to get online!

There’s a whole minefield of sites out there offering land and plot search engines. Some require a registration process and in some instances, a fee to join to review plots on offer. When choosing which websites you want to use as your basis to search, remember to check their terms and conditions.

Some websites have some very draconian terms that require unfair and at times, inflated fees when buying land through their system. Most reputable sites should show contact details so that you can speak to an agent via phone or email and ask questions first. If you are asked to register and pay money before even being allowed any form of access to a website then think carefully about whether this is the site for you!

The best sites should include all the necessary basic details of the plots for sale and with just a simple registration form, then allow access to further details. Sites do this mostly to prevent time wasters as land plots are fought over hard and at times it can get ugly!

Private sellers like using land for sale sites as they often don’t have to pay to advertise. It is not uncommon for land buyers to pay fees to access land details, usually payable on purchase of the plot.


If done right, auctions can be a great place to grab a good plot of land. Usually advertised in local publications, auctioned land is often due to bankruptcy or repossession.

However, like any auction, it is easy to get lost in the moment and end up overbidding for something that is far less in value. Land auctions also carry a lot of risk as many are sold as seen which can lead to disaster. If you’re in any doubt, take someone along with you who has experience of land and property auctions otherwise, it might be best to avoid these scenarios to prevent making a huge financial mistake!

Take your time and choose wisely

Whichever route you decide to take, it is always best to have a set list of criteria that the land must meet. Land purchases can have just as many if not more complications that a property purchase due to covenants and planning consent.

Anyone in the market to buy land should always research local and national laws on any plans you have before taking the plunge as a purchase can lead to disaster. If you need advice on the processes of buying land and how best to find a perfect land plot, why not speak to our team?

With our experience and specialist knowledge, we are sure we can help you on the right path to a successful and stress free purchase!

Unwanted Land – What Can I Do With It?


Means it is possible to build on the land

Local councils consider the development envelope every 5 or 10 years,
if you think your land might be suitable for commercial or residential
development you should ask the council to include it in the LDP (local
development plan). Once it is included in the LDP it will be
attractive to builders as they know they can build on the land. They
will then have to convince the planners that their scheme will be acceptable.
The planning process what can I do once I have planning consent


How do I gain planning consent on my land?

There are several options

Once your land is in the LDP, you need to decide whether to build on
it yourself or sell it to a developer.  If you wish to build yourself
it is important to ask a planning consultant to help you.  If you
would rather sell to a developer you can use a Land Agent to help,
some of these offer a free service to land owners.


The planning process

What to do

If you wish to build yourself, find an established Planning Consultant
who will discuss your site with the local planners at the council and
then draw up and submit drawings for approval.


What is an Option Agreement?

My land has no planning consent

If you think your land has development potential a builder or investor
might be interested to get the planning consent, this will be done at
their expense. You will be asked to enter into a contract to sell the
land if suitable consent can be obtained. You will not be able to sell
the land to anyone else during the period of the contract.


Once planning consent has been granted how long does it last?

This varies from one council to another

Usually 3 or 5 years but once you have started to build the planning
consent does not lapse