Why self-build?

How to get started

How to get started

The information in this guide was last updated on 26/02/2014

Before you can begin to build, you need to find a suitable plot of land. There are plots available all over the UK, although competition can be stiff, as you’re up against builders and developers as well as others doing self-build projects.

You’ll need to make sure the land has planning permission for the type of building you want to do. You’ll also need to make sure the land is fit to build on. Make sure it’s not contaminated – this is a legal term meaning there are substances that could harm people or protected species, or pollute water. Contaminated land could be very expensive to sort out. You should also check how boggy the land is, whether there are any underground or overhead cables, and how close utility services are.

To find your plot, try:

  • online land and property websites

If you’ve yet to decide on an area, websites can give you a view of what’s available country-wide

  • land and property auctions

Property and land plots are regularly auctioned by property companies – go along to an auction and find out what’s available in the area you want

  • specialist websites

There are dedicated sites for people looking to self-build. To get started, try Plotfinder.net, PlotSearch and PlotBrowser

  • enquiring about land that looks empty

Having sharp eyes and asking questions can unearth possible plots that might not be advertised for sale. If you see an area of land that looks disused, see if you can find out who owns it and ask if they’d consider selling.

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Tips for finding a plot

  • Be willing to compromiseyou might not get your dream plot, no matter how hard you look.
  • Go to the council in the area you’re interested in and see if there are any plots that already have planning permission that you could buy
  • If you’re out looking around, look for gaps behind and between houses
  • Beware of scams where plots are sold that are very unlikely to ever get planning permission.

Types of self-build home

Financing your self-build