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Most people who want to build their own home find that the hardest part of the self-build process is finding a suitable site...

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Top tips to help you find a self-build plot


The Homebuilding & Renovating magazine market research report for Q2 2011 shows that the self-build market continues to represent 30 per cent of all new detached housing completions and 10 per cent of all new housing completions in the UK.

Most people who want to build their own home find that the hardest part of the self-build process is finding a suitable site. Careful research about the area needs to be conducted before embarking on the search process to ensure you find a suitable plot, says Jason Orme, spokesperson for The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, Harrogate.



Orme outlines five ways to make your plot search easier:

1. Keep an open mind



Before you start, think carefully about what you really need and what you could do without. Often people fail to purchase a plot because they will not compromise. Keeping an open mind will ensure you see more potential plots, one of which may inspire you.

2. Know your area



It is important to identify an area that is broad enough to give you a fair chance, but also small enough to be able to find your ideal plot. Resources like Google maps can also be used to identify your own sites in these areas.

3. Use land listing agencies



Specialist agencies such as www.plotfinder.net collect information from other estate agents and send lists of land out to subscribers, which offer a good range of sites in different areas. They are a useful starting point, and will help you identify those agents who are active in selling land in your target areas. It will also give you an idea of how much land is coming on to the market, and at what sort of price.

4. Study the local plan



Local planning departments, in association with national governments and county councils, prepare maps and plans of their area that identify which locations are suitable for new development, and the rules that will be used to govern infill sites. This information is published in the form of the Local Plan. It is a useful document, giving the background to planning policy, and can be browsed at the reception of the planning department.

5. Visit planning departments



Have you wondered why builders seem to hear about land, and purchase it, before it gets on the market? One reason is that they subscribe to data-collection companies that gather information on current planning applications and send out lists of good leads. If anyone wishes to get planning approval to build on a piece of land, they must submit an application, which then becomes a matter of public record. This means you can walk into a planning department and ask to see the Planning Register. All planning applications are publicised online at the local authoritys planning department websites as well.

Talk to experts such as Michael Holmes (editor-in-chief of Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine and presenter of I Own Britains Best Home), David Snell (consultant at the BBC and the Daily Telegraphs bricks and mortar expert), Mark Brinkley (author of the House Builders Bible), Tim Pullen (eco expert at Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine) and Sally Tagg (planning expert at Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine) at the Homebuilding & Renovating Show (4-6 November, Harrogate International Centre) who will help guide your project from start to finish.

Share their real life experience and hear how to avoid the common pitfalls of self-build and renovation projects. Take this as an opportunity to get the latest tips on design, planning and building regulations, budgeting and energy efficiency. Visitors can also meet specialist experts from over 250 companies, see thousands of products and services and attend free daily seminars and master classes.

For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk/harrogate or call the ticket hotline on 0844 581 1377.

Tickets are 5 in advance or 8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

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