Land Buying Checklist

We left the UK intending to buy a livable house that needed some cosmetic work but decided, after seeing a few very terrible houses and being inspired by some local self-builders, that we should keep our options open, so now we’re also on the lookout for land.

There’s quite a lot of land for sale here but the prices vary as widly as the spaces themselves. We’ve seen small rocky plots, steeply terraced plots, flat plots, shady plots, and north, south, east and west facing plots! There are so many variations when it comes to land it’s quite mind boggling. It helps that we already have an idea of the kind of build we want and that James has put a lot of time and effort into understanding orientation, downloading some really useful iPad apps that enable us to check the sun’s rotation.

Each time we view a plot we learn something new. To try and keep it all together I’ve put together this checklist. It’s work in progress so I’ll update it as new things are added. I’ve been using it is the basis for a log, so we can rank each plot as we find it and also keep track of any open issues or questions. The log file spreadsheet along with this list can be downloaded from Google Drive.

Services – onsite or nearby?

  • Water
  • Elecriticity
  • Drainage
  • Telephone
Aspect (flat, slope facing away, etc.)
Orientation (important for undertanding sun exposure during summer vs. winter)
Light/shade (how exposed during the build, are you adding or removing trees to the plot?)
Suitability for:

  • Building within budget (e.g. simple, flat plot vs. rock face)
  • Achieving aims (growing food, landscaping, pool, etc.)
Achieving aims (growing food, landscaping, pool, etc.)
Noise pollution (road noise, dogs, etc.)
Friends (do you already know people locally?)
Schools & Colleges (quality, available space, etc.)
Location (countryside vs. town, etc.)
Access to town/supermarket, etc. (an easy drive, icy in winter, etc.)
Climate (check average temperatures, will climate impact choice of materials?)
Road (quality, condition in winter)

  • Is the land designated as constructible in the local plan (PLU)?
  • Does the land already have a CU? If so, which type and are there any restrictions in place?)*
Soil quality (type – clay, etc., are pesticide/herbicide residues likely?)
Proximity to agriculture/industry

Have I missed anything?

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