7 Top Tips for Finding a Self-Build Plot

1 February 2017 Fae Perkins, Marketing Manager
Image of a self built plot


With so many people wanting to self-build, finding a plot is the barrier preventing people from fulfilling their self-build dream.

We've compiled some of our top tips for finding a building plot. If you're still looking for more guidance, then why not attend our 'How to Find & Appraise a Plot' Course.

Where to begin

It makes sense for you to answer a few fundamental questions before you start your search for the perfect plot.

  • Which areas do you want to live in?
  • What's your budget for land?
  • How much garden would you want from the plot?
  • Are you looking to build a bungalow, two-storey house or 7 bedroom manor?
All these things will influence how and where to start looking.

It's important to think outside the box when plot-hunting. Though many of the traditional approaches, such as trawling plot search websites could be successful for some, here at the Self Build Academy we encourage you to try some more innovative methods in your search for a piece of land.

Narrow your search


Many people assume that the broader the area the more luck they'll have finding a plot. This couldn't be further from the truth. Whilst it is recommend to have a few areas in mind, it is in fact best to hone in on specific towns or villages and start your search from here.

Having a radius too wide may mean you miss plots and can't see the wood for the trees.


Take a walk or a drive

Spend time looking in and around towns or villages you'd like to build in. Identify infill plots, where a piece of land sits unused between two existing houses. Don't discount houses built on corner plots, these may have a large plot with potential for development and the owner may be looking to sell off a part of their garden.

Plots with an existing house on

Replacement Dwelling, Old bungalow replaced with new Potton self build home

Have you considered buying a plot which already has a house or bungalow on?

Demolition costs vary but £5,000-£15,000 would be typical. Almost half of self-builders today choose the replacement dwelling route. Not only does this open up a lot more opportunities for plots but also you are highly likely to gain planning consent if a dwelling is already present on the site. Typically you can rebuild something 30% bigger in size, often larger!

Take a look at the various 'before and after' projects Potton have worked on.

How to find a plot of land

Watch & Learn: Self Build expert and author David Snell, shares his top tips for finding land.

Send letters out

You can usually find local distribution companies who will drop letters or flyers on your behalf, from as little as £30 per thousand. Draft a simple letter stating that you're looking for a plot for a self-build and include your contact details. This is a successful marketing tactic for estage agents when they are in need of peoperties in your area - you never know what could come from it.

Place an advert in a magazine

Place an advert in a newspaper or village magazine. Try putting a small notice up in local shops or pubs. Local people know the area and people talk. If someone has a large garden or plot for sale you may well be the first person they call.

Approach the local council

Sites with overgrown gardens or even run-down properties could be potential self-build sites. Councils have to bring a derelict site back into use or offer it for sale. If a site has sat dormant for a while and is council owned then this could offer an opportunity!

Right to Build

Did you know that you have a right to build? The Self & Custom Build Act of 2015 forces councils to hold and maintain a register of people looking for a self-build plot. Find out more and register with your local council at the Self Build Portal website.

Register for Potton Custom Build Plots

We are always bringing new sites to market which have planning permission for Potton homes. These sites are all over the UK. Simply register your interest here and you will be the first to know when new sites are added.

People on a self-build course

Attend a one-day 'How to Find Land' course

Attend our one-day 'how to find land' masterclass which offers information on finding and appraising a potential plot. For dates and to book click here.

Take me to the course

Some traditional approaches

  • Land & Property Auctions are often good places to find plot or dilapidated houses. Well known auction houses include Allsop and Savills.
  • Infill plots or disused land may look narrow and uninviting but can often provide surprising opportunities for building your dream property in towns or cities. Every site is unque and the designs can be tailored to make the home truly yours.
  • Speak to professionals such as surveyors, architects and builders as they'll be in the know.
  • Visit estate agents and land agents in your area and register your interest with them.
Remember, do not purchase a plot without planning permission as you may not be able to build on it, you do not want to be left with an expensive field. It's recommended that your take advice from your solicitor prior to buying any property or piece of land.
Potton Milchester Show Home Lounge

Visit Our Self Build Show Centre

If you're thinking about self-building then a visit to our self build show centre in St Neots, Cambridgeshire is a must. Open Tues-Fri 9-5 and Saturday 10-4.

Take me to the Show Centre Page

Contact form

Potton Head Office

Eltisley Road

Great Gransden


SG19 3AR

441767 676400