How to analyse a plot for sale checklist


Checklist provided by


Find out as much about the local planning system as possible – including what they have approved in the past. 
Be aware small communities with strong Parish Councils can be a hindrance or a help.

Know where the ‘blackspots’ of an area are which could cause costs to escalate for example:

  • Flooding

  • Potential for subsidence from mining

  • An old water course 

  • An old wood can increase foundation costs even if removed 20 years ago


Do you want a plot which is ‘ready to go’:

  • With a minimum of outline planning permission 

  • Includes services such as gas, water and electrics 

  • Has access already approved via a track or road 

  Ideally, don’t buy or try to build on a plot unless it has a minimum of outline planning permission - even developers don’t buy ‘green land’ without it being
‘subject to securing planning’.
  Employ a specialist land surveyor who will do some test holes on the plot at appropriate locations.
  Visit online plot portals such as Plotbrowser to find out how many plots are available, one county may have more choice than another.
Find the cheapest and most expensive plot and work out the average price per square metre (or foot), then work out why they are being sold at different levels, for example is it planning approval or location?
Once you have found one or more plots to suit your needs, employ a RICs surveyor to help you identify the likely value of the property once it’s been built.

Add up all the costs you will incur including:

  • Plot costs

  • Architect and design costs 

  • Legal and surveying fees

  • Professional fees

  • Building costs 

  • Mortgage and insurance fees

Use this information to help you know whether the price you pay for the land and build is more or less than the final value of the property/land.
Always assume the lower property sales values and higher build costs, this way your numbers are more likely to stack up.
If you have several plot opportunities compare and contrast which ones deliver the best value for money versus which location you prefer.


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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