We are new to the self-build world and are hoping to conquor it! We have found a plot but it is going to a closing date in two weeks (with the Scottish offers over system).

It is on at offers over £85k for 1 acre. We really want this plot and aren’t sure what we should go in with to try and guarantee our offer is accepted.

The plot also only has outlined planning permission. Is it silly to but a plot without detailed? We are concerned that if we put the offer in subject to detailed permission we might miss out if someone else offers the same but without this clause.

Also am I right in saying the best thing to do first is to get a survey done?

Thank you in advance for your advice!


  • nigel La'Borde

    Julia, As you say your entering for the first time an industry which can both reward and bite!
    Don’t spend money if you don’t need to, a surveyor can’t answer your question, you need a planning advisor but speak with your planning department and ask for their honest opinion and views regarding building on that plot, what would they accept (if anything) and ask what would they like to see as in design.
    Good luck.
    I have found the planning departments (in uk) are a minefield of controversy, but they also like to have their input and if they can see you will take their advise on board and work with them you have a greater chance of success.
    Express your urgency and be clear that you are looking for honest none committal advise, ask for on site meeting.

  • nigel La'Borde

    Further to my 1st answer, regarding costs etc, that is the same as the lottery, offer too much and you feel like kicking yourself, offer too little and spend a month saying ‘If Only’. Bids can be won by tendering odd amounts, not round figures, unless stated in the sales particulars it’s unlikely a vendor will hang about to see if you get planning and if you don’t you have inadvertently destroyed any chance of him/her selling as planning was refused.
    If your doing this as a business venture be sensible, if it’s for you and to live there for a period of time you can go the extra and benefit later, do your homework, ask the selling agent his opinion and ask other agents not involved in the sale. Homework! homework! It’s unlikely you will be told but ask how many interested parties are bidding, ask your questions indirectly ( have I got much competition) and go to the agents shop, talk to the youngest one (without being derogatory to any young agents) they might slip up and spill the beans.
    You could write a book on how to approach this one so good luck.

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