PLOTS: Land for Sale in Scotland
Finding the perfect building plot for your new timber framed house is a crucial and exciting part of your self-build journey. But it can also be stressful if this is your first time viewing a plot, as you must consider many important factors. For example, there are practical considerations such as what the access is like to the plot, and is the soil suitable for building a house, and whether existing services such as water and electricity are nearby. In addition, there are the legal aspects of a plot purchase, such as expired planning permissions, de-crofting requirements, boundary issues, etc.
To assist you in your search, we have created a Plot Buying Guide (below) highlighting specific factors you should know when buying plots of land for your R.HOUSE self-build project.
Our specialist team has considerable experience in supporting clients through selecting and evaluating plots to minimise stress and avoid future potential issues. We also work in partnership with landowners within the Skye and Lochalsh area who have plots of land for sale. Thus, we may know of suitable land yet to be advertised publicly.
We currently have some rural plots (below) that already have planning permission for an R.HOUSE home. Or, if you prefer something unique, we also offer Bespoke Design and Build Services to help you realise your vision.
PLOTS OF LAND FOR SALE: OUR PLOT BUYING GUIDE
The first step is locating available plots that meet your criteria regarding location, size, access to amenities and views. We offer ‘build-ready’ plots here through our website. Although the availability of plots can fluctuate, the information on our website is regularly updated, providing you with a valuable resource when assessing current availability and price.
If we don’t have a plot that meets your requirements and/or you would like to cast your search net wider, we recommend that you set up ‘alerts’ with estate agents in your chosen area and national property websites.
For Skye and Lochalsh Area and The Outer Isles, we recommend the following: Isle of Skye Estate Agency – Skye Property Centre – Remax Skye – Hebrides Property Finder.
For Scotland: Zoopla – HSPC – Prime Location – On The Market.
Most building plots are marketed with planning permission – usually called planning in principle. If a plot was previously granted planning permission in principle or full planning approval, which has lapsed, it is typically a straightforward exercise for R.HOUSE to apply for updated permission.
To help with financial planning, be aware that Residential Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (known as LBTT), which is the stamp duty payable on land purchases, may apply:
- Land purchase value up to £145,000.00 – LBTT is not applicable.
- Land purchases between £145,000.00 and £250,000.00 – LBTT applicable at the rate of 2% of the land purchase price.
The following are not always deal breakers if you have the funds to cover the additional work required, but they are important to bear in mind when considering your budget for your chosen plot.
Boggy or rocky ground will increase groundwork costs in materials, manpower and time. A boggy site needs digging out and infilling with hard core, and rocks must be broken up and any surplus removed.
A long and/or steep access track can hinder the delivery and erection of the R.HOUSE manufactured panels as we use a large crane. On steep plots, you must create a flat area for the house construction, parking and turning circle. Extra digging, levelling and filling will add to your costs.
The closer the proposed house site is to existing service connections, the easier and thus less expensive it is to connect to them. The length of your site access will also increase costs in two areas: connection by the service provider and the additional labour required to dig any necessary trench.
Great, you’ve found a plot that meets your requirements and want to proceed to the next stage. We can support you with this.
We offer an initial desktop survey of the site (from photographs of the site, GPS coordinates and any past or present planning documents and associated planning reference numbers) and provide you with our professional feedback regarding the feasibility of obtaining planning permission for the site. We will also highlight anything that could affect the initial site preparation and foundations stages, e.g., long access roads, steep gradients, protected wildlife species, protected trees – as well as access constraints that could impact the construction stages, e.g., sufficient room for our lorry/trailer and crane to access and manoeuvre on the plot.
We can include a site visit to assess ground conditions. There is a charge for this service which is refunded if you choose to sign up for an R.HOUSE build on your site.
Feasibility Study for Complicated Sites
For more complicated sites, such as those on steep gradients or if you plan to build several buildings or outbuildings on your plot, we offer a more detailed feasibility study which we submit to the appropriate planning department. The study demonstrates:
- the proposed position of the building(s) and the materials to be used on the external walls and roof. We aim to demonstrate that the building design respects the landscape and will fit in with its surroundings.
- the best options for the position of the building(s) in relation to the plot’s boundary, nearby roads, neighbouring properties, trees, and any water sources such as streams, rivers or standing water.
There is a charge for this service, which is non-refundable as it is beyond the R.HOUSE pricing structure.
We recommend obtaining quotes for service connections from providers before purchasing your plot. It involves submitting basic information about the plot location, the size of the proposed property and details on its heating source, energy consumption and the foul water system.
Croft Land in the Highlands of Scotland
Crofting is a system of agricultural landholding unique to Scotland and an integral part of life in the Highlands & Islands. If you are interested in buying an active croft, then this is regulated by the Crofting Commission. Crofters have responsibilities defined in legislation which include:
• A duty to be resident on or within 32 kilometres of their croft
• A duty not to neglect their croft
• A duty to cultivate and maintain their croft or to put it to another purposeful use
Croft land must first be de-crofted for building, i.e., the land use changed. It is important to know early if the plot you have selected is de-crofted as de-crofting is complex and can take a considerable amount of time (as much as 2 to 3 years). We recommend obtaining written confirmation of the de-crofting before progressing too far with the plot purchase.
Appointing a Solicitor
Once you have found the perfect plot, you must instruct a Scottish conveyancer/solicitor to purchase the land. Only qualified Scottish solicitors can be appointed as the legal conveyancing process differs from that undertaken in England, Wales and Ireland.
We can recommend local solicitor firms to you should you wish us to do so. Your appointed solicitor will check essential requirements such as de-crofting, access rights, etc.
Proposed service connections to a plot often need to pass through neighbouring land. Your solicitor must arrange a wayleave, a formal legal agreement between the neighbouring landowner and service provider, allowing services such as water and telecoms to pass through. The landowner can refuse the wayleave request as they are not obligated to allow access - another reason we recommend researching the service connections early.
It is worth noting that Scottish and Southern Energy Networks, which provide the electricity connections in Scotland, arrange wayleaves directly with landowners. Hence, this is outside of your solicitor’s remit.
It is usual for building plots to be marketed with either active planning permission, planning in principle or lapsed planning permission. If a plot has previously had planning permission granted, it is typically relatively straightforward for R. HOUSE to apply for new permission.
Generally, solicitors will recommend that any offer you place on a plot without planning permission is ‘subject to planning’, meaning that you are not legally obligated to conclude the plot purchase if planning permission is not forthcoming.
We have considerable experience dealing with planning departments and understand their evaluation criteria. We can advise you on the likelihood of a particular plot gaining planning approval. In some cases, we recommend submitting a pre-planning application to reduce the risks of not granting planning.
Once you have purchased your plot or your offer has been accepted (subject to planning), and you have decided to purchase an R.HOUSE sustainable home, we can prepare your R. HOUSE Budget Quote as part of our Self-Build Process.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss any aspect of your plot search.