Buying land for development of commercial properties can be a very lucrative investment. But, it is also one that carries a lot of risks and as such needs to be well-researched prior to purchase. The wrong plot of land can slow down your development plans by months, if not years.
Losing the Plot
It’s something that will be said again and again in the property world, but the location of your plot is the key element for success. Which can make the process of finding said plot very difficult. There is plenty of land for sale, but not all of it has value as a commercial development opportunity.
A field in the middle of nowhere may be cheap, for example, but it would hardly be worth developing as a retail park if it was hard to access. Therefore, having an experienced development specialist on your side can be vital in order to help you ascertain the value of a site for your development plans.
Even when you do find the right location, before you instruct your solicitor there are a few more considerations to make.
Site Access & Roads
Buying the perfect plot of land, completing on it, to only then discover it has restricted access can be extremely disheartening. Especially if the right of way is under question, as just because one property has been granted right of way it does not mean that any subsequent buildings will also have the same right.
If you need to build roads in order to fully access your development, then entering into an agreement with the Highways Authority will also be necessary. This involves a satisfactory proposal that the roads you build are at a certain standard so that they will eventually adopt them (take responsibility for their maintenance). It is an extra cost to consider before buying a plot of land.
This is a consideration which can prevent you from buying a property in the first place, so should always be investigated prior to purchase.
Drainage & Sewers
This is a similar issue to building roads, as constructing sewers also means ensuring that the relevant water board takes over maintenance after construction. Plans for sewers need to be recorded for future use as a result.
Drainage is particularly important during the building of your project, as a waterlogged site could ruin any progress. So, ensuring that adequate drainage will also be available should be a priority before making a purchase.
If the land is on a floodplain it is also important to discover that fact beforehand, as it could be disastrous during (especially in light of the problems with flooding in recent years). Extra measures will need to be taken or the plot of land avoided altogether.
Having clear boundaries prior to a build is important, as many people will object to where you build a fence if it encroaches on what they consider to be part of their property. Clearly defined boundaries allow you to build without fear of such reproach.
This is important to discover before purchase, as the boundary may be less than you expect and not be suitable for your property. It is worth doing this prior to buying, as the cost can either be covered by the seller or deducted from the price of the plot.
The development of a property depends largely on whether or not you will be able to gain the appropriate planning consent. This is your responsibility and can take some time to finalise.
You can apply for permission before deciding to buy a piece of land, so don’t buy ahead without knowing if your plans will be approved or not. If you do this, then a number of parties will need to be informed:
- The owner or part owners.
- Leaseholders with several years remaining on their lease.
- Agricultural tenants.
Planning consent is granted by a committee, so it may be advantageous to attend such events in order to see whether or not permission will be granted.
Overall, there is a lot to consider before buying a plot of land to develop. It should not be an investment entered into lightly, nor without the help of an experienced team of development specialists.
For expert advice, don’t hesitate to contact the team direct or call on 0161 429 1669.