Assessing Property and Plots Before Purchase: How to Get It Right

When looking to create your dream home, you need to assess the property or plot before pushing forward. You need to ensure that the property you are buying fits your needs and that you can complete the project within your set budget.

You can do various surveys and checks to ensure the viability of the property you are looking to buy; some that you can undertake yourself, and some that should be undertaken by an expert. Professional input is crucial for formal surveys and accompanying reports for planning application purposes. It is important to know what these surveys and checks are to know how they may affect your ambitions for a dream home.

London property

Assessing the Project

Gauging a site’s or building’s potential does not require any specialist knowledge, but it is important to know which issues could arise during the planning and planning application stage. Identifying these issues will help you spot any potential problems, issues that might lead to additional costs or that might cause a delay so you can adjust your timetable.

One key consideration is your neighbours and surroundings. Loss of privacy, properties that overlook others, blocking light and other issues associated with your plan are all things you need to keep in mind.

The general rule is that if any of your plans affect your neighbours, you should do everything you can to avoid them as they are likely to come up when the relevant authorities are looking at your site and planning application.


Access to Parking and Position of Obstacles

Another consideration is access and parking. Your site should have access to the highway and, if not, access to a road that leads to another major road.

There should also be enough space for turning and parking there. Look at the position of trees close to the property since they might fall and limit access and parking. Removing some of these trees might also affect your neighbours and wildlife on the site too.

Also, check for other obstacles such as telephone and electricity costs. These can severely limit what you can do with the property and might require a considerable monetary investment to get rid of.

electricity meter

Utilities and Services

Access to utilities and services is another consideration. If you are buying a property with an existing structure, these utilities and services will likely be available already. However, if you are buying a plot of land, you might want to consider how they reach your main house. Considerations such as whether they will need to cross other properties and how much that will cost should be at the top of your mind.

Other considerations include the condition of the soil and flood risk. The soil’s condition will dictate things like foundation costs, while property or land that is in an area at high risk of flooding will present lots of problems in the future.

Required Surveys

Once you do a preliminary assessment keeping the criteria discussed above in mind, you will be in a better position to determine whether you need formal surveys. In most cases, however, the relevant council will still require them. To know what the council requires of you, talk to someone from the council’s planning department to get pre-application advice.

Finding the best specialist for the surveys you need is often a matter of personal recommendation. Find someone who has completed a similar project and ask them to refer you to someone who provided them with great services.

If you are unable to do this, find a similar project on your local council’s website and find out who or what companies were involved in that project.

Understanding all this, let us now look at some studies you might be required to complete as part of your planning application.

garden tree

Tree Survey

Local authorities across the UK are required to check what impact a project will have on the vegetation and trees found on or close to a development site. A tree survey helps identify the trees that exist on a property, their status, species and location.

If any of the trees found on your property will affect the works to be done, you need a tree report, also called an arboricultural impact assessment. This assessment is done by an arboriculturist who completes the tree survey and reports whether the work will impact important tree species and specimens.

The tree survey and assessment will also provide a plan for building near trees, plus any protective measures you need to take during the construction process.

For more information on tree surveys, you can check out the linked guide provided by 24 Housing. There, you will also learn what an arboriculturist looks for when carrying out a survey, as well as the types of surveys there are.

24 Housing is a great resource for anyone looking to buy, build, renovate, plan or for other information about land and property. All their guides and information are provided by experts who have been in real estate and housing for decades.

Land and Structural Surveys

A land survey helps ensure that everything will fit on the plot when you start building. It also measures the slope of the land as well as obstacles, and it can save you a lot of time and money when you start building.

A structural survey is crucial for those looking to convert or renovate a structure on the plot they buy. The survey tells you everything you need to know and whether it is even possible to make it usable or habitable.

Such a survey can reveal issues that would lead to increased costs once the work begins. It is important to remember that you might not find every issue until the work begins.

Ecological Surveys

You need an ecological survey anywhere where a protected species might be found. Such species include bats, reptiles, and certain birds and rodents. You might need to plan these surveys at specific times of the year, with an example survey that fits this requirement being a bat survey.

It is important to assess the plot or property you are thinking of buying. Working closely with your local council can help you make the planning application process go smoothly, as can ensuring you do the right surveys to save both time and money.