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05 Jul 2019

Posted in:  First Time Buyer and Self Builder

The home buyer’s treasure map for finding a site in Ireland

If you want to build your own home, you’re going to need a plot of land. And yes, it’s obvious, but you may be wondering how you’re going to acquire said plot of land and how much it might be likely to cost you.

If you’re lucky, you might be from a family who owns their own land, and your parents may gift you a plot. If so, thank them profusely and take a moment to reflect on how fortunate you are.

However, most people aren’t quite so lucky – so they’ll need to buy a plot on the open market.

Which begs the question: where do you start?

Start with an online search

Just like buying a house or apartment, you can turn to any online property sales sites (Daft.ie and myhome.ie as well as individual estate agency sites). For example, at the time of writing (May, 2019), a total of 4,406 sites were available for purchase across Ireland on Daft, ranging in price from €5,000 for a site in Kilkee in Co. Clare to over 13 acres for €4.5 million in Delgany, Co. Wicklow.

Another way to check for sites is in the local newspaper in the area you’re planning to build in. Local newspapers carry details of estate sales as well as individual sites or plots for sale. It’s particularly useful in rural areas so local media is definitely one way to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening.

Check what your local authority has planned

Another good shout is to check with the local council about property disposals. This is where councils sell off properties that are no longer of use to them. Expect to see a range of houses, offices, and sites – so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Councils and local authorities are also key components of the government’s overall plan for housing in Ireland over the next decade. Under the terms of the plan, which is known as Rebuilding Ireland, the government publishes a map of land that is available for development.

While this map concentrates on big development opportunities (sites where hundreds if not thousands of houses can be built), it will eventually have individual sites on it. For now, it’s a handy reference point all the same.

For example, if you were a buyer in Inchicore in Dublin 8, you could see that there are plans in place to build at least 480 new homes in the area – so keep that in mind when viewing properties or deciding to make a bid.

What to do when you find a site

Whether you inherit or buy a site, the next steps are the same for everybody. It’s not just a case of finding a plot you like and building away; you now need to secure planning permission before you can do anything.

Firstly, you must place an advertisement in a local newspaper stating your intentions for the site. Within two weeks of this advertisement, you must submit your planning application to the local authority.

Citizen’s Information recommends that you check with your local authority for advice on compiling your planning application along with the application fee. Once you’ve made the application, the local authority has two months to decide on whether to grant planning permission or not. There are three possible results of a planning application: permission granted, permission refused or permission granted under certain conditions.

In urban areas, planners are concerned with whether the site is accessible by car and whether the site is big enough to fit a house and comfortably provide areas for parking and a garden. The design must also not, “unduly impact the amenity of neighbouring properties.”

In rural areas, planners are concerned with whether the site is accessible by road, if it can be serviced by an on-site waste water treatment system (a septic tank system) and whether the property will have a significant visual impact on the surrounding area.

These questions can all be answered by your architect or planning consultant, so if you have any queries about the plot, make sure you’re prepared and have it all sorted before you submit your application.

Presuming everything is okay, your application will be passed and it’ll be time to get down to the fun part: building your ideal home.

Want to find out more about building your own home?

Regardless of where you’re building, your first step is booking a meeting with an EBS Mortgage Master. They will guide you through every step of the process and help you figure out exactly what suits your needs.

EBS d.a.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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