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Making the most of a large plot

It's easy to forget in this day and age – when new homes are often crowded tightly together to make the most of the available space – but there was a time not so long ago when homes were built on some very generous plots.

Astute developers have spotted the opportunities that comes with acquiring a property on a large plot – often at auction. So here, we've looked at the options you might explore if you're wondering how to maximise your investment.

Extending

One obvious option is to extend the existing property and make such wholesale changes as for it to appear a new-build, creating a better balance between the size of the property and the size of the plot.

That's the approach taken by developer and Together customer Paul Whitlock. Among his recent projects was the extension of a bungalow into a bright and modern executive property, in a picturesque part of Norfolk.

It's worth factoring in the local market and ensuring what you have planned is in-keeping with other local properties. Is there a buyer for such a large property in that particular location? An estate agent can give you an indication of your development's potential value, which can help you set (or may possibly dictate) your budget.

Dividing

A phenomenon that's become more popular in recent years is the decision to create a 'garden plot' that can be developed as a separate property.

This may be particularly profitable, as the value of the original property is unlikely to be affected by the reduction in the size of its garden, provided the building plot doesn't rob too much of the space. Consider also that there are Capital Gains Tax exemptions available if you move into the new property as your home after developing it, even if it's subsequently sold on.

The new development can often 'piggy-back' onto the existing property's services, reducing development costs; but beware of covenants and potential access issues.

A great example is this beautiful architect-designed home, built in the corner of a five-bed Victorian home's two-acre garden.

Replacing

The maths of the project may mean the land is more valuable than the property on it, especially if the current property is particularly dilapidated. If that's the case, you could raze the existing property entirely, then use the newly-cleared space to build several small properties on it.

One example local to Together HQ is currently being developed on the site of the former Kingsway Hotel in Burnage, Manchester. The former pub, which sat on a large plot corner plot at the junction of two main roads, has recently been demolished; the developer had secured planning content for a combination of apartments and large family homes before breaking ground.

This may require a length planning application, so it's worth speaking with the local authority before getting too carried away with your plans.

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