The value of your land

September . 2011

We generally take it for granted that a house will have a garden, but they come in all shapes and sizes and are often totally disfunctional.

There may have been historical land swaps and deals between neighbours causing gardens to become misshapen and occasionally detached from the house. Modern houses, too, are often built on very pinched plots because the developer sees more value in the square footage of the building, rather than its land. This might result in your outside space becoming anything but a selling point.

The value of land is generally dependent on its use and whether it ‘marries’ with a property. By and large, the smaller the piece of land, the more valuable it will be pro rata. Farmland has its own market (which has reached record highs recently) and amenity land is always sought after. Pony paddocks can realize exceptional prices, but the most valuable land is generally that which is attached to our houses.

Value in property is closely related to balance; not only of accommodation, but also of the house to plot ratio. A good sized house in a generous garden will always be a winner, while a large house in a small plot will struggle because the market that it’s trying to attract is greatly diminished. A small house in a large plot, however, will be more attractive to the market because it has space around it and might have scope to extend.

Negotiating with neighbours to increase the size of your plot is often helped along with a bottle of wine and a gentle chat. You should always seek professional advice, however, because landing on a mutually acceptable figure is rarely easy; it essentially boils down to the marriage value to your property and the detraction in value to your neighbour’s, but there can be grey areas.

We are currently advising two of our Clients to explore the potential of acquiring neighbouring land because it would have a huge impact on the sale of their houses. Both of them have would have the scope not only to substantially increase the size of their existing plot, but also to attract those who wish to keep ponies and horses right next to their properties. If they are successful in either buying the land or making it available by separate negotiation, they will be able to open up the market to a whole new tranche of buyers.

So think carefully about what you currently have and what you might gain following a bottle of wine and a gentle chat…it could make a big difference to the value of your property and its saleability.

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