Buying a property with land

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A property with land

Purchasing a property with land can be an exciting prospect, offering a wealth of opportunities and potential for various uses. However, it’s crucial to understand the legal and practical implications of owning land, as well as the different types of properties and their associated characteristics.

This article aims to provide valuable insights into the world of properties with land, covering topics such as land registries, use classes, permitted development, outbuildings, access, woodlands, and mixed-use properties.

What does a property with land mean in terms of the land registry?

When it comes to the land registry, a property with land refers to a legal entity that encompasses both the physical structure (the building or dwelling) and the surrounding land or grounds. The land registry is a government-maintained record of property ownership and boundaries, and it plays a vital role in providing legal documentation and evidence of ownership for properties with land.

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In the land registry, properties with land are typically registered with precise details, including the property’s address, the extent of the land boundaries (often depicted on a plan), and any associated rights or restrictions related to the land. This official record serves as a crucial reference point for various legal matters, such as property transactions, boundary disputes, and land use permissions.

What is use class?

The concept of use class is a legal classification system that determines the permitted uses of a property or land. Use classes are established by local planning authorities and are designed to regulate and control the types of activities that can take place within a particular area or property.

Use classes categorise properties based on their intended purpose, such as residential, commercial, industrial, or agricultural. Each use class has specific guidelines and restrictions that govern the types of activities allowed, the potential for expansion or changes, and any necessary planning permissions required for alterations or new developments.

Understanding the use class of a property with land is crucial, as it impacts the possibilities for future development, renovation, or changes in usage. Failure to comply with the designated use class can result in legal consequences and potential enforcement actions by the local planning authorities.

What are the different types of property with land?

Properties with land can be categorised into various types based on their intended use, size, and characteristics. Here are some common types:

Residential properties with land: These include single-family homes, multi-family dwellings, or residential estates with substantial land areas.

Agricultural properties with land: Farms, ranches, and other agricultural holdings that include land for cultivation, livestock, or related activities.
Commercial properties with land: Businesses, retail establishments, or office complexes that occupy a building and have associated land for parking, outdoor spaces, or future expansion.

Industrial properties with land: Manufacturing facilities, warehouses, or other industrial operations that require land for their operations, storage, or future growth.

Mixed-use properties with land: Properties that combine multiple uses, such as residential and commercial or agricultural and residential, within the same land area.

Permitted Development

When owning a property with land, it’s essential to understand the concept of permitted development. Permitted development refers to certain types of building works or alterations that can be carried out without the need for full planning permission from the local authority.

However, it’s crucial to note that permitted development rights are subject to specific limitations and conditions, which vary depending on the type of property, its location, and the intended changes.

In the context of properties with land, permitted development rights often allow for the construction of certain outbuildings, extensions, or alterations within specified size limits and adhering to specific criteria. These rights can enable homeowners or landowners to make changes to their properties without going through the formal planning application process, which can save time and resources.

A house with extra land attached

It’s important to familiarise yourself with the permitted development regulations in your area and consult with the local planning authority or seek professional advice before undertaking any building works or alterations. Failure to comply with permitted development rules can result in enforcement actions and potential legal consequences.


Outbuildings are additional structures or buildings that are separate from the main property and are typically located within the land area. These can include garages, sheds, greenhouses, or other ancillary buildings designed for various purposes, such as storage, hobby spaces, or recreational activities.

Get planning permission for building outbuildings

When purchasing a property with land, it’s essential to assess the existing outbuildings and consider their condition, potential uses, and any necessary maintenance or renovations. Additionally, if you plan to construct new buildings, it’s crucial to understand the permitted development rights and any required planning permissions or building regulations.

Outbuildings can enhance the functionality and value of a property with land, providing additional space for hobbies, workshops, or storage. However, it’s important to ensure that any outbuildings comply with local regulations and do not encroach on neighbouring properties or cause any nuisance or disturbance.

Access and tracks

Properties with land often come with access routes, tracks, or driveways that connect the property to the public road or highway. These access points are essential for the practical use and enjoyment of the land, as they facilitate the movement of vehicles, pedestrians, and any necessary equipment or machinery.

When purchasing a property with land, it’s crucial to understand the legal rights and responsibilities associated with the access routes or tracks. This includes ensuring that you have the necessary legal rights of way or easements to use the access routes, as well as understanding any obligations for maintenance or shared responsibilities with neighbouring properties.

A house on a farm

Additionally, the condition and suitability of the access tracks should be carefully evaluated, as they may require improvements, resurfacing, or maintenance to ensure safe and convenient access to the property.

In some cases, there may be restrictions or limitations on the types of vehicles or activities allowed on the access routes, which should be considered when planning the use of the land.


If the property with land includes woodland or forested areas, it presents unique opportunities and considerations. Owning woodland can be both a rewarding and challenging experience, as it requires responsible management and adherence to relevant regulations and environmental guidelines.

Woodlands can provide a range of benefits, including opportunities for recreation, sustainable forestry practices, wildlife habitats, and potential sources of fuel or timber.

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However, owning woodland also comes with responsibilities, such as maintaining the health and safety of the woodland, managing tree felling and replanting, and ensuring compliance with any applicable forestry regulations or environmental protection measures.

When purchasing a property with woodland, it’s essential to assess the current condition of the forested areas, including the age and health of the trees, the presence of any protected species or habitats, and any existing management plans or agreements.

Additionally, seeking professional advice from foresters, arborists, or environmental consultants can help ensure responsible and sustainable management of the woodland areas.

Mixed use property

A mixed-use property with land refers to a property that combines multiple purposes or activities within the same land area. This could include a combination of residential and commercial uses, such as a property with a residential dwelling and a separate business premises or workshop, or a property with agricultural land and a residential component.

Mixed-use properties offer versatility and the potential for diversified income streams or self-sufficiency. For example, a property with land could include a primary residence, a small-scale farming operation, and a vacation rental or cottage industry, allowing for a mix of residential, agricultural, and commercial activities.

A house in the middle of nowhere on the land registry

However, mixed-use properties also come with additional complexities and regulations to consider. Different use classes and zoning requirements may apply to each component of the property, and there may be restrictions or specific permits required for certain activities or business operations.

When purchasing a mixed-use property with land, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the permitted uses, zoning regulations, and any applicable licences or permits required for the various activities you intend to pursue.

Additionally, carefully assessing the feasibility and potential challenges of managing multiple uses within the same property is essential to ensure a successful and harmonious mixed-use operation.

How to buy a property with land

Purchasing a property with land can be an exciting endeavour, but it also requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some key steps to follow when buying a property with land:

Know if you want a brownfield or greenfield site

One of the first decisions to make is whether you’re interested in a brownfield site (previously developed land) or a greenfield site (undeveloped land).

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Brownfield sites may come with existing structures or foundations, which could be advantageous or require demolition and remediation, depending on your plans. Greenfield sites offer a blank canvas but may face more stringent planning and development regulations.

Find a funding route to purchase

Securing financing for a property with land can be more complex than a traditional residential mortgage.

You’ll need to explore different funding options, such as agricultural or commercial mortgages, land loans, or specialised lenders who understand the unique nature of properties with land. Having a clear plan for how you intend to use the land can help strengthen your financing application.

Finding the right agent

Working with an experienced real estate agent who specialises in properties with land can be invaluable. These agents have a deep understanding of the local market, zoning regulations, and specific considerations for properties with land. They can help you navigate the search process, identify suitable properties, and provide guidance on potential issues or opportunities.
Planning permission

a property with land and a garden

Depending on your intended use for the property and land, you may need to obtain planning permission from the local authorities.

This process can involve submitting detailed plans, addressing any concerns or objections, and complying with various regulations and requirements. It’s essential to understand the local planning policies and consult with professionals, such as architects or planning consultants, to ensure a smooth and successful application process.

Get a land survey

Before finalising the purchase of a property with land, it’s crucial to obtain a comprehensive land survey.

A professional surveyor will accurately map the boundaries, identify any encroachments or easements, and provide valuable information about the topography, drainage, and any potential issues or constraints that could impact your intended use of the land.

Take a look at the Royal Institue of Chartered Surveyors websiteto find a surveyor

By following these steps and seeking professional guidance, you can navigate the process of buying a property with land more effectively, minimising risks and maximising the potential of your investment.

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