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Selling a house to developers - getting planning permission


Well-known Member

My parents own a nice house in a very popular, but unfortunately the area is being taken over by students. The road used to be a nice tree lined urban residential street, but a lot of the nice big Victorian houses have now been knocked down and replaced by student flats and Co-Ops and the like. It's right next to a large university, so it was inevitable in time I suppose.

A while ago they were approached by a company wanting to buy the land the house is sat on, presumably to do the same as everyone else and build student properties on it, but my parents did nothing about it.

However, they've grown tired of the noise from the students and are completely fed up of falling out with the builders opposite who are nasty, abusive, threatening and always blocking the road, so they're considering taking advantage of the situation and selling up.

So what's the best plan of action from here? The house is a detached, good sized family home with a huge garden. Next door is a semi detached property and is for sale, the conjoined house is owned by a landlord and he would consider selling. The 3 houses together would present a large plot of land in a very sought after area, next to a large university.

Here's the house from the front (house with the Skoda in the drive) with the property for sale to the right of the photo:


And an aerial view. My parent's land is highlighted within the red box


We'll obviously talk with the houses next door, as the 3 properties together would result in a very large plot. Should we be speaking to a surveyor to try and have some drawings made up to see what could be built on the land?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. If selling the land is viable and lucrative, then they may well do it. If not, they'll stay as they love the house and the garden. It's a stunning property inside, so it's a shame to knock it down!


Duncan G

Well-known Member
There's no point getting drawings made as that would be done by the developer after buying your parents property. Planning permission does not seem to be a problem as other plots in the street have had flats built.

All your parents need do is ask how much can they get for their property and sell if the price is right. The property developer can get planning permission.


Why not just put it on the open market, does it matter whether a developer snaps it up or it's someone who wants the house? Or are you thinking that a developer might pay more than market value?

blue max

Distinguished Member
The assumption is that it is worth more the the value of the house. Putting it up for sale at a higher price might get the offers they are looking for. There is no commitment and no reason to move if they don't.


Well-known Member
It's often not as simple as just selling to a developer though, especially if the 'plans' only make sense when several properties are involved.

Sometimes the owners are left in situ for years while the developers go through planning etc before the actual purchase is made, they just agree a right to buy type option.

Obviously sometimes it is simple purchase, but this can just be at market value for the house rather than taking into consideration what could be developed.

All the neighbours in our terrace were approached some years back by a land acquisition company. They basically identify possible areas that are large enough to be developed and talk to the owners to determine if there is a willingness to sell up. Assuming there is, they work with a developer to see what can be placed on the site, how much it would cost to acquire and clear the whole site, get planning etc and finish the build.

From this they work out the profit and split it 3 ways. One third for the developers, one third for the land acquisition folk and one third for the home owners. As there were multiple home owners this third gets split evenly between each (despite the different houses having different plot sizes!)

They couldn't quite fit enough houses/flats into our site to make it financially worthwhile from their point of view, but we never got to find out what sort of value was being talked about. :rolleyes:


Distinguished Member
Why not approach a couple of estate agents for valuations first. Costs nothing and will give you some idea. The agents may well mention to developers that you are considering moving which could get the ball rolling.

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