Four ways SME developers can find land efficiently

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Shannon Lynn
October 10, 2023
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Tricky market conditions have made it harder for smaller developers to find and buy developable land. 

In the first part of this blog series, we looked at the current state of the UK land market and the associated challenges. Take a look here. 

Arming yourself with all the right knowledge and tools to navigate policy changes, check planning applications, and get ahead of your competition will help set your land acquisition up for success – even despite difficult market conditions. 

Below, we share our top four tips for sourcing land more efficiently as an SME developer. 

Get familiar with your local area

As an SME developer, it’s likely that you’re going to concentrate your efforts in a specific region – likely one you know quite well. 

Your local environment could hold untapped potential and getting to know your surrounding area intimately can make it easier to spot opportunities. 

This could be an exercise in finding out about any widespread constraints – physical or policy-driven. It can make spotting and ruling out potential parcels of land simpler and faster if you know that huge swathes of land are out of bounds (or at least much more difficult to get planning permission on) because they’re in the green belt for example. 

Another benefit of having an in-depth knowledge of your local area is that you’re likely to notice any changes or new land coming up for sale. 

It pays to remain vigilant and swoop on any opportunities that you happen upon. You just need to ensure you capture details of the site so you can return to it later on and share information with your team.

However, it’s not only about the market and physical environment, getting to know key players in your target area can make your life a lot easier. 


Leverage your network

“Property is about who you know” may be a slightly overused adage, however, there’s a lot of truth to it. Of course, there are a lot of other factors that go into being a successful property developer but building a network of industry peers is a very useful place to start. 

This could be connecting with planning officers in key Local Planning Authorities, new funding partners, or fellow developers. 

Planting these seeds early on can bear fruit in the long term – as you never know when new development finance options could be needed, when you may want to get a second opinion from a trusted industry peer or collaborate on a joint venture.


Use property sourcing tools

Sourcing land whilst on the go used to be the only way to spot new opportunities. And whilst it still has its benefits, using tech to source land can make the process a whole lot faster and more efficient.

The traditional ways of sourcing land were time-consuming and unpredictable. Prop Tech tools give you the power to find and assess opportunities from your desk – meaning that you can sort through prospective sites an awful lot quicker. 

A good site sourcing tool should enable you to define your search criteria and parameters so you can get super granular with the opportunities you’re looking to find. From here, you should be able to set up alerts to be notified if the planning status of a site changes – allowing you to act fast and get an edge over your competitors. 

Automating this process also frees up your time to find more land, and ultimately, make more money. 

How LandTech can help

Our LandTech journey started with solving the challenges that smaller developers faced when searching for land. And whilst our product ecosystem has grown extensively since then, making it easier for you to source off-market land remains at the core of our mission. 

LandInsight lets you find and source opportunities in a few simple clicks. We have all the key datasets you need to search using your own bespoke requirements, including accurate data on: 

  • Ownership
  • Planning applications
  • Planning policy
  • Environmental constraints
  • LPA performance
  • Strategic land
  • Power infrastructure
  • Comparables

You can assess any parcel of land against this criteria, save the site to your sites pipeline, and then send a letter directly to the landowner – all without leaving the LandInsight platform. 

Plus, gauge future market value via our comparables layer and partnership with Hometrack, providing you with rental valuations and estimates. Based on an analysis of Land Registry data in September 2023, Hometrack is returning 1700% more new build comps than Land Registry alone. 

LandInsight GO, our companion mobile app, is designed so you never run the risk of missing an opportunity whilst out and about. Read more about the benefits of the app here. 

On top of all this, our Community platform helps you expand your network and collaborate on land deals and LandFund helps you to secure development funding for your projects. 

We cover the whole development process – meaning that you never have to leave our ecosystem to complete a project.

Ready to source more land with LandTech?

Get in touch with our team today to find out how the LandTech ecosystem can help you upgrade your site sourcing.

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