With self-build housing becoming increasingly popular a whole industry has grown up to provide information on plots of land for sale. Many of the plots are just that; a plot of open land. But these are becoming increasingly scarce and most plot-finding lists have a large smattering of plots with empty and redundant buildings built on them. Some of these are wrecks that are no good for anything other than demolishing. But you may be surprised how many rescuable empty homes you can find this way. Most plot finding companies will require you to register for a fee and this will allow you to search their database in a few chosen county areas for a set period of time. Most agencies are web based, the main ones are The National Building Plot Register, Property spy, and Plotbrowser. In addition the main self build magazines have listings of available plots, although most of the information on them is sourced from one or other of the agency websites.
Another potential source of empty homes to rescue is the heritage industry (if I can call it that). Several organisations working to save historic buildings publish catalogues of buildings they consider to be at risk, many of which are empty and abandoned. The catalogues make fascinating reading with everything from castles to greenhouses included. ‘At risk’ doesn’t always mean they are on the point of collapse, it can mean that the architectural features are in danger of being lost or damaged, or it can mean that the building’s use has become ambiguous or redundant. That being said the buildings featured have all been neglected by their owner, most are in poor condition and a few are downright derelict. The owners have not necessarily given permission for their property to be featured, and if you are interested in one you will need to find a way of getting the owner to sell it to you. The publishing organisations do not take a fee or commission if you manage to buy the property, but in most cases you will need to buy the register catalogue or a subscription to it for a few pounds. "Heaps of Delight" is the current catalogue published by Save Britain’s Heritage (SAVE). This contains details of hundreds of properties across England and Wales (but not London). You can order of from their website www.savebritainsheritage.org English Heritage’s buildings at risk register includes information on all grade 1 and 2* listed buildings known to English Heritage to be at risk in England and Wales. This is the only catalogue that covers London. You can get a copy of the register from English Heritage or view the whole thing on their website. Buildings at Risk Register For properties in Scotland try .www.buildingsatrisk.org.uk. For properties in Northern Ireland www.uahs.co.uk In the Republic of Ireland the buildings at risk register is operated by An Taisce – the Irish National Trust www.antaisce.org .