Buying property with land - All you need to know

Key information
  • Some properties can come with agricultural ties or overage clauses
  • Keeping animals on your property requires agricultural or equestrian permission
  • Property with mixed residential and non-residential use can qualify for lower Stamp Duty rates

Whether it’s for greater privacy, space for your family, or to start a smallholding, there’s no shortage of reasons to look for a dream property with acres of land. And while buying property with land isn’t as straightforward as other property purchases, the results can be immensely rewarding.

In this guide we’ll take you through some of the quirks and potential pitfalls that come with the buying process to help you make the right decisions.

What you can do with your land

Buying land for farmland or developing a site are two of the biggest reasons for buying land. And while both are definitely possible, there is a lot to consider before beginning a purchase.

When it comes to keeping livestock, you must register your property as agricultural land with the Rural Land Register. You'll also need a County Parish Holding (CPH) number from the Rural Payments Agency. Different animals have different legal requirements — sheep and goats need to be registered with DEFRA, while pigs, cattle and large poultry flocks must be registered with the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Keeping horses on your land is a different matter again. Anything above grazing counts as equestrian use rather than agricultural, and you'll need change of use permission from your Local Planning Authority. For more details on keeping livestock and horses, read our guides to smallholdings and equestrian property.

As for building on your property, any new dwellings or permanent structures will require planning permission. This can be notoriously difficult for rural locations, particularly if you’re close to any protected wildlife habitats or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Buying a property with planning already granted is a safer option if you wish to develop on your land, but this will be reflected in the price. If you are looking at a property that comes with planning be sure to check when the permission expires, as the date of purchase does not affect how long planning permission lasts.

It pays to speak to the relevant Local Planning Authority before you buy to see what developments might be permitted, and what has been rejected in the past. You can also check for AONBs, nature reserves and conservation areas with the Environmental Layers in Addland Professional.

Stamp Duty for property with land

If you’re buying property with land, you’ll almost certainly have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Stamp Duty currently applies to land transactions above £500,000, although this threshold is temporary for 2021. From July 1st the threshold will fall to properties above £250,000 and then return to £125,000 after October 1st.

You might be eligible for lower Stamp Duty rates if your land is classed as mixed-use. That means that in addition to your residential property, your land is also used for non-residential purposes such as agriculture, forestry, or commercial property like offices. Any application for mixed-use rates is subject to approval by HMRC.

Stamp Duty tax applies for properties in England and Northern Ireland. Land and Buildings Transaction Tax applies in Scotland, and Land Transaction Tax in Wales.

Terms to consider

Properties with land can feel like a minefield, as you’ll often encounter terms that don’t come up in a usual property search.

  • Unregistered properties. If the property you’re buying hasn’t been registered with HM Land Registry, that means the seller has to produce the physical title deeds to complete conveyancing. This can make the sale longer — especially if the deeds are lost and the seller has to provide other evidence of ownership.
  • Agricultural Occupancy Conditions. An AOC, or agricultural tie, is a condition that requires the occupants of a property to be currently or previously employed in agriculture. 
  • Overage clause. Also known as an uplift or claw back provision, this is an agreement that if the buyer obtains planning permission to develop the land, the seller is entitled to a share in the uplift in value. When buying, pay attention to the length of the clause, the size of the seller’s share and what type of permission triggers the payment — these should all be open to negotiation.

Buying property with land is a unique experience with unique considerations. But navigating the process doesn't have to be daunting, and the reward of finding your dream property is more than worth it.

Addland makes it easy to find, research, buy and sell land. Start your land journey today.

Published: 08 June 2021
Last updated: 06 February 2023

Share this story


Frequently asked questions about buying property with land
What is radon gas?
23 March 2023

What is radon gas?

Radon gas is gas formed by the decay of the small amount of uranium that occurs naturally in the ground and is both invisible and odourless. Read this Addland guide to find out more about this radioactive gas and how it can affect your life.

Read more
  • How to find out who owns land
    23 March 2023

    How to find out who owns land

    Finding out who owns a piece of land can be incredibly useful for anyone. Since 1st December 1990 you don't need a real estate professional to find out who owns a piece of land; every time a piece of land is bought or sold it must be registered and accessible online. Once it's registered online there are a number of ways to search for it.

    Read more
  • How much does it cost to build a house?
    02 March 2023

    How much does it cost to build a house?

    Building your own house from scratch is an incredibly rewarding process. It’s more than just a development project - it’s a chance to create your bespoke dream home, exactly to your specifications.

    Read more
  • Land surveys - All you need to know
    15 February 2023

    Land surveys - All you need to know

    Surveying is an essential part of any land purchase. Utilised correctly, a land survey will make your development go as smoothly as possible.

    Read more