The perfect plot: Realising your dream home in the Highlands

Author: Gail Clarke, Associate, Murray Snell WS


The events of 2020 have led many people to re-evaluate their lifestyles and, in particular, the place where they would like to live. Remote working has revolutionised our working lives, and the demand for plots of land on which to build the dream house has never been higher.

Here, we look at some points to consider when looking for the perfect site upon which to build your dream home:

Planning permission

Does the site have a current planning permission or outline planning consent? If the site has planning consent, it will usually be relatively straightforward to commission a new house design for the site unless there are specific constraints.

House design

Has a house design been approved? If it has, do you like it – and is it really what you want? If not, it is worth engaging an imaginative architect to provide an overall view of the potential of the site before you make the commitment to purchase. Taking the time to research and speak to experienced architects who design houses all over Scotland and the UK will provide more options.

Be green

If a house design has been approved, it is becoming increasingly important to check that is has really high levels of insulation and other energy conservation measures. 

Price comparison

It is certainly worth checking the prices of comparable plots. Plots with views of sea or water command a premium, so it is worth bearing in mind that the view from your plot is worth a lot.


Are services connected? Electricity and water supply can be expensive if they are not nearby. As a result of increasing regulation, septic systems are becoming more expensive, so mains drainage should be considered an advantage.


In some parts of Scotland, it can be difficult to find competitive building quotes, so it is worth asking around for recommendations. We have seen instances in the past whereby people have received excessive quotes for relatively simple houses, so it is important to do your homework. 

Furthermore, it is important to get recommendations for reliable, honest and competent builders – the value in having a builder you can trust cannot be overestimated. Good architects will often be able to recommend builders with whom they have worked for many years.


It is worth enquiring about your neighbours to avoid any potentially significant problems further down the line.

Legal advice

It is important to make sure you instruct solicitors who are experienced in buying rural land, as they will know the issues which can arise and ensure action is taken to mitigate these in the early stages of the process.

Murray Snell WS have significant expertise in dealing with rural properties and have assisted clients in the purchase and sale of estates, farms and woodlands. We were also recently involved in advising clients on the development of the stunning Eagle Rock in Argyll.

So, go on... why not make your dream home a reality? Please do not hesitate to contact our team if you would like to discuss your dream home project or any of the points covered in this article.


Gail Clarke is an Associate and rural specialist within Murray Snell's Estates, Forestry, Agricultural & Rural team and can be contacted by e-mail or telephone on 0131 625 6625.

Murray Snell WS is part of the MacRoberts Group.


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