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  1. Blog
  2. Should I apply for planning permission before selling my house?
Help for first time sellers
10 March 2020

Should I apply for planning permission before selling my house?

Rosie Hamilton
Writer & Researcher
Person drawing an architectural plan for a house extension

Table of contents

  1. 1. What is planning permission?
  2. 2. Is a house worth more with planning permission?
  3. 3. Will getting planning permission help me sell my house?
  4. 4. How do you get planning permission?

Having planning permission can increase the value of your home, and encourage a quicker sale. But, the application process is time consuming and costly.

It is probably worth applying if you have a large plot of land, but if you own a listed building or live in a dense city, you’re likely to see less of a benefit. It’s important to weigh up the potential gain before you decide to apply.

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is the formal consent you need to build or alter a piece of property or land. You’ll need to apply for planning permission if you want to undertake any major renovation project, or to change the use of a building.

Permitted development laws mean that in some cases you can make alterations without applying for permission. But for larger projects like extensions you’re required to have planning permission before you start.

Is a house worth more with planning permission?

Yes, in most cases planning permission will increase your property value. When you’re looking to sell, maximising the value of your home will mean you walk away with more money, with some sellers reporting an increase of 10%. Applying for planning permission is one of the things you can do to increase the amount you make on your sale.

A grant of planning permission lasts for three years, and if you sell your home the permission remains with the house. This increases its appeal because prospective owners know what changes they will be able to make and can imagine the value this will add in the future.

Land with planning permission is often much more valuable than land without it. Particularly in areas like London and Oxford where new homes are in demand and sold at a premium.

You'll see a smaller improvement to the value of residential property, but making an application can still be worthwhile. If you’re able to get planning permission for something a bit more unusual, or that significantly increases the size of your property, you’re likely to see a boost to the value of your property. Before applying it's worth trying to work out what your application will cost and comparing this to the financial value it could add to your home.

Note: Savvier buyers will consider both the cost of the property plus the cost of the project. They'll be unlikely to pay more than any potential uplift they imagine they'll gain.

Will getting planning permission help me sell my house?

Yes it can help. Having planning permission can also help your sale in other ways. The key benefit for many sellers is that it can encourage a quick sale.

Many people are keen to expand their houses, rather than move to larger ones. Having planning permission in place will make your home more appealing to these buyers. It takes away the question of whether planning would be granted in the future, and allows them to visualise the space and value that could be added in the future.

This is particularly useful if there are lots of properties like yours currently on the market. Having planning permission will help your home stand out.

If you’re unsure whether applying for planning permission before you sell is worth it, ask a local estate agent. They will be able to use their familiarity with the local market to assess whether the improvement to your home sale is worth the cost of the application.

Compare the best estate agents near you with our data-driven analysis tool here.

How do you get planning permission?

You can apply for planning permission through the online Planning Portal. You can either complete the application yourself, or hire a planning agent or architect to do it for you.

If you decide to apply on your own it’s worth getting some pre-application advice to get a sense of how likely it is that your proposal will be accepted. You can get support cheaply or for free through the Planning Aid network.

You’ll need to include a series of plans with your application, including a ‘Site Plan’, a ‘Location Plan’, and the designs of your proposed renovations. You’ll also pay an application fee. This fee will vary depending on where in the UK you’re applying (Wales has a different fee schedule) and whether your home is a listed building, or in a conservation area.

Your local authority will then consider your application, and conduct a public consultation. This process usually takes about 8 weeks, but can take up to 13 weeks for more complicated schemes. You're not guaranteed to receive permission, but you can appeal if your proposal is rejected.

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