Building your own home is perhaps the biggest property venture that can ever be embarked upon. With television programmes full of horror stories with ambitious projects running hugely over budget or taking years to complete there seems to be few people willing to take on such a commitment, but when they do, it’s a bold and brave move.

Unless you’re an architect, project manager or builder, a self-built home will undoubtedly be a challenge. But you don’t need prior experience in the field – what you need is determination, courage and the ability to work hard. And where to start? Keep reading…

A brand new home

Find Where To Build

Once you know the geographic area you’d like to live in, it’s time to find a plot to develop on. Plots can be found through online search portals and listings or through local agents. Many people looking to build their own homes check regularly with the relevant local council for planning applications – as these include the details of the applicant so that they can be approached directly, negating the need for the payment of estate agent fees. If a custom home company is being worked with early enough in the process of a self build, they too may be able to provide suggestions for suitable plot locations.

Once A Plot Has Been Found

Once the homeowner has identified the plot they’d like, planning permission must be applied for from the relevant local council for residential development. In some cases, plots may already hold this permission, but it must be checked for its relevancy and date; as these are usually time constrained and come with other developmental conditions in place. Those owning neighbouring land and/or properties may also choose to have a say in what can happen on the land and so any plans are best discussed with them informally ahead of any planning applications being made.

Replacing Existing Buildings

Providing any existing building on a plot is not listed or situated with a conservation area, an existing building can be either replaced or incorporated into a newer development. Demolition costs usually total between £5,000 - £15,000 depending on the size and location of a property, and in most cases will be supported by a local planning site. It is important, however, to ensure that when a property has been demolished that there is remaining permission to develop and erect something new on the same plot; as this is not always the case.

The Costs Of Building A Home

As with any property development, the cost of a self build home is hugely reliant on external factors: the geographic location of the plot, the size and scope of the build, resulting fees and costs, and any specialist services to be provided. 

As a rough guide, most of those who develop their own properties do so for between £1,500 - £3,000 per square metre. However, this estimate is aside of any additional costs that could crop up along the way – including the price of connecting services to plots not otherwise linked to residential infrastructure or any unexpected fees or permissions to be granted.

Mortgaging A Self Build Home

Mortgages can be obtained to finance the development of a self build home, but most mortgage providers will require a reasonably large deposit with a standard minimum usually sitting at around the 15% mark. 

Applying for a mortgage for a self build home doesn’t work in quite the same way as a traditional home purchase mortgage. Instead, the homeowners will need to set a realistic budget to cover off both the land purchase and build costs; not including interior design and furniture costs, but with a contingency budget of between 10-15%. With this, a mortgage provider will be able to offer a ‘decision in principle’ and from there, a plot can be found. 

Mortgage funds for self build homes are released in stages as the build progresses. Although the exact schedule of funds can be discussed and negotiated bespoke with the mortgage lender, usually this works with the money released after each build stage to pay those who have completed the works. 

A luxury new build home part way through construction

Involvement With Property Professionals

Embarking on a self build project requires the involvement of many professionals. Usually, either an architect or developer is hired to design and plan out the property project and in most cases, this works as a turnkey solution. This includes the management of the project from end-to-end as well as the planning permission and design fees: so is for many the quickest and least stressful route to development.

There are specialist kit home companies who offer packages to fit different budgets and appetites for individual involvement, and many local building firms will contract out staff and a staff manager who will work to any drawings and plans supplied.

Managing Costs And Budget

It is always more expensive to develop your own home rather than to buy one so budget management is key to ensure that any self build project doesn’t spiral out of control to echo the radical stories amplified on TV and in the media.

Committing to a design early on is imperative to the proper financial management of a property project as making changes during any build phase can prove unnecessarily expensive. Homeowners project managing their own build rather than hiring a full time professional manager can also cut back on costs – but it must be considered that this is only a financial saving and instead does require the investment of lots of time, energy and negotiation. For many people, this simply doesn’t fit with their skillset and so isn’t an option.

One not-so-hidden cost that many self build developers forget to factor in is VAT. During the process of a self build, VAT is paid on everything – but this can be later claimed back once the build has been completed. It is important to factor this in to the total cost of all aspects, or it will accumulate to present a hefty additional bill at the end.

The only way to find the truly perfect home for you and your family is to create it yourself. Self build is a long road, full of obstacles and pitfalls but one with an undeniably positive pay-off – your new life, nurtured and lying ahead. 

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Ready to start realising your self build home dream? Get in touch with our renovation specialists today for ideas, inspiration and a free, no obligation quote.

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