You CAN build our own home!

publication date: Jan 14, 2015
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Building your own home...

Every wanted to build your own home? Well it’s not anywhere near as difficult as the likes of programmes such as Grand Designs suggest!

One of the great things about building your own home is that there is a huge amount of quality help available and for many who don’t think it’s possible to build on your budget, you would be surprised how little you actually need.

For a quick guide to self-build, read our FREE checklist

We work closely with Jewsons and the National Self Build and Renovation Centre in Swindon to make sure you have everything you need and access to all the experts to get you started – or if you have a problem, make sure we help you overcome it quickly.

Is it possible to find land? 
The key thing to find out first is whether there are plots of land in your area to start of with – or how far you would have to travel to build your own home. The key things to do are:-

  1. Speak to your local council who are now encouraged to provide some land for self-build.

  2. Check on and consider joining, it’s a great research tool

  3. Talk to local developers/builders and put notes through homes with large back gardens to see if they would consider selling some land

Some agents can be helpful, but not all are great at selling plots of land, a better source is your local auctions and in some cases, land is advertised in the local press section.

Worth noting: don’t go for land unless it has a minimum of ‘outline planning permission’, the idea of buying land and then gaining permission is extremely low. Especially avoid ‘'land banking' investment schemes, read more at the Land Registry.

Planning permission
The plot you may find is unlikely to have exactly the same plans that you want to build, so you’ll need to resubmit. It’s worth chatting to the planner if they will make the time to discuss your plans, or engage a planning consultant who knows the local area and planning rules well.

Budgeting is key
There are three parts to self-build costs. The land, the material and labour costs. Typically they are run at a third each. So if you find a plot of land for £50k, then the material is £50k, and the labour £50k.

Other costs include architects, legal help, surveyors, site insurance and project estimation costs.

There are some really useful online calculators which can give some guides:

What funding do you need?
How many times do I read or see on telly that self-builders or renovators are being denied funds from their bank or building society. As with any specialist property project, what you really need is specialists who understand how self-build works, that means a broker who can help you identify the right mortgage – which ideally gives money upfront – and will help you out when things go wrong.

Research what accounts are available for cashflow purposes, someone like Jewson will help give you your own account with access to trade prices, estimating services and a local expert to help offer you support.

What type of build do you want and what you can afford? 
There are lots of ways of building a home, from polystyrene bricks through to traditional bricks and blocks and even hay! Your choice will depend on your budget and how eco-friendly you will want your new home to be.

Hiring builders and tradespeople 
This is a complex area, so it’s vital to make sure you get it right. Losing builders half way through the project can mean you end up paying thousands more than planned.

You can either hire someone who does the whole job for you, either with their own staff or contracting out, or you can hire experts individually. See our articles on hiring builders and tradesmen.

One thing you will definitely need is a good contract in place. You can get this for free from Federation of Master Builders.

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All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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