How to build your own home

For many people, the dream of building their own home is something that they entertain while watching Grand Designs and then put back on the shelf immediately after the programme ends. The process of self building a house is daunting to anyone who hasn’t done it before, but if broken down into stages is actually perfectly manageable.

Firstly, you’ll need to secure some land. There are a wide variety of ways in which to do this. Estate agents and specialist land agents are obvious choices. Local councils are often willing to sell off parcels of land, as are developers who are in need of freeing up some money. Finally, it is often worth making enquiries with private landowners to see if they are willing to sell you part of a garden or field.

Next, you’ll need to talk to the local planning department to see whether it will be possible to get planning permission to build on the site that you are interested in buying. If permission is unlikely to be granted then there is no point in buying the land. Land with planning permission already granted is worth more than land without. Site with a pre-existing building is usually easier to build on due to past precedent.

After this, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough money to complete the house that you want. It is important to factor in the full cost of the build including what it will take to decorate and furnish your home. Self-build mortgages are usually required by people who build their own homes. These generally require a deposit of upwards of 30% of the build and release money to the builder in phases throughout construction. It’s common for money to be released only after a phase has been completed, so a prospective self-builder must be clear that their finances will allow them to get through the build.

The self-builder must also decide whether to have an architect design their home or whether to build using a kit. Kits will often work out cheaper as you’ll save the cost of employing an architect. However, the resulting home will be far less individually tailored to your preferences than would be the case with an architect-designed building.

Choosing a builder is another vitally important factor in successfully completing a self-built house. It is worth getting several quotes from builders and visiting buildings that they’ve completed in order to check the standard of their work. The standard of the interior finish is often a good indicator of how careful an approach they take to their work. You should always sign a contract with a builder to give you some recourse if the work isn’t completed satisfactorily.

Other trades that may need to be brought in include electricians, plumbers and roofers. With all of these it is advisable to get at least three quotes and ask around to get an idea of the standard of their work. It is often possible to save money by buying materials like copper piping yourself and even doing some of the installation work.

If each of these stages is completed successfully then the process of building your own home should be a fairly smooth one and the resulting building a source of pleasure and pride.