A study by the National Self Build Association (NaSBA) has found that one in seven Britons expect to research the possibility of building their own home. That’s no surprising figure given that more than 10,000 people a year in the UK do decide to take on a self-build.
But creating a completely bespoke custom home can seem daunting at first. So to help you get started, whether you’re ready to take the first steps or just doing some light research, here are a few starting points to consider.
Work out your finances
First and foremost, you must organise your finances and arrange funding. You can’t set about designing your dream home without the right finance available. Contact your bank to see what you can have to work with or contact specialist self-build mortgage advisors. Then you can start to cost your project.
Find your ideal plot
Most self-builders cite finding the right plot as the biggest struggle when building a home. But, it needn’t be if you know where to look. You can register with your local authority under their right to build scheme, check the weekly list of planning applications in your local authority area, or use online resources dedicated to advertising available plots.
Set a budget
All self-builds require a sensible approach to budgeting. It’s a good idea to factor in the entire process, from start to completion. That means include the plot price, an educated guess at the build work costs, and a figure you are wiling to spend on interiors and landscaping.
Always include a contingency at 10% of the overall budget. At this stage, it’s all educated guess work, but the more you can plan at this point the better.
Think about what you want
A designer can help you put your ideas together, but they cannot tell you what you want. This is up to you. After all, this is a big project to help you achieve your dream home, so make sure you have a vision. You don’t need to go into too much detail at this stage, simply start with the basics: what you imagine your kitchen space to be like, how many bedrooms you require, what special features you’ve longed for.
Find a designer
Once you’ve got an idea of what you want, you can then find a designer to help put your ideas in motion. It is a good idea to arrange meetings with multiple designers to ensure you choose the right designer for you and your build. There are also house construction companies who will design and build your house for you, ensuring the same vision is maintained from start to completion.
However you choose to go about it, find a company who understands your requirements and is able to produce thoughtful responses that fit with your budget.
Decide on a build route
Many first-time self-builders find the easiest option is to hire a construction company to take on the entire project. Builders such as these often offer customisable standard houses as well as tailor made options.
Others may decide to take on much of the work themselves to try and save costs. In these cases, only an architect and a main contractor are used for the project. However you choose to go about the build process, don’t be afraid to speak your mind about particular build methods.
Secure the essential documents
Before the project can start, it’s important you have the necessary consents to build. This may include, planning permission, building control approval, or listed building consent.
It is also essential that you safeguard your investment by ensuring you have essential contracts, warranties and insurance organised. House construction companies usually have their own insurance policies in place, but you may wish to take out your own specialist self-build insurance, too.
Enjoy the process
It goes without saying that building your dream home comes with its stresses. But for most, this is a once in a lifetime experience, so try to enjoy the process as much as possible.
With reputable builders on site creating your future dream living spaces, it is an experience that should be embraced. Your dreams and hard work are becoming a reality, so there’s plenty of reason to celebrate.