Self Build Home

Last year more than 50,000 self build homes were completed - greater than the number of new properties actually built by commercial housebuilders.

Why Self Build Your House?

A self build house provides the opportunity to create a dream home cheaper, or built to an increase specification than if bought from a developer.

On completion, a self build home can also provide financial gains of 20% or due to the savings made.

The more DIY skills, the better. If you have the time and the inclination you will be able to get involved and save more money.

That said there are vast numbers of people who have nothing more than an idea and the passion to self build. Sub-contract each job to professionals is not as cheap but the results are assured and the gains, although less, should still be made.

Qualities of a Self Builder

Patience - Self build homes often take longer to complete than planned

Multi-tasking - keeping a schedule for suppliers, builders can be challenging to keep in sync. Coupled with getting Building Regulations Inspectors on the site at the right time things can get stressful.

Reading books, magazines and the increasing number of websites and online build diaries covering self build homes. Attend self-build exhibitions such as the Homebuilding & Renovating Shows where you can talk to professionals.

There are a number of magazines for the self builder:

  • SelfBuild & Design
  • Build It
  • Homebuilding & Renovating
  • Grand Designs Magazine

With lots of tips, case studies and adverts for suppliers there is a lot to take in.

Finding Self Build Land

Notoriously the hardest part of a self build home is buying a plot of land. Contacting surveyors, estate agents and auction houses in the area of interest is a start. Also use the Internet for up to date information on building plots, with a range of sites offering an email alert service when land matches your requirements.

Building Plot - our own free land for sale advertisements.

PlotFinder - part-owned by Homebuilding and Renovating magazine - Subscription £40 annually.

SelfBuild Plot Browser - part of SelfBuild & Design magazine - Username supplied in magazine.

Vantage Land - specialising in land througout England, with and without planning permission.

Keep in mind, when making an offer on a plot, always work out how much you will have to pay for the actual build process - and then add another 10 or 20 per cent. If the price of the completed property is still at least 20 per cent less than a comparable one from a builder, you have a bargain.

Estimating build costs

A basic rule of thumb is to estimate £50 per square foot, or £450 per square metre including walls. This may rise to £650 per square metre for a high end house.

You could ask a builder to quote for the work and then deduct 15% for the price to do it yourself. Splitting each trade job and having separate quotes for each item is an even more accurate method.

You can also try Mark Brinkley's The Housebuilder's Bible is just that - a bible for the self build home builder and is well worth a read before beginning.

By sourcing supplies more cheaply yourself, you could shave up to 5% per cent off total build costs.

Financing a Self Build House

A self build mortgage: A growing number of lenders offering tailored mortgages for a self build house. A self build mortgage providing "stage payments", pays out money before or after each stage is completed. As with a traditional mortgage the more money you have upfront the more flexible self build mortgage is available.

Developers and self builders may need to use a short-term loan. There will be stages in the build where all the bills come at once and simply will not be covered by the stage mortgage payment. This is where a contingency fund can save you money.

Another possibility is to juggle the funds across interest-free credit cards deals to temporarily fund the self build house.

Self Build House Insurance

There is a range of insurance cover required when building:

Firstly site insurance, covers against public liability, theft or damage from the site and employer's liability.

Legal expenses cover, should you need to take action against your builder for defective work.

A structural warranty protects against long-term failures in the work carried out to your self build house. This is a selling point, as structural warranties protect for a fixed number of years after the building is completed.

Saving on VAT

Building work is normally subject to VAT at 17.5%, however new builds are exempt. You should only submit your claim for a refund at the end of the build - all work after a submitted claim for a refund will be liable to full VAT.

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