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Building your own home: 7 things you need to know

From building your own house on time to sticking to your budget, we reveal our top tips to ensure self build success.

Purchasing plots of land and planning permissions

Purchase a plot with either an outline or detailed planning permission in place to avoid being to be left with something that you can’t develop.

Opportunities for urban projects are now easier to find; regulation changes mean it’s easier to turn ex-shop premises into houses, and permitted development rights allow you to expand smaller properties and infill plots.

Hiring contractors for your self build project

Ask the specialist you’ve chosen to provide you with references from the last few projects they have worked on.

Contact the homeowners and ask for their honest opinion – and if the option is available to you, visit their home to see their completed work.

Creating a project brief

Start with a list of things you like, such as interior layouts, exterior finishes, glazing configurations and overall style. Use them to form part of your project brief, this is essential for creating a design plan.

Find a like-minded architect to add creativity to your plan and come up with something that suits your dreams as well as your budget.

Think logically about purchases agreements

Approach purchase agreements for your project with caution, especially if it needs a full structural survey or a geographical report.

Bring an analytical eye when shopping around, and put your emotions on the back seat while you assess the possibilities.

You don’t want to spend a significant sum of money on a property that may top out the worth of similar homes in the area – research average sale prices for homes of a similar size to the one you’re proposing.

Set a realistic budget for building your own house

Consider how much you can afford to spend on building your own house. Your available funds will have a bearing on your entire scheme, determining the scale of your new house as well as the quality of the finishes.

Be realistic from the outset. One of the main pitfalls self builders face is running out of cash part way through a scheme. To avoid this, set your budget, be strict and monitor cash flow throughout.

Allocate a contingency fund

You should set aside an additional 10% of your overall construction budget as a buffer. Having this in place could be the difference between a completed home and one that has to be abandoned.

Stick to your self build plan

Making changes mid-construction will invariably cause delays to your schedule, as well as add to costs. Make sure you are totally satisfied with the design before signing it off and research the materials carefully so you feel confident you are purchasing the best items for your build.

Original article on Grand Designs Magazine.

For more practical advice on building your own house, visit Grand Designs Live, where a range of experts will be on hand to give your guidance. 

Words: Anna-Marie Desouza

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