Self Build Homes and Mortgages
At the last count, just over 25,000 people chose to build their own homes last year – a number that is rising by about 5% each year.
Self build is no longer the preserve of rich people and people who are prepared to camp on a building site for two years – it is now becoming a very practical way of creating your dream home at an affordable price – typically 25% – 30% less cost than a home that is already built.
If you are thinking about taking the self-build route – maybe you’ve got your eye on a dream plot of land – but you aren’t sure how you could finance it all, start here.
We’ve put together a beginner’s guide to all things self build so that you can get an understanding of the whole process and decide whether it’s for you or not.
Self Build – Step by Step
There’s no denying that a self-build project is going to be a little more stressful than the average house purchase – after all, you will be building a house from the ground up, rather than just moving into one that already exists.
However, it doesn’t have to be as bad as some people make it seem. Do your research and planning beforehand and you should end up with your dream home and a healthy saving over the cost of buying “used”.
Step 1: Find Out What Your Finances Will Allow
Before you start hunting for a suitable plot of land, it is usually a good idea to have a chat with a mortgage adviser to make sure you have a clear understanding of how much you can borrow and what you will have to do to get it.
Step 2: Find & Buy A Plot Of Land
This can be easier said than done these days – decent plots of land are hard to find and are often instantly snapped up by developers.
This makes it all the more important that you have a self-build mortgage agreement in principle beforehand – that way you will be able to buy a plot quickly when you do find one.
Remember: To get a mortgage offer, your plot must have at least outline planning permission.
A survey is also a good idea to check for the existence of old mine shafts, quarries and other environmental hazards that could drastically increase the cost of building on the land.
It’s best to spend a little on doing your research than to be caught out later…
Step 3: Architects, Quantity Surveyors and Planning Officers
Assuming you have found and purchased a suitable piece of land with outline planning permission, you will now have to engage an architect to draw up plans for your home before your mortgage offer can be finalised.
This is going to be your home, so make sure you get involved. Note down all your ideas – rough sketches, torn out magazine pictures, references to similar local properties – it will all help your architect produce your dream home.
Once this has been done, a quantity surveyor will use the plans to work out what materials will be required to build the house, and how much they will cost.
You should now have enough information to finalise your mortgage application – and to submit your plans for detailed planning approval.
This can be a slow process, so try to make sure you get your application right first time – any changes will probably mean going to the back of the queue and starting again.
Step 4: Start Building
You’re finally there! Your self-build mortgage has been approved, the local council planning department are happy with your plans, and you’ve got a builder in place to start the build.
Good luck – whether you are project managing the build yourself, hiring a professional or even doing some of the work yourself, the next few months will probably be quite stressful.
Make sure you keep the end goal in sight and don’t forget the need to keep the local planning authorities and building inspectorate informed of any changes you need to make to your plans.
Failure to do this can mean that they will refuse you building regulations approval at the end of the build, leaving you with a home you can’t live in and can’t sell!
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