What do You Need Before Starting to Build Your Own Home in the UK?

If you are considering buying land and building your own home, then the process may seem a bit overwhelming. TV shows like Grand Designs can make it look like all projects go massively over budget and that the whole thing has a high chance of being incredibly stressful. However, this really isn’t the case, and these shows focus on unusual projects and highlight the drama for television. In reality, around 13k homeowners in the UK carry out self-build projects successfully, and as long as you get all of the preliminaries in place, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to join them.

Every project is different, and the choices you make when it comes to architects, project management, and contractors will be down to your individual preferences and needs. However, for every home building project, there are some things that need to be done before work on the property begin, and here we’re going to take a look at what those are, and how to navigate them:

Finding the Right Plot of Land

Naturally, one of the most important first steps is finding a plot of land in a location where you’d like your new home to be. There are websites that can help you with this, for instance Plotsearch, but a lot of experts recommend getting to know people in the area you want to build in, because often word of mouth can be the best way to find out about good potential plots of land for sale. If you don’t already live in the area, then you can use things like community social media groups as well as making trips up there to get to know your potential new neighbours.

Getting Financing for Your Build Project

If you don’t have the money for your new build project already available, then you can get a mortgage specifically aimed at people who are building their own homes. It is best to have this mortgage secured before you actually invest in the plot of land you’ll be building on. There are different mortgage options available for these types of projects, but they all release the money to you at different milestones during your project. Eligibility for self-build mortgages is not especially different from conventional mortgages, so you will need to be in a position where you are likely to be accepted for a mortgage to secure the funding for your project, in terms of things like credit rating and income.

Planning Permission

You will need to make sure you have full permission to build your new home before any work starts. Learn what you need to do to gain planning permission in the location you are considering buying land in before investing. You will be building on empty land, so you will almost certainly need things like ecological surveys done on the land. In the UK you now need to demonstrate that you will provide a net gain to the biodiversity of the area you build in to get planning permission, so you will need to work with good ecological consultants to establish what the current ecology of the land is, and how to handle that in your project. This may sound complicated and difficult, but if you use specialists in ecology consulting they will take care of this aspect of the project for you.

Setting a Budget

The budget for your project is another thing you will need to work hard on before you can begin any type of self-build work. You want to be as accurate as possible in doing this, so you’ll need to start making some choices that you may have expected to make later, like materials you’ll be using, even down to things that will be used towards the end of the project like bathroom tiles and light fittings. Bear in mind that even though you can make choices about these things they will still only give you an estimate of what those resources will cost, given the same exact products at the same prices may not be available by the time you are ready to buy them.

This is also a stage where you’ll need to be getting quotes from service providers and for things like equipment hire. You’ll need these to include in your budget, but it is also a good time to start choosing the service providers you’ll be using, as you can also make sure they have availability at the time you’ll be planning to start work. 

Remember to also include legal costs in your budget, as well as taxes. It can be easy to focus on the practical aspects of the project and forget about some of the administrative overheads.

Budget creep is one of the things people entering into home building projects fear the most, as once you have started a project you need to be able to finish it, and if this ends up costing a lot more than you have you can end up in a very bad position. This is why you need to really make sure you have included everything in your budget and have been conservative rather than optimistic when it comes to which end of the price ranges quoted the actual costs will end up at.

You should also include contingency in your budget. If the project has been planned well, then for most projects a contingency budget of 10% is enough. However, if this is an unusual or ambitious project, or if there are significant unknowns at the time you are making the budget, then the contingency should be higher. Assess the risk associated with your own project and set the contingency accordingly.

Once you have completed all of these steps, you should be ready to move on to the next stage and begin engaging service providers, buying land, and ultimately, actually laying the groundwork for your new self-built home. Good luck with your project!

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
Business And Features Writer

Email https://markmeets.com/contact-form/

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