6 steps to building your dream home

Building your own home may sound like the ideal dream but it can be a tricky and expensive road, especially if you don’t know what you are letting yourself in for.

To make sure you don’t trip up at the first hurdle we have outlined 6 things you need to know before embarking on your self-build project.

1. Finding the right plot of land

The first thing you need to do is find a plot of land! There are several ways you can search for land to buy. One – if you’re in England – is to sign up to the Right to Build register. Under Right to Build, local authorities are required to keep lists of self-build applicants to ensure they have plots of land available for self-builders. Also check out plotfinder, auctions, local councils, energy companies, or make direct enquiries to private land owners.

2. Setting a budget 

You need to work out how you are going to fund your self-build project and make sure you have identified all the costs involved. There are a lot of factors to consider and you should always include a contingency. Homebuilding and Renovating have a dedicated Build Cost Calculator which is useful to gain a rough idea of costs involved.

It is worth looking into loans available to help you with your project, for example a government loan or a dedicated self-build mortgage.

3. Complying with planning permissions

Planning rules change frequently, can vary from area to area and may depend on what development is being proposed. The planning portal website has some useful information to help guide you.

You will also need to register your plot of land with the land registry.

4. Designing your home

Now you are ready to start designing your dream home. The first step is to liaise with an architect to draw up the blueprints. It’s a good idea to have a design brief in mind beforehand to outline your aims, budget, style etc. Make sure you choose a fully certified architect which you can search for on the Architects Registration Board.

5. Insurance/Warranty

You will need self-build insurance to cover liability for the site and public liability. If you are managing the project yourself rather than through an architect, you should consider getting employer’s liability insurance as well. 

It is also worthwhile investing in a dedicated self-build structural warranty, for your own peace of mind and to keep the option open to you of selling your home. A warranty can also help in your bid to raise finance.

6. Construction

Now you will appoint your builders/contractors to carry out the work if you are not doing this yourself. The best way to choose who you want to complete the works is to obtain references and examples of their work and where possible visit existing properties/sites and talk to the home owners. Be sure to get several quotes for comparison and agree costs and timescales in writing before work commences.

For more detailed information on building your self-build home download a copy of our technical manual.

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