Self-building a house appeals to many. Most of us have at some point imagined what our perfect home would look like. Perhaps you’ve had daydreams about winning the lottery and pictured yourself building a mansion with your winnings. Or you may just have considered what you’d like to change about your current home if you had the chance to start again. Well, it doesn’t have to be a dream.
House prices are considerably higher than they have been in the past, and the associated costs of buying a home are also exceedingly high. This can mean people see self-building as a cheaper way to own their own home. The other key appeal is often control. People imagine themselves building the home of their dreams, without restraint or regulations. However, it’s possible that neither of these benefits is as great as you might think. You certainly won’t have as much control as you might like.
Even when building your own home, you’ll be confined to the land that you own and your budget. The quality of the land may enforce structural decisions, planning permissions can be very specific, and your design will have to meet architect’s measurements, or it just won’t work. Then, there is the cost. While it’s nowhere near as simple as buying a plot and building, as long as you budget carefully and no what mistakes to avoid, you could get a lot more house and many more desirable features for your money than you would do buying on the open market. Let’s take a look at the true cost of self-building.
You may already own a plot, in which case you just need to look into stamp duty fees, taxes and permissions. If not, you need to find the perfect piece of land to which to build your house. This land needs to be available or for sale, able to be built on, in the right location and the right size. Plotfiner can help you choose.
Your house will need to be connected to the water supply, electricity lines, gas pipes and phone line. This isn’t as simple as phoning up and getting connected like when you move to a new house. It takes work. Even if there has been a home on the land before, you’ll need to pay to have all of the pipes cleaned and repositioned as well as for a new connection.
Legal fees are always a consideration when building something as big as a house. You’ll need a solicitor to conduct searches and gain the right permissions. They’ll also need to work with local councils to give your property an address. Get a quote before you start work as these legal fees are often more than we expect.
Labor costs largely depend on how long the job takes and how much of it you plan to do yourself. You could pay for architects, designers, contractors, electricians, plumbers, joiners, plasterers, carpenters and more.
Supplies and materials are the largest expense. Remember, when building a home, you need to pay for everything from the foundations to the roof and all of the bits in the middle. It’s a lot more than just bricks and mortar. You may also need to buy equipment and tools.
One of the biggest mistakes that self-builders make is failing to realise just how much rubbish there will be. There’s going to be ground to clear for the foundations even if there’s no existing structure to clear. There’ll be waste packaging, cut offs of materials, and general day-to-day rubbish. You’ll need to hire a skip and have it emptied regularly or make daily trips to the rubbish tip. This costs money.
If you’ve got a lot to shift, and a lot of ground that needs cleaning it can work out much cheaper to look at used cranes for sale, instead of hiring everything when you need it. This way you’ll have use of the crane for the duration of the project. This is especially useful if you plan on building again in the future.
You’ll also need to pay for shipping of any goods, materials, tools and equipment that you need. Building a house isn’t like popping to the shops. The supplies that you need could be coming from all over the country. Then, of course, there’s also moving your existing furniture and possessions in when it’s ready to live in.
Licenses and Permissions
Your solicitor will be able to help make sure that you’ve got everything that you need from all of the right departments. But it’s always wise to be prepared before you start. So, look at your local council (or the one local to your build) to see what you need, where to get it from and how much it’s going to cost. Find out what you need to apply, and who you need to speak to. Failure to do this correctly can end you self-build dream. So, don’t cut corners.
Obviously, this is just a guide of what you’ll end up spending money on. A 4-story house with a basement, solar panelling and full insulation will take longer to build and cost more money than a traditional two up, two down. But, either way, you’ll still be spending your money in the same places.
The two main things that you need to remember are budgeting and getting the right deals. Your budget should be like your bible during the whole self-build process. Many self-builders go massively over budget because theirs isn’t detailed enough. Sit down and work out your total budget. Then, assign it to each area, making sure you leave 20% free for going over on some things, the work taking longer than anticipated and other emergencies. When it comes to getting the right deals, it can be tempting to cut costs and save money. This isn’t cost effective if it means that you’ll need to do repairs down the line or your utility bills will be more expensive. Weigh up your options and spend more when it’s worth it and save when it isn’t.