Home and living

Building your own home: From start to finish


Who among us could say that they haven’t thought about building and living in their dream home at least once in their life? Well for many people, this ends up becoming a reality. But how do you start the process of building your own home if you’ve never… well… built a house before? And what exactly does it take?

Self-build homes

Here we’re going to take a look at exactly what it takes to carry out a self-build project, how much building your own home costs and roughly how long you can expect it to take.

Stages of building a house in the UK

Building your own house is an understandably busy, complex and time-consuming process that requires lots of different resources. We’re going to take a top-level look at the different stages you’ll be following if you’re going to be building your own home.


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1) Decide on your budget

There are naturally lots of different costs involved when you’re building your own home. Some things to consider when you’re working out your budget are:

• The cost of your mortgage/rent/bills for wherever you’ll be staying when the build is happening.

• Costs for the different industries you’ll need to invest in (things like purchasing land, builders, architects, plasterers, fixtures and fittings and so on).

• Costs for a self-build mortgage (if required).


2) Take out a self-build mortgage if needed

If you won’t be paying for everything in full, you’ll probably need a self-build mortgage which is a specific mortgage for people looking to self-build.

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How does a self-build mortgage work?

Self-mortgages release money in stages as the build of your home is being carried out. Self-build mortgages usually work in 2 ways:

• Advanced stage payments (where payment is made at the start of the build stage)
• Arrears stage payments (where payment is made just after each stage of the build is finished)

There are lots of different types of mortgages depending on your build, its requirements and your personal circumstances and you’ll be able to chat this through with your Mortgage Advisor.


3) Find and assess plots of land. Apply for planning permission.

One of the most important, exciting and sometimes stressful parts of the self-build process is finding and securing land to build on. Here are some things you may like to think about when approaching this stage:

• Consider the right area for your land

Depending on your area, you may be spoilt for choice with plots of land, or having to expand your perimeter to include towns and cities outside your desired postcode. You may want to keep in touch with local estate agents, farms, land auctions and property websites so you’re up to date with new land that gets listed.

• Make sure your land is accessible

What’s the point in building your dream home in a location that is difficult to access/get the relevant services to? Making sure your land is directly accessible from public roads will be an important step here.

• Make sure the land can be built on

Some plots of land just won’t be ideal to build on, so it’s important to make sure that your land is suitable for the plans you have in mind.

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• Some other things to consider

| Is the area prone to flooding?
| Is the plot the right size for your plans?
| Are you happy with the views?
| Are there other houses nearby that could see into your property?
| Are there any public paths that run through your land?

• Apply for planning permission

When you’re looking to build a property, you need to get planning permission from your council before starting the process. This is why you’ll notice that this stage comes before purchasing the land! Planning permission is usually split into two areas: outline planning permission and detailed/full planning permission.

• Outline planning permission

This is the initial process where you essentially get the concept to build on your chosen land confirmed or denied. This typically lasts for three years before you need to reapply.

• Detailed/full planning permission**

Once you have your outline planning permission confirmed, you’ll then be able to invest the time and resource into putting together a fuller proposal which includes more detail about construction.

You can find out more on the government’s website here.


4/ Purchase your land

Once you’ve had your planning permission confirmed and are happy with your plot, it’s then time to secure it. Just like when you’re buying a house, it’s normal to put offers into the seller, so don’t be afraid haggle a little.

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You’ll also need to consider stamp duty. You won’t pay stamp duty if your plot is for residential use and costs less than £125, 000. You’ll pay 2% stamp duty on the next £125,000, 5% on the next £675,000 and 10% on the next £575,000.


5/ Pick your your team

When you’ve officially purchased your plot of land, you can start pulling all of your plans together and choosing a team.

• Choose an architect

Your architect will be a really important person in your self-build plans. They’ll be the person that makes sure your new home is compliant with all of the building regulations you may not be familiar with and the person who takes your ideas and transforms them into a visual reality – so making sure you’ve picked the right person (with the right portfolio!) is essential. They’ll also become familiar with your budget and help keep you on track when decisions need to be made.

This is where you’ll make lots of decisions like deciding where rooms will sit, how big they’ll be and what the overall layout of your home will look like. With their professional advice, you can be confident that things are in good hands.

• Include structural engineers

You’ll need structural engineers to take your architect’s plans and make them safe and practical. However, a lot of the time, architects will work with/advise specific engineers, so check with your architect to see if this is something covered or not.

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• Choose builders/contractors

Builders are more vitally important roles in your self-build project and it’s extremely important to make the right choice when it comes to employing these workers. Be sure to check out the company you use, check reviews, ask for examples of their work and even ask friends/family for recommendations. You can also check out builders’ details/qualifications by heading here.

It’s important to avoid just going for the cheapest quote here. After all, they’re the people who’ll be constructing your dream home! You need to be confident in their team and their ability to deliver your home plans just as you’re expecting them.

Some builders will supply materials but you may find it’s cheaper to source your own – that’s a question of whether you’re on a budget, or would value the convenience of the builders sorting the materials themselves.

There may be other professionals required in the planning/build process and if so, your architect/builder/engineers will be able to guide you. There may be some additional trades you’d like to include such as the below, however, if you’re on a budget and are keen to learn, you may be able to undertake these tasks yourself.

• Project manager
• Plasterer
• Decorator
• Interior designer


6/ The build commences

When you have everything in place, you can then start your build! Your meetings with your team should’ve covered most things you need at this point (such as doors, windows, materials, timescales and so on).


7/ Install other services

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to consult with your team to find out the best time to organise getting your services connected. Things like gas, water, electric, broadband and sewage.

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8/ Create a list of snags

Just before your build is classed as complete by your contractors, you may like to assess the work carried out and make sure it’s all completed to a standard that you’re happy with.

This could include things like low quality painting, incorrectly installed windows/doors and so on. It’s a good idea to compile this list before you pay your final bill to make sure any issues are attended to beforehand.


9/ Claim back VAT

Don’t forget that when purchasing materials, self-build projects are exempt from VAT. This money can easily add up, so be sure not to let this step slip – it could even pay for a bulk of your decorating costs! You can find out how to claim your VAT back here.

How much does it cost to build a house?

The BBC suggest that the average self-build cost is around £84,000.

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Is it cheaper to build your own house (UK)?

The BBC suggest that you’re £105,940 better off when choosing to self-build rather than opting to purchase a new build.

The average self-build cost is £84,000 in comparison to the average new build cost of £189,940.

Obviously this question links very closely with the question ‘how long is a piece of string?’ Your self-build house cost will depend on lots of factors including size of the land, size of the property, the contractors you choose, the materials you use and so on.

How long does it take to build a house?

This is another one of those questions that usually gets answered with “it depends”. According to the self-build portal, it typically takes around two years to build a home. This encompasses everything from finding a plot to moving in.

Pros and cons of building your own home

Deciding whether or not to build your own home can be a difficult decision to make. Here are a few pros and cons to help you decide.


Pros of self-build

• You get to decide on everything yourself – full creative freedom!
• You can choose where to put your home (within limits)!
• Most things will be new and hopefully less likely to need repairs any time soon
• Your home will probably be built with energy efficient materials (meaning both budget and eco-friendly!)
• According to the BBC, it’s cheaper to self-build.

Cons of self-build

• It’ll take a while to plan and build.
• Budget can quickly increase if you hit an unexpected problem.
• It can be quite stressful if you’re managing it yourself.
• You may need to pay for your current mortgage/rent alongside your self-build mortgage.



Home insurance

Whether you’ve built your own home or have chosen an existing property on the market, you’ll probably want to make sure your home and its contents are protected so you’re not left out of pocket should anything unexpected happen. You can do this via home insurance with a company like Endsleigh. We’ve been insuring people for over fifty years and we know just what’s needed from a home insurer.

Get a quick and easy home insurance quote today