Unless you have an unlimited budget and lots of patience, it is very rare to find your dream home. Most people settle for as near as they can find, before undertaking expensive and difficult renovations to bring the home they have into line with the home they want. Renovating a home can be messy, time consuming and very costly and does not guarantee that the final result will be everything you dream of in a home. More and more people are becoming aware that building their home from scratch is actually a viable option.
Things to consider
Before you begin to build your home, assuming that you have already purchased the land upon which is it to be situated, you will need to carefully consider various issues.
Your budget is the biggest of these considerations. How will you finance your new-build and what finance can you obtain? It is possible to secure a new-build mortgage and these funds will be released to you as each stage of your property is completed. You will also need to consider using savings and other sources of income and have a good sized contingency fund in case of unexpected problems or expenses. Part of your budget will go towards providing you with somewhere to live whilst your home is constructed, whether that be a caravan, rented accommodation or the house you have lived in up until now.
You will also need to have plans for your new dwelling drawn up and approved. Many architects now offer a service which includes not only the planning of the building, but the submission of those plans to the local authority and the project management of the building project itself. Otherwise, you will need to submit your plans yourself and engage building services directly.
What to expect
Once you have secured your land and obtained planning permission, the next stage in your self-build will involve the Building Control department of the local authority. They will oversee and approve each stage of the construction.
The next requirement will be to find a good building services firm or building contractor. Good builders are often booked up months in advance, so this might be difficult. Your site will also need temporary power and water supplies and must be insured. You will also need to ensure that there is clear access to the site and that disruption to neighbours is kept to a minimum.
Then the exciting work begins – the excavation of the foundations and footings. Building Control will inspect this stage when it is completed and concrete foundations can then be laid. Once the wall are erected the roof and then the windows will be fitted as fast as possible, so that the building is waterproof.
Initial plumbing and electrical installation will take place once the property is waterproof; this is known as first-fixing. Plastering comes next and then hard flooring is installed. Services are connected and the kitchen and bathroom(s) will be installed (second-fixing) as well as architrave and doors (final fixing).
The final touches to your new home will come in the form of decorating – tiling and painting etc – and landscaping of the garden area.
Finding a builder
It is very important to select a good builder and the best way to do so is by word of mouth or recommendation. Your local trading standards may have a list of approved tradesman or you can ask for the builder to provide testimonials from previous clients, which may also be displayed on their website.
The key is to find a builder who has the skills and experience to build a house from scratch to an exacting standard. Not all builders will be able to tackle this scale of project or work within your budget. You should take time to find one that can, otherwise you may run into problems later.
Remember that you will need to ensure that the finished property is adequately insured. One of the best ways is to compare home insurance is by using a price comparison website. Don’t just compare on price, but also on policy features, so that you can be certain you have the right level of cover for your needs.