Government backs self-build homes
Self-build homes could be the future!
We all want a perfect property but, more often than not, the home that really takes our fancy in the estate agent’s window is the one just out of our budget.
If you have £150,000 to spend, properties at £175,000 always look more appealing.
It’s human nature to reach beyond our grasp, but what if you could actually have your dream home for less than you ever thought possible?
Imagine if you could build your own home.
Self-build for all
Most of us don’t even contemplate building our own home because, frankly, it seems far too complicated to even consider. But that isn’t necessarily the case and the Government has recently announced that it wants to double the burgeoning self-build sector, making building your home accessible to all of us.
Housing minister Grant Shapps has announced a new package of support designed to give as many people as possible the opportunity to build their own homes. He reckons that building your own pad is affordable and not just the preserve of the rich.
Indeed, according to Shapps, a budget of just £150,000 is adequate, in most instances, to get a three to four bedroom home built.
Wow – where do I sign?
Shapps has announced plans to double the number of self-built homes from 14,000 (one in 10 of all newly built homes) to 28,000 a year over the next few years. He claims that anyone wanting to don a hard hat and build their own home from scratch will have the help, advice and support they need to get started. This includes:
- Better access to finance by boosting mortgage availability for self-builders
- Making more land available for self-build projects
- More builders and developers offering self-build housing
- Cutting red tape for people wanting to build their own homes in the revised National Planning Policy Framework
- Access to better information including a new web portal, www.selfbuildportal.org.uk
This new website is excellent – jam-packed with essential information on how to self-build, from the very beginnings of planning a project to the nitty-gritty. It’s definitely worth a look.
The National Self Build Association is also working closely with the Government to help bring about their aim of self-build for all, and they reckon that two million families are keen to get their projects off the ground very soon.
So where should they start?
Steps to self-build success
1. Firstly you need to think about whether you want to do a solo self-build or a group project, where like-minded people get together to build a small estate. There are pros and cons to each, and it depends entirely on your preferences and budget.
2. Next think about whether you want to be active in the building work, or pay a contractor to build your dream home – or even buy a kit home.
3. Once you have decided on the type of self-build you need to find a plot. There are various online search facilities to help you start. Check out the usual property portals like rightmove.co.uk and zoopla.co.uk as well as specialist websites like plotbrowser.com, plotfinder.net and plotsearch.co.uk. It is also a good idea to speak to local estate agents and people in your local community, who may know of a plot of land that can be purchased.
4. Securing finance can be the trickiest part of self-build, but the Government is pledging that access to funding will improve over the next year or two. There are three ways of financing a project:
* Use your own savings, which means you can stay in your existing home until the new one is built.
* Sell your current house to raise the money, or remortgage to release equity to fund the build. If you sell you will need to find somewhere to live during the build.
* Borrow the money you need by taking out a self-build mortgage. You will need a large deposit as you can usually get a maximum of 75% of the cost. There is a list of current mortgages, with details of stage payments and maximum loan-to-value ratios, on www.selfbuildportal.org.uk
5. Hire an architect or designer, and possibly a structural engineer to draw up the plans for your project. By far the best way to find these professionals is to ask other self-builders in your area if they’d recommend the people they used. The Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors provide a free service to help you find architects near you - www.architecture.com/UseAnArchitect/FindAnArchitect/Tailor.aspx and www.ricsfirms.com
6. Once you are happy with your plans you need to apply for planning permission which can take two to three months – or much longer. Let your team of experts guide you through this process as they will have done it before.
7. When you have planning permission it’s time to find a building contractor – again, get tips from other self-builders in your area or from your architects. The National Federation of Builders and The Federation of Master Builders offer a ‘find a builder’ service - www.builders.org.uk/nfb11/find/search.eb and www.fmb.org.uk/. Get a few quotes but remember the cheapest is not always the best.
8. Budgeting is essential. Negotiating on contractors and materials can make a massive difference to your overall costs, but it is vital you also build in a contingency of 10-20% of total costs. Unexpected expenses will crop up during the course of your build.
9. Don’t be in a rush, especially in the early stages. A typical self-build project takes around two years to complete and half of this is the planning stages. The longer spent planning the build, the smoother and quicker it should be.
10. Accept help from friends and family, whether it is free accommodation, short-term loans or just a few homemade dinners. Building your own home can be hard work, but it’s worth it in the end.