Building Your Own Home: What You Need To Know Before You Start



Building your own home is a unique opportunity. You can design your dream house from the ground up and create a space that is tailor-made to suit you and your family. There are a lot of challenges that come with self-building, but the finished product makes them worth surmounting. Before you begin building, there are some things you should know to help your self-build run smoothly at every stage. 

Plan, Plan, And Plan Again

Building your own home requires lots and lots of planning. It is not just the blueprints for your home that need to be planned, all the work required, and the delivery of materials need to be orchestrated too. Delays can have knock-on effects that will cost you money and waste time. You need to plan and prepare and plan some more to give yourself the best chance of sticking close to a schedule.

The land you plan to build on needs to be assessed before you can break any ground, so you should factor this into your planning. You may need to complete an ecological survey before you are given planning permission for your new build home. Arbtech’s experts can complete this survey and give you a report that can form part of your planning application. With their help, you can avoid delays in the planning process and build your home in a way that is sympathetic to the local ecology.

People Are Your Most Valuable Resource

It takes a team to build a home. The materials you use will be useless without a capable and motivated team of workers to process them and get the job done. Before you build your new home, you will need to build a team. When you are choosing your various contractors, ensure you are hiring qualified and experienced workers whom you know you can get along with. The rapport you enjoy with them is just as important as their skills.

You need to look after your team too. It cannot be underestimated how some thoughtful gestures like making teas and coffees and providing some home-baked snacks can help speed things up. You want the whole team to get invested in completing the build on time and within budget. Get to know everyone and be friendly. Support them through the process, and they will support your goal of building a beautiful new home for you and your family.

Add Extra Money To Your Budget

Nearly every building project goes over budget. There will be costs and delays beyond your control, and you will need a budget that can absorb the excess costs without bankrupting the whole project. Most home builders, whether small-scale or large corporate builders, add an extra 10-20% to their budget just to handle unforeseen costs. You should try to add as much extra money to your budget as you can. If you do not spend it, you will have some money left over at the end of the build to help furnish your new home.

When you are looking for financing for your self-build project, you need to factor in cost overruns so that you know the money is there. You may struggle to get additional funding during the build process, so getting the money in place before you break ground is a good idea. Financers will expect you to have some of your budget set aside for unplanned costs, so this will help show that you are a sensible individual. When you itemise your budget, make sure you have unplanned costs listed.

Look Far And Wide For Finance

Self-build mortgages are available, but they work a little differently from a mortgage on a home that is already built. The funding is typically released in tranches, or stages, and will be held by the lender until certain milestones in the build have been completed. This means you should plan the self-build in stages that match the requirements of your lender and time things carefully. If you are waiting around for the next tranche of money to finance the next stage, it could cost you time and money.

When applying for a self-build mortgage, you will need to present your budget, and it must be carefully planned. Your costs must be broken down and placed in chronological order. This will make it easier for the lender to plan out the various stages of the build and how much money will be released and when. You will need to purchase the land you intend to build upon first, your plot, and then prepare it with groundworks and foundations. The cost of these will often be covered in the first payment from your lender, and when the groundworks are near completion, the next payment will be due. 

Most mainstream mortgage lenders offer self-build mortgages, but their terms will differ. It is important to shop around and find a mortgage that suits your finances and the demands of your build. The more money you have to contribute to the overall cost of the build, the stronger your position is with lenders. If you have enough money, they may suggest an Arrears Mortgage, where you use your funds to pay for the first stage of building and then the money is paid back to you by your lender. 

Be Prepared To Make Mistakes

It is impossible to build a home, make renovations, or complete any kind of project without making mistakes. Building a house is a stressful endeavour. You need to have the right outlook and be patient with yourself to get the work completed without melting down. Practice mindfulness and have a plan in place to relieve stress when you need to. Accept that mistakes are inevitable, and how you handle them will define your leadership.

Mistakes can be costly, but you should have room in your budget to handle any expensive problems. You should do your best to avoid mistakes, but accept them when they happen and move forward positively. Do not play the ‘blame game’ as this can only create resentment amongst your team and will ultimately slow progress. Do not blame yourself either. How you handle setbacks and mistakes will have a huge impact on the progress of your build.

Prepare For The Weather

Every build suffers from weather problems. You need to plan your build around the seasons. During the summer, with clear skies and warm weather, a lot can be accomplished in a few days. When winter starts approaching with autumn showers, work will slow down and sometimes stop altogether. If you try your best to schedule your build with the changing seasons in mind, you are less likely to suffer costly delays due to the weather.

Have some plans in place for your build and your builders. Some shelters can help a lot. Having tarps handy that can cover areas of your build can prevent your hard work from getting washed away in a sudden storm. Providing a covered space for your team to retreat to will make you a popular client. Include some tea and coffee, and perhaps some biscuits, for some extra appreciation from your builders. There is nothing you can do about rain or frost, other than be prepared for them. Make sure you know what to do when the weather changes, have what you need close at hand, and you will save time, money, and stress.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Though you may not have any experience in house building, you can still contribute to the labour, and this could save you some money too. There is a lot of work that can be done on a building site that does not require any experience or qualifications, and if you are enthusiastic and willing, you can learn some. Doing this can help cut some costs. Any work that you do yourself means that you will be spending less on labourers to do that work for you. 

Just by doing a few hours a day, you can reduce your labour costs across the length of the build by thousands. Just moving materials can be incredibly useful and time-saving. If you have a friendly and patient building contractor, you may be able to learn skills from them like bricklaying. This will help you save even more money and give you a valuable talent you can continue to use in the future.

The road to a completed build is a long one, but the destination is worth it. When the hard work is over you will be left with the perfect family home, built to your specifications and tailor-made for your family. Be patient, plan, and prepare, and you should be able to get through the building process without breaking the bank and to a reasonable schedule.

Remember, the people you work with are your most precious resource. Without the help and cooperation of an experienced team, it is impossible to build a home. Do not let the weight of a self-build rest on your shoulders alone. It takes many hands to make light work.

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