Q. I am toying with the idea of building my own home. What issues do I need to consider?
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A. Well the first thing I would say is: think about this very carefully. Obviously, building your own home can be extremely satisfying. But – as you can see from TV programmes on the subject – it can also be very stressful. Building your own home, whether from scratch, or using one of the many kits that are available, is a major project, and not one to be undertaken without a great deal of very careful, detailed planning.
As with most things, the sensible place to start is your budget. You need to work out what you can realistically afford – particularly if you are planning to borrow money. Things to take into account include possible increases in interest rates, and a fairly hefty contingency allowance. Also, remember that if you are borrowing against the property you are building, the size of the loan will depend on the lender’s estimate of its value when finished. You won’t get the full amount until it’s completed, either.
Of course, if you are going to have to sell your current home in order to fund the project, you not only need to think about where you’re going to live in the meantime, but you also have to factor the cost of any temporary accommodation into your budget too.
With your budget worked out, you will need to draw up a detailed project plan, setting out what needs to be done, by whom, and when; right from the very earliest stage of finding a suitable site and submitting planning and building regulations applications to furnishing and moving into the finished property. And remember, it will almost certainly take longer than you think! As part of this process, consider whether you have the necessary skills and experience to do any of the work yourself. You will almost certainly need specialist contractors for some of it.
However, if you are really serious about building your own dream home, then the best single piece of advice I can give you is to retain the services of an experienced architect, who will be able to significantly reduce the amount of time, effort and stress involved.