A dream of mine, which I’m sure is a dream of many others, is to at some point build my own home. However, the process is stressful to say the least and notorious for swallowing up all your money and time, so this might be something to look forward to in the future. Nonetheless, for the people that have the luxury of time and money, have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the process before taking the plunge.
When you begin to have a look at a lot of new builds you will quickly realise how bland and unoriginal lots of the buildings are. The reason for this is that builders make money building master planned communities in which they use a few different floor plans to build thousands of different houses. This process has many benefits for the builders. They are effectively building the same houses again and again, so the process of building the house will be something they’ve done hundreds of times. Therefore it should require less time and effort. During this process, builder’s use the same materials for each house in the community so they can order in huge quantities and save even more money. The materials used to build these homes are often satisfactory at best to save money and maximise profit. But as a homeowner you don’t want the same home as everyone else, you want your home to be built from the best quality unique materials you can afford.
By going down the self build route you have the freedom to design and create a unique house, using whatever materials you want, in the location that you want. You can personally ensure that it will be like nothing else around by choosing bathroom tiles, ceiling light fixtures, carpets, exterior/interior paint colours, kitchen sink, shingle grade/style/colour, shutter style/colour, chimney brick texture and everything in between. No longer will you have to compromise on what you really want. If you choose the self build route you can design the house to fit your needs! If the home is for your ever expanding family, no problem. Build as many bedrooms as you need, choose a space for a playroom, this is your project and you can do as you please. Furthermore, you have more flexibility with the location. You can find the perfect plot with nice views and fewer neighbours. Rather than discovering a great home, only to find that that the neighbours aren’t very friendly and your view is blocked.
It’s likely that It will be cheaper to build your own house than to buy the same house from a builder. This is because you may save both the mark-up from the builder and the cost of a general contractor, which are a considerable percentage of the sale price of a new home. However you will have to constantly monitor your budget and spend which will make the process very stressful. Furthermore, no matter how solid your budget is and how prepared you think you are, problems will undoubtedly arise. For example, you could think that the plot you bought is suitable for building now, only to find out that additional surveying is required. You must make sure you are stable financially before taking on a project like building your own house, you need to be able to afford the overall cost with extra around so that one setback doesn’t completely blow your budget.
Sticking on the topic of money, mortgages are tough to get for people who want one for a self-build as it is seen as a niche in the UK and will be deemed higher risk meaning higher rates for the mortgage you get.
As you can imagine there is a lot more that goes into building your ideal home than you think. Unless you possess the skills yourself you will need to hire a team consisting of an architect, project manager, builders, electricians, plumbers etc. This requires lots of time as you will need to find and hire the right people while demonstrating to them exactly what you want as they are following your instruction. This could be problematic if you are very busy with your professional/family life as you will need to be readily available to discuss the project.
Ultimately, If the benefits outweigh the problems of time, patience, stress, and money, then you might be ready to go down the self build route. But, if the process seems overwhelming, and you’re not excited by being hands on with creating your house from the ground up, then there are plenty of other houses on the market that will fit your needs.