Planning a self-build project? Top Tips

9 Dec, 2022

Planning a self-build project? Top Tips

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If you are planning a self-build project as a homeowner, read this article. In this blog we offer you some top tips to help you prepare for success.

Tips to help you succeed with your self-build project

self-build project
Dreaming of your own home designed to your specification?

Self-build projects are a massive achievement. Many homeowners to be are drawn to them.

It’s easy to see the appeal of these arrangements too. After all, many prospective homebuyers are easily put off when property hunting and virtual presentations of property can be unflattering too. Homes are also leaving the market as quickly as they came, with buyers snatching them up at lightning speed. Prices chaotically fluctuate too, and it’s a headache just keeping up with everything.

Therefore, while a self-build project has its share of challenges, it’s safe to say these arrangements give people greater control and stability. If you’re exploring these opportunities yourself, you’ll want to make the best of them. Consequently, here are some tips that should help you succeed with your self-build project.

Start plotting

All self-build projects require a plot of land. While things may look nice, many factors need to be considered here. The first thing to consider is location. Is the plot of land in a nice area? Are there amenities and services nearby that you need? Might the views be to your liking? Look beyond the obvious and research the surrounding area.

You’ll also need to run surveys to ensure you’re not causing unethical destruction to any surrounding wilderness. There may also be pipes running under the foundations of your prospective property, and it might be that you’ll also contend with contaminated soil, too. There’s a lot to consider here, but surveys will help you get to the bottom.

Finding a reputable surveyor is important, as if there are any failings here, it can drastically add to your budget later on. It’s an unnecessary risk to take, so be thorough. Find a surveyor by visiting the website of your local council. There, you should have access to planning application archives and details of surveyors that performed work competently. Once you’ve found them, contact them.

Procure Warranty Insurance

No law dictates that self-builders must take out builder warranty insurance. However, it’s still strongly recommended that you do so, as these safeguards can enormously improve your situation. Mortgage lenders insist on these measures.

The warranty covers structural defects occurring at the time of building, too. If you’ve made any mistakes (and you may do if this is your first self-build project), it’s helpful to have a safety net ready to fund repair costs.

Look for the best quotes for insurance

You can find the best quotes on builder warranty insurance for free with BuildSafe, a specialist broker. They provide many different types of cover, including self-build warranties, and they have over 40 years of experience in the property sector. They’ll ensure that only the most competitive quotes are presented to you and that you always get the best value. You can save up to 30% with their help!

These types of services leave no stone unturned. Some self-builders, unfortunately, take a gamble and go without warranties, believing them to be a bother. However, because specialist brokers make everything so simple, there’s really no excuse not to field these options.

Set the budget for your self-build project

self-build project
It can take a village!

Self-build projects can be more cost-effective but require competent funding plans. Setting the budget will determine whether your efforts succeed or fail. Start by analysing the help that’s available to you and factor in those figures. For example, the government’s Help to Build scheme is very promising, making the logistics of these projects more affordable.

Applying for an equity loan is a straightforward process. That said, the Help to Build scheme will end in 2026. While there’s still some time left, the years are flying by, so it’s best to act at the earliest opportunity.

Apply for a self-build mortgage

You can apply for a self-build mortgage, as specialist lenders offer. However, there’s more risk involved for them in these arrangements, so they typically require more details about your financial situation and the nature of your self-build project. You’ll need to present a full cost breakdown of your project and a detailed timetable that’s as accurate as possible.

Furthermore, the warranties you have in place should be disclosed, too, as it can make your case more assuring.

The purpose of a budget is to be realistic. Self-builders can easily get carried away with their projects and have grand imaginings of building a dream home that’s beyond compare. The reality is that unless you have lots of money or humble ambitions, compromises will need to be made. Account for those in your budget.

Recruit an architect for your self-build project

building a new house
Once recruited keep in regular contact with your architect

Self-builds aren’t a one-person show. You’ll need the help of many expert professionals to see things through. Some help is optional, but the contributions of an architect are essential. The contributions they make to a property are outstanding and go beyond aesthetics alone. For example, their input can lead to more eco-friendly, safe designs and help your project’s planning and construction stages run more efficiently. They’re always there for support, and that alone can be reassuring.

Remember, it’s good to have someone around you to tell you ‘no’, especially during such a monumental project in your life. They can translate your property ambitions into something feasible and turn your good ideas into great ones. Use their expertise to your advantage and elevate your build beyond ‘standard’ housing measures.

It’s a perfect chance to create a home that goes the extra mile, if not always in the ways you most expect.

Not all architects are equal when it comes to a self-build project

Not all architects are the same, and finding the right one is vital. There are many ways to do this. You can go the more traditional routes of online searches and network with loved ones, or you could explore and note any properties you adore.

After that, you can knock on the door and make some enquiries; the homeowner may be willing to share the details of the architect they worked with. It won’t always work, but it’s worth a shot and can lead you to some more obscure gems in the architecture world.

Final words on your self-build project

Self-build projects can succeed if you draw on others’ expertise and maintain a realistic perspective. These long-term plans require a rational mindset and must be pushed forward by facts and figures rather than blind ambition. Once the concrete details are in place, you’ll enjoy constructing your self-build much more, as everything will start to come together more affordably, smoothly, and reliably.


At Housesit we like to offer useful and practical articles on topics for our readers. In this selection we offer you a number of suitable pieces from our own blog on renovating and decorating a home.

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