Think building your own home is beyond your means and unaffordable? The cost of a self-build home can be enormous—but it doesn’t have to be. Self-build houses come in all shapes and sizes, and build costs can vary greatly.
Here’s some tips to create your dream home at a price you can afford and if you want to create your dream home without moving house, we also have some tips for upgrading where you live.
1. Work out Your Budget & Priorities
Before you do anything, decide what you really need. Make sure everybody who will be living in the house is involved at this stage, and make a list of all the things your home must include, as well as additional items to incorporate if budget allows.
Once you have this wish list in place, it’s time to talk about money: Sit down and look at your finances. How much money do you have in savings? What could you release from the sale of your property? What is your borrowing potential? Follow up this conversation with some real research. You will need to get your house valued by three agents, talk to lenders, possibly consult financial advisers, and really tie down what you have to spend on your dream home.
2. Consider Your Style of House
Think about what kind of house you’d like and the building method that is most appropriate. Now is the time to make your mark on the world as small as possible by choosing a sustainable build. Passive houses can be expensive to build but will generate enormous energy savings in the long term.
Sustainable approaches such as straw bale homes, log cabins, and even tiny homes are very light on resources and can be very cheap to build. In fact, micro houses (typically under 480 square feet in size) cost between €45,000 and €80,000 +VAT for a 1- or 2-bedroom house with a fitted kitchen and bathroom and open plan living room.
3. Hire a designer with local knowledge
Once you have your priorities and finances in place, and you have an idea of what route you’d like to take with the build, you need to talk to an expert. An architectural consultant in your area will know what local builders charge and what professional costs you are likely to incur. Discuss your wish list with them, and you’ll soon discover just how realistic your plans are.
Sometimes, the gap between what you want to achieve and what you have to spend is just too great to take your plans any further. Be honest with yourselves: It takes courage to back out, but it’s much easier to do it now than when you have started building.
4. Areas Where You Can Save/Spend
Certain aspects of a self-build project are traditional black holes when it comes to spending. We have compiled a list of areas that could save you money—or where you can blow your budget:
- Choosing a level site where services such as water, drainage, and electricity are easily accessible
- Opting for a building plan that is a simple square or rectangle with a conventional roof, concrete roof tiles, and simple finish
- Avoiding custom-built stairs, windows, doors, kitchens, and bathrooms
- Choosing alternatives to hardwood floors
- Keeping lighting simple
- Sacrificing the conservatory
- Shopping around for sanitary ware and kitchens
5. Choose a Building Approach
There are three main approaches to building. The one you decide to use will make a big difference to your costs.
- Main contractor: This is the easiest and most popular approach for a self-build home. The builder will manage the build, purchase the materials, and hire the subcontractors.
- Project manager: Hiring a project manager takes a lot of pressure off you as the building progresses. Project managers differ in the services they offer, however, so make sure this is very clear from the start.
- Building it yourself: Not many people have the time, skill, or energy to build a house themselves. It can be a rewarding process, but it is also very stressful and hard work. You will save about 25 percent on what a main contractor would charge you.
6. Renovate Your Existing Home Instead
If building your dream home from scratch sounds too expensive and stressful, remember you can do a lot with your existing home. By upgrading your exterior, you can create your dream home at your current address. Here are some of the approaches you might take:
- Add an extension
- Add a porch
- Use cladding, render or paint to give the exterior a facelift
- Replace the roof
- Replace the windows
- Convert the garage
- Landscape the garden
- Upgrade your driveway with gravel or paving
- Change the Front Door
As you can see, there are many aspects to creating your dream home on your specific budget. If you have some ideas on home building or renovating you’d like to run by an expert, get in touch today and we’ll give you the advice you