Key tips to keep in mind if you are venturing in building your own house

Finding the perfect home can be a challenge so tough that it seems impossible for some people. When there are so many crucial factors to consider, it is unsurprising that some turn to the concept of building their own home from scratch. It can seem like the perfect solution – the ability to tick all of your personal boxes and in some cases, do it at a much lower cost than to buy your dream home from a real estate agent. 

The reality of venturing into the homebuilding world may be a little different once you get started. It is therefore essential that the decision is made with plenty of consideration and a lot of souls searching. The last thing anyone would like to do is get halfway through a project and deeply regret the decision! It would be too late to restructure then, without the loss of vast amounts of money already invested. 

So how do you ensure you are making the right decision in building your own home? And what tips are there that will help to make it go much smoother? We've pulled together some handy hints that we believe will help your project go as well as is possible, splitting them into the different stages of the whole process. You can read on to find out what they are, but we've also created this fantastic guide to help with your new venture.

Before you even get started

If you're still at the stage of fully deciding whether to go ahead, then there are some things you need to give some serious thought to. And even if you have decided to go ahead, have you really given it as much thought as it needs? This is probably the most involved thing you'll ever do in your life so getting it right from the outset is crucial. Consider the following: 

1. Financially, is this the right thing for you?

When you look at house build projects, you see the outcome, what it is worth at the end and the overall cost. And often it seems excellent. You get more bang for your buck when self-building but don't forget; it's not quite the same as mortgaging a property and just buying it. Often monies are released in tranches, and you sometimes need a decent amount to give the lenders confidence you're invested in this too. Can you afford to finance some of it yourself and what happens if you run out? Are there any other funding avenues you have access to? Do a full review of the financial impact this will have on your life before committing too much more to it. 

2. Do you have the emotional staying power and the strength of mind to see it through? 

At the end of the project, you will, in theory, have the house of your dreams. But getting there will be a challenge beyond your wildest comprehension. Months of stress, worry, financial burden. For some, it will necessitate living in compromised surroundings, so when delays occur, how will that impact you? One of the most demanding parts of building your own home is the number of decisions that you need to make on a daily basis, and often, these are big ones so you need to be right. Will you have to hold down a job at the same time, or can you be on site to project management? If you don't handle pressure well, are a natural worrier or suffer from anxiety, this project might need some extra time considering or planning to ensure the impact isn't too grave while it progresses. 

The initial stages of the project

1. 5 Ps of planning 

Have you ever heard the phrase 'perfect planning prevents poor performance'? Well never is it more true than in this type of situation. Plan, plan and plan some more. And when you think you're done planning, do a bit more. Nothing will preserve your success more than having the right plans in place. 

2. Create a lifestyle home to suit your needs 

As part of your planning, you need to think about what your home should give you. What type of lifestyle do you want from it? Is it more family time requiring open-plan spaces and a kitchen that runs through to the living room? Do you need multiple living areas for a family who is growing up? Do you want outdoor living with a vast deck space straight off the kitchen? How many bathrooms do you need? When you're thinking about all of this, you also need to consider your cabinets and storage. Possibly pay more attention to it more than you would think. The storage units sit on walls, and they go in first, so it is challenging (and expensive) to change those once in. 

3. Hire the right people – including a designer 

There are few things as important as the team around you. These people might be the difference in the project getting finished on time, on budget, to spec, and an absolute nightmare which destroys your mental wellbeing. You'll need architects, builders, plumbers, electricians and even though you think you might not be able to afford it, a designer. They can also save you money on your build costs thanks to years of experience. 

4. Location, location, location

Don't compromise on your location. If you are desperate to live somewhere, then hold out for it. If you're unreasonable and other areas are just as good, only then should you reconsider if your chosen place is out of budget or a plot unlikely to become available. 

5. Contracts

Make sure these are tight or else you could end up in difficulty! Use the experts for these and get some good advice. 

The build

This is the most intense bit of the project. If you've planned well and got the right people, it will go somewhat smoother, but even still, issues can arise. So…

1. Be kind to others and to yourself

Mistakes will be made, so don't be too harsh on yourself. In the grand scheme of things, they won't matter further down the line so try not to be overly upset in the first instance. Learn from it and move forward positively. Also, be kind to your workforce. Many have to deal with employers who are rude or don't even acknowledge them so they will appreciate some humanity along the way. 

2. Know when to listen and when to stand your ground 

There are times you need to take expert advice. Sometimes, they really do know better than you and certainly when it comes to structural work or legalities. But occasionally and especially when it's down to personal taste, you should stick to your guns. If you know, something will make you happy every day – go for it! 

3. Communicate

This is one of the key barriers to getting what you want. If you can't articulate it, draw it! Just make sure you explain everything about your vision as much as possible, so there are no doubts. And get your team to do the same – set your expectations as to when jobs might be finished, etc., costings and everything besides. Communication is king! 

Moving in day

1. Snagging list

Make sure you have pre-agreed the snagging arrangements for things that will need fixing. Will, it cost you more? Is it in your budget? How many times will builders come back? In what timescale? 

2. Enjoy it 

The most important part of this is for you to enjoy it once the project is complete and you're all moved in. Take many, many moments to appreciate what you've gone through and what you have achieved. 

Building your own home from scratch can be an incredible if somewhat challenging experience so makes sure you're well ready for it. Enjoy the process, and the home you created when you move in.