Handy Hints for Self-Builders

Building your own home is an incredibly exciting time, even more exciting than buying a home, but it can also feel a little overwhelming.


When you buy a home ready-made, you know exactly what you are going to get and although you may not be able to make the house exactly the design you would like, you’ll still be able to have some input in its finishings and furnishings. When you build a house, on the other hand, you don’t know exactly what you are going to get or exactly how the process is going to go, however, you will have the creative freedom to build the home of your dreams.

Hints to help self-builders

If you are a first-time self-builder, the process might be even more daunting for you, but don’t worry, we have put together a guide full of handy hints for self-builders.

  1. Give plenty of thought to the location of your home. The location of your home will not only make an impact on your ability to conveniently go to work, or shopping, but it might impact what type of building and materials you can use and how happy you are overall with the finished build. There’s no point building your dream home, in an area that isn’t where you really wanted to end up.
  2. Plan for unexpected problems. There are lots of different things that could go wrong when it comes to building your home and unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent them. However, you can minimise the impact they have by planning for them. Think about things that could potentially go wrong and ask yourself how you would overcome the problem.
  3. Think ahead. You might be building your dream home for yourself now, but you are also building it for the future you. Think about the future and take into account any changes or anything that could happen. Also try to design a timeless home, rather than a home that is in trend right now, to make sure you are happy with it for years to come.
  4. Research everything. The best way you can avoid surprises and problems is to thoroughly do your research and make decisions based on facts and statistics.

self build land

Financial Tips for self-builders

  1. Sort your finances. Before you embark on a self-build, you need to make sure all your finances are in order and you have access to the funds you need to complete your build. If you are in the lucky position of not needing a mortgage, you can skip this step, but for most people, this will be an important starting point.
  2. Set a realistic budget. Yes, you want your home to be the best house possible, but you have to work within your budget. Deciding on a budget is something you should do before you do anything else. Take a look at what access you have to funding and what further funding you can acquire if you need to. Put in place a good reserve pot to cover unforeseen problems that might end up adding more costs to the project, and then see what is left for you to work with.
  3. Protect your investment. Even if you only own the land and haven’t actually built anything yet, you still need to protect your assets. Things like site insurance and structural warranties are incredibly important.
  4. Don’t pay large sums upfront. Of course, you might have to pay some deposits, but never pay any large sums upfront, because the second you do, you lose control of the situation. You become reliant on the professionals you have hired to finish their work solely because they agreed to (not because they have to do it to get paid).
  5. Manage your budget from start to finish. A lot of people fall into the trap of starting out sticking to a budget, but then losing sight of the budget as the project progresses, so they aren’t really sure how much the build is costing them until they sit and work it out. Don’t fall into this trap, update your budget at every step and with every change.

Other handy hints for self-builders

Here are some hints that you might find useful if you are considering building your own home:

  • As frustrating as it is when a project runs behind schedule, don’t panic and don’t stress. As long as it isn’t costing you anything, be patient.
  • Order things in plenty of time. Don’t wait until the week before you are due to have the bathroom installed to order a bath and toilet because there is more chance of it not arriving on time. Think ahead, plan ahead and order things ahead of time.
  • Speak to the neighbours, get them onside and make friends with them now, but then if they do have any issues with you or your new build, they are more likely to approach you rather than complain.
  • While the build is ongoing you won’t get much enjoyment out of the property, so find little moments. After everyone has left the site for the day, remain behind, sit and take in the progress so far, envisioning what it will look like. Start enjoying your home as much as you, as soon as you can.

These are just some of the hints and tips available, so do your research, read more and prepare yourself as much as possible.