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Has anyone built their own house? What do I need to consider?

(15 Posts)
Joskar Sun 07-Feb-16 09:35:00

Dh and I rebuilt the house we live in but we don't own it (complicated story) but we might have to move out now because it is too small. There are plots for sale nearby and we think we might be able to afford to build but only if we do the work ourselves.

What do I need to know about mortgages?
Could we do crowdfunding?
We've thought about using straw bales. Anyone done this?
What experiences have people had?

Seeyounearertime Sun 07-Feb-16 09:48:43

Could we do crowdfunding?

why would people be willing to donate money to you to build your own house? i don't get it? Is this seriously an option now?,
"I need something, i'll ask people to be charitable and give me the money to do it"


I researched doing it a few years ago, i'll share those findings grin
Land is the expensive part, the very expensive part.
It has to be a proper plot, with building consent etc. you can't just buy a bit of field and stick house on it.
Actual building needs to have plans drawn up, surveys, permissions etc. all this can take YEARS. you plan the build, submit for approval, the council discuss it at the next planning meeting, if the refuse, you have to change, resubmit, wait for approval. so on and so forth.

I would highly recommend a architect for this portion of the job. it is crucial.

Finally when the plan is approved and the land hs permission to build what they have approved you can ask builders for quotes, show them the plans.
meanwhile you'll need to arrange for sewerage to be connected, gas to be connected, electricity to be connected, phone lines to be connected, broadband too if you want it. (all of this costs money)

then the next expensive bit, the building. even doing it yourself your materials will be expensive. even a modest strawbale house will need concrete bases, foundations, wooden joists, roof beams, bales, plaster boards etc. (when we priced ours up, the actual build of a three bed straw bale bungalow was going to cost between £35k and £45k just for materials needed and no labour.

All the while this is going on you still have to eat, sleep, heat and light somewhere to live so you have those costs as well.

we eventually gave up on the idea when we realised our meagre £150k budget wouldn't be enough.

It is doable, don't get me wrong, it just seemed either pay and it's done in 18months or try to do it cheap and it'll likely take 5years plus.

have nosey around:

Wondermoomin Sun 07-Feb-16 09:53:03

We've thought about using straw bales.

You're not being serious are you?

Anyone done this?

Yes, one of the three little pigs. It didn't go too well.

Wondermoomin Sun 07-Feb-16 09:55:28

Oh my goodness, I stand corrected! I've just googled and yes straw bale houses are a thing... Who'd have thought it.... shock blush

Joskar Sun 07-Feb-16 11:00:30

I was thinking more of those funding things where you pay people back but it's not a bank more than a grabby give me money thing. I know self build mortgages are different from ordinary ones but I don't know how exactly. I'm not sure how much deposit they require. I have seen 50% and I wonder if this is the standard.

We currently live off grid and we rebuilt it so we already have the skills to do the work and we have solar panels and a genny and such. We use a spring for our water and we put in the pump, pipes and tanks ourselves. We use satellite broadband so it won't be a big deal to shift. Not really worried about the logistics of the actual build because we know what we're doing and we know how to price up materials etc.

The plots have outline planning and have been identified by the estate we live on some years ago. Thinking probably about £60k.

Bil is an architect. But we would do the plans ourselves and get a draughtsman to draw them. Just ask bil's advice for some stuff.

We can live in this house. Our lease doesn't run out for a long time and we have it on sweat equity so it's paid for.

Thanks for the links.

Wondermoomin Sun 07-Feb-16 11:17:46

Joskar sorry for my joke, it was rude. FWIW I would love to self-build, or at least design my own house and wish you well for your project. smile

Joskar Sun 07-Feb-16 11:37:23

That's ok. I know it sounds weird. It's a pretty sustainable way of building and the insulation is good. We currently use sheep's wool insulation and that's raised a few eyebrows too!

shanghaismog Sun 07-Feb-16 20:51:23

Sounds like you know much more than your average self builder. We certainly knew nothing!

We used Buildstore for our mortgage but be warned any self build mortgage has more fees and charges and indemnities etc than your average mortgage, so really expensive.

We found out too far down the line with our planning, but Ecology building society seem to be much more reasonable, especially if you're doing a straw bale build.

Good luck! Wish our plot had only been 60k!

Joskar Sun 07-Feb-16 22:17:30

Well we do and we don't. We've learned a lot with the rebuild of our current home. This is the house that YouTube built! Basically it's a new house in the skin of an old one.

We reckon on £400+ per square metre (more than seeyou estimated). Does that sound right for materials? Given we're doing almost all the labour ourselves and getting homers where we can we hopefully won't go massively more on labour. Obviously there's stuff we won't do like foundations (maybe, not sure how we'll do these), roof trusses. I don't know. Anything else you wouldn't recommend we do ourselves? We're pretty fine with joinery, basic plumbing, basic electricity, plasterboard, taping, painting, flooring, tiling and so on. Gas isn't on the main here so we're just calor.

£60k is not cheap I think! Where I grew up you'd easy get a plot for under £20k. My father is appalled we're even considering it. I suppose it depends where you are. We're 20 miles from a shop or a bus so it's a bitty remote.

What's the score with releasing the funds? Are they likely to be very strict about deadlines? When are the fees payable? What things are you charged for? Does it mean big repayment?

shanghaismog Mon 08-Feb-16 16:49:35

Crikey, where are you based?

We did a lot of the grunt work ourselves but nothing skilled. No idea on materials cost on its own really.

Normal self build mortgages are paid out in stages, usually foundation, frame, watertight etc and these are inspected by the mortgage appointed surveyor, warranty provider and often building control before you get the cash released for that stage. To fund this you do need a bit of a fund up front. They are starting to do accelerator mortgages, where they release the money up front. Much more sensible!

shanghaismog Mon 08-Feb-16 16:51:02

Don't forget to get vat receipts for everything as you can claim it back and get people to zero rate any work they're doing. Read the vat instruction booklet first on what you can claim for...

Joskar Tue 09-Feb-16 19:49:19

We're in the Highlands but I'm from further north.

I'd say we'd have to get an accelerator one.

Thanks for the tip about Ecology. They look like a good option. Interesting to see the focus on passive house. We'd thought of that so it's good to see it being promoted.

Did you go lots over your budget? Were you very clear about the schedule of works?

shanghaismog Tue 09-Feb-16 20:47:09

Aah, South East here...We built pretty much passive, but not certified.

We managed to keep more or less on budget but that was with juggling and clawing money back on things when we overspent on others.

Took us 6 months from start to finish pretty much, but living on site in a caravan through winter does tend to make you a pretty hardcore project manager....

Mind you, we bought a garden plot where the sellers had designed the house and we just built it as per their plans (as we weren't allowed to change the plans), so that's a huge chunk of time we saved. Never mind the arguments! Think it would have taken us years to agree a whole house design from scratch! Would love to have free reign on design though. That said, ours was a pretty non exciting build and when you go off piste with the cool lovely architectural details that's when the budget gets busted and time drags on.

Good luck, would go it all again tomorrow (only now I'd actually know what I was doing...)

DoctorTwo Tue 09-Feb-16 20:51:44

By crowdfunding I take it you mean p2p lending. I think as more and more people are unwilling to leave their money in a bank they look to innovative ways to get a return on their capital, hence the rise in popularity in p2p lending, and indeed the p2p economy. My advice re p2p is to look at those schemes that are based on the Blockchain, as all information, including agreements, terms and transactions are recorded on the Blockchain, a traceable public record, so you're less likely to get ripped off. And if somebody tries they can be traced.

Building a house from straw is probably the cheapest way to build. You need a couple of hundred bales at a fiver a pop. BUT, they all need to be tied together, preferably with steel bar, and all render and coatings must be breathable, otherwise the straw will rot, the same way Tudor houses rotted after the Victorians painted the oak beams black.

I'd be more inclined (as you're in The Highlands) to look at the Scandinavian way of building. Or a modular wooden system about 250mm thick insulated either with compressed wool or pulped newsprint. By modular I mean pre made panels which are screwed together on site, meaning you could have a weather proof building up in a couple of weeks, given good weather, natch.

Good luck whichever way you decide to go.

Joskar Wed 10-Feb-16 09:40:05

Ah! Is that what it's called? I knew I wasn't inventing it in my own head. I will investigate that option. It's not unreasonable, is it? Do people use it for projects like this?

Do you mean SIP? We had thought of them. I know they're fast but they come in standard sizes and they're quite pricey. I'll have another look though.

One of the things that appeals about the straw bales is that we could get them locally so pretty cheap and very few road miles. I think we would clad in uncut larch boards which are also local. Wriggly tin roof maybe. Not sure yet. It would need to be OK to put the solar on.

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