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Should we build?

(6 Posts)
makemyminduptime Sun 08-Oct-17 14:02:25

So we've been looking for a new house for 9 months with no luck. Had offers in on a few, one was accepted but then fell through when the seller pulled out. We need a larger house for our growing family and also space outside for sheds/outbuildings for DH.

We spoke a year ago about building, which would be my DH's dream, he's been drawing plans of his dream house for years and would be able to do a lot of work himself. I was the one who wasn't sure, mainly because I wanted to move to a bigger house relatively quickly (it's getting me down having so little space with a growing family) and I know my DH would want to do a lot of work himself and I was worried it would severely impact our family life, leaving me with the responsibility of looking after our children most of the time while it was being built.

But here we are, 9 months on, and no sign of finding something that suits what we want. We could potentially build on some family land if we got permission, have the house we both want, with sufficient outside space, be closer to family which could be helpful with a young family, and possibly even do it for less money that we would spend buying somewhere else.

I think I'm starting to come round to the idea, and I know if I bring it up with my DH he'd be ecstatic. Just wondering what anyone else would do in my position?

JoJoSM2 Sun 08-Oct-17 15:08:52

I wouldn't want to do it if the money was tight and DH had to DIY some of it. Presumably, he works and with a growing family there probably isn't much time for hobbies etc anyway. Trying to spend time on site making stuff would eat into his time even more. Sth to bear in mind is that if a job takes 40h, then a builder would complete it in a week. Assuming DH can work at the same speed, it could take a whole month around other commitments. Realistically, he won't be as handy/speedy as a pro so the job will take 2 months instead of a week...

However, if you got the money in the bank and a good contingency, then it's worth a go. You also need to expect to spend a lot of time overseeing everything (people are always shocked by how long that takes). In addition, have a think about the timescales. It can take you a few months just to get drawings done and planning permission obtained even if it goes smoothly. By the time you find your tradesmen etc it might be a couple of years before the house is ready (and that'd be good speed).

makemyminduptime Mon 09-Oct-17 10:32:26

Thanks @JoJoSM2 those are mainly the reasons I was against it when we discussed it at the start of the year. But now we're edging towards the end of the year and I'm so disheartened that we haven't found anywhere to buy yet (or else we have found a few suitable places but have been unlucky in that we didn't get them), that I can't bear to think that we might be in the same position in another 9 months time. At least if we built I'd feel like we were actually doing something rather than waiting for something to come on the market, hoping our offer will be accepted and then praying nothing goes wrong until the contracts are signed.

I know it wouldn't be easy, and it would mean us staying in our small house for longer than I wanted, but maybe the end result would be worth it?

JoJoSM2 Mon 09-Oct-17 11:14:07

The end result would most likely be worth it as you could have the house just right. My sister self-built and it took a while longer than expected. As her partner worked long days, she found herself on site several hours a day with a new born in a sling. The whole process took a year longer than expected with trials and tribulations along the way. I think it was very challenging at the time. However, they have now lived there for three years and are happy.

guilty100 Mon 09-Oct-17 11:23:42

It depends entirely on the kind of person you are, and how much a bespoke house is worth to you.

It will be stressful. There will be a huge amount of work, and a huge amount of planning. You will have to make dozens of decisions about details you never even knew existed.

A key thing is how realistic you are about your financial situation, your skills levels, and your timescales. You need to plan this down to nuts and bolts - literally - and pretty much the worst project managers are those who are blase about it and say "Oh it will just be OK" without doing that work. This is how you get into trouble. Being cautious, planning every detail, and building in contingency, is how you get this done in reasonable time to budget. If you are effectively being gifted the land, are you sure there is no budget for a builder? It seems odd, because you clearly have a budget for a house and land land is usually a large part of the cost of a build.

On the upside, with a good architect, the result will be astounding. I have a friend who is self-building the most amazing modernist home in my city - it was already featured in the trade press before the foundations even went in. Having something that is uniquely for you can be worth the sacrifice for some families.

another20 Mon 09-Oct-17 12:06:30

Personally I would grab this opportunity with both hands - but I worry that your motivation is for expediency and impatience which this option will not deliver.
I would pursue it but only with v v detailed plans and v v realistic budgets (+ contingencies in place). I would spend many many months doing detailed plans and costs before starting. If it was looking tight I would leave it ...

OR - this is what a friend of mine has done. Drawn up and achieved PP for forever home - but it will be built in stages - so they have the core built and extra can be added as "extensions" at a later date. This took the sting /risk out of the costings - got them into their house - but in reality the hard graft, foundations/services etc had to be done upfront anyway.

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