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Has anyone built their own house?

(18 Posts)
SmiledWithTheRisingSun Sun 12-Nov-17 13:18:37

As a potential solution to the horrendously outrageous cost of housing where we live, I am wondering about trying to buy some land and getting one of those flat pack houses. I hear they are relatively inexpensive.
Has anyone done this?
If so I would LOVE to know about your experiences please?

Time40 Sun 12-Nov-17 13:29:21

We have. It was absolutely awful - harder than I could have possibly imagined. The kit was fine, but the people putting it up turned out to be cowboys and made a mess of the job. And then all sorts of other problems came up. Getting a kit up is only the start - that's almost the easy bit. Fitting out and finishing a house is a massive job.The whole nightmare took five horrible years and cost twice as much as the original budget. Mind you, we were doing it in a remote place, where everything is much more difficult than it is in a built-up area. I think it could be a lot easier than we had it.

SmiledWithTheRisingSun Sun 12-Nov-17 13:52:39

Oh dear time40 that sounds very stressful.
Do you mind if I ask you some questions?

Are there any positives?
Are you still in the house?
Were you happy with the flat pack?
Where did you get it from? / how did you chose?
How much did it cost?
Do you think it would have been a quicker process with better buildrers?

KanielOutis Sun 12-Nov-17 14:23:25

Most of the cost of a house is the land so you wouldn’t save much by going DIY. Land with permission to build isn’t much cheaper than just buying a house, and tends to be snapped up by developers who build blocks of flats, rather than one house.

SmiledWithTheRisingSun Sun 12-Nov-17 14:25:06

I would really like to hear about anyone with experience of doing this.

Bluntness100 Sun 12-Nov-17 14:30:49

My father in law did this, twice. However he was skilled at many diy trades and able to do a lot of work himself. It was a huge amount cheaper than buying and it took a few months all in. The actual house went up very quickly, He also was retired at the time so had nothing else to do.

I think unless you know what you’re doing you need to get a project manager in to manage your build from beginning to end, inc sourcing the trades people, otherwise you really could end up screwed.

SmiledWithTheRisingSun Sun 12-Nov-17 15:27:54

Yes I certainly wouldn't want to do this without any expert advice.
Am just interested in doing a bit of research into the possibilities smile

Time40 Sun 12-Nov-17 15:40:47

Are there any positives?

You can build exactly what you want, and tailor it to your own requirements. You can have kit houses altered to suit - we did this.

Are you still in the house?

Yes. It's a second home/holiday rental business, but I am actually in it at the moment, as the holiday season is over.

Were you happy with the flat pack?

Yes. It was the erection of it that was a nightmare, not the actual kit. One or two things about the kit were a bit off, but nothing major.

Where did you get it from? / how did you chose?

from these people:

How much did it cost?

I can't remember - I'm sorry. It was over five years ago. I'm sure you can find out prices from that link, though.

Do you think it would have been a quicker process with better buildrers?

Yes. The actual local builder who was project-managing was great. It was the team of people who did the initial erection of the kit who caused a lot of the problems.The poor builder ended up sorting out the mess they made.

OldWitch00 Sun 12-Nov-17 15:40:58

In Canada; we did. Bought an empty lot in a rural area. Chose a house plan. Hired a general contractor.
There were rules and regulations. Things like once you start you have a set time to complete. Certain materials.
Cost wise; we got a brand new home of our own design. House wise under budget, however complex landscaping issues brought us over budget.
Our contractor was amazing and would not lower his standards (had no problem telling DH “no”).
The contractor told me “I build million dollar homes, my crew will put in the same care and attention to your home as my other customers”.

OldWitch00 Sun 12-Nov-17 15:44:58

I also know several couples who; buy land, live in a temporary caravan, self contract, get to lock up, sell the caravan and finished the interior over time. But very few communities now allow this.

SmiledWithTheRisingSun Sun 12-Nov-17 15:47:48

Thanks time40 are you in Scotland?

PurpleWithRed Sun 12-Nov-17 15:54:51

I did a self build. We were incredibly lucky and found a fantastic plot with plannning permission for a 4 bed house. We then replanned and built, but it was a luxury build and we were able to afford to go over on our budget. It is definitely not for the faint hearted or the inexperienced - previously we’d done up multiple houses and knew the risks as well as some of the tricks.

There are (or were) magazines devoted to self-building, I suggest you start doing your research. I warn you, it is very tough and stressful.

Your first problem is going to be finding a plot - they are rare, and developers are able to find them and snap them up before you even know theyre coming on to the market.

shanghaismog Sun 12-Nov-17 16:09:20

We bought a plot with planning permission (not cheap), lived in caravan on site which focused the mind enough to be done and dusted in 6 months. Loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat. Managed the whole process and pretty much came out on budget, with a little extra for landscaping. It can be done, although I was working on it full time. It would have been much more stressful had I been working, and I’m sure the budget would have spiralled too. It was well worth it financially (SE).

Time40 Sun 12-Nov-17 21:55:20

Thanks time40 are you in Scotland?

Yes. In a very remote part of Scotland.

user263781638 Mon 13-Nov-17 09:51:44

My DH is a site manager and always says the house building is the easy part its getting the services to it which is a pain in the arse, they’ll charge you what ever they want and make it extra difficult for everyone else, oh and they run in their own schedule not yours.
That’s why he said he would never self build. But that’s me just going off what he says.

whiskyowl Mon 13-Nov-17 10:18:47

There is a huge difference between sites. If you've got a vacant lot that is in the middle of an urban area, getting water, sewerage and electricity to it is a very different proposition to a very rural, middle-of-nowhere location. You may have to think about being a lot more self-sufficient to make it economical in the case of the latter, and that's not necessarily an easy lifestyle.

I wouldn't assume that kits are necessarily cheaper than other methods of construction - timber-frame, for instance.

Dowser Mon 13-Nov-17 10:47:42

Marking my place
My friend is thinking of selling her home and moving to a large ( probably new) static caravan.
So looking at about £50-£60k and buying some land subject to planning permission.

I think it’s a great idea.....if she can make it work.

whiskyowl Mon 13-Nov-17 11:25:37

Another (really smart) way of doing it - if you can afford it - is to buy a cheaper house with a large garden, live in it while a second house is built, then knock down the first. This is what my friend has done. She's built the most incredible Passivhaus - I'm in a big city, and there aren't many homes nicer than what she has created. It's breathtaking. While the sums involved are large, they are a considerable amount less than what the house will be worth when it's finished.

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