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Anyone built house from scratch or converted run down barn etc

(6 Posts)
racmac Thu 30-Jul-09 10:37:58

We have sold our house and looking around at our options - we would like a small holding but not finding anything in our price range that suitable.

Has anyone built house from scratch or converted old shed/etc ?

How much did it cost you?

Where did you live in the meantime?

Would you do it again?

What would you do differently?

How do the banks feel about lending in this situation?

Anyone any advise?

GrendelsMum Thu 30-Jul-09 11:21:25

I haven't done this, but my sister is thinking of it, as she works in a field related to building.

She says the major difficulty is finding the plot / barn with planning permission to turn it into a house. She says these are running very low. You may well find a plot / barn with permission to do something that you don't want, and then need to return to planning with your new designs.

She says that it can be a way to get a good quality house for less money than you would otherwise need, but that you mustn't underestimate the amount of time it will take from you.

I have builders in at the moment and it helps tremendously if I am there all the time, so that every time a problem / question comes up, I can resolve it straight away. This happens a lot. One possible alternative I thought about today, if I couldn't be there all the time, would be to give the builders a mobile phone with picture / video messaging so that they could instantly phone me and send me pics of the situation.

racmac Thu 30-Jul-09 11:29:09


I have seen a plot with planning permission in place that may or may not be suitable - need to check it out bit more.

Im thinking i would get a static caravan on site and live there till its done - so i would be on hand to answer questions.

My dh is in civil engineering - groundworks so can do all that himself - its just everything else - but he would have contacts. Not sure if too much to take on and the estimated costs etc

Theres certainly lots to think about!

GrendelsMum Thu 30-Jul-09 12:46:44

Well, my sister is still up for it, and she's seen a lot of builds up close!

My in-laws are also doing building their own house atm - it's my FiL's dream to build a house, and he loves every minute of it. My MiL hates it.

The thing I really notice is that you have to choose every single thing. Literally, everything in the house must be chosen by you. That's doors, door handles, architraves, what happens to the flooring at the doors, paint for doors. Look at your house, and then think of selecting everything in it, balancing cost, design, practicality, etc etc. For every fun thing you buy, there are about 50 dull things such as pipe lagging. It's both the fun bit and the bit which occasionally drives me mad, because no matter how much you think you've planned, a man will appear and say 'so, what did you want here?' and you say 'erm...'

frostyfingers Tue 04-Aug-09 10:39:16

I'd second that Grendels. We've not yet done the full house build, but bits and bobs in stages on our present one, including making an attached forge into living room.

The decisions come really thick and fast - before you'd even started thinking about lights etc the electrician needs to know things like where you put your TV, which then means you need to think about where you put your furniture etc, etc.

We spent hours with chalk and a tape measure drawing pictures on the floor of the furniture layout so we'd know where to put the TV - and this wall all before the walls were even insulated.

You have to make all the decisions really quickly too - they want an answer now, this minute and you end up guessing which isn't good!

Thank god for the internet, at least you can do the research online without having to traipse round the shops for hours on end.
So, yes, it's great fun, but exhausting

GrendelsMum Tue 04-Aug-09 12:16:54

That bit about having to make the snap decisions in rooms with no floor or walls is so true!

My husband was asked to say where the phone socket should be in our kitchen. With the result that we will shortly have a phone and answerphone tucked behind a microwave in the far corner of the kitchen. hmm

I don't mind having building works going on, but my husband actually finds them very stressful. He feels that he comes home from a stressful job, and then rather than relax, there are things everywhere and we're living off a series of pre-frozen meals reheated in the microwave, and washing up has to be done in the bath. So certainly not for everyone!

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