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Self build - any experiences tips

12 replies

colette · 24/08/2006 16:26

We are very tentatively ( as we really don't know if we can afford it) considering buying a plot of land and building a house.
We may not be able to afford to build something we would like to live in and may consider doing it to gain a lump sum to enable us to move up the property ladder . We currently live in a 2 bedroomed flat and dh's business is not bringing in much money , so he may be able to put a fair amount of time into this whilst I work. We are mortgage free and live in Glasgow.
Any advice or tips , pitfalls or reccomendations?

thanks , I will go and cook tea in anticipation. I really want to do this but am a bit worried as it is such a huge commitment both financially and timewise.

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colette · 24/08/2006 16:50


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gscrym · 24/08/2006 17:05

My brother in law is a building control officer and built his own house. I think he's more than doubled his money but he built the house about 12 years ago. He also got a lot of the work done for nothing by DH and some of his mates.

What you need to check is that there is permission for a house on the piece of land that you buy. Might sound silly but BIL knows of a lot of people that have bought land and found out they can't build on it. Contact building control to ask advice and also go along to the Self Build exhibition in SECC (not sure when). That'll let uou find out about costs of kits etc. I remember DH saying that with building houses, it works out that building and selling 2 kind of pays for the third. Also ask around if anyone you know can recommend or is an architect. Any drawings you submit to the council have to be approved prior to construction and any ammendments approved. Ammendments also cost more if the architect alters the drawings. Once the property is built, then you have to get a habitation certificate before you can live in the house.
The other thing is, you won't get a mortgage for the full cost of the project.
One of BIL's friends built a house a couple of years ago and over-built the plot so he lost money. He basically built a really posh house in an area that wouldn't support how much he wanted to sell it for.
Sorry for rambling.

gscrym · 24/08/2006 17:10

Meant to say, good luck with whatever you decide.

colette · 24/08/2006 17:41

Thanks very much gscrym - that was not rambling it was very helpful.
Dh's friend has done two but he has a lot more capitol than us , and has done all the work himself whilst working 4 days a week as well ! We will have to go about it in a less ambitious way. Did your Bil build in Scotland and did he use the website "plotsearch"
I have found a few websites but real experiences are unbiased and more well "real"

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colette · 24/08/2006 20:29


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colette · 24/08/2006 20:45


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alfiesmum · 24/08/2006 21:15

Hi colette, we are about to start building our house. It is a very long, slow and STRESSFUL process.
Where are you planning to live while you are building? we are living in a static caravan on the plot to save money but with a 3 year old and a 9 month old its not fun!
We bought the plot with an old bungalow on it, we had the first plans we put in turned down and are now on our second. We have done everything the council has asked this time so it should go through this time.
Are building plots easy to get hold of in your area? we really struggled to find this one and only got it as the estate agent is a friend of the family! We paid £150,000 for a 34 x 180 foot plot that narrows at the back, but the going rate is about £190,000 for this size so not cheap! we are in Essex.
My husband is a carpenter so is doing most of the work himself. We are allowing £100,000 to £120,000 to build a 4 bed detached challet but will be selling when it is finished as we are aiming to be morgage free!
Sorry I have waffled for ages, if there is anything else you need to know then just ask

gscrym · 25/08/2006 10:02

Morning Colette,

BIL built his house in Falkirk. Like the person you know, most of the work was done by him, his family or tradesmen he knew (as a homer). I can't remember where they lived while the construction was happening.

Here's the website for the self build show. You should get some info there. It's not on till next year though. Self Build Show

Downsides for BIL were that it took a lot of work and everything is really in the hands of the council. Plus sides, he got the house he wanted for a lot less than having tho pay for one ready built. The other option is buying a property to rennovate. That would give you a leg up and possibly generate capitol a bit quicker than starting fom scratch. The only issue would be if you were rennovating a listed building. The nyou would be tied to what materials you could use. That may also be an issue if you bought a plot on an existing development. You may have the condition that the property has to be inkeeping with the style of the existing properties.

God I can waffle!

zippitippitoes · 25/08/2006 10:16

we are currently building a house and the whole process is like pulling teeth

colette · 25/08/2006 11:23

zippitippitoes just noticed your reply so hope you are still on line. tell me about it please - are you doing it yourself or employing builders ? What are the major problems ? I must be mad eh

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Jbck · 25/08/2006 18:34

We were considering doing it but basically we can't get a plot where we want to build so we're snookered. We could buy a house near some council land then buy it, sell the house & build on the land but that's all too complex & expensive so we're probably abandoning the idea but here's a couple of sites that might help you this one & another . IIRC the Buildstore site maintain the plotsearch site & DH found everyone on the forums v helpful. Good luck with your project. Where are you thinking of building?

colette · 26/08/2006 22:09

Thanks Jbck,
We are going to have to do a lot more "homework" to see if we can possibly afford it. The links look useful thanks

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