Why now might be the time to self-build

publication date: May 21, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
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Building your own home may be better financially for those looking to enter the current property market 

I had a great time on Radio Scotland chatting to a first time buyer about their options to buy.

We talked about doing up a wreck, but the problems being they are difficult to get at a good price as so many people want one, they tend to end up ‘over paying’ versus what the property would be worth done up.

The second thing we talked about was the fact that even though you want to live in a particular area for family or social reasons, you don’t do this every night (well most people wouldn’t anyway!) so if you are just partying for 2-3 times a week, being half an hour away isn’t a major issue. You can stay overnight at friends and family or in a nearby B&B, or even take a taxi home. And if this extra cost is a lot less than overstretching yourself on a mortgage making you susceptible to losing it later down the line, then it’s better to have this slight inconvenience a few times a week than being repossessed.

Another idea that came up though was the buyer was in a lovely position to have plots available for sale in their area which they could buy and build on.

Even though they have little experience in building, I think it’s a great way to get on the ladder.

Yes you have to do a lot of work upfront, but in many cases building rather than renovating can be a lot easier. The unknowns you have can be a lot less, so things like dry rot or subsidence are unlikely to be issues. Of course it is a longer process, perhaps 6 months to a year, but the advantages are huge.

Advantages of building versus renovating

  1. Once the property is built and can be mortgaged on the ‘open market’ it is typically worth 30% more, meaning you have a good deal of equity so potentially access to better mortgage rates

  2. The property can be built to your specification rather than incur costs of changing existing layouts

  3. If you secure planning for a bigger property than you can afford to build now, you can ‘add on’ later

  4. It’s possible to build a one storey property with planning for two, but save money by building in the foundations to make it into a two storey property when you can afford it.

  5. As everything will be new, you will have guarantees and lower maintenance as well as lower energy bills due to having to build in insulation to a higher level than you would a renovated home.

Where do you start?
Why not checkout our ‘quick guide’ to self-build and our other self-build checklists:-

And there is the amazing self-build and renovation centre in Swindon which I was lucky enough to be involved with.

I’ll be there at the Big Home Improvement Show from 20th - 22nd June, so do come and visit then and I’d be delighted to answer your questions. Click here to register.


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