Dreaming of your own home? It's not as hard as you might think!

publication date: Jan 15, 2015
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Building your own home? Nottingham is the place to be...

Plenty of people like the idea of tackling self-build, but feel put off by all the hassle and expense they think it’ll involve. However, the good news is this is one area of residential property where there is plenty of expert help available and in Nottingham, self-build can be achieved on a surprisingly modest budget.

How do you find the right land to build on?
Naturally, your first step is to see whether there are suitable plots of land where you want to live. With councils being tasked to help generate more land availability for self-builders, Nottingham have set up their own self build register, so it’s worth signing up.

Chatting to local builders or even larger developers is worth a try to see if they know of anything available locally, and even post notes to homes with large gardens in case the owners might sell some land. It’s worth considering a database like www.plotsearch.co.uk – just make sure they are updated regularly. Another great place is your local auctions or of course checkout what the Nottingham Post property section is advertising.

How easy is it to get planning permission?
It’s really important to buy land that already has at least ‘outline planning permission’. Never just buy and then pray for planning permission later and be careful of any ‘land banking’ investment schemes as lots haven’t seen any returns, visit the Land Registry for more details. Planning given may have been different to what you wanted, so before you make an offer, chat to the planners or a Derbyshire-based planning consultant to make sure your new plans will be accepted. You will need specialist legal advice and a land survey before you buy too.

How much should you budget for?
As with all building projects, it pays to know your likely costs before making a commitment. Self-build costs are divided into three roughly equal parts: land, material and labour. Plotsearch.co.uk shows they have over 100 plots available in Nottinghamshire, starting from under £50,000, so with budgets from £150k you should be able to find a way to build your own home. In addition, there will be fees for architects, solicitors and surveyors, together with project estimation costs and site insurance. The good news is there are on-line calculators that can help including one from BuildStore. Always keep a 10% emergency fund handy for unforeseen expenses.

What funding will you need?
There’s no shortage of scary stories on the likes of TV’s Grand Designs about self-builders being refused funds half way through their project. Make sure you find a broker who has helped self-builders before and knows the lenders that help when things don’t go to plan. Some Nottinghamshire builders’ merchants will give you your own account with access to trade prices, project estimating services and what can be invaluable, local professional support.

Finally you need to get good contractors on board. You’ll need to think about whether you hire someone to tackle the whole job, or hire professionals individually, whichever you choose, always have a good contract to safeguard you.

For help on all aspects of building your own home in Nottingham and futher afield, do visit our Building Checklists:


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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