Self Build is not for Wimps

Self Build is not for the faint hearted:

(sub titled as I am advised by family & friends that ‘Wimps’ is a harsh word !!!)

A plethora of advice, for and against self build now also being called Custom Build for family homes is now available online, especially at the excellent and comprehensive National Self Build Association web site

Building your own home can be one of the best life style & financial choices a family can make but it should be entered into only following thorough research and a willingness for hard work. It can bring exceptional financial benefits if you ‘put in’ a lot of the work yourselves and control your costs by careful buying of materials and sub contractor costs; if this is not what you want to do it may prove more expensive than buying a standard house “of the peg”. 

Flosh Meadows owners say “All prospective self builders should carry out an in-depth study of their personal wishes, ability, determination, time and finances before committing to any irrevocable purchase or action”.

A self builder cautioned me some years ago; “you spend 12 month building your perfect designed high quality home and possibly if you are not careful 24 months re-building your relationship” so be fully aware of the difficulties before you make a life changing decision. However you will have avoided what Kevin McCloud of Grand designs calls ‘churning out the same old boxes’

It is not the intention of Richard & Betty Mulholland of Flosh Meadows who should call themselves (wonderfully obtuse phrase coined by a home designer) “Custom Build Facilitators” !! to try and sell you the idea of self build. We simply offer our self build, serviced plots in a wonderful part of West Cumbria with the site being within short walking distance of the internationally renowned The Lake District National Park now (2017) a World Heritage site.

We consider the following article by the well known and financially astute people at This Is Money website is a brilliant place to start:

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So what if you could build your perfect home from scratch?

Self-build homes are becoming a popular choice for people looking to get on the property ladder. This can be because of a lack of local housing supply, a desire to create a more modern environmentally friendly home, or simply a bit of inspiration from television’s Grand Designs.

According to the National Self Build Association, there are 6 million people in the UK who want to build their own home and 1 million have already started the planning process.

Make no mistake, self-build is a tougher task than buying a home from a developer or another owner, but becoming a self-builder has got easier in recent years, especially since the government launched a  £30m fund to boost the sector.

Why self-build?

Depending on where you live in the UK, your main choices when buying a house in the UK are likely to be a fairly standard new-build, or an older building dating back to the Victorian era and beyond.

Either way, you may come across issues, such as space or poor energy efficiency and face inheriting previous owners’ problems, such as damp or poor decorating choices.

However, by constructing a self-build property you could ensure it is energy efficient and as big or small as you want it from the start.

You will also be able to stamp your own design and tastes on the property.

According to Kevin McCloud, TV presenter and founder of sustainable property developer Hab Housing, much of the housing stock in the UK is made up of ‘identikit Noddy houses built at the lowest possible cost.’

He explains: ‘The government sees self-build as a solution to the housing crisis. Self-build is greener and empowers people more. It can create communities and makes houses a reflection of their owners.’

How to do your self-build

There are a number of ways to become a self-builder, depending on how involved you want to be in the process.

You could manage the whole design and construction process, partner with a developer or contractor, or join a community project.

All the routes depend on the amount of time and finance you have.

The government has launched a Self Build Portal that details the options available.

Find a plot

To create a self-build property you first need to find a plot of land. This can be difficult as you will need planning permission and will have to consider the rules and regulations that restrict you.

The self build portal, linked above, lets people advertise for plots of land, while property websites advertise self build land. These listings are in short supply though.

You could also speak to estate agents, auction houses, architects or check with your local planning office.

Where can I find the plots?

A not very modest !!! self serving plug by those wonderful people at Flosh Meadows is of course:

Flosh Meadows Self Build web site

PlotBrowser has a range of plots you can search for by location, type of project and price. 

PlotSearch, is a service run by self-build specialist Buildstore which requires a subscription.

Self-build mortgages

Note from Flosh Meadows: we have met Jon Lee, of the Ecology Building Society and advice all to contact him. Their services appear to be in-line with sustainable, high energy saving homes. Cumberland Building Society are leaders in self build finance

Self-build is a niche market for lenders and many have exited in recent years citing a lack of demand. This is an area where it is definitely worth talking to your local building society.

Deposits, rates and terms vary depending on planning permissions and the stage of the building  process.

Self-build mortgages work differently to residential products. Funds are released in stages rather than in a lumps sum so that you do not run out of money during the project.

A lender will want to see detailed plans for the property, a projection of costs and planning permission details. Your architect, house designer or financial adviser can assists you on this matter.

Lenders typically release the money for a self-build in a number of stages, taking a project from foundations to the finished property. They may want to inspect each stage before signing off on the next slice of money.