Posted on 28th September 2017

Build the Home of your Dreams

Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property
Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property

Many people dream of building their dream home. They want to create something perfect for themselves and their family, which may not fit into the current fashion of new build designs. It is a trend that is very popular in a number of other countries around the world and becoming a realistic option for many people in the UK. But how can you make sure your self-build is stress-free, and worth the time and effort?

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to make your self-build project runs smoothly. For example, you may want to consider the long-term value of making your new home environmentally-friendly. Incorporating good insulation, solar panels, water recycling systems, heat pumps and small wind turbines can reduce the running costs and save you money long term. A good architect will work with you to design a property that is both feasible within budget and incorporates your own vision for your new home.

It is important to set out your budget and stick to it. Not only will you need to pay the architect and the builders, you will need to buy the land, the materials, any costs associated with contaminated ground or steep slopes, solicitors’ fees, stamp duty, engineers and a mortgage. And that’s before you’ve even considered your fixtures and fittings!

The Government released a White Paper in February 2017, which introduced plans to make it easier for people to build their own homes. This included easier access to local authority registers through the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) portal and extra support for customers from lenders to ensure finance is available should they wish to build their own property.

Make sure you’re aware of any potential issues with the land. Some land purchases come with restrictive covenants attached to detailed planning permission agreed before the build. This could potentially cause you problems if, down the line, you decide to add an extra room or want to make another amendment that requires further planning permission. When you are purchasing the land, you should ask your solicitor to check how easy it is to make changes, should the need arise, or you may want to opt for land without planning permission or with outline planning permission, which is less restrictive. It is, however, important to stress that buying land without existing planning permission is a risk, and you may not have it granted.

In terms of the land, you should also be aware of any wildlife that could be impacted by your build. There are some areas of land which are protected, and you will almost certainly be stopped from building there. You should also check if it’s an area where bats or protected species of animal have made their home. Bats particularly don’t respond well to being moved, and this could cause real problems for the builders. You can check if the land has protected status on the DEFRA website, and if you have any concerns about wildlife, you should speak to the local authority.

While you must be realistic about the length of time a self-build takes, the great news is that the recent Government White Paper encourages local authorities to move quickly once plans are submitted. If you have the time and you want something completely unique to you, a self-build can be a great option, and will be worth it in the end. Just be aware of the pitfalls and take good legal advice.

Please note: This article is intended as guidance only. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.