Self-Build FAQ

Self-Build FAQ

Blame Grand Designs, but today, building your own home is a dream that many of us hold close to our hearts.

The hope that we could find that perfect patch of land and, from nothing, summon the ideal home from the ground is a hopelessly inspiring one. Although the government do not produce official statistics for self-build properties, anecdotally we’ve seen a huge uptick in interest in the area.

However, it’s fair to say that the interest being shown also comes with a fair number of questions regarding design, planning, construction and financing.

At Bespoke Builders, we’ve always taken great pride in helping self-builders create their ideal homes and, in this guide, we’re going to help answer some of those frequently asked questions which plague self-builders. Let’s get started.


Can I Design My Own Home?

Whilst many consider the building work itself the trickiest part of any self-build adventure, in reality, the truth is that the design of your property is perhaps the hardest aspect to get right. Before you can build, the design of your home has to be finalised.

That not only means design, room layout and overall size, but issues like fire prevention, safety and countless home-building regulations must be kept in mind too. It’s why, unless you’re a trained architect, we don’t recommend you attempt the design stage alone and instead enlist professional design help.


How Do You Finance a Self-Build?

Provided you’re not fabulously wealthy, a self-build property is going to be a significant drain on your finances. Typically, a self-builder will have to buy the land and fund the planning process (including submitting designs for your home) themselves before they can get a loan.

Mortgages for self-build properties are often interest-only affairs and work like an overdraft, with money drawn down at the completion of each stage of the build. You should expect it to take as long as six months to get your finance in order and you should try to have 25% of the land and building costs ready to go up front.


Do Councils Discriminate Against Self-Builders?

No. Quite the opposite, in fact. In 2011, the government’s Housing Strategy for England set out a stall for self-builders, declaring an intention to double the number of self-built properties by 2021. New legislation came in for 2016 and beyond which included measures to help self and custom-build properties and made it a council duty to allocate land.

Nevertheless, there are councils which look upon self-building more favourably, with research suggesting that local authorities in the Northeast and West Midlands were the most helpful.


What’s the Ecological Impact of Building a New Home?

Everything has a cost for the environment, but what about your self-build? Well, it depends hugely on the types of materials you use, the processes you utilise in construction and the design of your home. Back in 2010, the Guardian estimated that a newbuild two-bed cottage would create around 80 tonnes of CO2. However, this can certainly be reduced and with existing homes producing an average of 8.1 tonnes of CO2 each per year, building a new property rather than altering an existing one makes good sense from an ecological point of view.