When you’ve got your dream home in mind, finding an existing property that meets all your requirements can be a real struggle. Choosing instead to build your dream home from scratch is an excellent option to get a property that is perfect for you and your family.

Self-build is not an easy option and involves a lot of planning and hard work, but the end result is incredibly rewarding. Building your own home is a huge project to take on and can be a stressful process if you’re new to the self-build game.

Before you set your sights on building your new dream property, you should understand exactly what is involved, where to start, and what to consider along the way. We’ve shared the key steps to building your own house to help you get started:

Organise your funding and finances

Before you can begin searching for the ideal plot of land and begin building, you will need to get your finances in place. There are a range of dedicated self-build mortgages available, and it is vital that you get an idea of the amount you will be able to borrow so you can accurately budget for the project. These types of mortgages often work on a stage payment basis, which means your funds will be released at key stages throughout the project.

During this early stage, you will need to guess a realistic price for the building work and do a bit of research into plot prices in your area.

Find your plot

One of the first, and often most difficult things you need to do when building your own house is to choose a plot of land. Finding the perfect plot to build on isn’t easy, and it can take time to come across the plot opportunity you have been waiting for. Regularly check online resources for new plots available in your chosen area, and also make local residents aware that you are looking as word of mouth is a powerful tool.

Keep an eye on the list of planning applications that have been submitted in your area and register with your local authority under the Right to Build scheme. It might also be worth taking a look at Google Maps for your ideal location and try to identify any bits of land that are yet to be built on; you can then find out who owns them through the land registry and can contact them to see if they are willing to sell.

Set a budget and design brief

It is important that you take a sensible approach to your self-build project and set yourself a realistic and firm figure on how much you will spend on the project before the design stages begin. Within this budget, you should include a contingency to cover unexpected costs such as unavoidable delays or foundation requirements.

Budget setting

Around 10% of your total budget is usually enough, and you will need to be strict on only using it for these unexpected costs. If you still have some of this money left at the end of the build, then you could consider spending it on upgrading your interiors or landscaping.

Once you have a set budget, you should work out your design priorities before finding yourself a designer. A designer isn’t there to tell you what you want from your new self-build home; they are just there to help you achieve your own goals. Decide things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want, how much kitchen space you’ll need, and any other requirements you have for the new home.

Choose your designer

Speak with a few different designers and get an idea of the way they work and the kind of projects they have designed in the past. A good designer is worth paying for, and they will see the project right through from planning and building regulations through to hiring a contractor for the job.

Choose your contractor

Once your designer is organised, and planning permission has been applied for, you will need to decide on your building route for the project. Some self-builders will take on the management of the project themselves. However, most will enlist the help of a contractor. The more layers of people you add to the build, the more expensive it will become, so think carefully about the different people you need to involve in the project.

A main contractor will often add 10-20% on to the core labour and material costs, and extra project managers and experts will take their share. You should consider the skills and time you need for the project in order to choose the experts you need.

Invite a handful of contractors to quote for your project, using tender documents that your designer will have produced, to get accurate prices for the build. It is also worthwhile asking friends and family for any recommendations of builders and contractors that they may have used in the past.

Enjoy it!

While the experience of building your own home can be stressful, it is also a very exciting time, so you should try your best to enjoy it. See your new living spaces come together and watch as your dream home is created for you and your family. As you see the building work complete and interiors begin to come together, you will be raring to move into your perfect new house.