According to the Department of Finance, 2,236 new dwellings were started in Northern Ireland between July and September in 2018: of these 331 were apartments and 1,905 were houses.
Self-building does not literally mean laying each brick yourself. More often than not (and recommended), professionals are used. Self-building means rather than buying a house that has already been built, you are going to design a house to your own specifications and needs before getting the expert help you need to make those dreams a reality.
There are many benefits to building your own home. It’s a place to live that is quite literally what you dreamed of. You can create a house that is the perfect size for you and your family and holds everything that you need. Moreover, you have total control over what goes into the making of your home, meaning you can choose your budget and work within your means. You’re the boss here!
As enticing as all this may sound, choosing to build you own home is not a decision to be taken lightly. Below we outline some of the decisions you need to know about if this is your first time self-building.
Just as when you are buying a house, you need to work within your means. Set a budget and stick to it. Remember that mortgages work differently when you are building: the money is not released all at once but released at pre-agreed stages.
There are a lot of different costs that need to be factored in when you are setting a budget for a self-build. Everything from procuring the site, to workforce fees, to insurance, to your interiors - and also having a place to live while the house is being built.
We also recommend having some extra money set aside. If something goes wrong, you’ll be relieved to have that money to cover it.
2. Your Site
Before you can even think about building you need to buy the site and secure planning permission. Know your land well - this is where you are going to be living! Make sure the ground is good, once you start digging you don’t want underground pipes or obstructions hindering your process and adding extra costs.
It might be a good idea to meet your neighbours now too. Building a house can be a long project and they’ll be living next to any noise and mess that you create in the process.
3. The Team
When self-building you have a bit more flexibility when it comes to who is building. To save costs, many choose to do bits and pieces themselves. A big decision you need to make is: who is going to project manage?
By being the project manager for your house, you can save a lot of money. However, this is not a job to take lightly - if you are inexperienced you could only end up incurring further costs for mistakes made. A professional will know the industry and hopefully be able to negotiate better prices. If you do choose to project manage, this means assembling your team of professionals and setting terms of appointment and clear goals and deadlines.
4. What you want and how you’re getting it
This is your house, therefore it’s your job to clearly define how it is supposed to look, from the very bedrooms to the heating system of choice. Consider the decisions you are making and why you are making them. Run everything through your designer and have your plans drawn up professionally, ideally by someone who has worked on homes similar to the one you are hoping for.
5. Choose your materials carefully
Certain materials are more commonly used while building than others, but that is not to say you can’t choose something a little bit different for your home. Discuss what is realistic with your builder, but remember that choice of material will not only affect costs but it will impact the time it takes to build.
The Haldane-Fisher website has a host of other helpful tips for self-building, including case studies from those who have already self-built and features to help you design and price your project.
Why not call into your local Haldane Fisher to speak to one of our experts and how we can help kick start your self-build goals.