Starting a new build project is an exciting prospect, however there are lots of aspects to think about before you start; from the right piece of land, to planning, budget and lots more!
1. Budget, budget, budget – Before your begin your project, work out your total budget. Work out what equity you have and add this to your borrowing capacity: this will become your total budget and the one that you need to adhere to. We would then recommend adding a contingency of at least 10% – the leaner the budget, the more stress there will be, which is why it’s a good idea to have a buffer in place. Once you’ve got everything in place and your project commences, make sure you’re tracking your costs along the way so you can ensure you’re staying on track, for example there will be build and labour fees, council and planning fees etc. and potentially even agents fees if you’re looking to sell the property on.
2. Find the right plot – there are very few perfect new build plots on the market. Many of them will have some sort of downside, which is why it’s really important to try and see past what’s in front of your eyes and imagine what the land could be, and what you can turn it into. Before you begin your search, think carefully about what you really need but also what you could accept not having. If you cannot compromise on anything, then be prepared for a longer wait!
3. Planning permission – once you’ve found your ideal plot of land and you’ve worked on a design with your architect (remember most builders can also put you in touch with a great architect if you don’t know any) it’s time to think about planning permission. Your new build project will require planning permission from the local council, unfortunately if you decide to do the work without getting it, you could be served an ‘enforcement notice’ ordering you to undo all the changes you have made, so it’s very important you get this sorted before commencing any work.
4. Find a good builder – Building your own home is stressful and everybody involved in the project has to be on board. There’s no doubt that word of mouth is always a good source of recommendation when searching for a house builder, but also look at other new build projects in the area – What’s the name of the building company? Is the project a similar size to yours? If so, get in touch, read reviews and get a feel for the building company through their expertise, feedback and knowledge. Schedule a meeting or call, tell them about your project and ask them about similar work they may have done. It’s always a good idea at this point to look at their website or social media pages to see what current projects they are working on and to check their credibility.
5. Try not to get hung up on a perfect date – It’s good to have a certain time of the year to aim towards for completion. It’s perfectly understandable to ‘want to be in by Easter’. But don’t get too strict on the date. Not everything is going to go right, so don’t loose sight of the bigger picture. Unless there are other pressing reasons, then it’s best to wait until the project is all finished just how you’d like before you push for a move in date, or even sell date.