What is a beginner mistake when building a new home?

Building your own home can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to avoid making beginner mistakes. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of making costly errors when you’re starting out with a self-build project, so it’s crucial to learn what they are before you begin. Whether you have already purchased a plot of land for your self-build, or are in design process, this article is essential to help you avoid the biggest mistake that most beginners make when building their new home. We’ll also provide some tips on how to avoid making this mistake yourself!

Deciding to go down the self-build route is a huge undertaking, and it’s not a decision that should be made lightly. Given that a self-build is likely to be one of the biggest investments you are going to make, there are a lot of factors to consider before you begin. Building your own home is an incredibly complex process, and without taking the right professional advice, there’s a lot that can go wrong.

With over 40 years’ experience in managing extensive self-build projects around the county of Cheshire, there are 4 areas that we often see get overlooked in a self-build:

  1. Problematic plots

If you’re reading this article before you have purchased your plots of land, then this is really going to help you.

In addition to meeting planning guidelines, there are other practical factors that are often overlooked to ensure a self-build is financially viable:

  • Access: Does the site have good access from roads? Is the road adopted and maintained by the local authority? Is there any cost involved to create suitable access?
  • Utilities: Can you get electricity, water, gas, and telephone services to your plot? If so, where are they coming from?
  • Existing services: Are there any large power lines running over the site, or public sewers underground beneath the site?
  • Ground conditions: Nearby marshes, lakes, geographical landmarks, or historical mining areas need to be looked into to ensure your plot won’t be adversely affected by them.
  • Restrictions: Are there any restrictions on the land? You can access historical searches are via the Land Registry website to check whether any past restrictions might affect your self-build.

It is vital that you review all of the above before considering whether a plot of land is viable for your self-build project.

Design not meeting your expectations

Talking to an architect is essential if you want to design your own home, as they can help you understand the practical and cost implications of every choice you make. They will help you to establish an interior and exterior style that suits your requirements and consider important factors such as roof style, brick colour, window style, the pros and cons of an entrance porch and any other exterior design features.

It’s not uncommon for the client’s initial vision to get ‘lost in translation’ between architects, engineers and even the planning department. Clear communication between all parties is essential to avoid disappointment further down the line. Use vision boards of other self build projects you have seen, or Apps such as Pinterest to help you communicate your vision to your architect.

An architect will create full architectural drawings which they will then submit to the local planning department, along with supporting documents. It is important to seek a professional to help you do this, otherwise, you could end up with your planning declined, or worse still, problems further down the line once you have started to build.

Running out of money

Building your own home is a huge investment, and it’s not uncommon for self-builders to run out of money before the project is completed. There are a number of ways to avoid this happening:

  • Have a realistic budget from the outset and try not to overspend. Make sure you include a contingency fund in your budget for unexpected costs.
  • Choose your build method carefully. Some methods will be more expensive than others, so make sure you do your research before making a decision.
  • Research the costs of materials and labour in advance. It’s important to get accurate estimates for all the lumber, drywall, plumbing fixtures, and other materials you’ll need before you start your project. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to purchase additional materials midway through your build, which can end up costing more than if you had just bought them upfront.
  • Don’t make any changes once work has started on site, as this will add to the cost of your build.
  • Work with a self-build project manager like CB Homes who can give you a fixed cost from the outset to help you avoid overspend.

Working with the right professionals

It goes without saying that working with the right professional team can mean the difference between success and intense disappointment with a self-build.  With so many different parties involved during a self-build project (architects, planners, designers, builders, decorators), it often pays to use a self build company like CB Homes to help manage the entire project from start to finish.  Not only does this ensure that you avoid these common mistakes, it will also provide you with a fixed fee of the entire project so that you don’t go over budget and ensure that you end up with a home that you are completely in love with.

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