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Government Offers Help With Self Build Scheme
Author: Carl Shave - Director

If you’ve ever dreamed of building your own home, personalised to your specific needs and style aspirations, a new Government scheme to assist with funding could be the answer.

Full details will be released shortly, but it’s expected that 30,000-40,000 applicants could take advantage of the scheme, similar to Help to Buy, with 5% deposits for tailored mortgages on DIY and custom-built properties.

Needless to say, bespoke projects are complex, and not something to be undertaken lightly. They also take time, so it is sensible to allow a couple of years to get through the whole development process, including the Planning application and any potential mitigation measures to protect wildlife and trees, compliance with building regulations – and appropriate insurance cover.

The first challenge is to decide how to proceed: do you have the extensive professional skills to design and project manage yourself, or will you appoint an architect and builder?

Whilst some builders will customise their own designs for clients, creating a new build from scratch is more complex. Working with an architect and qualified builder is the safest option to secure delivery to high quality standards within an agreed timeframe, because they can organise the various formal consents to ensure essential compliance. They would also employ qualified tradespeople, and specify construction materials, enabling you to set a budget, including all professional fees. Always allow for a minimum 10% contingency, to cover overspends likely to arise when changes are made to the original plans during construction, for example upgrading specifications for kitchen or bathroom fittings. Landscaping the outside space is another expense.

One of the biggest costs will involve finding the right site in the right location, with access to amenities. Estate agents may be able to help, but it is always worth checking the local authority’s website because some people apply for outline planning consent to enhance a site’s value before putting it on the market. A direct approach to a vendor could result in significant savings, and speed up a deal.

With a national shortage of bungalows, it is increasingly popular for retired people to retain their independence whilst planning for their future care by downsizing in partnership with family who live in the main home, and building a single storey unit within the grounds.

As part of its housing Action Plan to ‘level up’, the Government recently announced a £150m fund to subsidise sales by local authorities releasing their brownfield, and some greenfield, sites for development, encouraging self build. Full details are yet to be published.

When setting your new build budget, you will need to decide whether you have sufficient savings to proceed, or will you have to sell your existing home to raise funds; does that mean you live with family or friends, rent a property near the site, or even live in a caravan on site during construction? Remember to include any fees arising from these changes: agent, legal, removal, as well as hire/rental charges.

The National Custom and Self Build Association ( is a helpful source of information for anyone interested in exploring options.

When you’ve done your research and worked up a fully costed plan and budget, our Mortgage Centre advisors would be happy to examine the most appropriate mortgage options to realise your hopes.

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