Pages Navigation Menu

Everything Personal Finance

Top Tips For Managing Your Self Build And Saving Costs

Self-building your ideal home is a huge project to take on, and is a real emotional rollercoaster – from the doubts and worries about managing contractors and bringing a project in to time and budget, to the buzz of pulling off a thing you never thought possible. But if you’ve never managed construction on this scale before, it can also be a very steep learning curve. Here are a few tips and things to expect as you work towards your dream home:

Planning Is Everything

Tempting as it can be to leap straight in, insufficient planning derails many a self-build home project. You should schedule adequate time before the build starts for lots of research – ┬áto develop a clear idea of what you want, source recommendations for the best local building contractors and get a solid estimate of costs so that you can be sure where financing is coming from. Understand your design options, know structural systems will be required and have an informed opinion of which materials you’ll be selecting. Using a construction project management tool like ELMO Software can help you develop a plan and keep track of progress.

Set A Realistic Budget

The one thing that is most likely to catch you out? The budget. If the money runs out part way through a project, it can be a waking nightmare of both practicalities and emotional stress. Most builds end up coming in a little over the original budget, and it’s usually due to last minute changes to the original plans. The key here is to start with the figures rather than the design. Instead of falling in love with a hugely ambitious scheme and then struggling (and most likely failing) to make your budget stretch to it, start with what you can afford and align your design choices to that. It may seem less exciting but it does avoid a huge amount of problems and worry further down the line. Your total budget for building a home will also need to include a contingency sum or buffer to take care of anything unexpected – this should be at least ten per cent of the projected project cost.

Find The Right Tradesmen

Half the battle on a self-build project is tracking down reliable, skilled trades to carry out the works needed to bring your dream home to life. Hiring the wrong person for the job can lead to huge problems, so make sure you understand the difference between a cheap quote and value for money. The sums aren’t the only thing you need to base your decision on – getting personal recommendations and solid references for tradesmen, and even visiting some of their past projects to see the quality of work should factor in. Bear in mind some contractors will submit a low pricing just to secure the work and then find lots of hidden extras to bump up the final cost, so don’t try to cut too many corners when it comes to this area.