Gerry Gleeson - Self Building your home, a guide to getting started

If you’re looking for information on getting started with your self-build project, then you are in the right place. With 40 years’ experience of building great family homes, we understand that this is a very exciting time. We also understand that it can also be a bit overwhelming. Read on for some practical advice on getting started on your own self-build project.

Getting Started – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

If you were to survey some people who have undertaken the self-build process, it’s likely that you’d get very different answers. Some would tell you that it was the best thing that they have ever done. Others would tell you it was the worst thing they did. This is because there is so much involved in self-building your own home. And it’s likely that you will have had little or no experience of doing anything like this before.

Not only are you undertaking a huge project, you also need to manage a large budget. This can be difficult when there are a lot of demands being made on your money. You also need to work closely with and rely on a team of professionals. You need to be able to trust that they’ll be able to get you through the process and deliver your dream home for you.

So, how do you get started? From our experience of working with families and individuals on their self-build projects, we believe that the following advice will stand you in good stead and will set you on the road to successfully self-build your own dream home.

Know Your Budget

Self-building your own home is possibly the largest financial investment you will make. You need to make your budget work for you. It needs to get you the home you want, all while you avoid overspending. With that in mind, the first piece of advice to getting started with your self-build is to know your budget and absolutely stick to it.

When you get loan approval, it can be very exciting. It can be tempting to focus on the finishes and overlook the costs involved in the more practical items, but essential aspects of building a new house, like the cost to clear your site.

Get Focused

At first, it may seem that you have plenty of money to spend on all the fancy gadgets you see in magazines and on design websites. However, it’s important to remember that this money needs to cover everything necessary to complete your home. Over the years, I’ve seen people agree to extras suggested by contractors or friends and family, that were way outside the original budget. Some people have even taken out high-interest loans or maxed out credit cards to fund these new additions.

While you’re just getting started now, remember when people make suggestions, and before you agree to anything, be clear they’re what you really want. And make sure that you can afford them before you agree and sign anything. No matter how much other people think something is a great idea if it’s not in your budget, then say no.

Don’t worry about hurting their feelings. It’s your home and your money. People’s input can be great to help you make the right decisions at the planning and design stage. However, if their suggestions are outside your budget, then it might be something you can add at a later stage.

Get Involved

On average, the entire self-build process can take about two years to complete. It’s for this reason that it’s important that you are comfortable working with your agent. You need to feel confident that they are up to the job. Never be afraid to ask to see examples of projects they have completed.

This is something we welcome and encourage our clients to do. We have even included testimonials from some of our previous clients on our website. We also recommend that our new clients make contact with and ask our previous clients questions about how they found working with us.

Ask Questions

You are going to learn a lot about the self-build process when you are building your own home. And there is no better way to learn than by asking questions. You shouldn’t feel that you better not ask that questions, that your agent might think that you’re stupid! It is your money and your home. So if someone doesn’t answer your question, in a way you can understand, then it is likely that they don’t know or understand themselves!

Now you’re ready to take the next step. Check out our blog section for more information and advice on other aspects of the self-build process. And best of luck!

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