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Building your own home is expensive, right?
You have to find the perfect plot of land and pay for that, get all the appropriate planning permissions in place – something else which costs. Then you need to pay an architect to draw up plans, before having them approved. They are all significant expenses before you even start building and paying for labor costs and building materials. Self-build sounds unaffordable for the majority of people, doesn’t it?
Well, before you write it off as an option, take a closer look. We have all heard the stories about people who have stuck two fingers up at the housing market and gone down the path of building their own home, incorporating everything that they want and need in their property. That’s because if done carefully, and with plenty of planning and research, building your own home can be a very viable and affordable option. Here is how:
Know what costs to expect
Many people start off the building process quite green, assuming the costs of the land and the actual building are the only things they need to think about. This is a naive way of going about it, and will almost certainly lead to you blowing your budget (which we are assuming you have very carefully thought about) very easily and by a huge margin. Knowing all of the costs that you will face, plus allowing some money for unexpected costs or emergencies will mean you are much likely to stick to a budget and keep the process as cheap and as affordable as possible.
Land, for example, is not just one singular cost. You may have to pay for levelling out, drainage, excavation, erosion control, and so on. These can ramp costs up dramatically before you even lay a brick.
Do it yourself
If you already have experience in building or have a network of friends and family with the necessary skills, building your own home can be a (mostly) DIY job. It usually takes a lot longer as you may not have the same level of manpower, access to equipment and may have to fit building it in around other work and commitments, but if you are doing it on a shoestring budget, it is something worth considering. Even if you just do minor finishing jobs – plastering, decorating, tiling – you will have yourself a pretty penny. Remember that some jobs MUST be done by someone with the relevant qualifications and accreditations – you do not want to be messing about with the electrics or gas work systems. Leave those tasks to the professionals.
Keep it simple
The more complicated a design, the more expensive it is likely to be. Think back to your geometry classes at school: squares and rectangles are the easiest shapes to deal with, so stick with them. Add square footage to your home by building upwards rather than outwards and use decor to give your home the individuality that you desire.
Look at the Building products-that you have access to and look at how you can use those creatively. Very ordinary materials can be used in exciting ways to give a modern and unique look to your home. We are talking about cement countertops in the kitchen, resin flooring and so on.
Go off grid
While this may not necessarily cut down your building costs – in fact, in some circumstances it can actually increase costs a little – it can save you a significant amount of cash in the longer run. Not only will it reduce your ongoing energy costs and bills, but it also means you are taking a huge step towards doing your part for the environment. It may be that you look at having solar panels fitted to your root, or wind turbines in the garden if you have a lot of land. You can look at things such as composting toilets or making sure that you incorporate somewhere to grow your own fruit and vegetables on your land. There are huge communities online dedicated to supporting people aiming for an off-grid lifestyle.
It is always going to sound expensive to self build your own home, but in some cases, and with careful planning, it can be done as cheaply, if not more so, as buying a ready-made home. Understand what costs are involved, what you can do yourself and what you need to outsource to a qualified contractor, and how you keep costs down by keeping it simple and you can build the home of your dreams – and not blow the budget.