13 July 2021

What you need to know before you self-build

By Brooke Crisp Manager
Man and women working on sofa with renovation plans

Homeowners choose to self-build for all sorts of reasons, whether it’s realising a long-cherished dream or making the practical choice to progress along the property ladder in the most affordable way they can. But whatever your reason for building your own home, there are certain considerations you should be aware of, from plot pitfalls to self-build insurance. Read our guide to getting your self-build project started.

  • Get ready for a challenge

Before you commit to building your own home, you should take the time to understand just what you’re undertaking – and why. While the rewards of self-building are bountiful, the process can be challenging and intense. So before you get started, ask yourself what you want to achieve and plan it out in detail. For example – are you looking to build a larger house for you and your family, or are you hoping to create your dream eco-home? Your overall goals will have an impact on every stage of your design and construction process and, depending on your budget and external factors such as planning permissions, you may need to make compromises along the way.

  • Money matters

The last thing you want is to run out of money halfway through your project so it’s important to make sure you have sufficient funds available. While some can self-fund their own build, many need to take out loans or a mortgage to complete the work – and with many mortgage providers requiring approved planning permission before they grant the funds, you should be aware of the push and pull you may face when it comes to borrowing to build. We recommend you get expert financial advice before you commit, as these types of projects often have a tendency to cost more, and take longer to complete, than initial estimates.

  • Dig into your plot

Where you plan to build is incredibly important and, where possible, you should thoroughly investigate your preferred plot before you commit to buying it – making sure it can be serviced with such necessities as water and power. Land can also disguise all sorts of issues that might end up costing you more than expected to solve, whether it’s buried pipes, foundations in the wrong place, waterlogged ground or even contaminated soil. Luckily, you can get a site checked before you buy at relatively little cost, so you’ve got peace of mind there won’t be any nasty surprises when you start building.

  • Build a team

When it comes to construction, there are multiple options to help make your project run smoothly. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to do it all yourself – there are plenty of suppliers and even ‘package house’ services that can take on every stage of your self-build journey on your behalf. You can even hire in an external project manager to oversee it. On the other hand, if you’re keen to get stuck in yourself, you can take on the management of your contractors or carry out as much of the work as you can yourself. Whichever option appeals, make sure you do plenty of research and choose contractors that come recommended.

  • Protect against problems

A vital part of preparing for a self-build project is to accept that somewhere, at some point, problems will arise. Building your own home is a demanding and even emotional undertaking, but well worth it in the end. And no matter if you hit a minor setback or come up against a major issue, a good self-build insurance policy is essential to keep you protected throughout the process. Because while everyone hopes there will be no need to make a claim, having renovation insurance in place could save the day if something happens to compromise your self-build project.

At Renovation Plan, we only offer the most comprehensive cover for self-build projects –because we understand the unique challenges of building your own home and how costly unforeseen problems can be. We are happy to talk through your requirements before you take out a policy and advise on the level of cover that’s best for your project, including optional covers and flexible voluntary excess levels to align with your budget. And with the right policy in place, you can get started on your self-build with complete reassurance that if anything does go wrong, your project is protected with the right self-build insurance policy.

Want to find out more about our self-build insurance cover?

You can find further useful information on our self-build insurance page. If you’re not ready to get a quote yet and would prefer to speak to someone you can find the right details by clicking here. We can’t wait to find out all about your project!