Although there are many excellent reasons to build your own house, it can be a huge undertaking requiring an enormous amount of time, energy, dedication, creativity, skill and money.
Questions to ask yourself
- Are you a good organizer of other people, particularly in the building trade?
- Have you a range of building skills which you can use on your house? If not it might pay better to work in your own occupation and simply buy a house.
- Have you a special kind of access to building materials? Maybe you know someone in the building business or you own a quarry or a wood or some other source of materials and you can get them cheaply. If not you may end up paying over the odds for materials.
- Have you a particularly creative eye and can build something more beautiful than is generally available on the open market?
- Have you spare time on your hands which can be most profitably used to build a house?
Consider the points above and if they don’t particularly apply to you then be warned that you might lose money doing self build rather than profiting from it.
The Stress Factor
The other main reason not to get involved with self build can be described as the stress factor. Any or all of the following problems may beset you -
- Finance and cash flow problems, especially if costs rise unexpectedly or interest rates change for the worse. It’s not uncommon for self builders to get to the stage of almost completing the project and to be relying on selling the property they are moving out of, only to find that there is a lull in the house sales market and they cannot realize the amount they were relying on getting. This can be a very difficult situation
- If you go into temporary accommodation such as a caravan or you rent somewhere while building a house, this in itself can be stressful
- Many self builders are in some other form of employment whilst building and this can be tiring over the long run
- The uncertainty of working in an area that you are not experienced in and learning new techniques over a short period can create a very steep learning curve and produce huge stress
Mark Brinkley, in his book The Housebuilder’s Bible there is an excellent section on the pros and cons of self building.