Finding the right plot is key to the success of your new build. Don't forget, Location, location, location.
So where do you find these elusive plots of land? Our top tips would be to register with online portals such as Rightmove and On The Market and with local agents in the area. There are also specialist websites listing building plots. We recommend:
You could also look at buying a plot of land at auction. Make sure you do your research, go to see the land and read the legal pack before you make a purchase. When the hammer falls, this is in effect exchange. You will be contractually obliged to pay a deposit, usually about 10% on the day of the auction. Remember, the total cost at auction is the amount you bid plus VAT.
Investing time in drawing up a realistic budget is vitally important to your self-build. It is easy to fall into the trap of tweaking your budget to suit your means. This is a false economy and could end up costing you dearly. Be realistic about what contractors and building supplies cost and don?t forget to include your legal fees, planning fees, surveys, cost of the building plot and mortgage, if you have one.
Set aside a contingency amount for your self-build, we would suggest a minimum of 30%. This will cover any unexpected bills, of which you can be certain there will be some!
Building a new home does have a VAT benefit. You can apply to HMRC for a VAT refund on building services and materials but you must apply within 3 months of completing the work. Find out if you qualify https://www.gov.uk/vat-building-new-home/eligibility
If your building plot comes with planning permission it is possible to apply for an amendment if you wish to change anything. You will need to speak with the local planning department. If your plot of land does not have planning permission granted it is advisable to speak to the planners before purchasing the land to see what their thoughts are on development of the site.
Planning can be a complicated and lengthy process and you may wish to employ a planning consultant to help you through the process. Speak to the local planning department and follow their guidelines.
If planning permission is refused you are entitled to the reason for refusal in writing. You can also ask the planners whether changes to your plans would make any difference.
If you feel the decision on your plot of land is unreasonable you may wish to appeal. You must appeal within six months of the date of the decision.
Choosing a good architect can make all the difference. Above all, choose an architect that you like and trust. It's important that you can have a good relationship with your architect.
Look at previous builds the architect has worked on and make sure that they fully understand your needs and design ideas.
Don't leave the architect to their own devices. Get involved in the design process and be flexible. You want to end up with the house of your dreams, not solely the architects.
Get a minimum of three quotes from builders and try and get recommendations if you can. Ask the builder you choose for references and make sure you follow them up.
When the quotes come in, scrutinise them fully to make sure that every last thing is quoted for, you don't want any nasty surprises. Don't just go for the cheapest quote, it can be a false economy. Look for quality and again, a builder who you get on with and trust.
Check what qualifications the builder has and whether they have any insurance. Ask them to tell you how long the job should take and decide with them whether you are going to pay a fixed rate or a daily rate.
DO NOT pay upfront for the building works. If they ask for a deposit, look into using a deposit guarantee scheme. Stage payments are a good way of keeping you as the client and the builder happy. Agree these dates in advance.
Try to stick with the same builder for your self-build for consistency. All builders work differently and so if you bring in a new builder they may say the previous builder didn't do something the way they would have done it, when in fact they have just done it an alternative way.
It's tempting to go all out ECO on your new build but just make sure you have done your homework. Ensure that you're going to get a good return on your investment and think about how long you are going to stay at the property realistically. If you sell your self-build it isn't guaranteed that you will recover all the costs of the renewables you have installed.
It's also worth considering how it will look cosmetically. A bank of solar panels may detract from the overall look you are trying to achieve.
It's very difficult when you're building your dream home to realise that nothing can ever be perfect. You can strive for perfection but the reality is you will probably have to make some compromises along the way. However, that said don't accept bad workmanship. Don't be afraid to confront trades people if you are not happy with their level of work. It's always good to show them that you won't accept a sub-standard build.
A common mistake is to invest all your time, energy and money into the house and leave the landscaping until last. Good landscaping however, can really make the difference to your new build. It can help the property sit well in its surroundings and look established.
If you are searching for a building plot or a renovation project please call Fox Grant today and register your interest. We will keep you up to date with any new building plots / properties we take on that meet your criteria.