Come on, we’ve all done it. Switched onto a property programme and fallen into the daydream of building our very own house. A walk-in wardrobe, a home cinema, a room just for shoes… sounds great, doesn’t it? But what’s the reality of a self-build project?  On the one hand, building your own home seems like a great way to get everything you’ve ever wanted out of a property. On the other, are you really prepared for all that comes with building a house? In this quick read, we look at why building your own property isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Red tape and admin

Let’s say you’ve found the perfect location – just like buying a house, there will be lots of legal hoops to jump through (and pay for). Once that’s over, it’ll be time to submit a planning application to the local council – so you’ll need professionally drawn plans from an architect. You’ll also need to consider whether there’s access to the property or if you need permission for this, too. If your site is in a secluded area, you’ll also have to think about mains water, electricity and gas supply. And don’t forget, you’ll need to meet planning regulations for new-builds and organise building control to assess the site at various stages of construction.If you thought the paperwork and costs of buying a normal property were onerous, then get ready to treble that with a self-build project.

Trusted team

Unless you’re a builder or architect yourself, you’ll need a team of trusted professionals around you to build your home. And unless you’re going to project-manage the build, you’ll need someone to keep on top of all the different aspects, from budget to deliveries to keeping to timescales. Finding a build team who you work well with is one of the biggest hurdles self-build hopefuls often face.

Self-build mortgage

Your mortgage application for a self-build property may not be as straightforward as when purchasing a pre-built residence. Instead, you may need a self-build mortgage, which helps finance the purchase of the land and then the build. Instead of being released at completion, this mortgage is released in stages. It’s best to speak to a broker about the ins and outs of this type of lending.

Tip: You may also need to apply for self-build insurance to cover any issues that arise.


A self-build project isn’t going to be cheap. It’s essential you keep a firm grip on your budget throughout the purchase and construction process so you can afford to get it all done.

Is it worth it?

While shows like Grand Designs may have you dreaming of a self-built home, a renovation project could offer you the same freedom to design and extend without the headache of finding a plot and starting from scratch.