Attractions of Custom-Building Your Home

Have you ever watched ‘Grand Designs’ on TV, or any one of the other myriad of property renovation programmes and thought to yourself ‘We’d love to do that…!’ ? Well you’re not alone, there is an increasing trend for buyers to custom build their homes and now it seems there’s never been an easier time to self build.

Even the novice designer now has an opportunity to tailor their new home, from setting out their floorplan, specifying their kitchen and bathroom fittings all the way to choosing the soft furnishings. The added attractive of course for the self-builder is considerable savings on stamp duty, build costs and fitting out.

Under the self build scheme, stamp duty is only payable on the price of the land and not on the full build cost. So for a house with an end value of £400,000 this can generate savings in duty of around £12,000, depending on the price of the plot.

The majority of self-builders do, in fact, hire building contractors to carry out the hard work, whilst retaining overall control of the design for what will hopefully be their ‘dream home’.

So how does the Self-Build process work?

It can start with simply buying a serviced ‘plot’ from a lead developer, which comes with initial planning permission, and gas, water and electricity services already installed. The buyer then arranges the build work themselves.

Another route is for custom designer / builders to team up with like-minded buyers and commission builders to do the majority of work for them. This offers flexibility whilst still keeping build costs down.

A series of new developments are becoming available across the South East which offer an easy option that is proving quite popular. With these sites, it is the lead developer that builds the home to the buyer’s taste and ideas. These homes are effectively sold as shells with buyers having the option of having the developer complete the work for them. Typically this may cost around £100,000 for a good quality but not excessive finish, rising up to £250,000 for a high-end result for the largest five bedroom house. Estimates suggest that theses homes work out between 5-10 per cent cheaper than buying a similar new home in the same area, and of course it will have been designed specifically to the owner’s specification.

Payment for a custom-built home is generally made in stages. Buyers initially pay for their plot. Then they make staged payments for the work, which is costed at the outset by a project manager. In theory, work can begin as soon as the mortgage is in place to pay for it.

Making Communities

For developments featuring custom-built plots, there is considerable scope for real variety with different designs offering unique communities that avoids the depressing look of large housing developments. Whilst there may be an approved selection of materials and finishes to retain an overall control, owners get the chance to choose different designs from rustic, to minimal to ultra-neutral, as well as different styles of windows, flooring and built-in wardrobes.

Energy Efficient Homes

 A key element for self builders is the ability to specify the level of energy efficiency of their homes. Many will want to combine quality of design, construction and energy-efficiency, with bespoke, well thought-through solutions. This can cover everything from maximising available lighting, ground or air  source heat pumps for heating, insulation, air quality and possibly solar thermal panels for hot water. Another consideration is the use of locally sourced materials and recycled materials wherever possible, which may also add to the over aesthetics of the final look.

Right to Build Register

Anyone thinking of self build, custom-build or creating community-led housing should sign up to their local Right to Build register ( This register shows local councils how much demand there is for such homes in their area and has a direct impact in the number of sites that could be made available in the future.

How FABRICO can help

FABRICO’s one-stop-shop approach to helping our customers achieve the home of their dreams fits extremely well with self-builders. We can assist in sourcing suitable plots of land, home design, applying for planning consent right the way through the build phase to furnishings and fittings. We are always pleased to discuss your plans and give you the benefit of our time and expertise. If self build is of interest, or if you have another project in mind, feel free to contact us either through our website (click here to contact us) or email us