How much does it cost to build your own home? Well, no matter how many online magazines give you averages, the answer is always going to be: it depends. It’s your self-build — you don’t want to have to rely on averages.
Knowing your costs ahead of time and how to manage them throughout the process is key to a smoother self-build. Seeing as these builds are usually far from average, how do you set out your costs to begin with, and how do you stick to them?
One of the most crucial things you can do at the start of a self-build is to hire the right people to help you budget effectively. It’s a good idea to enlist the help of a Quantity Surveyor and a luxury property development company like Aspire that can take your home-building plans from dream to reality.
Begin speaking to local builders, but keep in mind that true costs will only be firmed up once detailed drawings and specifications are available. You can use tools like a self-build cost calculator to work out your average expected costs.
It’s important to have a fairly accurate idea of what you’d like to spend and then some, if push came to shove. Do this by starting with two lists: a must-have list, and a wish list. What is a non-negotiable and what are you willing to compromise on? Once you’ve got the fundamentals, you can more specifically project costs.
A Quantity Surveyor is responsible for keeping track of the budget, progress, and time management. They’ll make sure that any changes are costed in a way that’s reasonable, manage the interim payments of contractors, keep records of invoices and receipts, and, most importantly, communicate with you throughout.
Hiring a professional to take on these responsibilities frees you up to enjoy the process.
This is, for many people, the exciting part. The planning process starts with an idea and ends with a fully fledged blueprint.
While this blueprint may vary over the course of the project, it sets you in good stead to bring your vision to life. At the helm of the planning stage will be you and your Project Manager.
When you work with a company like Aspire, we take the legwork off your hands while respecting and sticking to your values and desires. Our select team of experienced industry professionals share a passion for exceeding your expectations.
Unlike other, less bespoke means of self-build project management, we never cut corners and plan every single detail with you — unless you’d prefer to be more hands-off, of course!
Once you’ve planned, it’s important to stick to it in order to stay within your budget. Small changes are no big issue, but changing your mind about layout along the way can significantly increase costs. So make sure you know exactly what you want before work starts — even if it means more time planning when you want to see bricks being laid!
Not everything in the building process can be predicted. Rainy days, breakages, and shipping delays may happen and they may cause unexpected costs.
Or, more seriously, ground conditions can be revealed which add chunks of money onto the bill. If you’re building on a sloping site, it’s best practice to plan in a 20% contingency — particularly if you’re not sure what’s beneath the surface (though this should be factored in pre-planning). A 45 degree slope, for example, may cost you an extra £45k in groundworks.
In general, though, a 10-20% contingency will protect you from any unexpected costs that arise mid-project. The last thing you need is to halt building works as you figure out where the money will come from — build this into your budget from the outset.
Your Quantity Surveyor or Construction Manager will help you compare different prices from material suppliers, consultants, and contractors. Acting with your best interests in mind, they’ll haggle for the best deal possible, saving you heaps of money in the long run.
If you find yourself having to negotiate, keep in mind that who you decide to hire or what you choose to buy is entirely up to you. Just because you’ve spoken to one contractor, doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to pursue working with them. Shop around, get to know the market, and be firm with your price.
It’s often necessary to look closer to home for both contractors and materials. Likewise, buying materials yourself – rather than having your contractor buy them – can save you money. This is because the contractor’s preferred supplier may not necessarily be the most cost-effective; they’re billing you, after all.
Communication throughout the entire process of building your own home is absolutely essential — but it is the part that many self-builders struggle to manage alone.
This is where a bespoke luxury property developer comes in handy. Here at Aspire, for example, we’ve built up a list of skilled craftsmen, designers, and architects that we rely on time and again to deliver breathtaking properties. A core part of how we get to that result lies in our ability to communicate precisely and clearly at all stages of a build.
Any change – no matter how big or small – should be communicated to all relevant parties so that everyone’s on the same page, whether it’s a light switch or a wall!
Setting up main lines of communication from the outset of the project will make this a more seamless process. Discuss whether you’ll have weekly meetings and daily email updates, or regular WhatsApp messages and phone calls. Whatever it is, make sure you’ve got everyone’s buy-in.
Lastly, thinking ahead will help you manage costs more effectively. We’re not just talking about thinking ahead to half way through the project, but looking even further forward into post-build.
Once you’ve got your build, there are inevitably things you’ll want to add as you go. The more additions you can consider early on, the better — so when in your planning phase, follow every avenue to its conclusion.
For example, think about:
Planning for every possibility may seem obsessive but you’ll thank yourself in the long run — building for potential is much cheaper than backtracking or working around what you’ve got!
Whatever the words “dream home” conjure up for you, we want you to know that anything is possible with Aspire. For the past 14 years we’ve been creating stunning luxury homes across London and the South East on time and to budget, and have won several awards since 2008.