Key information

  • The early stages of the build usually cost more than the later stages
  • It’s best to set aside a contingency budget for unexpected structural costs
  • The average cost of connecting to utilities is £10,000 unless the land has been previously developed (then it might cost you nothing)

Building your own house from scratch is an incredibly rewarding process. It’s more than just a development project - it’s a chance to create your bespoke dream home, exactly to your specifications.

But how much does it actually cost to build your own house? In 2020 the average self-build house cost between £1,800 and £3,000 per square metre, but the amount of variables involved makes it easy for estimates to change.

While every project is different and will have a range of features and challenges, we’ve put together this guide to give you a clearer idea of construction costs and how to budget your self-build.

Breaking down your budget

The first step to working out how much your self-build is going to cost is breaking down how your budget is going to be divided up. Generally speaking, the earlier stages of the build will be the most costly, while later steps like utilities connections and interior decoration will account for much less.

The single biggest expense in your project is going to be the land you buy to build on, including any Stamp Duty and legal and surveying fees.  A common estimate is that the price of the land alone will be roughly one third of your completed home’s final value, with the total build costs being another third and profit making up the rest. However, in high price areas your plot of land can account for as much as 50% of the final value.

As for the build itself, the majority of the budget will be taken up by the house’s foundations and superstructure, including the roof. These elements combined could account for roughly 40–50% of the total build costs. Connecting the property to utilities mains will be a further 10%, while the remainder of the budget will cover the interior work, such as plumbing, electrics, carpentry and decorating.

Don’t forget that there are other costs besides building materials and labour to account for. Architect fees will often amount to 5-10% of the build budget. It’s also recommended to set aside 10-15% as a contingency. Self-builds are subject to all manner of variables - even something like your site’s distance from the nearest concrete plant can unexpectedly lift construction costs.

Structural costs

Foundations are often the most frustrating part of any self-build budget, because you’ll never really know what the job requires until you break ground. Ground conditions and specifications from the local planning authority or planning inspector will dictate what type of foundation you’ll have to lay.

For example, that means that the foundations for a 7x10m building could cost anywhere between £4,000-£12,000, while sloping ground adds another £5,000 per 5º of incline. Any quote you get in advance will be general at best, which is why it always pays to have that contingency budget set aside.

The cost of the remaining structural elements is easier to predict, as construction methods are unlikely to change during the build. For an average house the load-bearing walls will likely cost around £30,000, although this will vary slightly depending on whether you use a timber frame or concrete blocks.

As for the roof structure, the cost depends mostly on the complexity of the design. A 7x10m rectangular roof with room for basic loft storage could come in at under £1,500. But unusual shapes, more complex trusses, or steeper roofs to allow for attic rooms will increase material and labour costs drastically. As a general rule, a 5% increase in roof pitch (ie slope) will double its cost, while a 10% increase will triple it.

With decent quality roof coverings £60 per square metre is a good estimate to start with, although this will vary widely depending on the type of covering and materials used. The same goes if you choose to have any external wall cladding like stone or timber.

Connecting to utilities

On average, the cost of connecting your house to electricity, gas, water, drainage and telephone mains will account for about £10,000.

But much like foundations, service connections are one of the more unpredictable parts of budgeting. How close your land is to the nearest mains and whether any new connections require access to a neighbour’s land can cause the cost to vary widely.

As a result, this is another area where your contingency budget might come into play. If you’re building in a rural location far from the nearest gas or sewer main, you’ll likely be adding another £2,500 per service for those new connections. In some locations creating a new mains connection may not be viable, although there are alternatives such as septic tanks for waste water drainage.

If your land has been previously developed or has any existing dwellings on it, then these services should already be in place and you will not have to pay for new connections. 

Choosing a heating system for your self-build 

One of the beauties of the self-build project is that you won't be saddled with old or failing appliances, like you might be if you were moving into an existing home. Unexpected costs such as having to repair an ancient boiler can make project management difficult.  Traditionally in the UK, homes have had central heating systems, comprised of a boiler and radiators. These boilers will be fuelled by any one of: gas, oil, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or electricity, and are amongst the cheapest systems to fit and maintain. Crucially, though, installing gas and oil boilers will be banned from 2025, as the UK tries to go net zero by 2050. Given you're probably going to be buildng your home to last you a lifetime, you may want to think about some more forward-looking, eco-friendly alternatives.  

Biomass (defined as any type of plant matter but normally taken to be wood, either as logs or wood chips) boilers are carbon-neutral, as the CO2 emitted when burning is offset by the carbon absorbed by the tree when it grows. This can be a great option if you own woodland, as even a small number of trees can fuel a boiler for a long time. Log burning boilers, however, have to be manually fed, which is a major factor meaning they aren't for everyone.

Heat pumps are another emission-reducing alternative to the traditional gas boiler. Like an air-conditioning unit in reverse, they use electricity to pull heat energy from the ground or air and convert it into usable heat for your home. Depending on your floor space, heat pumps may be the ideal, low-emission choice. For houses with underfloor heating across much of their square footage, heat pumps can be especially efficient, given underfloor heats to a lower temperature than radiators. The government, in October 2021, announced a £450 million pound boiler upgrade scheme, which provides a £5,000 grant to households, self-builds included, switching from boilers to heat pumps, to offset the estimated cost. The average price of a heat pump is between £4,000 and £8,000 (before installation costs), though, so for a larger house may still end up being expensive. 

Solar water heating uses solar panels on your roof to heat water for use around the home (though rarely for space heating, i.e. heating the rooms themselves). Cold water from the mains is fed through a hot water cylinder and into the solar panels, where the sun heats the water for use. This system is especially good for self-build homes given you'll be in control of the construction project from the start and can fit the right components at first instance rather than retrospectively. Typically costing between £4,000 and £5,000 to install (cost of materials comprising most of this), once in, additional costs are minimal.                                 

All of these are eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RGI), a scheme set up by the government that pays households yearly if they install green heating alternatives. To find out how to apply for the RHI, see our guide on eco-friendly homes.  

Interior costs

When it comes to the interior of the house, coming up with estimated costs is almost impossible as the prices will all be unique to your project and what you choose.

In terms of a budget breakdown, the largest costs in this area will likely come from plumbing and heating, electrics, and carpentry such as staircases and skirting boards. These are all labour-intensive tasks, and unless you’ve got the right qualifications it’s not really possible to get around these costs.

However, when it comes to jobs like plastering, painting and tiling, you can save money by doing things yourself. Even with friends and family helping this will obviously take you more time to complete. But it will also save you paying labour fees for decorators, which is good to know if you’ve had to dip into your contingency budget earlier in the build. Not only that, but it’s also highly rewarding to see the final pieces of your home coming together by your own hands.

Deakin-White makes it easy to find, research, and buy land for your dream self-build project, contact us today.

Credit: Addland 

 

Key information

  • Greenfield and brownfield land present different challenges
  • Not all land has planning permission
  • You need to account for more than the price of the land
  • You’ll need to act fast but also do your research

Whether you’re looking for the perfect plot to build your dream home, or a location ripe for development, buying land is an exciting and rewarding venture.

But like all investments, finding the right piece of land for you can be fraught with pitfalls if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to everything you need to know before you buy.

Most popular reasons for buying land

  1. Building your dream home
  2. Planting a forest
  3. Commercial or residential development

Greenfield vs Brownfield 

There are two types of land you’ll encounter on the market: greenfield and brownfield. Greenfield means that the land hasn’t been previously built on, and is typically rural. While a picturesque acre in the country might sound like the ideal location for your bespoke home, it’s not without its difficulties. Planning permission can be notoriously difficult to get for building on a greenfield site, and distance from essential infrastructure can increase construction costs.

Brownfield land is land that’s already been developed. It might not have the same initial attraction as greenfield, but the benefit with brownfield is that getting planning permission for your development is likely to be easier as the site has been built on previously.

However, brownfield land does have its drawbacks. It’s often more expensive overall than a greenfield plot, as you’ll likely have to pay more after buying it to clear the land. This could include demolishing any existing structures, or disposing of leftover industrial waste. And while planning permission might be easier to acquire for brownfield plots, it may come with restrictions like limiting your new build to the same height or footprint as what was previously on the site.

Land with planning permission

Some plots of land come with planning permission already attached. This is usually in the form of outline planning permission, which is consent in principle for development but still requires the details of a proposal to be approved.

Sometimes land will come with detailed planning permission for a specific build. However, that doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker if the approved designs don’t fit your own plans. Even if a piece of land already has detailed planning permission given, you can resubmit your own designs without revoking the existing consent.

If a piece of land doesn’t come with any attached planning permission, be wary. Even outline planning will drastically increase the land’s selling price, so if there isn’t any attached to a plot it may mean that past applications have been rejected. If in doubt, speak to the local planning authority (LPA) and discuss what’s possible in a pre-application meeting.

How much does buying land cost?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to that. In 2020 the average price for an acre of farmland was £12,000-£15,000, but with the right variables that cost can easily triple. A plot of land’s value depends on anything from its location and condition, to nearby developments, to the surrounding environment and wildlife.

In fact, in areas with high land values, the price you pay for your plot may account for up to 50% of the value of your completed house.

Thankfully, you can get a mortgage for land just as you can for a house. Generally this will mean putting down a deposit of 20% of the land’s sale value, although that will vary depending on the lender.

Keep in mind though that it’s not just the sale price you’ll need to account for. Land purchases will also include paying for the services of solicitors and surveyors, and you may also have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax depending on its value. Stamp Duty rates and thresholds vary across the UK and are subject to change each tax year, so make sure you’re up to date on what charges you might face.

Land buying process

When you think you’ve found the right land for your development, it’s important to act fast. Around 90% of land in England currently can’t be built on, so good plots don’t tend to stay on the market for long.

But that doesn’t mean you should rush the process either. Even if you’ve done plenty of research already, you still need to do a thorough assessment of the land you’re buying before you hand over any money.

That means seeking professional advice. Calling on a land survyor is a crucial part of any land purchase. They’ll carry out a feasibility study on the plot to make sure your plans to build there can actually go ahead, and will highlight any potential problems like flood risks, soil pollution or overhead power lines. A land survey will also clarify exactly where the boundaries of your land are, to remove any doubt and prevent legal disputes with neighbours down the line.

You can also do some background checks yourself using HM Land Registry. For a small fee you can find details on your land’s history, including its past ownership, planning permission applications and its general boundaries and rights of way.

And as we’ve said, it always pays to speak to the relevant LPA about what developments will be possible on the land, even if it already has attached planning permission. A pre-application meeting is only informal and no guarantee of consent later on. But building a rapport with planning officials by sounding out your plans early on can go a long way when you submit your proposals.

There’s a lot to consider when buying your own parcel of land. But so long as you’ve done your research and know what to look for, there’s no reason it can’t be an easy process. 

Deakin-White has a dedicated department to help you find, research, and buy land. Start your land journey today and contact us.

Stress is something that is a given when you are moving home, so the more information you have the easier and calmer it can be. There are many places you can ask for advice from experts – friends who have moved, estate agents, removal companies, and Google!  Barratt Homes were curious what moving home questions home movers have asked Google; can you guess what was the top searched question? 

145,200 Google searches

When it comes to the top question home movers asked Google in 2021 the answer may surprise you, but there were 145,200 Google searches regarding Council Tax when moving house. Council Tax is an additional expense which can add a lot to your monthly bills, and the amount you pay is based on the area or ‘band’ in which you live and what your local council charges. You can find this information on the gov.uk website by entering your postcode.

But things are about to change?

As estate agents, under current legislation in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, we are legally obliged to not exclude what is classed as ‘material information’ on our property listings. If you have been looking for a new home you will have seen that not all estate agents supply comprehensive details on a property listing, making things a little inconsistent. As part of a series of changes, Trading Standards and the government have jointly announced the first compulsory new data which must appear on property listings from the end of May, and this includes stating the Council Tax band and rate. Now you no longer need to ask Google!

Who should you inform?

One of the most painstaking tasks that you will undertake is to inform everyone and everything of your new address, from banks to insurance, to utilities and internet providers. There were 12,000 searches last year on this subject, and we can understand why; with so many things happening it can be easy to overlook a company or organisation. One of the best tips we can give you at Deakin-White is to start to make a list well in advance of your move. Go through your monthly bank statements, check your post and add your subscriptions; having a list ready to go before things get hectic will only make your life easier as you are settling into your new abode.

How to pack

One of the surprising questions to make the list, with 7080 searches, was how to pack when moving house. When it comes to packing for your move, you can never start too early, especially if you are looking for a less stressful move. We have asked our team about their advice for packing when moving home, sorry Google!

“There will be items in your home that you will not need before your move. Take a drawer, cupboard or a room at a time and pack away those things you won’t need before your move, get rid of the things you will never use again, and just leave those handy items behind that you are going to need in the coming weeks,” said Emma our Head of Sales Progression.

Amanda our Senior negotiator at Dunstable suggests packing seasonally, “Summer is on its way, and we are going to start enjoying a milder climate; pack away items that you only use in the winter months, such as clothes, home accessories, and sledges”.

Containing cats

With us being a country of animal lovers, we were not surprised that home movers had questions on how best to look after their pets during this unsettling time. How long to keep a cat indoors after moving house was one of the favourite Google questions by home movers. Just as it takes us time to adjust to a new home and neighbourhood, the same can be said for our pets, including cats as you don’t want them to try to return to their old home which is familiar. The RSPCA advises that after moving you should keep your cat indoors for at least two weeks, to help ensure they are settled in your new house before you let them outside.

Any questions

We know you may have numerous questions when you are looking to move home, starting with how you begin, to what happens after you have got your keys. No matter where in the process you are, when you move with us at Deakin-White we will make sure that none of your questions go unanswered. You don’t need Google to know which estate agent you want by your side when you decide to move home, so why not give us a call today.

 

Key information

  • The average cost of a planning application is £2,000
  • Architects and planning consultants can give you a better chance of success
  • Any revisions you make will lead to more costs

Understanding planning permission is a crucial part of any building project. But getting to grips with all the required documentation and how much it’s going to cost can be a finicky process. 

In this guide we’ll explain everything you need to know to make a successful planning permission application and get your project off the ground.

Do I need planning permission?

Before you bury yourself in research, it’s worth checking if you actually need planning permission in the first place. 

The planning portal is a useful tool here. They have extensive guides that fill in the gaps about planning permission for home improvements, as well as for commercial and residential developments. 

Once you’re clear you need planning permission, you can turn your attention to assembling the paperwork you need to get your project across the line. 

What do I need to apply?

All planning permission applications entail a certain amount of paperwork. A valid application will need a set of accompanying documents in order to be registered, as well as some application fees. You can find an exact list of what you'll need by contacting your relevant Local Planning Authority (LPA), but at a minimum, you'll need:

  • The completed 1APP application form, which you can get from your LPA
  • A location plan showing the current site and its surroundings, and a site or block plan that details your proposed development
  • An ownership certificate for the property
  • A design and access statement

If you’re going to be applying by posting paper forms rather than online, you’ll need to include at least three copies of each document, although some planning authorities may ask for more. Although they recommend you apply online, a paper application won't hinder you compared to if you made an online planning application. All the relevant forms are available to download and print from the Planning Portal website. 

If you're planning to alter or enlarge your own house, you'll be making a 'Householder Application' - specifically for homeowners (as opposed to, say, developers) doing things like extending their houses or building conservatories. 

Your LPA may also specify additional documents depending on your project and where you’re building. If so, these should be specified on the planning authority’s website.

Applying for planning permission if your house is listed

Listed buildings are those of special architectural or historic interest. They’re considered to be of importance to the nation, and so afforded more protection against change by the planning system. If you want to change or demolish a listed building, you’ll have to obtain Listed Building Consent (LBC) from your local planning authority; in some larger cases, such as those of historic buildings or some country homes or estates, this consent can also come from the Secretary of State. Be aware, making changes without such consent is a criminal offence. 

Listed buildings come in three categories of ‘significance’:

  • Grade I (buildings of the highest significance: just 2.5% of all listed buildings are Grade I, and include cathedrals, palaces, and stately homes)
  • Grade II*
  • Grade II (90% of all listed buildings are Grade II, including many homes).

As with normal planning permission, your first point of contact will be with your local authority (use the Planning Portal). For listed building consent, however, you may also need to consult with the authority’s Conservation Officer, who can advise you on all the consents and work required on older or listed buildings – they can be reached via your local authority. Historic England is a strong source of information if you’re thinking of making changes to an older building, and have a range of resources on their website.

How much does it all cost?

In addition to the documentation, your planning application will also have to include the correct planning fees. The exact amount you’ll need to pay differs depending on where you are in the UK and what permissions you’re applying for. The planning fee to build a new single dwelling is currently £462 in England and Wales, and slightly less in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

But keep in mind that the cost of producing all the required plans and surveys is often more than the planning fees. £2,000 is a realistic minimum to set aside for architect and planning consultant fees, although this can vary across a wide range depending on your project’s complexity. Remember also that any revisions or appeals you may have to make will incur more costs.

Do I need to hire an architect?

Not necessarily. If you know what you’re doing you can produce your own plans using CAD software, meaning you can avoid paying for an architect.

However, it’s important to remember there’s a reason architects and planning consultants charge what they do. Their expert eye can head off problem areas in your proposal that might otherwise lead to its rejection, or costly issues later in the build.

How long will the application process take?

You should receive a decision from your LPA within 8 weeks of submission. Approval for more complex proposals can take longer, although you can file an appeal if you don’t have a decision after 13 weeks.

The LPA will grant planning permission based on your project’s development plan, its infrastructure needs, and how it will impact the surrounding area and environment. They'll also consult members of the public likely to be affected, although objections from neighbours won’t necessarily result in your application being rejected.

Can I change my application once it's been submitted?

If there are changes you'd like to make to your original application once it's been submitted, you can access your application in the Planning Portal and change it there - this guidance note should help. The Local Planning Authority will receive a notification and begin their validation process; if your proposed changes are non-material amendments (minor and not a significant change to your permission), they will be more likely to be approved. 

Planning permission glossary

Getting to grips with planning can sometimes feel like learning a new language. Below are some of the essential terms and phrases to help you decipher any planning documentation that comes your way. 

  • Planning consent: another word for planning permission. Put simply, whether you can or can't do a certain piece of work on your building. 
  • Application type: there are four main types of planning application - full planning application; householder application; outline application; and reserved matters application. 
  • Decision notice: if permission is granted, the decision notice sets out any conditions that must be observed during any building work, as well as reasons, on your building or piece of land. The time limit on a notice is usually about 3 years from the date of the decision.
  • Detailed plans: in planning terms, these are all the architectural and engineering documents up to the preliminary design stage. They should give anyone considering your application a full picture of what work you're planning to do.
  • Building regulations: these rules cover the structural elements of development. Like planning permission, building regulations approval also comes from Local Authorities. Building regulations approval can also now come from private sector Approved Inspectors who can check and approve your plans in the same way a Local Authority inspector would, for a fee. 

If you’re looking for land for your dream self-build project, find it with Deakin-White.

Credit: Addland

 

Selling your home can often involve some tactical decisions, as well as those practical and heartfelt ones. Only you know when you feel the time is right to place your home on the market, but according to the experts there is one month proven better than others. Recent data from Rightmove confirms that March is the best month for sellers, as it is the time with the highest number of potential buyers per available property. This is why you need to get moving if you want to sell your home.

“There is usually a wave of buyers in March through to spring, who are hoping to be in their new home by the end of summer, or are acting on a desire to move which has been growing since the start of the year. This means that sellers coming to market at this time are often met with plenty of interest for their home, in many cases leading to a successful sale,” states Tim Bannister, Director of Property Data at Rightmove.

Spring into action

One of the beautiful things about spring is how everything starts to come to life; there are signs now, such as daffodils starting to bloom. Just as nature dusts the cobwebs of winter, it is time for you to spring into action and prepare you home for sale if you want to take advantage of this seller season. But where should you start?

It may sound a bit cheesy but, honestly, a spring clean is the best starting point there is, and we don’t just mean a physical one. One of the main barriers that many sellers have when selling their home is letting go. You may be all for a move, but are you ready to see your home for what it is, flaws and all, and make the right changes to attract the bounty of buyers? It is not always easy to see your home as though you were a buyer, but by doing so you are doing everything you can to maximise the value of your home.

A spring clean isn’t only about spotless windows and pristine floors, but at the heart it’s ensuring your home is organised, clutter free, and homely. Many sellers when preparing their home for sale can go too far, creating a sterile scene that is soulless and void of personality. Take some inspiration from show homes and home magazines where rooms are clean and tidy but have beautiful touches, such as vases of flowers, carefully put together book shelves, and accessories which complement the décor.

Get it right from the start

From the first photograph presented online, to the sight when a buyer takes those first excited steps towards your home, no matter how beautiful your home looks inside, first impressions can make a huge impression when it comes to viewing or buying a property. Over the last few weeks our homes have been battered by winds and rain leaving our exteriors not looking their best, which is why it is essential you put some work in.

Freshen up any paintwork, tidy your garden and add some seasonal plants (let’s face it a garden or planter always looks a thousand times better when it has some colour in it). We cannot promise a sunny day when it comes to viewings, so the more you do to add some life to your home’s kerb appeal can only help those active and determined buyers who choose your home to view.

Last but not least give us a call.

When it comes to the local market, we are the experts you need to navigate you through the entire process, from ensuring it is priced correctly, through negotiating offers to working tirelessly throughout the sales process, so your home doesn’t just sell but is successfully sold. Therefore, if you are looking to sell your home, contact our Deakin-White team today.

The Property Ombudsman Trading Standards