Avoid the mistakes of the self-build

Deciding to self-build your own home can be an exciting, yet daunting, process. One that is full of decisions, room for error and a multitude of things to consider. It’s therefore no wonder that mistakes are often made, traps are fallen into and, ultimately, dream houses can turn into nightmares. sketching in a book

If you’ve been watching “Grand Design’s The Street” you’ll know that self build can take years if the planning and the finances aren’t in place.

That’s not to say, however, that building your own home isn’t a good decision – in fact, in can be one of the most rewarding things you do if you do it right. To ensure your self-build turns into the property you’ve always dreamed of, we’re looking at three of the most common mistakes made and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not setting out a realistic timeline

Building your own home from the ground up takes a fair amount of time. It  takes a great deal of planning and focus in order to be done properly. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Yet, not setting out a realistic timeline is a mistake that many people make, thinking they’ll be ready to move in by next Christmas. Setting strict deadlines for each and every aspect of the build is crucial –  so that the momentum doesn’t get lost and things don’t start to slack. three storey small glass house

By speaking to each individual trade member to gauge an estimate for how long their task will take, you can start to build out an estimate for how long the house will take – while they can focus on the build itself.

Don’t stop there though – keep on top of how tasks are ticking along, so that your timeline can be adjusted when necessary, and most importantly, always leave room for error. You can’t control things like the weather so leave a margin that you’re comfortable with and then you won’t need to sweat it if Storm Harold shows up.

Things don’t always go to plan, and when it comes to self-builds this is more accurate than ever, so plan for things to go wrong, for alterations to be made, for planning permission to be denied or for your dream kitchen to be out of stock for another two months.

Setting a realistic timeline is crucial to not only avoid disappointment, but to stop silly mistakes from being made by rushing them.

Mistake #2: Forgetting that patience is a virtue

With self-builds, it’s safe to say that the process is never going to be as simple as scouting out your perfect house and moving in the next day. The wait to move in can seem like an endless amount of time but if you give into this, you’re more than likely settling for less than what you want.

architect and drawings

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

It’s important to think long-term, not just to satisfy your immediate needs. Patience is crucial in ensuring that your self-build is exactly what you want to be, and comes hand in hand with the process of building your own home.

By giving your self-build project the time in needs to flourish, you’ll be faced with an end result that was most definitely worth the wait. And it’s perfectl okay to be the project manager yourself on the build. Read my handy tips on Being Your Own Project Manager.

Mistake #3: Losing sight of your dream house

It might seem strange, that some people who build their own house are unhappy with the outcome. After all, it was their vision. But losing sight of what you really want happens more frequently than you’d expect as people become influenced by the decisions of others.

Building your own home takes the work and minds of many other people into account, so it’s easy to get caught up in what they think is for the best. While it’s important to listen to the opinions of others, especially as they are most likely the expert, it’s just as important to not let them drown out your own vision.

Never forget what you set out to achieve, and keep your dream house in your mind the whole time. Creating a detailed project brief can help with this, as it will provide an accurate outline of what exactly it is that you want. Explaining your vision to others isn’t always easy, but showing it to them on a piece of paper is.

Enjoy the journey

It’s also important to keep in mind that self building isn’t just about the end result.  Yes, hopefully you will have a fabulous house, but it’s also about the journey.

You chose to self build for a reason, whether it was to acquire skills, build an unconventional eco property, financial reasons or because you wanted to create something with your own two hands.  Don’t forget to enjoy the process. It would be heartbreaking if after all that graft all you felt towards your house was resentment.

Done right, building your own house can leave you with the home you’ve always dreamed of – and one that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else, no matter how hard you look. You’re able to make decisions on every little detail so that the end result is exactly what you wanted.

Done right, building your own house could be one of the most rewarding decisions you’ve ever made.

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