Important considerations before you build

There are many factors to consider before you buy a plot of land and then build on it. Some of these have already been discussed, such as plot problems and planning permission, but there are others to keep in mind.

Get your house design right!

If you are starting with a clean slate of course you want to make your house as perfect as possible. Think home cinemas, advanced sprinkler systems, alarms and CCTV, and maybe even a gym and sauna. Quite often these dreams get in the way of actually getting the core design of the house right, and the willingness to spend cash on a quality architect is replaced by a £200-£300 design by a less than quality builder.

Architects can be expensive, and we are talking about the several thousand pound range here, so it is understandable that you may think twice about spending that kind of cash when there are so many other things to spend cash on. However, a good architect will listen to your requirements, assess the surrounding area and plot, and design you the best house possible. If you go with the cheaper option you may end up with a bog standard box that will stick out like a sore thumb, and when you fill it with all your home comforts there will be little room the walk around. If you are looking to sell your new build on then a good design will make things so much easier. Potential buyers will jump at your house if it looks great and everything inside flows, and the common thought is that a well designed house always pays for itself in the end, whether than by monetary value or quality of living value.

Be careful with your money – Don’t assume you’ll make a profit

Buy some land, build a fantastic house, sell it for a healthy profit. It’s good to keep a positive mind-frame but before you go ahead and borrow a huge sum of money based on your pre-build assumptions, make sure you will be ok if the worse happens. One major oversight that many make is that they don’t realise that as soon as the house it built it will not (and normally does not) sell instantly. If your budget is so finely broken down so that on your build completion date every single penny you have is gone, then you need to re-plan. If you borrowed money that needs to be paid back monthly with interest then you should plan for that money to last at least 3 months after you have completed your build, because the last thing you want is to go deeper and deeper into debt while you stare at an empty house. Be prepared for situations where you cannot sell your house straight away or where you will have to drop your initial sell price.

Design and build for your area

Don’t build a 5 bedroom mansion in a run down area, unless of course you are planning to live in it for many years to come. If you are looking to sell your new build quickly or within a year or two then you need to factor in a few considerations before you build. There is a TV show called location, location, location, and these three words should be considered at all times. When estate agents put a estimated price on a property (or plot of land) they don’t care about build costs or potential issues with planning etc, all they look at are amenities and general look of the house. So it is up to you to understand all the other factors that will influence the build, and thus the actual costs.

Remember, as fickle as it sounds, rich people want to live near other rich people, and often in quiet areas and away from (who they class) as poor people. Unfortunately poor people have little choice in where they live. If you are building to sell you are better off designing and building a house that is in keeping with others in the area, and you should definitely do some simple research and scouting of the neighbourhood. Check out who lives (the kinds of people rather than specific individuals) in the area and how much houses are selling for. This will help in your design and budgeting of building costs.


A lot of what is discussed is common sense, but when it comes to designing and building a house sometimes the heart rules the head and you can get carried away. Mindsets differ depending on whether or not you are building to sell or building a home for yourself and family, although some of what is discussed is applicable to both. Never get yourself in to potentially disastrous financial trouble (although this is easier said than done), at least try and minimise this factor or budget in some flexibility if things don’t go perfectly with the build or sale. Also, good design is essential, and we will cover this in a lot more detail in upcoming articles.

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