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05 Apr 2019

Posted in:  First Time Buyer and Self Builder

How much will a self-build cost? A guide for budgeting your self-build

Building your own home is a fantasy that many of us have. You might think “I want the house of my dreams designed exactly to my specifications - price bedamned!”

Building your home yourself can make those dreams come true as you’ll be in charge of absolutely everything from start to finish. Of course, the flipside is that you’ll also have to manage all the costs.

Building your home yourself is a viable option if you are prepared to do your homework and really think about what you want – and what you can afford.

So, how do you go about budgeting your self-build? Well you ask yourself a lot of hard questions and you talk to a lot of good people – including those who have previously gone down the self-build route themselves. That way you’ll go into the process with your eyes wide open and you’ll be more aware of the pros, cons and perils of building your home yourself.

But first, we’re going to shed some light on the elusive costing part of the self-build process.

Planning is everything

First off, asking a question like ‘how much will a self-build cost?’ is akin to asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’ Your home will be completely individual to you and dependent on your own circumstances. There are important questions that you can ask yourself which will help you create the right budget for your project. And more importantly, they’ll help you spend your money wisely to get the most out of that budget.

For a little extra reading, here’s a handy guide to financing your self-build.

Before you do anything like talking to an architect, designer or builder, you need to be very clear in your head about what you want – and what you can realistically afford. While you may want all-marble everything everywhere, what are the chances you can afford it? To start, weigh up your needs versus wants, and do a lot of research so that when the time comes to talk to a professional, you’ll be well-informed. 

Starting off

First off, one major cost is the site where you’re going to build. It’s absolutely essential – and it could cost a third (or more) of your estimated spend, so be prepared.

You may or may not need some reporting done on the quality of the land, or you may have to pay fees to the local county council so put that in the budget too. Next, it’s a good idea to chat with an architect or designer who can help you realise your ideas. They may (or should) be able to give you better solutions than you could come up with by yourself.

Other costs can include infrastructure – for example connecting to local water and gas or electricity, landscaping, planning permissions or even expenses you may not have considered like renting while the build is happening.

Ways to save and where

After you get your detailed construction drawings from your architect, you should get them priced by a quantity surveyor. You’ll want to chat with a few different builders to get estimates. Now it’s time to decide how you want the build to be managed – and to recognise the cost implications of that.

Hiring a project manager to oversee the build tends to cost around 10 percent of the build, whilst a main contractor varies. Another option is to manage it yourself, but remember the stress factor might not be worth the potential savings.

It really depends on your level of experience and ability to be involved.

There are many ways you can save with your self-build – shopping around for kitchen and sanitary ware for example could lead to big savings. Off-the-shelf windows and doors will also mean savings as bespoke items will always cost more. Things that send costs spiralling tend to be fancy fixtures and fittings and going all out on your bathroom.

If you can rein in your Louis XIV tendencies, you should be okay!

Are you thinking of building your own home?

Check out this handy guide to building your home in Ireland complete with stories from EBS customers who have already built a home.

Find out how much you can afford to borrow with our mortgage calculator or book a mortgage meeting to suit you with one of our Mortgage Masters.

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The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

EBS d.a.c. neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.

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