26 Nov 2015

Getting closer to realising your self-build vision


The past couple of years have been hugely significant in making self build a real, viable housing option for all, boosted greatly by the Government's continued support. Here, Raymond Connor, Chief Executive at BuildStore & Custom Build Homes, looks back on the year and at what lies ahead for those considering creating their dream home.


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Whether you are considering self build, are underway or near completion, you are probably like me and wondering where the last 12 months have gone. Since the formation of BuildStore in 1998, we have been continually encouraged by the interest shown in self build and believe that the wider availability of specialist mortgage lenders plus developments in design, products, systems and technologies have been a significant factor in the growth of this sector.

BuildStore has had a long held conviction that self build and, in particular custom build, could provide an answer to the country’s shortfall in housing stock and we are proud to have been instrumental in shaping the industry and providing self builders with the opportunities and solutions to create their dream home.

Looking back over the last year, we have addressed a number of key subjects in Viewpoint, from plot-finding and finance to the latest developments in custom build.

With the majority of searches being conducted in the New Year, and knowing that it’s one of the most frustrating aspects of self build, in January’s Viewpoint, we looked at the routes and tools to successfully identify and secure that ideal plot or building opportunity. From customer feedback, we’re aware that finding that dream plot can entail many months of scouring the internet, estate agent windows and attending land auctions. However, the likelihood of finding a plot is now greatly enhanced with PlotSearch’s new mobile functionality which gives you access to the UK’s largest and most accurate plot-finding database of over 8500 genuine building opportunities, anytime, anywhere.

Of course, it can be all too easy to get carried away with plot-searching; securing funding from the outset is paramount as this will essentially dictate where and what you can build.

Since 1998, BuildStore has been working with specialist lenders and providers to offer specialist mortgages, warranties and insurance to those undertaking a self build, renovation or home improvement project and we are committed to working with leading lenders who can provide our customers with the best possible financial solution.

Bespoke mortgages

Our advice in February on securing funding for your self build mortgage proved of real interest to i-build readers. Unlike obtaining a traditional high street mortgage for an existing ‘bricks & mortar’ property where funding is released in one lump sum, with a homebuilding project, funds are released in stages according to the build process. By looking at your affordability, personal circumstances and construction type, BuildStore mortgage advisers will work with you to propose the best mortgage scheme – either an ‘arrears-stage’ payment scheme or BuildStore’s Accelerator ‘advance-stage’ mortgage.

In May, we also addressed the issue of build completion and how, through BuildStore’s whole-of-market policy, an onward finance solution can be provided to best suits your individual needs, such as flipping onto a lower rate with a high street mortgage provider.

BuildStore secures specialist finance, warranties and insurance policies for thousands of self builders every year, and by doing so, our advisers naturally answer a myriad of questions! Hopefully our Q&A, Top Tips and advice columns throughout the year have been of interest, however if you are still requiring additional guidance or support, information can be gleaned from the BuildStore website.

One of the most significant developments over the last year has been the advancement of custom build, spurred greatly by the introduction of the Self Build & Custom Housebuilding Act, which now stipulates that all local authorities maintain a register of interest for those wishing to build their own homes and consider custom build in planning matters.

Having been actively involved in the custom build sector since 2008, we acknowledge that there is still an element of confusion regarding this exciting new home ownership option and hopefully our Viewpoint features have highlighted how custom build offers extensive choice and flexibility in site location, design & build and levels of involvement.

Custom solution

If you think that the custom build route could provide you with the ideal self build solution, your first ‘port-of-call’ is the Custom Build Homes website www.custombuildhomes.co.uk – here you will find everything you need to know about custom build detailing plots for sale, step by step guides, design galleries, exclusive mortgages and insurances and the latest custom build news. And much like searching for a new house on property websites, you can make specific plot enquiries, arrange a site visit, download brochures and find out more about site locality and amenities.

Whilst on the website, join the 20,000+ aspiring custom builders who have already joined the Custom Build Register – the UK’s longest running national record of demand for custom build. This central Register is able to influence the provision of custom build sites and inform local authorities, landowners and developers of desired size and specifications from subscriber demand. Custom build is applicable to all, so if you are still keen to be ‘hands-on’ and self build, it makes sense to also register your interest on the Custom Build Register in addition to your PlotSearch subscription – and as soon as opportunities become available in your chosen locality, you will be immediately notified, so giving you a head-start in securing that ideal plot.

Over the past year, we have seen mortgage applications increase by 28%, over 80,000 self builders subscribe to PlotSearch and subscription to the Custom Build Register increase on a daily basis. Phase 1 of 18-plot custom build site French Fields is now underway with anticipated completion in the New Year, plus additional custom build schemes will be coming to fruition across the country during 2016.

These are undoubtedly exciting times to be housebuilding – with a plethora of resources and opportunities available and the choice of build options to suit your budget, aspirations and individual requirements, your dream home could be closer than you think and we look forward to supporting you at every step.

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