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How to Budget for a Self Build

Written by Suffolk Building Society

8 Sep 2022


Self Build, Self Build Autumn Series

10 min read

How to budget for a self build & renovation project

Our series of self build and renovation blogs contain useful information for anyone wanting to know more about crafting their dream home.

Contemplating building your own home, or carrying out renovations, or adding an extension, can seem overwhelming at first. We recently spoke to some of our existing mortgage borrowers undergoing projects of their own to share their experience, many of whom said, “it will take longer and cost more than you think”. Sage advice indeed!

If you’re now wondering what is involved, and keen to see if you could turn your dream home into a reality, we’ve put together a handy list to help kick off your budget planning. Of course, the costs will all depend on the scale of your project and build type, so this is only a guideline. Sharpen that pencil, and let’s begin.

1. Purchase fees

The first expense can be one of the biggest – the cost of the plot of land, or the existing property. If you’re buying an existing structure you may be looking to carry out renovations, add an extension or even convert a previously non-residential building into a home. Don’t forget to include:

  • Cost of land / property
  • Legal fees
  • Stamp duty

2. Insurances

You’ll need to carefully consider what insurances you need to take out. These can include the following:

  • Site insurance
  • Structural warranty

3. Planning fees

This is one area you’ll need to spend some considerable time, as it will quite literally form the blueprint for your project. Factor in money for:

  • Planning permissions
  • Building regulations
  • Energy assessments
  • Architects

4. Site clearance and breaking ground

Depending on your project you’ll need to get projections and quotes for the following:

  • Site clearance
  • Excavation of foundations
  • Foundation concrete and blockwork
  • Flooring
  • Drainage and sewerage

5. Construction

This is where the build will really start to take shape! This will vary according to the needs of your project and build type, but as a guideline you’ll need to consider costs for:

  • Timber frame
  • Brick / blockwork
  • Render / cladding
  • Roof timbers
  • Roof covering (tile / slate / flashing etc)

6. External / carpentry

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, the windows are… the eyes to your home. Or something like that. These items are often easy to overlook:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Fascias / soffits
  • Guttering

7. Internal build / carpentry

It’s all starting to come together now! Factor in costs for:

  • Internal walls
  • Floors
  • Insulation
  • Plaster boarding / plastering
  • Internal doors
  • Architrave / skirting / windowsills
  • Coving
  • Staircase(s)

8. Electrical

You’ll need to consider two stages here:

  • First fix
  • Second fix

9. Plumbing

Again a two stage process, plus some other necessities:

  • First fix
  • Second fix
  • Heating system
  • Sanitary ware

10. Kitchen / utility

This is where it gets really exciting (at least for the author of this blog). Depending on the style of your property, will you go rustic, contemporary, industrial, modern… whatever you choose, remember to budget accordingly for:

  • Units
  • Sink(s) and tap(s)
  • Worktops
  • Appliances

11. Decorating

Don’t forget those finishing internal touches:

  • External painting
  • Internal painting / wallpapering
  • Bathroom tiling
  • Kitchen tiling
  • Floor coverings
  • Light fittings

12. Landscaping

Outside needs some love too! You might need to splash the cash on:

  • Top soil
  • Lawn
  • Planting
  • Decking / patio
  • Driveway

13. Other costs

This section has rather unfortunately ended up as ‘unlucky number 13’. Somewhat apt, because there’s a multitude of miscellaneous costs which will start to bite if you haven’t considered them early on:

  • Garage / car port
  • Fireplaces / log burners
  • Project manager
  • Builder’s costs / site security / utilities / scaffold
  • Labour (if not included above)
  • Temporary home rental or mortgage on existing property for residence during the build
  • Removals and storage cost
  • Service connections

And finally…
Remember to consider any ‘statement’ pieces or particular features you might want to have, whether that’s a grand staircase, smart home technology, high ceilings, or even a dog shower room, the only limit is your imagination! Oh – and planning control, and budget, of course…

On that note, when it comes to creating your wishlist, categorise your ‘non-negotiables’ and ‘nice to haves’. That way, if you find yourself short on space, or money gets tight, you’ll have room to compromise.

One last thing.
It’s also well worth thinking about environmental measures you can factor in right from the start, which will typically be easier (and cheaper) than retro-fitting later down the line. Not only will you be doing your bit to help the planet, harnessing the earth’s resources, such as by installing solar panels or air source heat pumps, may also work out better for your pocket in the long run too. Read what our existing self build and renovation borrowers are doing to make their builds eco-friendly.

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