Could you build your own home?

Building your own home remains cheaper than buying a property, according to self-build expert David Snell. We caught up with him at the National Homebuilding and Renovating Show at the NEC for his top tips on self-builds.

Could you build your own home?

Given the chance, many of us would jump at the idea of building our dream home from scratch, but are often put off by concerns about the cost, time and effort involved.

However, despite the current economic climate, building your own home remains cheaper than buying a property, according to self-build expert David Snell.

David has been in the property and building industry since 1962 and is known as the 'king of the self-build.'

As well as writing for the Telegraph and Homebuilding & Renovating magazine, David has written several books and completed ten self-builds, his most recent being a luxury bungalow in Gloucestershire.

Cheaper than you think

Talking to us on the opening day of the annual National Homebuilding and Renovating Show at the NEC, which takes place from today until Sunday, David said: "It's a lot cheaper at the moment to self build than most people think, but it always was cheap and there always was extra equity available.

"The economic downturn has made it difficult for those wanting to self build if people can't sell their existing house, which they need to do to finance the project.

"But on the other hand, the downturn has beneficial effects because in the past, the obstacles to self-building have been the availability of land, finance, materials and labour.

"There's more land available now to self builders than there's ever been, because the builders and developers aren't snapping it up.

Specialist finance

"In terms of finance, there are specialist self-build mortgate providers within the industry who will provide up to 95 per cent of the land, plus the build costs.

"That might seem enormous but when you think about the fact that at the end of the project, that adds up to an average loan-to-value of 66 per cent, self builders are doing very well.

"Builders' merchants aren't selling as many materials to builders and developers in the downturn, so really they're concentrating on the self build market.

Lower labour costs

"And in terms of labour, some building firms don't know where their next project's coming from and in some cases their prices are down by around 20 per cent across the board.

"If you are undertaking a self build you need to learn as much as you can - read books and magazines, and come to shows like this where you can talk to exhibitors and find ways of making your idea a reality.

"Building your own home is a huge project to undertake but it's the one really life-changing advantage that you can give yourself."

David will be among a panel of property experts giving in-depth seminars and advice at the show.

The National Homebuilding and Renovating Show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from March 19 to 22 and is open every day from 10am to 5pm.

You can purchase tickets online, at the show or through the box office hotline on 0871 945 4546.

By Lara Page

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