Property: Do-it-yourself

A mortgage loan document. PA Photo/JupiterImages Corporation.
A mortgage loan document. PA Photo/JupiterImages Corporation.
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Financing a self-build isn’t necessarily easy, especially in this economic climate, but it’s certainly possible.

Selling your home, or releasing the equity in it, is one option (and ideal for buying the building plot), but many self-builders need a loan for the project, and a self-build mortgage is a popular choice.

With this kind of mortgage, the money is released in stages as the building work progresses. To qualify for a self-build mortgage, you’ll have to provide more information than for a standard residential mortgage, including the plans for the new house, the projected build costs, and proof of planning permission. If you haven’t sold your home and want to continue living there during the build, you can have a self-build mortgage alongside your existing mortgage, as long as the figures stack up.

And as with any big building project, it’s important to have a sizeable contingency fund in case anything goes wrong with your finances or the build. The good news for self-builders is that they can claim back the VAT on the building materials used, which is one of the reasons why self-building can work out cheaper than buying a house.

The building method and materials you choose will have a big impact on the cost of the project. Timber-frame houses are popular with self-builders because they can be erected quickly.

An alternative to a timber frame is a steel one. Steel frames allow more flexibility with the design and are strong, resistant to the weather and quick to put up.Alternatives also include brick and block.