Last Updated on October 19, 2023 by Kravelv
Are you looking for your next property in Northern Ireland, but struggling to find the perfect place to call home?
Whether you already have a plot of land to build on or you’re ready to invest in one, this can be the best way to get your dream home – by building it yourself.
However, as you can imagine, a project of this size doesn’t happen overnight, even if you only want to build a little one-bed place. It requires a lot of careful planning to reduce the risk of an error and to make sure your home is completed on time and to the highest possible standard.
But if you’ve never taken on a project of this magnitude before it can be tricky to know where to start and how to get this just right.
So, to help you build your new home, we have put together some key pieces of advice to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Know what you’re getting into
One of the biggest things you need to understand is how much time, effort, money and resources will go into building a house. So you need to make sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into right from the start and that you’re as mentally and physically prepared as you can be.
Do some research and some reading before and always be realistic about times scales and budgets. This will stop you from becoming too stressed throughout the process.
2. Plan like crazy
Planning will absolutely be the key to your success. Even if you’re not a natural-born planner, you need to get ready for lots of notes, lists, spreadsheets, emails and more.
If you can plan everything down to the last detail, you are less likely to face challenges along the way (within reason of course) and you’re likely to find that the whole process is more relaxed.
3. Make sure you choose the right land
If you don’t already have a plot of land to build on, then you need to make sure you do your research and shop around to find the perfect spot. This might take some time, but remember, this is going to be your home for years to come, so take your time and find the right place.
To help you do this, work with a reputable local estate or land agent. They will be able to offer key advice and help you to find a plot of land that suits your preferences and budget.
4. Get the land surveyed
Before you commit to any sale, it’s a good idea to get the land surveyed. This will highlight the boundaries, any rights of way, flood risks and more, which will ensure you don’t have any nasty surprises further down the line.
Essentially, the survey is done to define exactly what you are buying, so it’s a worthwhile investment. And again, you should work with a local surveyor who knows what they’re talking about.
5. Understand your mortgage needs and look into self-build mortgages
When building a home in Northern Ireland, whether that’s on a completely new plot of land or you’re demolishing an existing structure, you need to understand your mortgage needs.
In this instance, a traditional mortgage is unlikely to cover you as comprehensively as it should or it might not suit your current situation. Therefore, it is a good idea to look into self-build mortgages and to ask your estate/land agent what the best course of action is for your circumstances.
Often, a self-building mortgage is better because you can get your money in instalments as the work is done, rather than one lump sum. So it is certainly worth considering and weighing up your different options.
6. Research suppliers and contractors thoroughly
As we’ve said, building a home is a big project and so you want to make sure that every stage is done to the highest possible spec. To make this happen, you need to choose the right contractors for the job.
This requires some thorough research and is another decision that you should take your time with. Be sure to look around for highly-rated local companies and always read the reviews before you agree to any sort of contract or work with them.
7. Go to plenty of showrooms
When building a house, you have a blank canvas. You can make it anything and everything you want it to be. But that also means you might need some inspiration, and there are some great places to go for this.
Sure, you can browse the internet and even make 100 different Pinterest boards for each room, but there is nothing like seeing the real deal.
That is why we suggest going to showrooms at least once when planning your build. For example, before you design and buy your bathroom suite, why not visit a bathroom showroom to get a feel for what it will look like in reality? You can do the same with your kitchen, bedroom, etc.
This will ensure that you get the home of your dreams and that everything, right down to the last detail, is what you wanted.
8. Don’t be afraid to speak up
It’s important that at every stage of the process you are checking in and making sure your designs are coming to life. Don’t be afraid to say no to suggestions, particularly during the initial design phase, and certainly when work is being done.
If you don’t like or want something, make sure you speak up and say so. Don’t try to be too polite and let these things go unspoken. This is your home and your money and therefore, you should make your vision a reality (within the confines of what is physically and legally possible, of course).
9. Be prepared for changes and mistakes
Our final piece of advice is don’t be afraid to make mistakes and also be prepared for some things to go wrong or change slightly.
Unfortunately, that is just a part of life and very rarely do things go 100% as planned, especially when taking on such a big project. So try not to stress about things that are out of your control.
Remember, that’s why you did so much planning at the beginning, to minimise the risk of mistakes and last-minute changes and to handle any issues that arise as best you can.