written by guest contributor Ellie Hayes
It’s no secret that home ownership is an increasingly challenging goal for many – particularly for younger generations. House prices have soared while wages have remained largely stagnant, and many experts are predicting another recession in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In such an uncertain climate, it’s perhaps no surprise that custom build homes have become an attractive prospect. They offer an alternative route to home ownership – a route that could be more accessible and affordable than more traditional options.
But what are custom build homes, and what are their key benefits?
What type of custom build should you choose?
Custom build homes are self-build homes, but with more of the work done for you. Unlike other self-build options, with a custom build home you will not have to worry about buying the land or gaining planning permission – these factors are already taken care of.
The avoidance of the planning permission process alone is a potentially crucial key benefit – as this can be a tricky path to navigate if you don’t know what you’re doing. Some homeowners are tempted to bypass the need for planning permission altogether, or even apply for retrospective permission after their project is already complete – both risky strategies that could leave you high and dry. Worryingly, research from Churchill shows that almost 40,000 such retrospective applications were made in the last three years in the UK.
At the basic level, then, a custom build home gives you a head start – when you buy a serviced plot, land acquisition and the planning process can be crossed off your list of concerns. From this starting point, there are various custom build pathways to choose from, depending on your budget, the time you have available, or the degree of customisation you’re looking for. You can build the property yourself, or choose more structured packages.
Do you want a shell or a turnkey property?
If you buy a ‘shell’, you’ll have all the advantages of a new build, but with the ability to design the interior to your own specifications. The outside, or shell, would be built already. This does come with some challenges, however. Although the freedom to design your own interior might appeal, you may not be able to commit the time necessary for overseeing the project – or the money to pay someone else to oversee it for you instead.
For those who want more of a complete build, what’s known as a ‘turnkey’ custom build property may be of more appeal. Here, the developer builds the entire property for you – inside and out – supplying you with a range of options to choose from. You will have more customisation options than with a traditional new build property, but with the same convenience – unlike the other custom build options the hard work is done for you. Compared to other custom build options, though, the convenience of a turnkey comes with a bigger price tag, and you will have less complete control over the final look and specification of your property. Depending on your circumstances, this may be a price worth paying.
What can I customise in a self-build or custom build home?
The clue’s in the name – with a custom build home, you’ll be able to customise it to your exact specifications. You’ll be able to choose the precise layout you desire. Want an open-plan kitchen and living space, or an en-suite for the bedroom? No problem. With pre-built homes you often have to compromise, and settle with what you have. Or if you’re really not happy with certain aspects of your home, you’d have to go down the road of expensive rebuilding or remodelling costs.
From the material for the kitchen counter tops, the type of wood for the floor, the colour of the roof and the placement of windows, a custom build home allows you to truly fulfill your own unique vision for your home, with fewer compromises.
Affordability and sustainability
With a custom build, you can future-proof your home to make it more cost-efficient in the long-term. With features such as enhanced insulation, double (or triple) glazed windows, and integrated smart technology, your home will be ready for the future. Sustainable energy is another way to save money in the long-term (as well as the planet, of course). Solar panels can eventually pay for themselves, as you are able to sell any excess energy back to the grid, and an electric car charging station can prepare you for the coming revolution.
With a custom build home, you will be able to include sustainable and cost-effective measures such as these from the outset.
Want to know more about custom build? Please comment below with any questions you may have.
Ellie Hayes has written for a number of publications, both online and in print, focusing on issues related to health, lifestyle and transport.