Custom build is a bit of a new concept to the UK, and we get a lot of questions about the process and how it all works. Below are some of the most asked questions, but if there’s anything we haven’t covered, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Custom build is not for everyone. It is worth exploring if:
i. You can’t find a home that meets your requirements
ii. You are not in a rush to move in and can find somewhere to live while it’s being built
iii. You are comfortable taking on some risks in order to save money
It is probably not for you if:
i. You need to move in straight away
ii. You have very narrow location requirements
iii. You don’t have the time or the inclination to take on a project
The main benefits are the following:
i. Creative freedom to design and fit out your home
ii. Get the benefit of a new build (10 year structural warranty, high performance windows and environmental standards)
iii. Cheaper than renovating a period property (no VAT and everything is ‘new’)
iv. We’ve done a lot of the hard work for you – finding the land, getting planning permission, engaging architects and builders, and making sure the structure is sound and watertight.
This can depend wildly. We would suggest that it takes an ‘average’ 3 months to do the fit-out.
It depends how you want to purchase your home and whether you have sufficient funds.
i. Buy the plot, the shell and the fit-out separately. You would buy the plot from us and pay us to build you the shell. You then commission the fit-out separately. This is the cheapest route as you save on stamp duty (paying on the plot price not the shell price), but it will only work if you have sufficient funds. You will need approximately 20% of your budget in cash upfront. If you don’t have 100% in cash, you will also need a custom build mortgage.
ii. Buy the shell and the fit-out separately. You buy the shell from us and then commission the fit-out separately. You will need approximately 20% of your budget in cash, but won’t need it until we have built the shell. If you don’t have 100% in cash, you will also need a custom build mortgage.
iii. Buy the home fully built (only available on certain sites). We call this ‘turnkey’. You buy the finished home from us. This is the most expensive option as we are building more. However, you will be able to use a traditional mortgage. You will therefore need only 5-10% of your budget as cash.
Because stamp duty is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price, buying a plot or a shell can save tens of thousands of pounds. We would recommend speaking to your lawyer to advise you on your own individual circumstances.
It depends on which route you go down:
i. If you choose to buy the plot and then commission us to do the shell – you will need to complete on the land before we have built the foundations (known as ‘golden brick’). Once you have bought the land, you will pay us in monthly or regular instalments as we build the shell.
ii. If you choose to buy the shell from us – you will buy this off-plan or once it is built if not already sold. This means you will put a deposit down with your solicitor once we exchange contracts and then once we have completed the shell, you will pay the remainder (or complete on your mortgage to get the funds to do so)
iii. If you choose to buy the turnkey home (only available on certain sites), then you can buy this off-plan. This means you will put a deposit down with your solicitor once we exchange contracts and then once we have completed the home, you will pay the remainder (or complete on your mortgage to get the funds to do so)
i. If you want to buy either a plot or a shell, you will need to obtain a custom build mortgage. These operate in a similar way to a normal mortgage, but money is released in stages as your home is constructed. As a result it’s a more specialist product and not everyone is eligible. You will also have to pay slightly higher interest rates than a traditional mortgage, but only while the build is taking place. Once you have moved in, you can normally convert the custom build mortgage into a traditional one. We can put you in touch with a specialist broker to help secure the finance if this is something you want to find out more about.
ii. If you want to buy a custom build turnkey home (not available on all sites), you can use a traditional standard mortgage.
Depending on the route you go down there is risk.
i. If you buy a plot and then commission us to build the shell there is some risk attached to this. There is a chance we could go bust and you would have to enter into a contract direct with our builder. There is a chance that it takes longer than expected. Before you enter into any contract, it’s important that you take legal advice on what the risks are and make sure you are comfortable with them.
ii. If you buy the shell from us there is risk associated with your fit-out package that you will be undertaking. These are similar risks that you will have to take when you are renovating a new home or undertaking a loft-conversion or extension.
iii. If you want to take the least amount of risk, then the best route is to buy a turnkey home (if available).
The shell is the watertight structure. This is not exhaustive, but we will provide the foundations, entry for the services, the roof, the windows, the external doors, external cladding and internal structure. The house will look ‘complete’ from the outside. You will need to provide the following (which is also non-exhaustive): internal partitions depending on where you want your rooms. Plasterboard, wall, ceiling, floor finishes. Plumbing and electrics, kitchens and bathrooms, lighting and heating.
a) Self-build is when you take on all the risks of time and money yourself. Custom build is where some (or none) of the risk is with you, but you still have (some or significant) choice.
b) There is generally only one self build route: you find land (with or without planning), find the finance and buy the land (or property which you then demolish). You then commission your design team and construction team to build your perfect home. You take the risk on running over budget and over time.
c) There are a few different custom build routes.
i. Serviced plot. We get planning permission and lay services to the plot. You then build to the planning permission (or revise it) in your own time. This is the most similar route to self build. You don’t take the risk on planning but you would take the risk on construction. We do not currently have any serviced plots for sale
ii. Plot + shell. We get planning permission and also build the shell. You then fit out the shell to your specification and layout. We have several shells and a few plots for sale. You would take the risk on the fit out only.
iii. Turnkey. We get planning permission and build your home in full according with some options to change the layout and specification. We have a few plots for sale on this basis. This is the least risky route
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