Further advice for prospective DIY builders

Stacks has further advice for prospective DIY builders once you have found a potential plot :

  • Do your sums. On completion, would you be able to sell the property and cover all your costs?
  • Look extremely carefully into all planning issues. If outline planning permission exists on the site, don’t assume you can radically change the detail or the size of the footprint. If there is no planning permission, go direct to the appropriate planning authority to find out what you could expect to be granted – don’t rely on the word of the vendor or the estate agent.
  • Obtain detailed estimates of your likely costs, and bear in mind that you will almost certainly go over budget.
  • Factor in the time element. 95% of building projects fall behind schedule. Where will you be living while the building work takes place, and how will you finance both homes?
  • Accept that some compromises will be necessary – budget and planning restrictions may prevent the finished house being exactly what you envisaged. Also, assume that there will be unforeseen problems at some stage of the build – it is rare that everything goes exactly according to plan.
  • Don’t think you can mastermind the build yourself – surround yourself with a good team including architect, project manager and builders. Ensure you, and everyone on the team, agree as to where responsibilities start and finish.
  • Don’t be seduced by TV programmes that make building projects look easy.
  • Don’t let your thinking stop at the exterior walls – plan the grounds and gardens at an early stage, and appreciate that it will be some time before your plans come to fruition.
  • Don’t make your designs too quirky or individual as this will make resale difficult.
  • Beware development scams. There have been recent examples of ¼ acre plots of agricultural land ‘with development potential’ being sold for £25,000 where the chances of any planning permission being granted within a reasonable investment life cycle are close to zero.

If you’ve got plenty of cash, time, patience and flair; if you’ve done the sums, and if you’ve made contingency plans, then go ahead and enjoy the experience – building your own home can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

And don’t forget, you can always call on the professionals :

We can be invaluable in finding land for prospective self builders. Not only will you be first to hear when a potential site is coming to the market, you will also be viewed as a serious buyer by any agent involved.

Our strong relationships with local estate agents often ensures that we hear about land for sale before, or as soon as, it comes onto the market. Estate agents are often keen to involve buying agents in land sales that are notoriously difficult to market. A piece of land, or dilapidated building, that is difficult to photograph and present, may attract a lot of interest, but often much of the interest comes from buyers who aren’t serious.

A buying agent’s local contacts are essential to finding building plots. Land often sells by word of mouth within the local area so a serious buyer needs to have eyes and ears in the area on a daily basis.

As buying agents, we also ensure buyers aren’t making a big mistake. Buyers are often so excited to find a suitable plot that they overlook problems and disadvantages, especially locational, in the joy of the moment! We can also help with planning issues, and look at the costs involved compared with the likely finished value of the property.

Ensure you understand the jargon  you encounter in the property market.

Explore ‘Our Offices’ to find where we can help you find the perfect location for your self-build.

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Professional Property Purchaser Rachel Johnston of Stacks Property Search advises new auction bidders…   Why agents sell by auction  “Whilst most property is sold by private treaty, estate agents and vendors tend to opt for an auction when they are confident that there will be huge interest, where the property is a restoration...

Doing Up A Wreck

Think carefully before taking on a ‘project’. It’s become very fashionable to do up a wreck – numerous television programmes on the subject are largely responsible! Our clients frequently request a ‘project’, but baulk when faced with the reality. Better to analyse yourselves in depth now! Here’s how… Before taking the plunge...

First steps to a successful Self-Build

Planning to ‘Grand Design’ yourself to happiness ? First, don’t lose the plot! As it becomes harder to find the perfect home, purchasers are increasingly believing that the answer to their problem lies in either building the dream property on an empty site, or dramatically recreating an existing building. Ten to fifteen...

Find Your Plot

Anyone trying to find a building plot for themselves needs plenty of patience and tenacity. Here are some tips gleaned from years of experience. Let estate agents know your requirements, but don’t rely on them alone – many plots aren’t sold through agents. Consider speaking with professional developers to see if they...

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When making probably the most important financial decision of your life, it pays to have the right advisors at your side.

"It made a potentially very stressful process very straightforward"
2018-11-21T12:48:37+00:00
"It made a potentially very stressful process very straightforward"
"a calming, guiding presence where nothing was too much trouble"
2018-11-21T12:13:26+00:00
"a calming, guiding presence where nothing was too much trouble"
"You we able to give us confidence that we were doing the right thing"
2018-11-21T13:20:39+00:00
"You we able to give us confidence that we were doing the right thing"
"In essence, you are buying your best ally "
2018-11-21T12:47:38+00:00
"In essence, you are buying your best ally "
"carried out with discretion"
2018-11-21T12:28:29+00:00
"carried out with discretion"
"We were in a tricky housing situation, looking to buy a very specific type of house and needing to find it in a very specific time frame"
2018-11-21T13:12:00+00:00
"We were in a tricky housing situation, looking to buy a very specific type of house and needing to find it in a very specific time frame"
"I’ve seldom had such consistent, wise support in a major life decision, and I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it is."
2018-11-21T12:46:40+00:00
"I’ve seldom had such consistent, wise support in a major life decision, and I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it is."
"was fantastic at explaining and helping us with everything that was happening"
2018-11-21T13:07:43+00:00
"was fantastic at explaining and helping us with everything that was happening"
"You made a huge difference to our search as I am sure you do for all your clients."
2019-05-02T11:00:08+00:00
"You made a huge difference to our search as I am sure you do for all your clients."
"We now own a most suitable house in the position of our dreams thanks to Stacks"
2018-11-21T13:11:13+00:00
"We now own a most suitable house in the position of our dreams thanks to Stacks"
"Your advice on how to effectively instruct and motivate our professional team allowed us to complete in one month."
2018-11-21T13:22:31+00:00
"Your advice on how to effectively instruct and motivate our professional team allowed us to complete in one month."
"extremely helpful, knowledgeable and tireless in their efforts to assist us"
2018-11-21T12:33:22+00:00
"extremely helpful, knowledgeable and tireless in their efforts to assist us"
"found us a home in a sought-after area with a high demand for properties and very little on offer"
2018-11-21T12:37:14+00:00
"found us a home in a sought-after area with a high demand for properties and very little on offer"
“We want to thank you so much for the very professional and sensitive support you have given us in navigating through the various properties we have considered for investment of our small inheritance.”
2018-11-05T22:55:02+00:00
“We want to thank you so much for the very professional and sensitive support you have given us in navigating through the various properties we have considered for investment of our small inheritance.”
"Many thanks for your hard work and patience in assisting in buying our property. You made the whole process infinitely less stressful than it might have been"
2020-01-13T11:50:30+00:00
"Many thanks for your hard work and patience in assisting in buying our property. You made the whole process infinitely less stressful than it might have been"
"Stacks were a tremendous help and we would never have found our home without them. She is a lovely person with a great sense of humour which was essential during some of our tricky negotiations"
2020-01-13T11:52:24+00:00
"Stacks were a tremendous help and we would never have found our home without them. She is a lovely person with a great sense of humour which was essential during some of our tricky negotiations"
“We really enjoyed working with Sara and Stacks and would highly recommend having them on your side in the home buying process”
2019-06-19T13:54:55+00:00
“We really enjoyed working with Sara and Stacks and would highly recommend having them on your side in the home buying process”
"helped our parents downsize from the family home, in what was a traumatic move for them"
2018-11-21T12:41:04+00:00
"helped our parents downsize from the family home, in what was a traumatic move for them"
"The best decision we could have made!"
2018-11-21T12:55:52+00:00
"The best decision we could have made!"
"They've been a close and very helpful part of our discussions with everybody. When you’re new to a town and an area, that’s priceless."
2018-11-21T12:58:19+00:00
"They've been a close and very helpful part of our discussions with everybody. When you’re new to a town and an area, that’s priceless."
"I needed the continuous advice and support on the many issues that can and do arise, and, above all, someone acting in one’s own interest."
2018-11-21T12:44:59+00:00
"I needed the continuous advice and support on the many issues that can and do arise, and, above all, someone acting in one’s own interest."
"utterly tenacious..."
2018-11-21T13:06:52+00:00
"utterly tenacious..."
"The house is ideal ... and it is nothing like our first (unsuitable) ideas!"
2018-11-21T12:56:37+00:00
"The house is ideal ... and it is nothing like our first (unsuitable) ideas!"
"Because I had invested in the process of working with a Buying Agent, I had the confidence to go ahead"
2018-11-21T12:21:23+00:00
"Because I had invested in the process of working with a Buying Agent, I had the confidence to go ahead"
"Despite other interested parties, Stacks were able to help us secure our preferred property."
2018-11-21T12:32:12+00:00
"Despite other interested parties, Stacks were able to help us secure our preferred property."
"a fantastic job in impossible circumstances"
2018-11-21T12:17:11+00:00
"a fantastic job in impossible circumstances"
"Finding a plot not yet on the market and persuading the developer to enter into an exclusive contract with me to build to my specification."
2020-02-27T09:48:25+00:00
"Finding a plot not yet on the market and persuading the developer to enter into an exclusive contract with me to build to my specification."
"You have an empathetic approach which, added to your knowledge and wise guidance, has made the whole thing a lot less stressful"
2018-11-21T13:17:15+00:00
"You have an empathetic approach which, added to your knowledge and wise guidance, has made the whole thing a lot less stressful"
"I completely underestimated how much of a difference you would make"
2018-11-21T12:43:03+00:00
"I completely underestimated how much of a difference you would make"
"delivered a great service at a reasonable cost"
2018-11-21T12:30:52+00:00
"delivered a great service at a reasonable cost"
"We found the service extremely helpful and professional at all times"
2020-01-13T11:51:31+00:00
"We found the service extremely helpful and professional at all times"
"I gained a house, setting and location which are right for me"
2018-11-21T12:43:48+00:00
"I gained a house, setting and location which are right for me"
"We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to anyone thinking of using such a service"
2018-11-21T13:13:46+00:00
"We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to anyone thinking of using such a service"
"Should I move again, I shall definitely use you again"
2018-11-21T12:51:23+00:00
"Should I move again, I shall definitely use you again"
"Being able to 'stand behind' Stacks, whilst they brought their negotiating skills to the fore, took us to another level"
2018-11-21T12:22:38+00:00
"Being able to 'stand behind' Stacks, whilst they brought their negotiating skills to the fore, took us to another level"
"Encouraging me to think creatively about what could work for me."
2020-02-27T09:49:08+00:00
"Encouraging me to think creatively about what could work for me."
"We are delighted with our choice and so are the children."
2018-11-21T13:08:49+00:00
"We are delighted with our choice and so are the children."
"I have been delighted with the service I have received from Stacks and will not hesitate to recommend Stacks in the future.

It is not often that one is pleased to part with money but I can truthfully say that I am on this occasion. You have earned every penny of this cheque and what is more, you have done it with great courtesy and good humour. It has been very pleasant working with you. You really did take most of the stress out of our house hunting.

Stacks’ performance on this assignment has been absolutely outstanding and more than met my expectations. Her understanding of the brief and the ‘after-find’ service set a standard of professionalism that I have not met before"
2020-01-13T11:51:03+00:00
"I have been delighted with the service I have received from Stacks and will not hesitate to recommend Stacks in the future. It is not often that one is pleased to part with money but I can truthfully say that I am on this occasion. You have earned every penny of this cheque and what is more, you have done it with great courtesy and good humour. It has been very pleasant working with you. You really did take most of the stress out of our house hunting. Stacks’ performance on this assignment has been absolutely outstanding and more than met my expectations. Her understanding of the brief and the ‘after-find’ service set a standard of professionalism that I have not met before"
"How extraordinary to have found what we were looking for"
2018-11-21T12:42:07+00:00
"How extraordinary to have found what we were looking for"
"You have found us a superb home which we feel fortunate to call our own."
2018-11-21T13:18:39+00:00
"You have found us a superb home which we feel fortunate to call our own."
"Thank you very much for the professionalism, patience and understanding"
2018-11-21T12:55:04+00:00
"Thank you very much for the professionalism, patience and understanding"
"got our offer accepted even when it was not the highest"
2018-11-21T12:38:34+00:00
"got our offer accepted even when it was not the highest"
"Stacks takes great pride in their service, is an expert in their field and above all, demonstrated integrity in all our interaction with them"
2018-11-21T12:54:09+00:00
"Stacks takes great pride in their service, is an expert in their field and above all, demonstrated integrity in all our interaction with them"
"always courteous and pleasant, and most importantly, in our opinion, trustworthy."
2018-11-21T12:19:57+00:00
"always courteous and pleasant, and most importantly, in our opinion, trustworthy."
"Relentlessly provided us with the context and facts we needed to make an informed decision "
2018-11-21T12:50:28+00:00
"Relentlessly provided us with the context and facts we needed to make an informed decision "
"found precisely what I was looking for, and even on my request made an offer before I had even seen the property!!"
2018-11-21T12:35:46+00:00
"found precisely what I was looking for, and even on my request made an offer before I had even seen the property!!"
"We cannot imagine how long it would have taken us to find our perfect home without Stacks – and we suspect that we would have compromised a long time ago!"
2018-11-21T13:09:36+00:00
"We cannot imagine how long it would have taken us to find our perfect home without Stacks – and we suspect that we would have compromised a long time ago!"
"You gave a much-valued ‘younger’ perspective on our situation, which was a real asset"
2020-01-13T11:52:01+00:00
"You gave a much-valued ‘younger’ perspective on our situation, which was a real asset"
“Thank you very much.  We are very excited on the purchase of the flat as well.  Sara has been instrumental in every aspect, we are blessed to have her on our side.
2019-12-06T09:48:50+00:00
“Thank you very much.  We are very excited on the purchase of the flat as well.  Sara has been instrumental in every aspect, we are blessed to have her on our side.”
"I would recommend using Stacks as they are well connected to the property market and provide a realistic assessment of activity and pricing."
2018-11-21T12:45:49+00:00
"I would recommend using Stacks as they are well connected to the property market and provide a realistic assessment of activity and pricing."
"You saved me many miles of driving and were very professional"
2018-11-21T13:19:40+00:00
"You saved me many miles of driving and were very professional"
"You have exceeded our expectations for a buy-side property service and have made the process a smooth one for us."
2018-11-21T13:18:01+00:00
"You have exceeded our expectations for a buy-side property service and have made the process a smooth one for us."
"I was impressed by the efficient, kind and courteous service provided by Stacks"
2020-01-13T11:52:49+00:00
"I was impressed by the efficient, kind and courteous service provided by Stacks"
"Through the whole process they went above and beyond, and it was worth every penny!"
2018-11-21T12:59:15+00:00
"Through the whole process they went above and beyond, and it was worth every penny!"
"Would not hesitate to use you again."
2018-11-21T13:16:29+00:00
"Would not hesitate to use you again."
"great value to us during a difficult, competitive purchase"
2018-11-21T12:39:48+00:00
"great value to us during a difficult, competitive purchase"
"They didn’t try to persuade us to buy anything unsuitable."
2018-11-21T12:57:31+00:00
"They didn’t try to persuade us to buy anything unsuitable."
"You were able, by taking on much of the responsibility and the effort, to enable us to relax and enjoy the process"
2018-11-21T13:21:20+00:00
"You were able, by taking on much of the responsibility and the effort, to enable us to relax and enjoy the process"
"We love the house and cannot wait to move in and get settled."
2018-11-21T13:10:27+00:00
"We love the house and cannot wait to move in and get settled."
"...took just days to come up with the property that fitted all our criteria"

Sunday Telegraph

2018-11-06T13:59:47+00:00

Sunday Telegraph

"...took just days to come up with the property that fitted all our criteria"
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
2018-11-21T12:53:20+00:00
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
"Well done in taking us to a house we didn’t know we wanted … and then fell in love with!"
2018-11-21T13:14:45+00:00
"Well done in taking us to a house we didn’t know we wanted … and then fell in love with!"
"Without somebody on the ground asking the right questions on our behalf, finding a home would have been truly impossible."
2018-11-21T13:15:37+00:00
"Without somebody on the ground asking the right questions on our behalf, finding a home would have been truly impossible."
"Stacks had the critical combination of expertise and tenacity to broker a solution for us"
2018-11-21T12:52:31+00:00
"Stacks had the critical combination of expertise and tenacity to broker a solution for us"
"...negotiate on anything"

Financial Times

2018-11-06T14:00:36+00:00

Financial Times

"...negotiate on anything"
"Practically, I needed someone to do the legwork and the eye-balling"
2018-11-21T12:49:38+00:00
"Practically, I needed someone to do the legwork and the eye-balling"
"We were moving country – had booked the packers – and had nowhere to move into!"
2018-11-21T13:12:46+00:00
"We were moving country – had booked the packers – and had nowhere to move into!"

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