Most people approach custom building with a lot of questions, and this is the right way to start. The route and preparation for each custom builder is as unique as their new designer home, and the questions they will have can be just as varied.

Here, we answer several of our most frequently asked questions. If you have further questions that are not answered here, get in touch with us! We are always happy to answer general questions about custom build, and advise on the specifics of your situation.

What is the difference between self build and custom build?

Self build is normally defined as a project where the design and construction of the new home is all organised and managed by the purchaser. This can vary from a full DIY self build in which the purchaser does most of the construction personally, to a kit home that is built by the kit home company. The uniting factor is that the purchaser must coordinate the project’s delivery themselves, organising the servicing of the plot, the construction of the foundations, and the build of the home.

Custom build, on the other hand, sees people working alongside a specialist developer to deliver the project. Developers can offer differing levels of involvement for the purchaser. The plots will be sold with services put in place by the developer, such as road access, foul and surface water drainage, and utilities including water, electricity, gas, and telecommunications. The developer will also have applied for outline planning permission, so that purchasers are confident of their ability to build what they require on this site. Some developers will also offer to provide the foundations, or to provide detailed planning permission for one particular house design to be customised by the purchaser.

This means that custom building is a more supported process than self build, encompassing a whole range of different options capable of suiting people with any amount of time and prior knowledge. The key to custom build is finding a developer offering the right level of involvement for you.

What sort of mortgage will I need for custom build? Can I get a mortgage on a plot?

Mortgages are for buildings, so you would be getting a mortgage that funds the construction of your custom build home, not just a land plot. The size and style of the house generally dictates the amount you can borrow, plus of course your own financial circumstances.

BuildStore will provide advice on mortgages specifically designed for custom build. As a rule of thumb – you can borrow up to 85% on the cost of your plot and then up to 85% on the construction stages with a maximum loan to value of 80%, subject to affordability.

I don’t know anything about building, will this make it difficult?

No, custom building is accessible and within reach of everyone. With custom build, you will choose a team of professionals to support you, and they will be able to organise and manage every stage of your build.

Around 95% of self builders do not even lift a paintbrush. Custom building is generally about making decisions instead of laying bricks and fitting doors – although you can do both if you want! Each enabling developer will offer a support package, and Custom Build Homes offers a full range of project support for customers. 

Can I just buy a plot of land and do what I want?

Yes, to a certain extent. The enabling developer will have created a design framework, which exists to encourage high quality architectural design and ensure the whole site has a cohesion. You will need to design according to the framework put in place, but this does not exist to inhibit innovation or individuality. The framework will ensure that you achieve planning permission for your design, that both you and your neighbouring plot are about to properly complete your builds, meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations.

Does it cost more to custom build my home?

No, in fact, it costs less than buying a new build of an equivalent size. You can typically save between 10-15% of the overall cost of your new home. You will be able to reclaim VAT on your building materials when you buy them directly. You can save even more if you are willing to get involved in the building process, with every task that you undertake personally saving you money.