Does self-building and renovation inevitably mean an end to home comforts? We explore the options to keep you sane during your development project
In pursuit of the house of their dreams, many self builders choose to live in temporary accommodation – rented property, in a caravan, a mobile home, or even in a newly-built garage. However, ‘temporary’ could turn out to be months, years or even longer and ‘home comforts’ could become a distant memory. So what are the options open to the self-builder?
Staying in your current house
In an ideal world, we would all choose to stay in our current house surrounded by our home comforts whilst our dream home is taking shape. But this depends heavily on finances and the nature and size of the project.
Living on site
Renovations and major extensions could mean living in a melting pot of noise, dust and mud, and it may not be that easy to maintain normal servicing and privacy. Disruption to existing services to the property are probable, if not likely, such as to power supplies, heating, water, or sewage.
Renting a house during self- build has several advantages. Any capital raised from the sale of an existing home, would enable you to rent a property nearer to the build. This, of course, would mean that you would have to move twice, but this is far outweighed by the convenience gained by proximity to location as well as avoidance of furniture storage costs.
You need to bear in mind that children and pets are not always welcome in rented accommodation.
Also, unless you downsize, there may not be too much difference between monthly rent and your existing monthly mortgage repayments. You will need to pay at least two months’ rent up front, as well as a deposit and agent’s fees, if you use one.
If you need to be close to your build, then a static caravan could be the answer. The capital raised from the sale of your existing house will facilitate the purchase of a mobile home. This option will also avoid rental fees, and children and pets will love it. However, don’t forget to consider accessibility, both for you and others involved in the build, e.g. lorries, cranes or diggers that may need access to your site.
You will also need to clear it with the local planning authority; this shouldn’t be a problem providing you only intend to live in the caravan for the duration of the build. Consider the best access for either an articulated lorry or crane to deliver the caravan, and also how you will connect it to the services.
Another option worth considering: if you intend to build a garage, then why not do this first? This will provide you with ideal accommodation on site, or at least sizeable storage.
Finally, as with all new builds, do show consideration for anyone who might be directly affected by your comings and goings. Good relations with neighbours could turn out to be just as important foundations as those that you will lay for your dream home.