Help to Build: Equity Loan: What skills do I need?

Self and custom build housing often makes up a third of newly built homes in other countries but it’s less common in the UK, where around 13,000 houses are built this way each year.

These relatively low numbers mean you probably don’t have friends or family you can ask for tips on building your own home.

You might wonder whether you have the skills to do it, but you mustn’t let that put you off.

The truth is you can have as much or as little involvement as you’d like in a self or custom build. The beauty of building your own home is that you make the design and layout decisions to fit your needs.

What options are available to me through Help to Build?

Help to Build is a government equity loan available to people in England who want to build their own home. The scheme offers 3 options so you can be as hands-on or hands-off as you’d like.

Self build

With self build you handle every stage of the project. This includes buying the plot of land, getting building materials, and hiring contractors. This option is best if you want to make every decision yourself and be in complete control of the project.

As the project manager, you’ll need to know:

  • How to find and buy land (we have a guide to help you)
  • Which building materials you’ll need, and where to buy them
  • How to lead a team of specialists, like architects, builders, electricians and plumbers to help bring your project to life.

In order to secure a self build mortgage, you’ll need to provide plans and estimated build costs to your lender. Consulting an architect early in the process will help you turn your ideas into a useable plan.

Custom build

You work with a professional builder who manages the entire build project for you. This option is best if you want to build your own home, but do not have the time or skills to dedicate to the building project.

Although this route is more hands-off, you’ll still need a clear plan of what you would like your home to look like. Before you approach a professional builder, consider:

  • How much of the build you want them to deliver?
  • How the interior space can be adapted to suit your lifestyle?
  • Would you like the living space to be open-plan, or several different rooms?
  • How big would you like the garden to be based on the overall plot size?

Shell build

You hire a professional who is responsible for building the external structure of your home, such as the foundations, walls, and roof, or you buy the outside shell of a home that already has those external features. Then, you are responsible for designing and completing the layout, placing the internal walls and deciding room sizes.

This option is best if you don’t have the technical skills to manage the external build but would like to design the interior of your new home. For this approach, you’ll need to know:

  • How to build the internal walls
  • How to lay carpet/wood flooring
  • How to tile/plaster a wall.

Consider hiring qualified and recognised traders (such as electricians and plumbers) for the more specialised jobs.

Where can I find out more about Help to Build?

The equity loan makes building your home more accessible, whether you choose a self, custom or shell build.

With a Help to Build: Equity Loan, you can borrow between 5% and 20% (up to 40% in London) of £600,000, which is the maximum estimated costs to buy land (if needed) and build your home.

To find out more and how to apply, check out our Customers’ guide to Help to Build: Equity Loan.

Eligibility criteria and terms and conditions apply.

This article is for information only and is not intended as financial advice.