How long will it all take?

An individual home can be completed within 12 months if well organised, alternatively it might take a DIYer several years.

As a general rule you should expect it to take around two months to get a design and a general budget worked out; it usually takes two to three months to get planning permission (during which time you should engage builders); construction of the shell takes around three to four months, with perhaps double for the internal work. As a result, self builders should look at the whole process taking between a year and 18 months.

If at all possible, try and ensure that exterior work is completed in time for winter; builders like to be inside when it is cold, and deep frost can stop foundations being dug at all.

Click here to see a typical self-build schedule.

How can you pay for your current house at the same time as you build?

Self-build finance specialists such as BuildStore and Norwich & Peterborough Building Society can offer a self build mortgage alongside your existing one. Typically they lend up to 85 percent of the value of your plot or development property. Once work begins, further money can be borrowed against it, as you increase its potential value. However, note that some lenders will only help you with new builds and not renovations.

Alternatively, speak to your existing mortgage lender or bank. Not all are geared up to help self builders but some high street names are surprisingly flexible and will negotiate with you to meet your needs. For example, they can help you release equity in your existing house to fund your build as well as lend on the plot and building works.

Others will consider offering a second mortgage to fund your build. Bridging loans are also available but are best suited as a three-month stop gap – rates tend to be higher and longer periods can be risky especially in a slow housing market.

As with all mortgages, expect to show you can cover the repayments, and offers will only be made if you satisfy the lender’s criteria.

To see our table of current self build mortgage rates from a wide range of lenders click here.

It is also important to think about where you will live whilst self building, since staying in your current home may not be an option financially. Click here to read our guide on where to live whilst self building including renting, staying in your current home and living on-site.

Where to go from here?

Many inexperienced self builders make their first mistake almost immediately by approaching things in the wrong way. We think this is the best way to get off on the right track:

• Come up with a budget
• Get a mortgage agreement
Investigate plot opportunities
• Work out approximate build costs
• Buy a plot
Establish a design and begin a builder search
• Apply for planning permission
• Apply for Building Regs approval
• Set a start date
• Break ground on site

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