What kind of self build homes could your budget get you?

cliffside self build
(Image credit: Dave Burton/Peter Landers)

The type of self build homes we are able to build will be largely dependant on our finances. The beauty of building your own home is that it can be designed specifically to meet individual needs and tastes so there's no one-size-fits-all approach. 

The budget will impact the shape, size, specification and materials used. Therefore, when planning a new project, prospective self builders can find it quite difficult to estimate what is possible for each band of build costs. 

So, take a look below to be inspired by wonderfully varied and creative self build designs that demonstrate how great design is achievable on any budget. 

From modest, but impressive family homes to awe-inspiring cutting edge designs, we've included an example of every style and built type to give you a comprehensive view of self build. 

The list has been organised by build cost and, as a disclaimer, these are build costs only and do not include land costs. Land costs vary so wildly across the UK and so make for an unfair comparison (additionally some of the self builders listed below already owned their building plot). 

How much does it cost to self build?

"It seems obvious to suggest that costs should be known before you start to build," advises self build expert and managing director of Potton, Mark Stevenson. 

"To figure out the build cost, you first need to know what you want to build. Having the approved planning drawings is a great start but in order to form a fuller picture you'll also need a detailed scope of work, a project specification, a chosen build route and a list of those personal must-haves and 'nice-to-haves'."

Unfortunately the cost of building a house has increased as a result of recent materials shortages, but in general self builders still make a profit of potentially up to 25-30%. When asking 'how much does it cost to build a house', you may now have to factor in these unpredictable costs. 

To get ahead of your self build budget, use a build cost calculator to estimate build costs depending on size, quality and construction method. 

Self build mortgages are very useful when building a house as they offer financial cash flow (although they work in a slightly different way to traditional mortgages), making self building a viable option for many homeowners. 

"Unlike a mortgage for a house purchase, self build borrowing isn't limited by your plot or property's current value," explains finance and property journalist Emma Lunn. "You can typically borrow up to 75% of your project costs or more if you already own the plot of land." 

Self build homes built for £100,000 and under

Straw bale self build home: £67,000

Using smart ways to stay on a budget of just £67k for their straw bale self build, Justin and Linda Tyers took on much of the house design and building work themselves. 

"For a couple of decades now, there has been a small but growing interest in building homes out of natural materials such as straw, cob and hemp," says self build export Mark Brinkley. "It’s a simple way to build that anyone can master. Some would say it is therefore the very essence of self build."

  • Build cost: £67,000
  • Build time: 11 months
  • Location: Somerset

Log cabin self build home: £60,000

Jude Hesselgrave and Roger Page built a log cabin, which they subsequently extended and transformed over the years to create a characterful home — for just £60,000.

  • Build cost: £60,000
  • Location: East Sussex

Starter self build home on a budget: £80,000

First-time buyers Phil Coe and Flo Cooper transformed an old agricultural building into a modern home using DIY skills Phil learned in college and tutorials on the internet.

By taking on the self build project management and home design themselves, the home came in on time and on budget.

"There is absolutely nothing to say that you have to use an architect or designer to come up with your house design," says Associate Editor Natasha Brinsmead. "Of course there are benefits to this route, but for some self-builders a DIY design route is preferable."

  • Build cost: £80,000 (£615/m²)
  • Build time: 2 years
  • Location: Yorkshire

Contemporary single storey self build home: £80,000

small contemporary self build homes

(Image credit: Brett Charles)

Inspired by the local vernacular, Niall and Helen Maxwell chose to build their sustainable home using local materials and labour to keep the budget down. 

  • Build cost: £80,000 (£1,066/m²)
  • Build time: 3 years 10 months
  • Location: North Carmarthenshire

A DIY self build home on an awkward plot: £100,000

DIY self build home using ICF

(Image credit: John Need)

A masterclass in how to build a house for under £150k, this project was built over a stream on a restricted plot. 

Using insulated concrete formwork (ICF) Robin, the homeowner, used online guides and advice to teach himself the different skills that helped him build the majority of the house himself. 

  • Build cost: £100,000 (£690/m2)
  • Build time: 1 year 8 months
  • Location: Argyll & Bute

Self build homes built for £100,001 to £199,999

Timber-clad and efficient Scottish cabin: £125,000

Low cost single storey self build home with timber cladding

(Image credit: Nigel Rigden)

This contemporary cabin-style self build home was inspired by Scandinavian architecture and interiors and includes extra insulation and solar panels to compete with the harsh northern climate.

  • Build cost: £125,000 (£1,315/m²)
  • Build time: 4 years 1 month
  • Location: Isle of Skye

A self build home for life: £130,000

David Snell and wife Linda completed their 14th self build home on the edge of the Forest of Dean.

  • Build Cost: £129,121
  • Build Time: 18 months
  • Location: Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

A coastal live/work self build home: £130,000

ICF and the good will of friends, neighbours and skilled local workers was used to construct this modern home on a sloping site

Spanning five years, this self build journey provides Ian Grant a place to run his architecture business and his wife Marcella an opportunity for an alternative source of income through a self-catered apartment in the future. 

  • Build cost: £130,000
  • Build time: 5 years
  • Location: Isle of Skye

A DIY traditional self build home: £150,000

DIYers Melanie and Alan Williams designed and built their third self build for a build cost of just £604/m2. While building the characterful, traditional-style home, Alan did all of the work himself except electrics, plumbing, roofing and plastering. 

  • Build cost: £150,000
  • Build time: 3 years
  • Location: Hampshire

A stylish contemporary house: £170,000

A clever cantilevered design means this self build home makes the most of a tight plot and near-by neighbours, while vaulted ceilings on the first floor mean that the space feels open and light.

  • Build cost: £170,000 (£1,416/m²)
  • Build time: 12 months
  • Location: Nottingham

A characterful self build home built in 15 weeks: £175,000

Proving that a speedy and beautiful build on a tight plot is possible, Samantha Parr constructed her oak frame home in the centre of a South Staffordshire town with the help of her tenacious spirit and the skill of local workers. 

  • Build cost: £175,000
  • Build time: 15 weeks
  • Location: South Staffordshire

Self build homes built for £200,000 to £299,999

A modern coastal home: £203,000

Andrew Williamson self built this steel-framed, glass and timber clad structure to make the most of the plot's 180º view of Yorkshire's sweeping coastline. 

"Where steel wins out is when you want to incorporate open-plan living space with wide large-glazed openings," says self-build export Mark Brinkley. "The inherent strength of steel comes into its own here, and consequently it is often used as a hybrid material for extensions."

  • Build cost: £203,000
  • Build time: 12 months
  • Location: Yorkshire

A Passivhaus kit house: £220,000

Paula Harte chose to build using Caber House's Type C kit house, a timber frame Passivhaus pre-designed by Architeco. 

"Turnkey providers (also known as package self build route companies) are the all inclusive option," says Mark Stevenson. "They will offer design, labour/construction and material supply as part of a fixed-price contract — this provides the most hands-off way of self building."

  • Build cost: £220,000
  • Build time: 18 months
  • Location: Elgin, Scotland

An oak frame starter home: £267,000

Achieved on a tight budget, Lucy Newton and Sam Hopkins' energy efficiency oak home was designed by themselves using structural insulated panels (SIPs). 

"I believe there is going to be a dramatic shift from traditional construction methods to off-site fabrication [using materials like SIPs or cross laminated timber (CLT)," predicts Adam Knibb, director of Adam Knibb Architects.

"The benefits are clear to see — clean / neat site, much more informed cost control, increase speed of construction. While there is more time spent at the drawing board, the speed on site is a huge benefit." 

  • Build cost: £267,000
  • Build time: 18 months
  • Location: York

Passivhaus self build home in London: £250,000

Elizabeth Sharp has self built a 110m² Passivhaus on the site of her former home’s garage and rear garden in London, and now has heating bills of around £300 per year.

Richard Dudzicki, project architect and director of RDA Architects suggests specifying SIPs or timber frame as a sensible way to keep costs down on a Passivhaus project. "The house has an energy rating of less than 15kw/m2, around one tenth of what a normal house of this size uses," he says. 

  • Build cost: £250,000
  • Build time: 16 months
  • Location: London

A DIY oak frame home: £250,000

oak frame self build home

(Image credit: Welsh Oak Frame)

Welsh Oak Frame supplied this oak frame structure to weathertight stage before Billie and Mark Holden moved into the incomplete home and worked to finish it themselves, maximising their build cost potential and leaving themselves mortgage free in the process.

  • Build cost: £250,000
  • Location: Cheshire

Oak frame family home: £265,000

Homeowners Wendy and Steve worked with Border Oak to build their dream 185m² oak frame home in Herefordshire. Their plot came with approval for a barn-style house which they adapted to suit their family's needs.

Wendy and Steve took on the groundworks, all of the base work, brickwork drainage, part of the first fix carpentry and the landscaping.

"We always have a conservative budget when it comes to interiors," says Wendy. "I never forgo quality pieces that get a lot of use, but I make small compromises elsewhere to even out the finances." 

  • Build cost: £265,000 (£1,432/m²)
  • Build time: 1 year
  • Location: Herefordshire

An oak frame home built on a green belt plot: £290,000

Buying a green belt plot in a conservation area with no planning permission was risky, but the owners of this beautiful new oak frame home, from Welsh Oak Frame are glad they took the plunge. They took on the project management aspect and built using insulated polystyrene concrete slab and SIPs, wrapped around the oak frame. 

  • Build cost: £290,000
  • Build time: 19 months
  • Location: Lancashire

Barn-style stone home: £296,000

stone clad self build home

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

This self build home is a great example of when great design and well thought-out specification meet to create a truly unique property. The use of traditional materials and form means that this new build looks like it has stood for centuries.

  • Build cost: £296,000 (£1,458/m²)
  • Build time: 11 months
  • Location: Monmouthshire

Self build homes built for £300,000 to £399,999

Idyllic countryside self build home: £307,000

This oak frame home (supplied by Oakwrights) features oak exterior cladding which has been left untreated to weather to a silver-grey colour. Costs were kept to a tight budget by the homeowners taking on some of the work themselves. 

"A country-style property should integrate into the site context seamlessly, enhancing the wider landscape," says Helen Needham, architectural department manager at Oakwrights. "Local vernacular should inspire the form, scale and materials of a house."

  • Build cost: £307,323
  • Build time: Two years
  • Location: Berkshire

Beautiful Passivhaus self build home in the woods: £308,000

Built using a steel frame, this contemporary treehouse embraces its surroundings like no other. Imaginative budget solutions combined with beautiful Passivhaus design mean this house is like no other.

  • Build cost: £308,000 (£1,540/m²)
  • Build time: 4 years
  • Location: Dursley, Gloucestershire

A sustainable lakeside home: £342,000

Drawn by the setting of this plot, the owners of this new house wanted to create an elegant, contemporary and restful retreat. They approached the design themselves and did much of the demolition and construction work on a DIY basis. 

  • Build cost: £342,000
  • Build time: 24 months
  • Location: South Wales

A seaside self build home: £348,000

Semi-built into the restored sea-wall this timber frame home was built to withstand the harsh Scottish coastal climate. 

"Externally, the wedge-shaped foorprint allowed us to create a distictive interpretation of a traditional gable. From the road to the south and east the gable is defined and pronounced, while from the beach to the north it blends harmoniously with the rest of the elevation," says Matthew Johnson of A449 Architects. 

  • Build cost: £348,000
  • Build time: 17 months
  • Location: Musselburgh, near Edinburgh

Modern home on a sloping plot on the coast: £350,000

The success of Nick Purchase's self build project rests on the quality of the design, from the sightlines in the kitchen to the way the coastal views are cleverly revealed. 

Much of the construction detail of the building was dictated by the location. Just metres from the bay, facing east and set at the bottom of the steep slope, the house is built into the hill, with four to five metre deep foundation and reinforced masonry to the rear.  

  • Build cost: £350,000
  • Build time: 14 months
  • Location: Cornwall

A subterranean family self build home: £350,000

While the contemporary front elevation of this self-build looks demure, the home was designed to make the most of the former garage plot by housing the sleeping quarters underground. 

Ingeniously light, thanks to two courtyard garden and access points at the front and back, the home is ideal for the young family. 

(MORE: Read the full story)

  • Build cost: £350,000
  • Location: Bournemouth

A sustainable home filled with charm: £370,000