Kesara

22, young, naive, but with a dream.

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Hey,

 

I am 22 year old currently finishing my masters dissertation, and procrastinating by thinking about my self build dream home.  I have always wanted to build my own home (and by that I mean hiring people to do it), and growing up in America for half my life and seeing big homes on acres of property, I knew I wanted to make it a reality. Then I moved back to the UK and realised I drew the short of end of the stick in terms of the percentage of self build homes in this country, compared to our surrounding neighbours. 

 

The dream? Having a house in Wales, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, forests, a river that flows east and acres of land to roam on, with a newly self built house to replace the crumbling, derelict property currently sitting on the land. Is this attainable? I have no idea, but a man can dream. 

 

The plan? Find a derelict property for around 150-200k with a few acres of land with water and electricity already laid out. Design the most modernly beautiful home to ever grace the Welsh countryside with a long wooded driveway for another 200-300k. This will then be shortly followed by the adoption of a golden retriever and an escape from the constantly stimulating and overpriced London work life. 

 

If anyone can shed any light that will reinforce this dream, please do. If instead you've got bad news for me and that I am being unrealistic, give it to me slowly. 

 

Why Wales? Well, I'm in love with Italy, and fluent in french, so both are ideal options, however the distance, lack of knowing anyone, and the fact that this would be my first self build project, I'd rather be taken advantage of in a language I can negotiate in (I don't actually speak welsh, I did not think this through). Also, England prices are astonishing and I am not a fan of the north (sorry). 

 

 

So, the plan, I am reiterating with more detail this time. With a budget of 500k (I don't actually have this money, but I can beg the parents and sister and convince them this is also their dream), I plan to find a suitable property, with a rough sketch of a house or idea. Send that off to, I'm guessing a planning permission expert or the county's council?? to get their expert advise on the likelyhood of planning permission being approved. I'm banking on the fact that 86% of planning permission requests are approved. Once confirmation is given, buy the property, live in it for a month (or 4) and pretend i'm welsh whilst waiting for official planning permission approval, then absolutely demolish it to the ground, get a contractor, and build the new dream home. Seems pretty easy right? What am I missing.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I'm sorry I cannot give you those 5 minutes back.

 

Thanks,

Kesara

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It’s not really a self build if your family are paying for it.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bozza

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Welcome ..!!

 

For the best land to money ratio, and even for a full new build I would pick Italy over Wales every day of the week ! Unless you want to spend 50% of your life ina rain coat, I would avoid Wales ! It’s also not as cheap as people think, the big old properties on a big bit of land for £100k are long gone. 

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What you are planning is possible, but getting a smallholding for the money you are talking limits you to the cheaper areas of Wales, and there won't be much land with it. You won't get a plot & land in Pembrokeshire for 150k!

 

I'm doing what you are dreaming of in SW Wales and I'm at foundation stage. It's taken 20 years to be in a position to finance this. 

 

Wales is great, if you like shit weather most of the time ;) . Remember that jobs here are fewer and lower paid than London by a long stretch. And given your age it's clear that you will be looking for work.

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Hi and welcome.

 

Yes this is a doable dream in your location.

 

I am off to visit relatives an hour south of Aberystwyth.  I am sure, just like every previous trip down there, I will drive past a number of derelict farm houses on small holding plots, at least one of them for sale, which would fit your self build in the middle of nowhere dream.

 

 

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Some disjointed thoughts:

  • If you're relying on family for support, they're almost certain to want you to be funding a big chunk of it yourself - it turns the conversation from "please buy me a house" to "please help me buy a house". My family have been astonishingly supportive, but there is no way that they would have been if I hadn't been driving myself hard to pay for as much as I could. If I'd come out and asked them for that much money (particularly straight out of university), I think there is no possibility at all they would have given me it and it might well have damaged our relationship. Your family may well be different, but it's a key point: your relationship with your family is vastly more important than any dream house.
  • Unless you have a massive trust fund you haven't mentioned, this means a job and a mortgage. Given that housing costs more or less track average earnings in an area (or commutable from it) and the amount you can borrow is a multiple of your earnings, you're unlikely to be able to afford a very big mortgage in the area you want. The only way to square this with the first point is to significantly reduce your ambitions and budget.
  • Do you have any experience of building work at all, or relevant skills? If not, get some before taking on a project of this magnitude. In my case (and I'm certainly not alone on here) I started by buying the worst house on the street and renovating it. In no way does this make me an expert, but I learned a vast amount all the same - trying to take on a far bigger project without this experience would have most likely led to me making several very expensive mistakes. I'm sure I still will, but fewer of them.
  • After a couple of years of living on a building site and working on the house as well as working two jobs and having bought at the right time (2010 in my case), we were able to sell it for enough to buy our current wreck - with an even bigger mortgage supported by the new, better paying job.
  • £500k is a huge amount of money - it's taken me 15 years working in a pretty well-paid field (engineering) to be able to save & borrow enough for a £500k house, and that has only been possible with a lot of support from family plus increased equity from a renovation. That also means a big mortgage, which means I've got to live in the south-east for the job rather than anywhere rural.

Just for some perspective on what you want to do, the average age of a first-time buyer in the UK at the moment is 34, and they average spending £230k on their house. You want to do so 10 years earlier with twice the budget. Not impossible, but really tough.

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Welcome.

 

Most has already been said.

 

I think the call I would give would be to consider where you find a job, and target potential areas partly around that. The impression I have is that Scotland is substantially easier for *doing* self-build.

 

On the planning point, that is in your control because you can choose to make your house well within policy or walking the lines. If you walk the lines and try and do something difficult your chances of success will be lower.

 

Perhaps consider a series of self-builds, maybe with the first being in the garden of your first house you buy based on the size of the garden; that could give you your first plot for say 15k to 30k.

 

For the record, people who don't like the North are wrong 😎.

Edited by Ferdinand

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I genuinely believe dreams are a brilliant thing to have and I wish you all the luck in the world, wish I was in a a position do do what I'm doing years ago.

 

The only thing I think you're crazy about, is your money source. Money and friends/family do not mix. What are you going to do if your family need/want their money for some reason, it's a recipe for falling out in my opinion. It's not an easy amount of money to repay.

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Hi guys,

 

I really appreciate all the responses. I probably should have reworded my initial post better, as I was trying to be funny and failing miserably. Fortunately, money is not actually an issue in any of this process. I already have/will have in the next couple years suitable funds to invest into my dream home, thanks to some smart investments and side businesses. My family will also most likely get involved, as we have always had a healthy relationship with eachother and money. But I appreciate the pointers and concern, definitely something to consider. 

 

I think the main problem I am trying to understand is the process behind finding a suitable piece of land. Whether it is a healthy risk to purchase land with a small/dilapidated dwelling, without intial planning permission, and then gaining it after the purchase. There are factors that can mitigate such risk, such as consulting with a planning consultant or contacting the local authority. I am just wondering if there are any further steps I can take to make such investment less risky. Worse case scenario, planning permission is denied and the property is renovated and sold. 

 

Is this the only way of attaining a sizeable piece of land (a few acres) and building a home on it? Buying bare land seems more risky, and every plot that I have seen does not meet the necessary requirement, or are in built up areas. Is there another avenue which I am missing?

 

Again, thank you for the replies. 

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Useful book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-find-buy-building-plot/dp/1911346148/

 

The best way to mitigate risk is to buy one that already exists or has the required PP.

 

You can come off alright via other means, but you are gambling with risk and potentially playing the game of Planning Poker.

Edited by Ferdinand
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12 hours ago, PeterW said:

Welcome ..!!

 

For the best land to money ratio, and even for a full new build I would pick Italy over Wales every day of the week ! Unless you want to spend 50% of your life ina rain coat, I would avoid Wales ! It’s also not as cheap as people think, the big old properties on a big bit of land for £100k are long gone. 

I do think Italy is definitely the dream, however due to the distance, language barrier, and absolutely no idea where to start, I think its a bit too unrealistic of a goal. It would be ideal, however as I am only starting on my self build journey, and I plan on going through several properties in my lifetime, I think starting in an easier to get to location in a language I can speak, is more realistic. There are a lot of headaches that come with self builds, and I think I would rather go through it on home soil first before venturing into another country and dealing with a whole other environment. 

 

Rain is not an issue, I find myself to be quite a homebody and would spend the majority of the time indoors, working on personal projects. I can always escape back to London if the weather really does get to me. 

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I'm half Italian, family is from the South. What I have been told is yes you can get land/property, the villages are dying off as the younger generation don't want to follow the family business and move off to the cities. You're left with villages of older generation with nothing going on. So you'd have to be ready for the lifestyle.

 

I think if I was in your shoes, I would start going to look at land/properties and that will help you know what you want and where you want. I don't know how far you are from Wales, but a mate of mine was doing 4 hours drives to look at land in Wales until he found the right one for him.

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1 hour ago, Kesara said:

I think the main problem I am trying to understand is the process behind finding a suitable piece of land. Whether it is a healthy risk to purchase land with a small/dilapidated dwelling, without intial planning permission, and then gaining it after the purchase. There are factors that can mitigate such risk, such as consulting with a planning consultant or contacting the local authority. I am just wondering if there are any further steps I can take to make such investment less risky. Worse case scenario, planning permission is denied and the property is renovated and sold.

As a rule of thumb, you can normally replace an existing house with something up to 25% bigger without issues and the planning consultants, etc. should only come in if the design is contentious or you're trying to go much bigger. If it's no longer habitable then you start taking on more risk and may need support, depending on what you want to do with it.

 

 

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So in terms of the risk of buying an old property and not getting PP.  I bought a rural cottage without PP and replaced it with a new build.

 

Each local council area should have policies on rural development, which the planning officer will follow.    Basically hit the internet and research the policies in the areas you are considering.   You obviously increase the chances of getting PP if your proposal is within policy.

 

In rural areas It’s often the case that the planning authorities look for something sympathetic to the local vernacular eg use of local materials etc. Appropriate in scale.  Environmentally friendly. Or alternatively something of significant architectural merit.  Understandably rural communities don’t want an outsider butchering the local landscape, but they would probably welcome something sympathetic with modern eco standards etc.

 

A small rural cottage will probably have an agricultural connection, so if you are replacing it with something new And bigger and you’re probably have to think of looking at doing something like a contemporary barn or something like that.  
 

My local councils policy is that traditional properties should be renovated where possible but if too far gone and not of significant architectural merit replacements are ok if your building something good quality.  But each area has its own policies as I say.  
 

Like has been said already you probably don’t need a consultant at the moment just look at properties available and do your research.

 

One word of caution though.  In rural communities you rely much more on your community and neighbours.  Would strongly advise if there is a sense of resistance for any proposal you rethink it.    What you want is a proposal that the local community is 100% behind.  As well as the local planners.

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

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Scotland is easier for self build, partly because it is a common thing to do and partly because there are always plots for sale at reasonable prices.  But take a look a mid and west Wales, some pretty cheap plots there as well.

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Thanks for all the informative replies guys, I really appreciate it. Will be taking everything into account. 

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