So many share the same dream, fuelled by that little voice in your head which sounds suspiciously like Kevin McCloud’s. That with just a little money and a lot of know-how, building your ideal home, with your bare hands, is within reach.

The appeal is obvious; autonomy, ability to satisfy your very own interior design quirks, and in some cases, less of a burden on your bank balance. In reality, the pitfalls are many. Going over budget is all but guaranteed, the hours required and stress amounted enormous, but the rewards life-affirming.  While buying a house, of course, requires foresight and planning, laying the foundations for your own has a whole different set of demands. With this in mind, here are 4 IDEAL tips for building your own house.


For so many of us, it can be impossible to predict your deepest desires for dinner, let alone your wants and needs years down the line. And let’s be honest from the off, this is a project which will take years from the first thoughts to its fully blown realisation. So, while you may be envisaging a bachelorette pad with a built-in bar and hot tub now, five years down the line who’s to say a playroom and cot won’t be higher on the priority list?

And although we wouldn’t wish to be the bore bringing realism into the conversation, it’s also important to think about the potential resale value of your property, however hard that might be when you haven’t even started building. Sure, you want it to be unique and personal to you, but follow your most esoteric tendencies too keenly and you endanger the potential to ever sell it.


Building your own place may seem at first like a budget friendly option, but costs can very quickly spiral if you’re not meticulous in your planning. Even then, there will always be hidden costs and emergent issues to address as the project moves along. For starters, the average cost is somewhere around $300,000, and that’s simply from the physical elements; the bricks, mortar, materials and furnishings, basically. Labour costs, tax, and the rest will likely double that figure.

Then, you have to factor in the tools. Of course, if you’re hiring a builder then you can expect them to provide their own. If you’re going full DIY, then think about all the equipment you may need and set aside budget for that, too. Banks are notoriously hesitant to lend money to those building their own house, so be aware of this when drawing up an initial budget. Put simply, it’s essential you overbudget from the off.


When it comes to finding the right builder for you, it’s just like looking around for any product. Or partner, for that matter. You’ll want to put in the hours in researching everything little detail about the person you’re going to be spending so many waking hours with, so (within the law of course) stalk them, seek referrals, look for reviews….the works. Once trust is established, the working relationship is far easier and the process becomes a joyful, fulfilling one.


The road is long, with many a winding turn.There will be obstacles, unexpected successes and failures, moments of anguish and also of joy. Sometimes rain will stop play for what seems an eternity, sometimes sun will make the heavy lifting seem all that more burdensome. Patience, even more than practicality, will be your most useful tool. Play it long, play it cool, and you’ll be rewarded.