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Controlling self-build costs video advice

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Published on May 27, 2009

http://www.homebuildingshow.co.uk/en/...

David Snell contributing editor and expert for Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine and author of 'Building Your Own Home', gives visitors at the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show 2009 the hints and tips on keeping project costs down and how to make the most of reduced labour costs.

Transcript

Jason Orme
Going on to actually finally having found a plot, one of the things that I think self builders do tend to worry about is build costs. Am I going to get ripped off, is this going to go way over budget, am I going to end up bankrupt at the end of this project. Yet having been through it x amount of times how successful have you been in terms of actually managing to predict what youre going to spend.

David Snell
Fairly successful, but I have made mistakes. I mean Id be an idiot if I didnt make mistakes, but I learnt from those mistakes. In the magazine weve got the average build costs going in there, and the last three houses Ive built have been smack in the middle of those. I think the other thing to do, for ordinary self builders, I learnt by experience, is to literally keep up to date with the build costs that other people are paying, and particularly other self builders are paying. Right now the labour is at least 20% cheaper. Another reason why this isnt a bad time to self build.

Jason Orme
And thats your experience that labour is really come down in price over the past six to ten months.

David Snell
A builder gave me a price for £165,000 for something the other day, sat down and talked with him stood up and shook hands at £123,000.

Jason Orme
Do you feel thats going to continue in the existing market?

David Snell
It will continue for the foreseeable future. Theyve had a bit of a shock. I think things are beginning to change. A few builders I know have started to get work on the books, doing insurance work and things like that. I hesitate to say green shoots because its a much used thing. Im beginning to see sold by boards now.

Jason Orme
What about plot prices. My experience of plot prices is that they havent really come down that much in our local area. Youve seen many more plots than I have over your time. Do you think its a really great time to buy a plot or should you be waiting three or four months for prices to fall again?

David Snell
As you say, plot prices havent come down to the degree that houses have come down, in percentage terms. Why is that? Its because most plots sold by private vendors are actually financial windfalls for them. Its part of their garden, so they got planning permission on their garden. Theres actually no compunction to sell in most cases. OK, well have to mow the grass for another year, but actually we can ride this out. So although theyll pull it down a little bit, theyre not going to pull it down to any great degree; and thats the main reason. They have come down. I wrote about a plot in the issue before last, which I saw in June for £160,000 and the people I was with bought for £120,000, so they have come down but not to the same degree as housing.

Find out more expert advice at http://www.homebuildingshow.co.uk

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