Success Story - Bill & Angie Jenkins
Bill and Angie Jenkins loved the location but as their home was basically three large sheds put together over an 80 year period, it was badly in need of either extensive repair or complete replacement.
As neither of them could imagine moving from their fabulous river front location, they decided that self building was the most realistic option to allow them to stay there.
Having never undertaken a self build project themselves, they set about researching their options. Their first objective was to secure the necessary funding, so they approached their financial adviser, who, although very experienced, was unable to secure a suitable mortgage. That’s when they got in touch with BuildStore, who very quickly arranged everything for them. They opted for an ’Accelerator ‘ mortgage from BuildStore. This meant that they could get started with their new home with the funds being released at the beginning of each stage of the build rather than at the end, easing cash flow.
Using the internet, they researched the type of house they wanted to build. Then, having decided on the house type, they conducted further research into Kingspan Potton, the timber frame manufacturer, to ensure they were a reputable company and would be acceptable to the lender.
As they didn’t need to look for a plot, once these decisions were made, the couple’s new build could begin. They decided to self manage the project whilst utilising the support of the team at Potton for the construction of the timber frame.
The couple were very hands on throughout, rolling up their sleeves to get involved in many areas of the build including foundations, groundworks, timber frame, plumbing and second stage fix.
They carefully managed their finances throughout the build using spreadsheets, balancing the books with the stage payments from the Building Society. At the end of the project, they paid their final bills using their credit card and paid this with a secured loan. Bill was keen to point out that strict control of the finances was essential to keep everything on track.
This was their first experience of self build and project management and the couple found it quite tricky to coordinate the trades, making sure they were on site at the right time. Fortunately they had an outstanding set of tradespeople who knew one another…..and knew what they were doing.
Both Bill and Angie are delighted with the end result of their hard work. Whilst they were faced with challenges such a bad weather during the initial groundworks phase and at times were frustrated trying to co-ordinate the trades on site, in the end, owning their dream home has been worth it.
The Jenkins’ picked up a lot of tips along the way which are critical to anyone thinking about a self build project. Here are their top tips for a successful build:
- Set realistic financial targets at the outset. Make sure the money is in place and try not to deviate too far from your original plan.
- Schedule the trades carefully.
- Choose the very best materials you can afford – it costs as much to install a cheap product as it does an expensive one and you won’t regret that extra investment when you see the final result!
- Check out your trades people and only employ those with excellent references.
- Don’t pay anything totally upfront. Good trades people won’t expect to be paid until the end or at agreed stages throughout the job
- Get recommendations from trade’s people for other trades required on your job. From past experience, they invariably know who can do the best job at a competitive rate.
- Don’t forget to keep all your VAT receipts…..most of it’s reclaimable.
- Set up a separate bank account for the build to keep your finances clear.
- It’s a very good idea to set up a credit account with a local building supplies company. Get to know your local manager and the team, they can be extremely helpful and save you thousands of pounds.
- Save as much as you can by asking friends and family for help. You’ll be amazed at how much you can do yourself with help from those around you.
- Enjoy the process…..there will be bad days, but these will soon be forgotten as your dream slowly emerges.