build a home

Problems and SolutionsIf you are lucky enough to be in a long term relationship and have decided to either renovate, or self-build to create your perfect home, then you have an amazing and exciting journey ahead of you. However, as there are two of you then at some point you’ll realise that your shared dream varies slightly and you may have lively discussions over some of the details of your project. Negotiating a settlement that pleases both of you is difficult but essential. Here are a few things to consider:

Limited budget
Almost every decision you make on your project will have to conform to your budget. If you blow your budget then the happy ever after in your new home won’t be so happy at all, as you will be busy trying to pay off your debts.

Before you even start your project ensure that you have sat down and worked through the budget together. You both need a very clear understanding of how much money you can allocate to each part of the project and how much all the essentials will cost.

This will give you both a framework in which to work and set your limits. If one of you wants something that will blow the budget, it’s best to have the conversation early on. There’s often a compromise where you will get the benefits that you want at a cost that you can manage. For instance, maybe a conservatory or garage conversion instead of an extension will be more cost effective, or a loft conversion instead of a double storey extension. All of these are options that can be considered and costed in advance to determine what works for you and your budget.

Roles within the household
Although you should both be happy with all the details of the project, remember to give priority to whoever will be spending most time using the finished result. If one person does the lion’s share of cooking then their opinion will count more when it comes to deciding the kitchen layout and what work surfaces you choose. However, practicalities and budget still need to be considered, and if one of you has big ideas, unless your budget is big enough, one of you will need to be the voice of reason.

If you are including a study, or gym that will be mainly used by one person, then that person can add very personal touches to the room in order to make it their own.

For families that are considering including a play room then even get the kids to help out when it comes to picking a colour scheme and decorating. It will help them to cope with some of the upheaval and involve them in the process.

Keep your decisions practical
When you’re debating how to complete a part of the project always go for the most practical decision, rather than the one that looks the best. Aesthetics are very important, but you are creating YOUR home, not a “show” home.

A wonderful, large and airy bedroom that doesn’t include storage won’t look as good after a couple of weeks of wondering where to put all your clothes. A beautiful floor that isn’t suitable for the area of the home will soon spoil and you will be left wanting to replace it.

You can improve the aesthetics of a room with some superficial finishes, but any debates between looks and purpose should always end with the most practical choice.

Remember why you started
If you really do end up at loggerheads with your partner about details of the project, remember why you started in the first place. It wasn’t to have big arguments, but to create a home for you to enjoy your life together. When things get tense take a break from it all for a day before going back to negotiating.

You can always change your mind
Once you have completed your project it doesn’t have to stay the way it is for eternity. You can try things out for a couple of years and then change it. That’s why you should spend the most time deciding on the framework of your house and not worry too much about the finer details. Loft conversions, garage conversions and extensions are long term decisions, the merits of wallpaper over paint aren’t.

Decide what it is that you, your partner and your family most need and complete your project. Then, once you have tried it out for size you can slowly add the things that you have decided you want as and when time and money allow.


Building extensions


House extension in Green End, RenholdIn the present climate of once again rising house prices, a building extension may well prove a financial and practical proposition. With this in mind many home owners find that after taking appropriate advice from a financial adviser, they can capitalise on the increased value of their property to fund an extension, which both extends its capacity as a family dwelling and could perform a valuable role as a financial investment, maybe as part of a retirement plan.

Once a home owner has decided this may be a viable prospect then a builder such as K.J. Hill in Bedford can help with feasibility studies and hand holding as project managers from concept through design to construction and decoration/ finishing.

We worked on a job recently where a 3 bedroom detached house with 1 bathroom was being extended to include 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. In effect this would double its footprint and turn it into a property that suited the current situation of the owners without the need to move.

House extension in Green End, RenholdThe outside of the house changed quite dramatically. The existing flat roof extension was re-worked into a pitched roof which not only looks more in keeping with the original house, but is far more durable. We managed to locally source a batch of reclaimed tiles which meant that the new roof section didn’t look new but blended beautifully with the original structure. The outside was completed by rendering the front and partially rendering the back. Even I was surprised at what a difference the rendering made to the look of the house!

House extension in Green End, RenholdInternally there was a lot of remodelling and consequent steelwork as we completely opened up the rear of the house and blended it with the new extension to create a lovely space where we fitted a beautiful kitchen diner. New bathrooms were also needed, which we were happy to fit, along with new windows and internal and external doors throughout. We completed the job with the necessary plastering and decorating to turn this extensively remodelled house into a beautiful home.

Whether you’re designing a new-build, planning a house extension or having a loft or garage conversion it’s essential that you take advice on what is possible. Give us a call today to discuss your requirements 01234 765050


A self-build timelineA self-build is a daunting task. There’s a lot of risk, a lot of work and a lot of different stages to go through before you can move into your dream home. To help you focus on your goal and to keep track of everything that you need to do we’ve put together a timeline of all the different stages that you need to complete in order to build your own home.
Arrange a mortgage in principle
The first stage is to find out how much money you will have available to you. Contact different self-build mortgage providers to find out how much money they will lend you in order to complete your build.
Plan budget
Once you know how much mortgage you are entitled to you can assess your other financial assets and set a figure for your budget. Make sure your budget  is realistic and achievable. The main reason for a self-build failing is a poorly planned budget.
Locate potential plots
Now you know what you can afford you can start finding plots. This stage could take a long time before you find your perfect location to build. There’s a huge variety of plots available, some come with planning permission already, some may have a derelict property that will need knocking down before you can start and some may just be plots of land with building potential. Either Plotfinder, PlotBrowser or Plot Search  are good places to start if you’re looking for land to develop.
Assess plots for development
There are a number of things that you need to consider. Assuming the land is in the right location for you, then how you access the plot, available services and likely planning restrictions all need to be considered before you start investing significant amounts of money.
Have the site valued by your mortgage provider so they agree that the price is fair and you will get the maximum mortgage for it.
Site survey
Carry out a thorough survey of the site before you purchase so you know about any factors that could cause delays or difficulties further down the line.

Purchase site
Once you have completed all of the above and both you and your mortgage lender are happy it is time to fully commit and purchase your site. Congratulations!
The average self-build takes around 2 years from start to finish, with only 6-9 months of this being on-site construction. It’s not for the faint hearted, but it can be incredibly rewarding. To find out what happens next, look out for the next article in our “Self-build Timeline” series of blogs.