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Stuck With a Part Built Home: A Case Study

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 16 Jun 2013 | comments*Discuss
Self Build House Home Site Plot Drains

Buying a part finished self-built house seemed the ideal way for Dave Ericson to purchase his family a new home but little did he know that the problems he would encounter would almost bankrupt him.

A Bargain

“We’d been looking for a house for some time and decided to visit an auction to see if we could pick up a bargain. During the auction we spotted a listing for a plot of land with a half built house on it. For some reason we let our hearts rule our heads and made a bid and won. To this day I don’t know why we made that bid. We watch all the property programmes on television and know very well that we should have a survey or at least visit the property before bidding.

Site Visit

The very next day we handed over the money we’d saved hard for and visited the site. It was in a part of town that we had never visited and the site was completely neglected. There was a shell of a house but it looked as though it had been used by tramps and local kids for several years going by the corner shop owner we spoke to. There was rubbish everywhere and an overwhelming stench from the drains. We decided to hire an architect to look into the site and draw up plans for a new planning application. We thought we could just finish the build and then move in.


The estimate from the architect was astronomical and when he told us we had to make repairs to the drain system as the damage was on our property we nearly fainted at the amount. There was no question about it we needed to borrow some money to finish the build. The house we lived in only had a short time left on the lease and we needed to move in six weeks or we were on the streets. My bank where I’d kept our saving for over ten years refused us point blank as did every other bank in the high street and on line. My salary wasn’t great but a small arrears problem a few years ago caused the problem. In desperation I went to a moneylender who charged high interest rates. We thought that once we moved into the house we could clear the debt with the rent money we were saving. I was due a pay rise as well so all was good.


Sadly, the week we moved in I was made redundant with only one month’s notice. I quickly found another job but the pay was much less and we spiralled into debt with the moneylender. He started to visit our home and threatened us with eviction to get his money back. At this point I begged Citizens Advice for help and they arranged a payment plan and intervened with the moneylender. They also helped us secure a better loan on our house so we could pay off the other lender. It took five ears to get back on the straight and narrow but we did it, taking on part time jobs of all descriptions.

Looking back it wasn’t the best way to find our new home but would we do it again. The answer is a resounding no!”

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