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Ten Ways to Save Money During a Self Build

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 5 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Self Build Mortgage Trade Prices Bricks

The more money that can be saved during a self build will mean a bigger profit on the price of the house at the end of the build if you should wish to sell. Furthermore any loan or mortgage taken out will be lower if you watch the pennies and pounds with care. Quality should not be overlooked or safety measures ignored. Here are ten ways to save money during a self build project.

1. Buy at Trade Prices

Register at trade desks of builder's merchants. Many of these companies will give a trade price to self builders as you have a large amount of money to spend. Open an account so you can pay at the end of each month. Quite often there are further discounts to be had for prompt payment.

2. Learn a Skill

In the time leading up to building your dream house learn how to lay bricks, carpentry, electrical or roofing skills. You may not become a master craftsman in a short time but you will learn enough to be able to take on some of the work yourself and save money. Do not be tempted to pay exorbitant prices to join a training course as it will defeat the object of saving money on your building project. Instead check out part time local authority Adult Education classes in your area.

3. Shop Around and Haggle

If you spot a bathroom suite or kitchen appliances don’t ever pay the going rate. Ask for a trade discount or haggle for a cash discount. Use the internet to see if the item is on sale cheaper elsewhere. A good place to look is internet auction sites or DIY centres where they are selling ex display items at greatly reduced prices.

4. Share a Skill

Do you have a friend or colleague that has a skill you could use for your project? Why not offer to work on his site or project in return for help with yours?

5. Family and Friends

Do not dismiss friends and family if they are not skilled builders. Anyone can learn to mix cement, move bricks, dig holes or make tea on site. The backing of one’s family and friends should never be under-estimated as everyone needs a pat on the back at some time during a stressful self build project.

6. Hired Tools

When tools, machinery and scaffolding are hired try to return them as soon as possible otherwise extra costs are incurred when they may be on site and not used.

7. Watch Every Penny

Keep an eye on all outgoings during the build. Use a spreadsheet to compare original costs against the true outgoings and see where you can save money or tighten your belt so that you don’t over spend. Keep aside an evening to enter details of invoices and expenditure so that it doesn’t become a large job that takes you away from the building site.

8. Research Borrowing

Before committing to a long term loan or mortgage show around. Read specialist self build publications and check the reader’s forums for news on any borrowing offers that are available. The self build community will have researched what you need to know and can offer help and advice.

9. Live on Site

Rather than borrow to build consider selling your home and living onsite during the length of the build. A caravan can be bought or hired and furniture put into storage. Being onsite 24 hours a day can speed up the build immensely.

10. VAT

At present self builders can make a one off claim to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs for a refund on all VAT paid for materials and goods during the build. There are some restrictions which can be explained within the booklet that accompanies the form that needs to be completed and returned with the original invoices supplied during the build. Basically all building materials plus bathroom and kitchen items can be claimed for as long as they are fitted and not free standing. VAT can also be claimed from building companies that supplied labour and services during the build. If a labourer is not VAT registered then you cannot make a claim as he should not have charges this tax to begin with. It is important to ask for official invoices and receipts that show the suppliers VAT registration number.

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