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Dreaming of a self-built home?

Building your own home might take a little sweat, but it will certainly bring you earthmoving moments of happiness. The finished home can be considered to be an investment that has your personal touch.

If you are unable to find the house of your dreams, you can build it yourself.

Building a house does not necessarily require skill in carpentry. In various house kit solutions, for example, the frame structures, insulation and cladding materials are purchased all at once with installation included. You can also commission the construction work on the lot fully or as subcontracts from different contractors.

First, you should draw up a rough overall estimate of the available budget and schedule. In addition to construction, also reserve time for designing and taking care of permit issues. Also leave some headroom for surprises; only seldom are there construction projects where there are none.

Get your financing in order

Do not hesitate to ask for financing from the bank right away when you begin planning. The collateral for a loan for building a detached house is usually the property being built, or the lease to the lot and the detached house located on the lot.

Although the collateral value of the property being built increases as the construction work progresses, you will usually also need other collateral, such as your current owner-occupied home, investment assets or other assets. You can apply for a bank's loan guarantee or a State guarantee as additional collateral.

You can assess your solvency and need for a loan with a loan calculator, for example.

It starts with a lot

First of all, you need a lot. Go through the lot's plan provisions carefully; they may contain conditions for both the size and appearance of the buildings. Also find out any encumbrances, mortgages and registrations of title concerning the lot and, particularly in sparsely populated areas, issues related to transport connections and municipal engineering.

It is also important to survey the soil on the lot. For example, if the base rock reaches up to the subgrade, laying down the foundations will be expensive. Piling will incur additional costs when building on poor load-bearing soil. If there are trees on the lot, you need to assess whether there is need to remove them so that their roots will not penetrate the underground and stormwater drains, or damage the foundations.

Keep the costs in check

One of the biggest challenges in building a house is to keep the project in budget and in schedule.

The price of the building project is affected by, among other things, the foundation costs, the size and shape of the house, building technology, and frame material. You can ask for assistance from a foundation designer when estimating the foundation costs.

Various calculators are available for preparing a more detailed cost estimate. You can also ask for assistance in preparing the cost estimate from the structural or main designer.

Once the project has started, you should keep careful track of the costs in order to avoid unpleasant surprises at the final stages of construction.

Do not buy a mystery package

If you end up choosing a house kit, take careful stock of everything it includes, and can the drawings be modified if, for example, the town planning requires it. A house kit can be a bare-bones delivery of elements or materials, a complete frame, complete frame and roof, or a so-called turnkey package, ready to be moved in. Depending on the contents of the kit, the number of details left to the customer varies considerably.

Plans are the cornerstone of everything

Before you can start building, you need a building permit. The application is submitted in writing, with the building's drawings and other documents attached. You can get more detailed instructions from the building supervision authority of your municipality.

Regardless of the construction method, you need a general foreman approved by the main designer and the building authority, and when you are building the house yourself, you need professionals to draw up the various work drawings such as electrical, HVAC, structural and foundation plans.

Get the insurance in order

You must get the insurances in order before the construction work begins.

For a house kit, a turn-key house delivery, or a DIY solution, you should immediately take a home insurance policy that includes general liability and legal expenses insurance. If you hire a construction firm to build your home, make sure they have liability insurance coverage.

It is the builder's responsibility to insure any outside hired labour working on the construction site, such as carpenters, plumbers, painters and electricians, with statutory workers compensation and pension insurances.

In order to safeguard voluntary workers, we recommend taking a separate insurance for voluntary workers, and also check the insurance cover of your own family members doing work on the site.