For many people, the idea of one day building your own home is the ultimate dream. The thought of creating your perfect property, of designing it from scratch with only your own desires in mind, is wonderfully appealing. You’ve watched shows like Grand Designs, you’ve been inspired by what you’ve seen, and now you want to do it yourself.

But is this ambition really realistic? What it’s hard to fathom when you watch beautiful homes being constructed on a television screen is the time and effort that are truly expended, and the many hardships that would-be self-builders so often run into.

If you’re considering giving it a go yourself, we suggest holding your horses until you’ve answered these three essential questions…

1: Do You Have the Time?

Building your own home is not something you can do in a day. Unlike buying an already erected property, it’s more than a case of simply signing on the dotted line and then moving in. It’s an extensive and involved type of project, and one that will require hundreds if not thousands of hours to complete. Unless you have an awful lot of spare time on your hands, that you’re willing to devote to meetings with architects and planners, ordering materials, and chasing up suppliers, it might be an idea better left for the future.

2: Do You Have the Perfect Spot?

Think about this realistically before you apply for a self-build mortgage: is the spot you’re considering really right for you? Assuming that you’re building purely with your own preferences in mind, the home you construct may have a limited re-sale value, so it needs to be erected somewhere where you are content to stay forever. You might feel happy moving hundreds of miles away from your friends and family today, but will that still be the case in ten years’ time? Equally, will you still be as okay with relocating to the back of beyond once your children reach school age and you have a half hour commute every morning to get them there?

3: Do You Have the Deposit?

This is perhaps the most important question of all. It’s essential that you look before you leap, and this means taking all of the boring practicalities into consideration. Although providers like Saffron Building Society might have some great rates to offer you, they’ll be even better if you spend some time building up a bigger deposit, so could it be worth waiting a while and saving a larger fund to work with?   

Building your own home is a magical yet manic experience, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but also one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, which means that getting your timing right is utterly essential. Are you really ready to take the leap today?