Build your own house: costs and instructions

Build your own house: costs and instructions

Those who want to build a house themselves hope above all for a lower financial burden. What it costs to build a house yourself and how you best proceed when building a house on your own, you can read here at Dr. Small.

Consultant Dr. Klein

What is meant by "build a house yourself"??

Those who aim to build a house on their own have one wish above all: to own an individual home, built entirely according to their own ideas. But: Building a house yourself does not mean doing everything yourself. Rather it is called to organize the building of houses and if necessary to furnish some work as own contribution. Because to build a house completely by yourself is not allowed in Germany. Thus, already for the permission to build a house, you need the participation of an architect or civil engineer. The reason: In order to obtain a building permit, so-called approval plans such as construction drawings and calculations are required. These may be made however only by persons, who have a building presentation authorization. As a rule, these are architects or civil engineers.

Thus you need already from the planning phase specialists, with whom you co-operate closely. And even after that you are still dependent on support, even if you want to lend a hand yourself. Because if you do not have sound specialist knowledge, you should rather have the shell construction as well as the plumbing and electrical installations carried out by professionals in order to avoid building defects in the long term.

Building a house yourself: For whom is it possible?

You should only consider building a house on your own if you have the necessary organizational skills and a high level of self-motivation. After all, you have to select and manage the appropriate trades yourself. In addition, as in the case of a house with a general contractor or developer, sufficient capital must be available. That means: The construction financing and also the construction costs should be clarified already before the beginning of the construction planning. Here it helps to prepare a financing plan.

By the way, you can save costs if you build as much of your house yourself as possible. These so-called own contributions are partially credited as equity capital when financing the construction, and you also reduce your loan amount as a result. A building plot should be available at the latest when you start active planning. If you want to design your floor plan yourself, it helps to have a spatial imagination, since in most cases you cannot orientate yourself on a model house.

You should also allow plenty of time. Because the amount of time you have to bring with you should not be underestimated. If you want to build a house yourself, you have to expect many hundreds of hours of work for the personal contribution and the coordination of the trades. Building a house yourself often takes twice as long as, for example, building with a developer. The length of the building time depends thereby strongly on whether you plan own contributions or outsource all work. If you only organize the construction of the house yourself, the construction time for building a solid house is around six to eight months. If you want to do it yourself, the construction of the house can take several years.

The requirements for building a house on your own once again summarized:

  • Organizational ability
  • Crisis-proof financing plan
  • Existing property
  • Craftsmanship, if own contributions are planned
  • A lot of time
  • Resilience and stress resistance

What you can do on your own when building your own house

Right up front: You cannot do everything on your own, you need help from professionals for some points. Above all, it is important to have a construction supervisor who acts as a contact person for the authorities and obtains building permits. This can be, for example, an architect or civil engineer – but it is important that he has a building submission authorization. In addition, the construction supervisor takes over the quality control during the construction of the house and thus ensures that your house is built without defects. For this you need a construction company. Because the construction of the shell – at least if it is to be solid – also belongs in expert hands.

Nevertheless, there are some works that you can perform yourself. This includes, for example, the construction plan, which can be created with the help of a computer program. But: An architect should approve it, so that everything is statically perfect. You can also coordinate the trades yourself. Depending on the stage of construction you will need different companies. For example, bricklayers and concrete workers, scaffolders, roofers and carpenters are needed for the building shell.

Discuss with the tradesmen in advance of signing the contract which work you want to do yourself. This reduces the work hours of the craftsmen and you have to pay less.

Which craftsmanship you can do yourself depends on your abilities and skills. Simple work such as painting, wallpapering or laying floor coverings can almost always be done by house builders themselves. If you are a professional, you can also insulate the roof, install doors, plaster the house or carry out electrical and plumbing work. However, you should really only tackle this work if you know about it, because the defects that occur here can be really expensive afterwards or even life-threatening in some cases.

The advantages of building a house by yourself

If you build yourself, you can save a lot of money: This is certainly the biggest advantage of building a house on your own. On the one hand with the construction financing, because own contributions are considered for the bank as own capital funds. So you not only have lower construction costs due to the work done yourself, but also take out a smaller loan amount. This increases both your probability of getting the construction loan and your chance of getting favorable construction loan interest rates.

On the other hand, you save on the coordination of the trades. The construction companies usually take care of this and charge up to an additional twenty percent of the construction sum for it. Coordinate the trades yourself, save these costs. In addition, you can determine the degree of self-building yourself and agree this individually with the tradesmen. For example, in the case of interior work: If you would like to install the interior doors yourself, but prefer to leave the installation of the stairs to the carpenter, you can specify this in the contract. Through these self-performances you can easily save construction costs.

The advantages at a glance:

  • Lower loan amount
  • Higher chance of obtaining a construction loan with favorable interest rates
  • Lower construction costs
  • No additional costs for the coordination of the trades
  • Own contributions can be agreed individually

The disadvantages of building a house yourself

For you as a builder, building a house on your own means a lot of effort – both in planning the house and in organizing and supervising the trades, as well as in participating in the construction process. But even beyond the time involved, there are risks to consider. These include:

  • No warranty: Defects due to own work must be repaired at your own expense.
  • OverconfidenceEspecially if you are not a professional craftsman, you can quickly overestimate your skills in this area. This can lead to mistakes that can cost not only time but also a lot of money.
  • No discounts for materialsTrade companies often get materials more cheaply than private individuals.
  • No knowledge about materials: Incorrect materials often result in construction defects, which in turn require expensive remedial work.
  • Longer construction timeThe coordination of the different trades as well as the own contributions require a high expenditure of time.
  • Deadlines can not be metIf other trades are affected by your own work and you cannot meet the completion date, compensation may be claimed against you.
  • Additional expenses for toolsFor certain work, the use of special tools is sometimes necessary, which you then have to rent or buy.
  • No price guaranteeRectifications and expensive materials can quickly tear a hole in the budget.

Build your own house step by step

The purchase of land was successful and you have decided to build the house yourself? Then it can start now. But how to build a house? We have put together a step-by-step guide for you to follow if you want to build your house yourself:

Clarify which financing framework is actually available to you, help is available from our budget calculator. Then clarify your financing: get advice on this from a specialist in construction financing and obtain various quotations. You are welcome to use our construction interest calculator to get a first impression of the costs of your financing.

This shows the individual construction stages and when which trades need to be active. In this way, you can also obtain cost estimates from the tradesmen and compare them with your budget.

Get an architect or civil engineer with authorization to submit building documents on board. This prepares the documents necessary for the building permit and submits them to the building authorities.

In order for a house to be built at all, a building application must be submitted to the relevant building authority. You need to submit various documents for the construction of the house, such as construction drawings, the heat insulation certificate, the official site plan and statistical calculations.

Many handicraft companies are pleased about full order books, the more importantly it is to worry in time about the organization of the handicraft companies. Obtain various offers and discuss with the trades possible own work.

With the issuance of the building permit you will receive a form for the construction start notification. The official start of construction, proof of fire protection, the construction manager and the company that will build the shell must be noted in the application. Submit the construction start notification to the building authority at least one week before the official start of construction work.

Additional applications often have to be made for building your own house. This includes, for example, the blocking of public traffic space if a public road has to be closed for the delivery of materials or containers. It may also be necessary to have the groundwater lowered in order to excavate the building pit. For this you must submit an application for groundwater lowering. For building electricity and building water, an application must be submitted to the responsible utility company.

A safety and health coordinator (SiGeKo) must be appointed for the safety of the workers employed on the construction site in accordance with the construction site ordinance. Only architects or engineers with at least two years of professional experience are allowed to obtain this special qualification.

To exclude risks on the construction site, you should insure yourself against personal and weather-related damage. Among the important policies are the builder’s liability insurance, the construction performance insurance as well as the raw fire insurance. If friends help out, you also need construction worker insurance.

For a proper construction site, construction fences must be erected, access roads must be set up, and sanitary facilities must be installed. A first aid kit and a fire extinguisher are also required by law.

Organize the individual trades in terms of scheduling so that the construction phases can be optimally interlocked. It’s best to record in the construction schedule which trades will be involved and when. Take into account the weather and the seasons, and also take into account possible shortages of materials and periods of illness and vacation.

Let’s start with the earthworks, then the floor slab and, if desired, a basement will be built. On it the carcass with the roof construction is established.

If you have decided to build your house yourself, you as the builder are responsible for checking and accepting the services and construction stages provided. For the carcass is additionally an official acceptance necessary. At the latest one week before completion of the shell construction work, the form for the shell construction acceptance should be submitted to the building authority. The authority will compare on site the created shell with the construction plans. If it finds deviations, you have to have them corrected at cost.

Depending on which personal services you have agreed with the trades, you can now carry out the work for the interior yourself or have it carried out by the relevant trades.

At the final inspection, the building inspectorate checks whether your new home conforms to the building application. In addition, you need to provide various certificates, for example. the final inspection of the chimney sweep or the compliance with the sound and heat insulation guidelines.

What it costs to build a house yourself

Before one plunges into the adventure house building and the project house building in self-direction tackles, it is important to know: What does a house cost? And what are the costs if I do some of the work myself?? Basically, the more you do yourself, the more money you can save.

The cost of building a house can be broken down into three components:

  1. The land costs
  2. The house construction costs, these make up the main part of the costs
  3. The ancillary construction costs, which amount to around 15 percent of the acquisition costs

Example: Your plot costs 100.000 Euro, the house construction 200.000 Euro. For the ancillary construction costs, you should therefore calculate around 45.000 euros. These additional costs include, among other things, the fees for applications to the building authority and the land registry costs.

Saving can be effectively only with the house building costs, here you can reduce your costs by own achievements. Depending on which tradesmen’s work you want to do yourself, there are different potential savings to be made.

The greatest savings potential is offered by work where the labor portion is higher than the material portion. This includes painting and wallpapering, the drywall or carcass work.

You can save these costs when building your own house

We have listed how much you can save by doing it yourself – sorted by the savings potential of the individual trades:

Savings potential approx.
Painting and wallpapering 70 %
Plastering the facade 70 %
Shell construction 60 %
Drywall 60 %
Laying tiles 50 %
Laying laminate 35 %
Windows and doors 20 %

In addition, there are the cost savings if you organize the construction of the house yourself: If the house construction with a developer costs, for example, 250.000 euros, you can deduct about 20 percent for the organizational work: The house construction would then cost you around 50.000 euros less, i.e. only 200.000 euros.

Build your own house or a prefabricated house?

Many prospective home builders ask themselves the question of whether they should build a house themselves and prefer to use a prefabricated house. The answer is: you can combine. Many prefabricated house suppliers have so-called extension or co-building houses on offer. In this case, the manufacturer delivers the house and has it erected, but the interior work can be done completely or partially by the builder.

Even more freedom is offered by kit houses, where you are also allowed to take on work on the shell of the house. Here, the manufacturer supplies only the material and you build the house on your own. Depending on the size, houses are already available for approx. 75.000 euros to have, kit houses cost from around 40.000 Euro. If you decide on a finishing or kit house and build the house yourself, you can thus reduce the cost of your house construction by several tens of thousands of euros.

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