Together with Cooke Fawcett, we have separated the journey into five simple steps which demystify the process and identify how challenges can be addressed along the way. In this article, Francis Fawcett share some of their key insights into this process.
People have often come to us with this question over recent years, especially young families looking for a more sustainable and better-designed contemporary house with a larger garden than those typically on the market – a home specifically designed for them.
You often see bespoke homes in the countryside and there are always plenty of interesting plots for sale, whether via agents or on auction websites. However, the perceived challenges and complexity of buying land and achieving permission to build a house can be off-putting and many people often default to buying an existing house or cottage, even if they know they have compromised on what they wanted.
Spaces for contemporary living are quite different to the sometimes cramped, low-ceilinged farmhouses – which are currently in high demand as there is no alternative. Clients tell us they would prefer more spacious open-plan living spaces which access straight onto external patios and gardens, and which are properly insulated with low-carbon cost effective strategies for heating and cooling.
As lifestyles change, rooms for home working and learning, and exercise, as well as spaces for play and creativity are increasingly in demand, and hard to accommodate in existing buildings. Creating a new house offers a fantastic opportunity to design and configure spaces which are specifically tailored to a homeowner's priorities.
There are several starting points for finding a site for a new house – from an undeveloped field, or one with an agricultural barn, to a plot with an undersized bungalow – or you may plan a substantial addition to an existing property. Understanding the planning context is key, and once you have secured planning consent the value of the land increases dramatically even without building it out. Land is often sold with consent, so even before construction starts the initial investment in the land often multiplies substantially in value, providing either a means to raise finance, or a jumping-off point if family plans change. And as today's underserved market of quality-seeking clients demonstrates, the demand for better and more sustainable houses in the country will only increase.
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