A custom build home is where a developer builds the exterior, and the occupier does the inside.

Why buy a custom build home?

  • Control

    • Choose exactly what you want, rather than putting up with what’s already been built – this could be layout, spec, or fixtures and fittings

    • Get a home that fits your lifestyle. Maybe you need a home office, or maybe you have physical needs that are not being met. A custom build home could be the answer

  • Make your budget go further

    • Pay less stamp duty – see FAQs

    • Reclaim VAT on all building work and fittings as a custom builder

    • Save money by sourcing materials yourself, or save on features that aren’t important to you

So how do custom build homes work?

The custom build process is best thought of as being points on a continuum – with doing a complete self build at one end, and buying a finished home at the other.



Self build gives you complete control – you are in charge of the build from beginning to end

A shell has a roof, windows, and a front door. Plumbing and electricity are left at a service point for you to route to where you want them to go

This is a shell on top of which the walls and plastering have all been finished, as well as plumbing and electricity (including sockets)

A home that has been built up to the point where building regulations can be signed off, ie. when banks will provide a mortgage

The traditional finished new build home that you would buy from a property developer



+ How does financing work for custom build homes?

Because it’s not a finished home, custom homes do require different finance options. Typically, you’ll need to have a higher deposit than normal. There are plenty of mortgage options, but not as many as for a traditional home.

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+ How much does a fit out cost?

This depends on the spec that you want, but if the developer hasn’t priced this for you, we suggest that you budget £100-150 per square foot for a fit out. If you decide to take on the work yourself, source items cleverly, or choose more basic materials such as carpet rather than hard wood floor, these costs can go down.

+ What would I need to fit out for a shell?

Generally it would be:

  1. First fix (plumbing and electrics that are ‘hidden’ – i.e. wires and pipes inc. hot water)
  2. Finishes – floors, plastering, internal walls etc.
  3. Second fix – plug sockets, lights, wc’s etc
  4. Decoration – tiles/paint etc.

+ How is stamp duty calculated?

It will be calculated on the shell cost only, which is why you can get substantial savings. The less house you buy, the less tax you pay!

+ How long will it take to build a custom home?

This is one of those annoying answers where we basically say: it depends!

But just to give you an idea, at the Blenheim Grove development, Unboxed Homes broke ground in June 2018, and expect the shells to be complete in the middle of 2019

As for the fit out, for a basic fit out we expect it to take 1-3 months. But of course, this depends on whether or not there are delays, or complicated elements to your fit out design

Have more questions? Just get in touch and we’ll have happy to chat you through. If building your own home isn’t for you, see our current properties for sale.


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