From horse stables to dream home: our self-build story

Mike Dodson and his fiancée Janey Grace are building their dream home with the help of a self-build mortgage from Newbury Building Society. We went to visit them at the site to find out more about their unique project…

The couple found out about the land, located in a picturesque village in Berkshire, on the local equestrian circuit. The land had permission to convert old horse stables into a dwelling and came with plenty of space for their own horses and goats. 

The next step was to find a mortgage lender who would be willing to lend to them to finance their self-build project. Mike explained that the process was proving tricky, until Newbury Building Society stepped in:

Most self-build mortgages seem to be offered via intermediaries, which means I was really removed from the process and the communication was often terrible. I found Newbury online and liked the fact that there was a specific self-build product available to direct customers. Kate Rockall, our Mortgage Adviser, was excellent. I told her what I wanted to do, and we went from there! The flexibility was exactly what I was looking for.

Mike Dodson

Mike and Janey quickly realised the original stables were completely unfit for renovation, meaning they had to reapply for planning permission to build an entirely new structure. After this came decisions about access, heating, water, power, and drainage, with the couple opting for environmentally friendly options, such as embedded solar panels and an air source heat pump.

Although the build has progressed well, Mike and Janey have had to be flexible to work around some unique conundrums, including an ancient tree from the 1800s, and the land adjacent to their plot, which is a conservation area. With a Civil Engineering degree and a background in sales, Mike was keen to be involved in the build from the start, tackling the role of Project Manager, which is often undertaken by a building firm, with gusto.

I have been managing this project myself, which may not be the best option for all self-builders. However, I do feel that being involved at that level has been useful. In any project there are constant decisions that need to be made and the more you can understand the detail, the better outcomes can be achieved. I have worked with some great professionals and having a relationship with them benefits both sides. Never be afraid to ask questions, but also take advantage of the power of Google to do your research in advance!

Mike Dodson

After a long wait, Mike and Janey are hoping to finish the build soon and have extremely exciting plans to host their wedding there in 2023.

“It's great building a new house, but when one moves in, it then becomes a home. It is like having a shiny new present that you can't open for 12 months or more! Janey and I have a lot of furniture and personal belongings in storage, so seeing them again and fitting them into the new home will be fun. We have also not been living on the site, so I certainly won't miss the many journeys checking on deliveries and the progress!”

We hope Mike and Janey (and their horses and goats, of course!) will be incredibly happy in their new home. If you would like to find out more about our self-build mortgages, pop into your local branch, book an appointment online, or give us a call on 01635 555 700. 

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