MyPlot, headquartered in Manchester, is the UK’s first online self-build platform, created to help self-build novices to make their dream home a reality.
MyPlot aims to boost the number of self-build completions by stripping the process of the complexities that deter would-be self-builders.
Self-build currently comprises just 7-10% of new housing in the UK – around 12,000 homes each year. In stark contrast, as much of 80% of new homes are self-built in Austria, Belgium, Italy and Sweden.
It would be easy to assume that the UK’s dismal record on self-build is a result of lack of interest, but, in reality, demand is high – in the first seven months of the Right-to-Build register opening, 18,000 people registered themselves for the scheme. The number had jumped to 33,000 by December 2017.
Despite high interest – self-build is up there on the “bucket list” for lots of people – it has failed to become a mainstream housing solution in the UK. As it stands, the self-build process appears too complex for the average house-hunter; too big a challenge to be tackled for those with a full-time job and family obligations, and those without any building and construction nous.
Many of those who start out determined to make their self-build dream a reality fall at the first hurdle when it comes to finding a plot – and even after finding the perfect location, then come more challenges to navigate the complex planning system, source reliable, trusted contractors and secure financing for the project. For those without a property background, the obstacles between settling on a location and opening their door for the very first time can feel insurmountable – and so they return to Rightmove and purchase a home that suits their needs, but leaves their self-build ambition unfulfilled.
MyPlot has been created to remove the complexity from the self-build process. After finding the perfect plot, self-builders can use the directory on the platform to interview and appoint the entire team to take their home from concept through to reality. The experts listed – planning consultants, architects, building contractors and mortgage advisors; all experienced in delivering self-build projects – are carefully selected, giving novice self-builders the confidence that their new home is in the right hands.
Founder and Director of MyPlot, Paul Smith, is well-respected within the UK housing industry and a regular media commentator on housing industry issues.
He said: “In Europe, it’s much more straightforward to source a plot of land, and the planning system is significantly less onerous. There’s also more support for those embarking on the process for the first time, which we just don’t have here in the UK.
“With MyPlot, we’ve looked at the issues and offered a solution – those who have either completed a self-build project, or even done some initial research into it and what it involves, will know that finding the perfect plot isn’t as difficult as you’d think – that’s just the beginning. MyPlot aims to remove the complexity from the process by bringing all the elements needed to deliver a self-build home in one single location – from finding the experts, to the resources and guidance to help along the way.
“We’re aware that there’s also a job to do in terms of normalising self-build”, he explained. “While Grand Designs – always the first thing that comes to mind when you mention self-build – has been helpful in the sense that it has piqued interest, and made self-build desirable, it has also deterred people. Because they’ve seen the projects shown on TV – always aspirational and almost always over budget and behind schedule -the mind naturally wonders to huge country pads or sustainable eco-homes, which isn’t the reality of self-build. It’s completely attainable and often costs far less than it would to purchase an equivalent home from a house builder.
“The assumption that self-build is something only the wealthy do has to be challenged – we hope that MyPlot helps to encourage people to at least be open to the idea, rather than dismiss it out-of-hand.”
He continued: “The government has been very supportive of self-build, particularly in recent years, introducing policies to oil the wheels and make it more attractive financially, but it’s often the practical considerations that put people off, such as financing the project and living arrangements during the build. But with the housing crisis continuing to deepen, a new solution has never been more necessary.”