Things to Prioritize When Building Your First House


More and more people are building their own houses. Oftentimes, building a house is cheaper than buying one, and it offers you more freedom to build a home that directly suits the needs of your family rather than having to undertake extensive building work to make a pre-made space work for you.

Living room with white sofa and coffee table, with firework beside
Used with permission of Alice Lane

Despite this, for all its benefits, building a house is, without a doubt, one of the most stressful things you can do. If you’ve ever watched a DIY show on television, you’ll know that the path rarely runs smoothly. Something is almost guaranteed to go wrong, whether it’s an unforeseen issue with the land the house is going to be built on, or if it’s a surprise pandemic that brings everything to a grinding halt.

We all hope that nothing will go wrong, but in case it does, you need to have a clear plan of what is going to be prioritized should the worst happen. For those new to building a house, it can be tricky to know what to prioritize. We’ve put together a list of the things that should be at the top of your list.

The basic shell

Firework with a chair beside it in a living room
Used with permission of Alice Lane

Depending on where you are in the build, you might be faced with problems in the beginning. In this case, focus on getting the basic shell completed. This means getting the exterior walls up and finishing the roof. You can always cover the windows and doors with metal placeholders, and the interior can be finished at a better time in the future.

Once you have the basic shell, most of the heavy construction work is done and you have good bones to work with. You will have a blank canvas to work with, making this a reasonable – if obvious – first priority. It is worth noting that vacant properties (or rather shells) can sometimes be susceptible to squatters or vandals. When you have an empty shell, it’s important that you don’t skimp of the security on the construction site. The last thing you want is for your hard work to be in vain.

Wiring and plumbing

The second thing you need to prioritize (when you have all the construction work completed (and the windows and doors fitted) is wiring and plumbing. Whilst it’s not the most glamorous job, it’s an integral one. If you don’t have running water or electricity, your house won’t be livable, so it makes sense to push this task to the top of your list.

Focus on the kitchen and the bathroom

Kitchen with white cabinet, oven, sink and fridge
Used with permission of Alice Lane

Once you have electricity and plumbing, you can begin to focus on getting basic necessities installed i.e. a kitchen and bathroom. As long as you have a flushing toilet, a working shower, electricity throughout and gas for heating purposes, you have a livable house. Even if your walls aren’t painted and you’re using cardboard boxes as a coffee table, provided you have the basics to keep warm, cook food and stay clean, you have a functioning house.

Quality of the work

You might have a temptation to rush the build of your house but don’t. Always prioritize quality over quantity, making sure the work that is completed is done so to the highest standard. If you don’t, corners will get cut, and when this happens, you’ll end up having to revisit an issue multiple times in the future. Not only is this time consuming, but it’s expensive, too. For this reason, don’t be tempted to rush.


If you’ve recently built your own house, we’d love to hear what advice you have to share! Thanks to all the companies linked above.


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