If you are like most people, and you are looking for a new home, you probably already have an idea of what your dream home would look like. However, finding your dream home may prove very difficult when push comes to shove, and even if you do, it may well be out of your price range.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to settle for second best. If you can’t find the home you want in the place that you want, why not design your own home? It’s actually not as crazy as it might seem.

But before you rush off to the drawing board you need to spend a little time thinking about just what constitutes the perfect home. You probably already have some ideas in mind, so go ahead and envision what your ideal home looks like if money is not an issue. Think about some of the homes that you have seen and consider what is it about them that appeals to you. Is it a large front garden, timber faced walls, a double garage, large windows? Make a few notes.

A good idea is to look through some architectural magazines. This will give you an idea of what is in fashion but remember that you don’t have to go with the flow if that is not what you want. Perhaps you want something that is more like a cottage in the country than a sleek modern home with very clean lines.

Another good idea is to get in the car and drive around your local area or in the type of area that you would like to live in and see which houses appeal to you and which don’t. Make some notes on what you do like and also anything that is not your cup of tea. Keep an eye out for homes that have a “For Sale” sign outside them. You can make an appointment and see what they look like inside. You might even find your perfect home that way. You should also take a lot of photographs of homes that appeal so that you can study them at your leisure later on.

The next thing to do is to work out your budget, and what you can afford. If you cannot afford a home the size of Windsor Castle, there is no point in trying to design a home that size. You need to be realistic, and then you can plan your vision of the perfect home in the knowledge that you can actually afford to buy it. However, note that building your own home is usually considerably cheaper than buying one from a developer. Furthermore, according to Which? if you budget correctly your finished home could be worth about 20% more than the cost of the land and building. If you can undertake some of the building work yourself, you will save even more money, or – looked at another way – you can afford a more expensive home than buying one that is already built.

Not all building societies will lend money for self-building, but there are some that will. They will usually release the mortgage in stages as you build.

Next, you need to get your plans down on paper. Consider the things that you must definitely have first, and then you can let your imagination run wild with other things that may, or may not, fall within your overall budget. You really need to get as much detail as you can down on paper because the more information that you can give to your architect or team of contractors, the nearer your home will be to your vision.

Of course, this doesn’t include the technical details such as where the wiring should run or whether you should use liquid floor screed services in Reading, or wherever your home is to be. That sort of thing is something that you can let the architect worry about. What you are concerned with is the function and appearance of the property. So, if you want something such as underfloor heating (which is actually a very good idea) it is going to add some extra depth to the floor, but an architect can work out how much space is needed. Your dream home is for living in, so the technicalities don’t concern you.