One common aspiration among almost every Jamaican is perhaps the burning desire to become home owners. While many opt to purchase, a large number of Jamaicans make the choice to build their homes. One source, in fact contends that it is quite possible to build a home at a cost of about one-third cheaper than that to buy a similar one. Building your home is not as difficult as it might appear especially if patience, in depth planning, discipline.
Getting started ‘Building’ versus ‘Buying’
There are some key factors which should be in place before you can start building your home:
- Find a suitable plot of land, this is the first step.
- Choose the right Mortgage Partner; obtain a mortgage arrangement to acquire the land.
- Deposit and Associated Expenses, this will mean finding up to 23 percent of the cost of the land to cover a deposit and provision for associated expenses.
- Your NHT Eligibility
Housing Trust (NHT) financing. It is important to explore this option as it allows for repayment at interest rates varying from 1 percent to 7 percent per annum, based on eligibility. The cost of land could represent about 20 to 25 percent of the cost of putting up a house, depending of course, on the type of house being considered.
Getting your House Design Approved
After obtaining a mortgage arrangement, you need to get a design for the house and have it approved by the Town Planning Department or the building section of the relevant Parish Council.
- Please ensure that you use licensed or certified professionals even for simple designs.
- An architect and/or structural engineer will definitely be needed where the design is more complicated. These professionals charge by the hour.
Budgeting & Building Materials
- Set aside a manageable amount of money monthly, to purchase raw materials. This is just like putting the same sum in a bank monthly, only now you are putting it into physical assets - the materials for your house. Maintaining and, where possible, increasing your monthly commitment to the project.
- If you can, it is also a good idea for young professionals and/or couples to live with their parents or relatives for as long as possible while saving money to build their houses.
- Begin buying some of the heavier materials, such as blocks and steel. Near to the time when construction is to begin, it is time to order aggregate like sand and gravel, along with cement.
- A few workmen, including a carpenter and contractor, should be enough for the job.
- One important tip: Owners are advised to be on site as much as possible during construction, as this tends to boost worker morale. Since the process is to last for months, the workers will likely show up more promptly because of your presence.
- Patience is a key ingredient thereafter.