Single-family homes, or detached homes as they’re more commonly known in the UK, are defined as free-standing residential buildings. They typically have open space on all four sides and are, fairly obviously, designed to house a single family. In the UK there are several types of detached home, with perhaps the most familiar being the suburban dwelling common to every town and city, usually featuring a front and back garden or driveway. Another popular type of detached home is the cottage; a typically small, rural abode characterised by traditional materials and rustic design. Back in an urban environment, bungalows are another example popular with retired or elderly residents due to their one-storey design and copious outdoor spaces. Then, for those for whom money is no object, there are grand mansions or villas. These will invariably be detached, and most often situated in the countryside with the luxury of extensive grounds.
Detached homes typically house one family and have space on all four sides separating them from their nearest neighbours. They won’t share any essential facility or service such as hot water or heating with another dwelling, and have direct access to the street or thoroughfare on which they’re located. They’re also usually built on a larger plot of land, allowing them some generous garden space both at the front and back. In the UK, detached homes will often come with a garage and driveway to accommodate the family’s vehicles. Due to their relatively large size, detached homes are more costly to buy or rent than smaller terraces or semi-detached abodes, although this will vary nationwide depending on the desirability of the local area.
Perhaps the most coveted advantage to owning a detached home is that the plot on which it’s built belongs solely to the residents. Not only does this afford privacy and freedom, it also means the owners can (usually) extend their home without seeking planning permission or other legal back-up. This, along with the lack of property management fees, is considered to be the main advantage. The freedom to plan and design your home as you wish is a precious commodity, especially in crowded British cities. The flipside to this autonomy, however, is that you’ll have to cough up all the cash required to maintain and develop your property. You’re in sole charge, and liable for any projects you chose to undertake, from repairs and damage limitation to remodelling. This also goes for the land outside of your home, so be prepared to fork out if you want a high-maintenance garden! Another drawback is that detached homes tend to rack up higher energy bills throughout the winter, partly due to their higher surface area-to-volume ratio, i.e. heat lost due to a lack of adjoining buildings. As most single-family homes tend to be built in the suburbs, they also tend to require a longer commute time for their inhabitants, adding to both the length of each journey and its associated carbon footprint.
The costs of building a detached home will vary hugely depending on the location and details of the build. As a very rough guide, the average cost of a self-build project, including land is somewhere around £260k. This is above the average house price of approximately £170k, but the markup when selling on a self-built home is considered to be between 20-25%—so it depends on your long-term goals. If you’re after ballpark build times for a detached home, a rough guide is around 4 to 6 months. Of course this will vary hugely depending on the size of the team involved, your budget, and the scale of the project. Another feasible and popular option is to renovate or upgrade an existing detached home. This will cost less than a complete new build and the options are pretty much endless when it comes to design and style. The most important thing is to do your research and plan thoroughly—and don’t forget to enlist the help of a reputable architect to guide you through the process.