How to design and build your own

Updated: 05 December 2020 Created: 01 March 2014

If newly built homes in holiday complexes or resale properties built to someone else's specification, no matter how beautifully constructed, may not be to your taste. If the home you always dreamt of has your own personality, your own little touches and design stamped all over it. When you dream of that special place in the Mediterranean sun, if you visualise a private home in its secluded garden with breathtaking views over the coast, possibly some islands scattered in a cosy little bay in front, a spot that you literally chose, then please read on. You may just find out that you can realise your dreams at a far lower price than you ever dreamt possible. 

The main reasons our clients come to us for custom-design and build are as follows:

Desire to stamp their own personality at a perfect spot that ticks all the boxes. Location is everything. Turkish Mediterranean and Aegean coasts are still relatively virgin compared to other Mediterranean countries, therefore there are still plenty of options available in terms of land plots in idyllic locations, where one can be very creative with design and architecture.

Relatively lower cost of land and construction makes custom design and build highly attractive. That said land prices are increasing sharply in certain parts of Turkey so these opportunities may not be around for long in sought after areas such as Bodrum, Kalkan and Kas. If we compare cost of construction per square metre, there is certainly a distinct cost saving in Turkey for figures are less than half compared to Spain, Italy and France.

Premiums demanded for resale exclusive homes strongly support the argument for custom design and build. There are some very stylish and exclusive homes in Turkey, however, they still fall short of the rising demand for this niche segment. The design renaissance for the more creative and 'out of the box' is only recent on the Turkish coastline, therefore the new trend is being unfolded right now. In other words, the best that exist as resale offers have exceptionally high price tags due to scarcity of supply at the 'exclusive homes' end of the real estate market. This provides a strong argument for building your own little masterpiece for lifestyle as well as sound investment.

And finally because they can. With the right contacts, building your own in Turkey is pretty straight-forward.

U House Bodrum

From finding the right plot to obtaining your freehold title 

Before we look at how we, as Property Turkey, undertake custom design and build for our clients, let us have a brief look at the regulatory sides of how to go about obtaining the necessary permits and documents to construct properties in Turkey.  

You need to find out if the area in which the land is located has zoning. Simply put, zoning means planning permission has been granted to an area by the local municipality in charge of town planning. If the area does not have zoning, this means you can't obtain licence to build on that plot of land. Without licence to build, you are effectively building an illegal property, which will not have habitation licence (ISKAN) granted to it. Only buy land with zoning in place. 

Once we have established that the area has zoning, then you can submit your project plan (architects drawings) to the local authority within the relevant municipality and apply for construction licence. Provided the plans you have prepared are in line with zoning regulations of the area (each region has different regulations in Turkey), they will grant you with construction licence within 3-5 weeks. It is not a matter of 'if' but a matter of 'process'.  Again we would like to stress that the plans you prepare need to be in line with local zoning regulations. This is a job for your Turkish chambers registered architect. Plans can only be submitted for approval by registered bodies such as registered architects.

The construction licence is valid for 2 years. Therefore, within 2 years of obtaining your licence you need to start building your home.  If you do not, then the licence will expire. Please also note that under Turkish law, foreign nationals need to submit project plans within 2 years of acquiring land plots. In other words, current Turkish law attempts to prevent foreign nationals from 'land-banking' in Turkey without adding value to the land purchased.

In most parts of Turkey, certainly in touristic areas such as the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts, you can only construct from end of October through to around mid May so as not to clash with peak months for tourism. You can still complete fine interior details such as interior decoration, fitting kitchens and bathrooms etc, however, external works are prohibited after mid May through to the end of October. After your property is completed, you need to inform the same authorities again to visit your property and certify that you have built in line with the licence granted and did not violate the licence.

"You dream it, we build it" Property Turkey Custom Build

Property Turkey Custom Build (PTCB) was launched in 2006 in order to meet and exceed expectations of our clients looking for custom-build solutions, predominantly for those, who wish to design and build their own.  We only undertake one-off projects in special locations and usually with rather ground-breaking designs. 

Within PTCB, we have

- architects & interior designers, who specialise in contemporary and luxury homes,

- land planners, who have the right contacts within local municipalities in order to facilitate acquisition of construction licences and 

- reliable contractors, who have been providing us with quality construction since 2005.   

From finding the right plot to obtaining your freehold title with ISKAN certificate as above, we are your sole point of contact and project partner. We are responsible for managing and monitoring each and every stage of the process.

White House in Fethiye

The following underpins our framework

Step 1 - Purchase the land plot and secure freehold title

Through our various discussions and possibly having looked at a good number of existing properties in Turkey, we would have built a good inside as to what you have in mind as your dream home. If we have suggested designing and building it for you, then this is probably because we truly believe this would be the best option for you all things considered. We will therefore have a very good idea as to types and locations of plots that would tick the right boxes.

Once we have presented you with a healthy portfolio of land plots, we will advise you to purchase your favourite out right. This will give you freehold ownership to the land and provide maximum security to you as the investor. We will then build your home on your land. This shifts the risk from you and on to us for the courts of law in Turkey are always on the side of the landowner in case of disputes between landowners and developers. We have never encountered unpleasant circumstances when building for our clients, just happy bunters about how to add more 'funk' into the design, however, it is important to us that you feel utterly comfortable with the entire process.

Step 2 - Design and creative stage

This is where we get creative. We will propose various possible designs and architectural drawings, however, you are the ultimate decision-maker. This is your dream home after all and we need you to tell us what your dream home looks like, feels like and how it functions.

Based on the possible footprint (how wide and how deep an area on the land plot the property can occupy), we will propose several suggestions in the form of architectural drawings and 3D images imposed on the land. These images will show the views, the right elevation and right angles. They will be super-imposed on the land plot, therefore you will be able to virtually walk in your future home, look out of the bedroom balconies, see what your kitchen will look like, in other words you will be able to visualise exactly what the finished home will look like.

This is our chance to work with you to decide internal fittings such as floorings, walls, lighting and interior decorations. We can work on the size and shape of your swimming pool, pool deck, garden landscaping and other aspects of your dream home. Our architects will provide you timely feedback and visuals so you can make informed decisions. We will of course provide you with the necessary framework to work within. It is our job to know local regulations for maximum height, width and in certain areas what sort of materials need to be used. 

Step 3 - Agree terms and specification within contract

Once the creative stage is completed, then we move onto drafting and agreeing the construction contract. Your construction contract will cover all necessary clauses to provide you with maximum assurances, security and warranties during and after construction.

Your contract will ultimately be drafted by your own appointed lawyer, who will act for and on your behalf as your legal representative. We will provide all necessary documents and information such as agreed build specifications, architects plans, payment terms, agreed warranties and guarantees.  Everything we agreed together, down to sizes and grades of marble to be used, number of trees to be planted, depth of your pool and all other matters relevant to the project will be incorporated within the contract as points of reference.

Your construction contract will also stipulate payment terms. Payment terms on custom build projects are generally standard as below, however, there is some flexibility involved to accommodate your requirements.

Step 4 - Obtain project licence

Once the construction contract as above is agreed and signed, then our architects will submit their plans for construction permits with the local authorities. This is a process which takes around 3-4 weeks. Provided plans are in line with local zoning regulations (and we will of course make sure they are), construction licence will be granted within a month. With the licence at hand we can start the construction process.

Step 5 - Construction stage

On the tourism belt of Turkey, which covers majority of the resort towns on the Aegean and Mediterranean, construction season is end of October through to mid May. This is just short of 7 months. Provided licences are at hand at the beginning of the construction season, we will deliver you the keys to your dream home latest by the end of May. You can then move in June and carry out your snagging. Best way to snag a property is to live in it so that would be your opportunity to test drive your new home.  

For uncompromising quality, the most important elements of construction are as follows

- Foundations and foundation insulation - this ensures the house is fully insulated against water and heat. Most builders cut corners here and this is why most houses in Turkey are merely holiday homes and not suitable for winter use.

- Setting of the pillars of the house - most of our designs are creative contemporary designs, where we use plenty of glass. This means we have plenty of open facades and even corners that have glass panels. This requires very solid pillars that are strategically placed to allow use of glass facades.

- Double cavity insulation and the roof - same as above, we don't build just holiday homes, we build durable homes for year round living. 

- Interior design and finish - this is where most developers let themselves down. Finishing works is where the 'expense' of a home is.  This is the part (provided you have a nice design) that distinguishes a property from masses. It is the quality of interiors that provide the warmth or otherwise. It is generally the finesse of the interior combined with the architectural design that gives a house the WOW factor.   

Step 6 - Stage payments

The following are our standard stage payments on custom build homes. 

- 25% after contract

- 20% after completion of carcass and concrete works

- 15% after windows, doors and flooring

- 15% after fitting kitchens, bathrooms and interior accessories (this completes the interiors)  

- 15% after completing the exteriors of the house including pool deck and landscaping

- 10% final balance after you have taken over the property and carried out your snagging 

Step 7 - Snagging and final hand-over

After full completion of your property, you will carry out detailed snagging of the property. This is where you make sure that everything has been completed as agreed and without faults. Should you discover any little issues here and there that we somehow missed out, then we will rectify and complete these for you. Once all is in agreement, you will sign off your snag list as 'satisfactorily complete'.  You will pay the final balance only after satisfactory completion of all snags. You may wish to appoint a professional body to carry out snagging for you. These are usually architects or property surveyors and their fees are minimal.

Bodrum property

Warranties and guarantees

Our build warranty is 5 years for structural and construction related matters. Most of the fixtures and fittings we use come with 3 years' manufacturers guarantee also.


Management and maintenance

Upon request, we will gladly take over the management and maintenance of your property, including rental management if required. Our first year management and maintenance is free charge, thereafter we charge a reasonable market rate depending on the size and location of property as well as services required.

Sovalye Island

Our Architects

We work exclusively with the very best architects and designers in order to build you the home of your dreams and a home that will stand the test of time. Internationally renowned architect, Saffet Kaya (M.Arch [Hons], B.Arch, ARB, RIBA) is on hand to realise your vision in ways you could never imagine. You can read more about Saffet Kaya here and why you should let him design your property. 

Saffet Kaya

John and Jackie's Story

John and Jackie, musicians and composers from St. Albans, UK, came to us looking for a very special home with unique characteristics. We knew from word go that it would be a challenge to find the right property unless they were willing to compromise on some of their requirements. They wanted a fairly large private plot, one that would not be overlooked and one with a massive swimming pool and a deck to match. John is a keen swimmer, he claims to have crossed the British Channel in his younger days! All that is fair and good and we could certainly put our hands on some lovely houses that would cater for these criteria, and we did.

However, Jackie and John, despite their 20+ years harmonious life together, had totally different styles. John is a modern-contemporary man, if not a little funky, whereas Jackie is more period English home style with almost country classic interiors. That was the real challenge, finding a quality home that incorporated all they wanted plus the obvious clash of styles under one roof. We took J&J from the Aegean to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, we showed them beautiful North Cyprus too. We must have covered at least 7-8 different regions of Turkey before it became all too obvious to us and to them that they would not compromise. Then we suggested we build their dream for them on the Mediterranean coast. Being exceptionally cautious people, J&J were not easy to come round to the idea, however, they knew this was indeed their best solution without having to compromise. The rest is history. 

Property in Turkey

Property Enquiry

Smartly priced seafront Homes Istanbul

Smartly priced seafront Homes Istanbul

Do not miss this opportunity