This paper investigates the relationship between self-build housing and the wider planning and housing regime. Although there is growing policy and academic attention to self-build housing, there is a lack of understanding of the institutional and regulatory conditions shaping the prospects of such housing provision. This paper takes the case of The Netherlands and scrutinizes how institutional dynamics over time have made lower and middle residents dependent on densely organized consortia of municipalities, housing associations and developers. These norms of land development appear to be at odds with the logic of self-building. Through exploring evidence in a pilot study of a municipal self-building scheme in Almere, the authors suggest that making self-building the cornerstone of a resident-led land development strategy, also for low- and middle-incomes, implies a reconfiguration of the actors’ positions in housing provision. This entails a commissioning role for residents in the institutional domain of social and commercial developers.