Think you’re up to the challenge of building your own home? It’s now possible for anyone to join the growing number of Owner Builders who have built their dream home for less. What’s more, they have gained the pride that can only come from turning a vision into reality. There are few things in life more satisfying than building a home yourself.
What does it take to get started? We’ve composed a 5-point checklist below that will help you decide if you’re ready.
1. Ability To Plan Your Vision For Home Layout & Design.
The key to a successful home build is planning. This applies regardless of whether you use a general contractor or do it yourself. The only difference is that an Owner Builder is entirely responsible for developing the plan. In order to build a home yourself, you will need to have a clear vision for what you want your home to look like inside and out. Before you build a home yourself, you must invest the time to plan exactly what you want. Without a plan your home will likely suffer from mistakes, omissions and delay.
We recommend that new owner builders make all decisions before the build begins. Having a complete list of what you want will help get more accurate bids, ensure subcontractors have clear instructions and keeps the build on schedule.
Questions to ask yourself: Are you good at planning? Do you have a clear vision of what your home will look like? Do you know what features you want? If you can answer yes to all, you’ve passed the first check.
2. Ability and Desire To Educate Yourself.
While anyone can build their own home, the more knowledge you have about the process the more smoothly it will go. An average new home requires over 40 subcontractors to see it through from excavation to finishing details. There are many nuances that are not difficult, but must be planned or you could find yourself in a pickle!
Some of the things you’ll need to know:
- How to Choose a Buildable Layout
- How to Obtain a Construction Loan and Handle Lien Waivers
- How to Choose a Lot That Fits Your Desired Home (Understand Easements, Setbacks and Covenants)
- List of Subcontractors Required for Your Build
- How to Develop a Price Buildup and Budget
- Permit Requirements, How to File and How to Handle Inspections
- What Scope of Work You Need Bid for Each Subcontractor
- How to Inspect Subcontractor Work to Ensure It’s Done Right
Do your research on home building and ensure you feel confident in the process. If possible, we recommend enrolling in an online course or local training seminar.
Recommended: Builder Blueprint offers a 12-week online training course that teaches the entire building process from start to finish. Click here to find out more.
Are you willing to spend time educating yourself? Or, are you able to commit to an online course or training program?
3. Free Time Available.
Eliminating the general contractor places those tasks on you. This is going to take time and you’ll want to ensure you won’t be too busy. Building your home will typically from 2 to 8 hours per week. There is flexibility in this time commitment, but it cannot be ignored. You will need to arrange your schedule so that you can learn the process, meet with subcontractors and visit the job site. This could involve early mornings and late evenings depending on your work hours.
4. Ability To Stay Organized.
The large number of subcontractors required to build a new home means that you’ll need to keep everyone organized and on schedule. This starts with budgeting to ensure that your home stays within your financial means. If you’re not tracking upgrades or bid changes, you could quickly have a home you can no longer afford.
Secondly, you will need to keep your subcontractors organized. You will need to know which subcontractors are needed on site at each point in time. Before those subcontractors arrive, you need to make sure materials have arrived on site as well. If materials haven’t arrived, the subcontractor will leave for another job site… And they might not return for weeks.
Do you know how to use online scheduling software? Are you good at creating a schedule? Are you an organized person?
5. Ability To Communicate Effectively.
Subcontractors are people and will need you to tell them what to do. It is imperative to effectively communicate what you want both when getting the bid and during construction. Once construction is underway you will need to inform contractors when they are needed on site and give them updates when the schedule changes.
Throughout the course of the build, there will a mistake or omission. At that point, you need to communicate the correction to the subcontractor in a cordial yet stern way. This process of inspecting work, relaying corrective action and ensuring completion is key to turning your vision to reality.