Think you want to be an
Maybe you've been
thinking about being an Owner Builder for a long time, but don't know were to start. Let's take
a look at what's on your mind.
When you say you want to build your own home,
I'm assuming you want be the contractor... not the carpenter.
You want to be an Owner Builder! Let's take some of the mystery
out of it.
Where Builders Come From
come from all walks of life. Many builders started out as subcontractors
- perhaps a framing carpenter, or a drywall subcontractor (sub).
Others come from professions further removed
from the process - like banking or architecture. Still others
may have simply had a home built and watched carefully.
It looked easy, so they decided to build one
for sale. That one led to another, and soon their "part-time
hobby" was making more money than their full-time job!
A few colleges offer courses of study in building
technology, but the point is, most builders started out with a
limited understanding of the complete process of home building.
Generally speaking, how well a builder does,
depends on how well he masters this process. Some builders catch
on quickly. Others fall into poor habits or simply do not have
the desire or persistence to sort it all out and make it work
Role Of The Owner Builder
Today's modern, professional homebuilder is more like the conductor of a symphony
or the producer of a motion picture than a carpenter. Most successful homebuilders,
in fact, never drive a nail.
There is certainly nothing wrong with the honest
labor of a carpenter or a mason. It is just that in directing
and coordinating the many events that must take place in building
a home, most home builders (and owner builders!) do not have the time to physically
do everything themselves.
What The owner Builder Actually Does
The owner builder is concerned with
finding and purchasing or even developing lots.
He supervises the design specifications of
the homes he builds.
He orders all materials and schedules their
He hires and supervises the work of subcontractors.
And finally, he markets his product and runs
the day-to-day operation of his business.
In addition, he has to know how to deal with
the city bureaucrats (permits and inspections), bankers (construction
and permanent loans), and other professionals like attorneys and
So What Will It Get Me...
Being An Owner
Saving Money - Many people decide
to become an Owner Builder thinking they can save a lot of money.
If you know what you're doing, and you're careful, you probably
can. What will you save? Your savings are the difference in
the fair market value of the home and the price you are able
to build it for by assuming the role of contractor. In other
words, you'll save the builder's profit.
Control - As the
Owner Builder, you will be in charge - an hence in control! You'll
get the quality that you demand and inspect - that's right "inspect"...
We always ask our seminar students their motivation for acting
as their own general contractor. Saving money is always one of
the top answers.
And when we talk to those who have finished
their project, we usually ask what the greatest reward has been.
It’s strange, but few ever talk about the money they saved.
Invariably, they positively glow about the sense
of pride and accomplishment they feel for having built their own
home! There is indeed a great feeling of satisfaction that follows
the realization of this, one of the basic needs of life - shelter,
especially when it comes through your own intimate involvement.
What You Will Need
Here are the basic things you will need to be a successful owner builder.
Knowledge - The
foundation of your success is your willingness to acquire the
knowledge you need. That's the reason you have come to this site.
Commitment - Simple
knowledge is not enough. You must also have the burning desire
to see this project through to completion. We would not be truthful
if we neglected to say that there will be times when you will
wonder why you ever thought you could do this. It's not an easy
task and things will not always go well. Be sure that you have
the commitment to see the job through. The rewards are well worth
Financial Resources -
You need to have the financial resources to build a home. Your
lender can help you determine your needs. The financial parts
of this site will guide you through the budgeting process that
will help you avoid unpleasant surprises. This process includes
instructions for determining how much home you want (are able?)
Time - Contracting
a home requires a substantial time commitment. If you plan to
manage the constuction yourself, there will be many times that
you will need to be on the phone early in the morning talking
to subs or ordering additional materials.
And you will often need to be at the job site
at different times during the day to receive or secure materials,
answer questions, and inspect the quality of the work.
You Can Do It! You can Be
An Owner Builder.
it all starts to sound a bit overwhelming, don't despair.
Being an Owner Builder is a big undertaking, but you can do
Thousands have. The principal key to your success
is knowledge. Knowledge is power.
The information on this site
will give you a terrific foundation for that success. Here you
will find clear, concise, nontechnical answers that will have
you building confidence right away.
Here is good news: common sense is the key!
Being an owner builder is complicated only in that it involves
many steps. But each step can be mastered easily. All you need
is a few basic facts and some common sense. We would hazzard a
guess that most small builders have never been exposed to this
kind of an organized approach to building.
OK! That's what Owner Building is all
about. Still want to do it? Yes? Great!
No? Not to worry. Even if you plan to hire a builder, you'll
still need to know the process, so you'll have the peace of
mind that comes from knowledge... and the power to be in control
- even if you decide not to be an Owner Builder.
So let's begin with an overview
look at the Contracting Process!
For additional insight into the Contracting Process,
see Lesson Two of our online course
Successful Home Contracting.
to the Home Building Answers' Home Page
from Being An Owner Builder