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Being An Owner Builder
The Contracting Process
The Parts of Your Home
Planning Your New Home
Funding Your Project
Developing Your Budget
Your Building Lot
Plans And Specifications
Cost Estimate
Construction Schedule
The Home Building Sequence
building an energy efficient home
resource links

Think you want to be an
Owner Builder?

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

owner builderBuilders 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 smoothly.

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 delivery.

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 accountants.

So What Will It Get Me...
Being An Owner Builder?

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"... not "expect!"

Satisfaction - 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. Read on!

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 it!

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?) to build.

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.

owner builder familyIf it all starts to sound a bit overwhelming, don't despair. Being an Owner Builder is a big undertaking, but you can do it!

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.

Moving On

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

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