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If this is the first time you have ever built, renovated or converted a house, then you may feel quite daunted by the prospect of turning your dream into reality.
By acting as your own general contractor you can expect to save from 15 to 40 percent on the cost
homebuilding! If you are generally handy with tools, and have some knowledge of the trades,
especially carpentry, and are willing to build your own house yourself you may cut costs even more.
Keep in mind that home design, plans and homebuilding can be quite time consuming, and may be
quite a strain on you and your family if you try to do too much yourself. It is a big job in itself
just to do the home plans, oversee construction and deal with the numerous, sometimes complex,
situations involved in home designs and house building.
Plans for every aspect of building your home is the key to a successful project! By careful
planning you can avoid the surprises that so often lay waste to dreams that were developed haphazardly.
Every hour spent on blue prints is a good investment. With good blue prints, by the time construction
begins, you should be able to supervise the project from in front of your TV!
You won't, of course, but it will be because you can't keep yourself from watching your dream
house being built, not because you are unable to stay on top of things.
Being your own general contractor when building a home is a big job in itself. If, however, you want
to perform some parts of the house building yourself, you will need to have some home building skill
in those areas. You must also be handy with tools, and you must have the tools and equipment. It
can be quite expensive to equip yourself to build a home. If you were to tackle a big portion of
the house building project, such as carpentry, you would also need at least a small crew.
By building your own house, you will have the most influence in the design and construction of the house.
You can build to your tastes and specifications to create your dream home.
Another big attraction in building your own home is the cost. It is a common misconception that building
your own home will cost much more that buying an already-built house, but this is far from the truth.
At the very worse, you'll pay a bit more, but then again, you've invested in the house of your dreams.
Normally, the cost of building is usually around the same as the cost of a house of similar specifications.
Here are a few steps you will need to take.
1. Getting Money
Consider options such as Builder's Loans, Personal Loans and other Line of Credit.
Often, you'll need the money from a combination of sources in order to get the whole home building
project of the ground.
2. Purchase Land
Enlisting the services of a real estate agent may be beneficial in your search for a
lot since they may be able to tap into other resources that may not be necessarily available to you.
3. Designing the House
If you've had a great idea for a house in your head, by all means spend the money and have them
drawn up properly by an Architect or Draftsman. The general cost of having your own house design
professionally drawn up varies, depending on the house and the Architect.
Even if you made designed the home independently, it is strongly recommended that you have an
Architect or Draftsman draw up the final blueprints. A skilled and experienced eye is required
to see any potential mistakes, or to offer suggestions for how you can maximize your space.
Permits are the keys to open the project.
Gas and Power Most acreage lots, particularly in-town, will have gas and power services to the property line.
If you're planning to build a home in a more remote, usually rural, area, the land may not be serviced.
In both cases, you will have to estimate costs in getting these services available. In any case, you
should contact the relevant gas and power companies for a more accurate estimation.
6. Excavation & Foundation
The cost of putting in a foundation is primarily determined by the size of your home and therefore can be determined before you purchase your land. The most important factor that may change the foundation cost is for installing the drainage system to keep the foundation dry. The type of system will be determined by the amount of water that is anticipated to surround the foundation during the wettest months of the year. The more water that is expected, the more expensive the system required in order to keep the foundation dry. This may require bringing additional fill to the site, since this will allow the contractor to raise the foundation above the water table. For people wanting to build a walkout basement with full size windows and sliders, expect to pay more for foundation. But this may be a wise investment that will significantly raise the resale value of the house.
7. Building Materials
This is where you can save a considerable amount of money with some diligent investigation to see where
you can get the greatest value. You can always take your blueprints to building suppliers
(i.e. Home Depot, Building Box) and they can estimate the amount and price of building materials required.
Framing Package - Sometimes it's cheaper to get your Frame, Floor System, and Trusses separately.
Windows and Doors The price for windows and doors can be quite variable, so really shop around for these. If you're lucky, you may be able to obtain them at wholesale prices, although that is usually only available to contractors. If you don't have access to wholesale prices, you can take your blueprints to a hardware store or a supply company, and they will be able to provide a quote. Most of the companies will be happy to give you a quote, which should be free. It is important to choose the right type of windows. 'Builder's Grade' windows is cheaper than adding the proper Air Conditioning or Heating requirements for the house ? talk to your contractor about this option. Also, window sills are now available in vinyl, instead of wood, at no additional expense. This saves a lot of labor, painting, and upkeep. A nice door can really affect the total look of the house. For areas of the house that may benefit from more light, check into French doors. They have an appeal of their own, and there's a huge selection to choose from.
Roof - There's a huge difference in cost in roofing materials so be sure to check into them to see what fits your budget. Be sure to check with your contractor to make sure that your choice is within the limits of your Architectural Controls.
The cost of siding depends on the material you choose -- Stucco, Vinyl Siding, Wooden Siding, Stone work or Brick.
Having trusses pre-made is often easier but may be a little bit more expensive.
Hire a Crane to lift these to the roof - you'll save the money in labor and time. Also, trusses can
sometimes be part of the complete Framing Package.
Be sure you to do your research in contacting an experienced electrician because there are vast arrays of
Electricians out there with varying abilities.
9. Heating & Air Conditioning
Be sure that your blueprints place the furnace room in an adequate and effective location.
Your land will influence the extent of landscaping work that is required.
Carefully plan your landscaping duties on paper first the type, size, and location of garden beds,
grass, irrigation, etc.