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Posted: 11/23/2003 3:48:14 PM EDT
Can you really save that much money? How much time will I have to put in on a daily/weekly basis to keep the project running smooth? Any resources on getting started?
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 3:59:51 PM EDT
The Home Builders Association has a joke booklet about do-it-yourself general contracting.

You had better read it first.

Dennis Jenkins


Originally Posted By medicmandan:
Can you really save that much money? How much time will I have to put in on a daily/weekly basis to keep the project running smooth? Any resources on getting started?

Link Posted: 11/23/2003 4:01:38 PM EDT
On an average house you can save between 15-20% of the total building costs. Go ahead and quit your job. You won't have time for it any more with the 60-80 hours min. you will be putting into the house. You'll have to be on the job or at least available from daylight til dark every day. And be prepared to spend half the night on the phone. My advice if you want to go this route is make up an absolute budget, find a set of plans that you like, spend the money to have an architect make any changes that you want, make up a realistic schedule, make all of your finishes and fixtures selections ahead of time AND STICK TO THEM, and hire subcontractors based on their experience, work, and references, not their price.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 6:28:25 PM EDT
I would say that Cougar nailed it other than I disagree with having to quit you job. I would say that you need a good knowledge of home construction this is not a good time for on-the-job learning. You will have to be able to work with and understand what the sub-contractors are doing and what they need and when they need it. If you don’t know what you are doing you very easily cost yourself more than the 20% you save because remember being the General you are the one that is responsible for this house when all is said and done. Allot of people I know hire a general that will work with them and allow them to do what work they are capable of doing. Then the next time they build they are more prepared to be the general. Here are a couple of books that may help. Email me if you have any other questions, and yes I do my own general.

Be Your Own House Contractor (Carl Heldmann)
Do-it-Yourself Housebuilding (George Nash)
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 7:19:02 PM EDT
Thanks shooter, I'll look through those books and then e-mail you with any additional questions.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 7:25:50 PM EDT
A friend of mine is doing it this way right now. Holy Shit!!! It's good that he has an understanding job. He's on the phone all day talking to contractors. If he's available, they want him to come by all the time to look at things and answer questions.

He's saving $$$$, but is burning lots of $$$$ on beer, or lots MORE $$$$!!!! It's his way of handling the added stress.

Monty
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 6:51:34 AM EDT
Around here from what I've seen, you can usually save 30-40% on the house. In one neighborhood my great-nephew looked at houses, he built his own for almost 50% less than the other houses in the neighborhood were selling for new. He bought the plans from the GC that was building the other houses then contacted the same contractors that were building the other houses in the neighborhood. Because he was building the same house they had built 50+ times already, he got great prices and took advantage of their economies of scale. He cut a few corners to meet his budget. He works his main job from 4PM until 2AM (yes, 10 hours) six days a week, and he was at the site an average of three hours a day during the week and on the phone probably an additional hour a day. Getting the house built just about killed him, but he couldn't have afforded it any other way so he says it was worth it.z
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 7:20:29 AM EDT
I am just finishing an addition and I would recommend you do what you know how to do(your job) and leave the building to the contractors. The way I did it was that I got 7 bids on the work only, chose the best (long story!) and now I'm pretty happy. One thing I did was made it crystal clear of the payment schedule and that I was going to buy ALL materials, you'll save this way as well, contractors mark up the price of materials 20%ish... thieves. I hate to say it but in my experience if you keep in mind that all contractors are lying, cheating thieves you'll be better of I cant imagine doing the GCing myself, I would also think you would need to quit your job or take a very long vacation, you'll need lots of time. I wouldn't be my own contractor. You have to know all the building code and that is one big book. If you mess up it will cost you to repair what the inspector doesnt like. Save yourself a huge amount of hassle, let the pro's do it. One other thing I recommend is that you run a credit check on the contractor you choose, very important.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 7:58:22 AM EDT
You SERIOUSLY need to factor in what your own time is worth vs. what you 'save'. A good working knowledge of the construction [b]process[/b] is critical to the timing and scheduling of everything to be subcontracted for things to go smoothly/on time. It will be the equivalent of a full-time job. Also, any mistake costs money, the learning curve is big, and experience is king. My advice - get a good small-business contractor with a proven track record.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 8:40:31 AM EDT
Something else you need to be aware of is you may not be able to get a loan if you need one if you are the General Contractor. If you need a loan you should check on this now. You will also have to hire a good attorney and get signed contracts with each sub. With Colorado tort laws if you hire sub contractor and he is not bonded and has not covered his hired help with workman’s comp you are the one that has to pay if someone gets hurt on your job site. Irregardless if you are the general or not your first step in building should be with an attorney there are allot of things that can bite you in the ass if you are not aware of them.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 8:52:15 AM EDT
I moved into the house that I built last July. It took me 3 1/2 years to build it myself. I only used 4 subcontractors. 3 of them were great. One sucked. I had to get a lawyer to chase after him. You really need to know building. This is not the place to learn on the job. These guys will have you chasing your tail. The only way you can build a house, and use subcontractors is to be there all day every day. That is why I built most of it myself. You can save a lot of money doing this yourself, but expect to work long and hard. You also need to know the codes. The inspectors will give you a hard time, cause you are not one of their buddies that they see every day. I learned this the hard way also. If you are going to do it yourself, good luck. Make sure that you have all your ducks in a row, and lots of money, cause it sure goes fast.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 9:22:19 AM EDT
I also built my own house. I am a master HVAC mechanic, journeyman plumber, and journeyman electrician, so it's not like I have never been on a construction site. I ended up subbing out the basement, framing, and roof due to time considerations. If you do not have a construction background, DON'T DO IT. There are more ways to permanently screw up a project like this than you can imagine. If yo have the background, then go for it. My place is valued at $175K and I dont halve but about half that in it. Email or IM if you have furthre questions. Ops
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 10:24:26 AM EDT
Finished mine in Sept. Used an existing floor plan that we liked from another home, which helped out the architect cost. Built the same home except without a fireplace for about 60K less. The house we copied sold for $199K. We did it ourselves for $143k thanks to my father-in-law who knows the business quite well. We personally knew everyone on the project except for the roofers. Basically, we bought all the materials ourselves and just hired them to build it. It took a little over 4 months for an 1800+ sq. ft home. I was very lucky to have a chance to build this way. E-mail me if you have any questions!
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