When it comes to building your dream home it is important to make sure that your dream is guaranteed to become a reality.
Most people complete their building projects successfully while others don’t. There are many reasons why their project took the route it did, not the least of which was their preplanning and preparation skills.
Success in home building is quite simple, “On Time and Within Budget”. It’s an often-used term in the building industry, but one that is seldom respected.
So, why do people want to build their own homes and get involved in a complicated time consuming, all encompassing process that can have dire financial consequences and produce mental and physical anguish to which they would not, under any circumstances subject themselves to?
The desire to build one’s own home is personal and as individual as the styles and designs of the endless variety of homes themselves. Some get physically involved to provide a level of self-satisfaction from being able to stand back and say, “I did it myself”. For others it’s because they’re not convinced that the level of quality in the current mass-produced track housing meets their standards. Many do it to save money, or at least try, while a good number just believe that it’s the only way to get what they really want. For most, it’s a little of each.
What Are You Trying To Achieve?
It is important to understand what you are trying to achieve in building a new home. What is your present lifestyle, your future plans, and how will your home meet those needs? If you are retiring, you probably figure on staying in the house for the rest of your life. A young and growing family may focus more on affordability rather that create comforts. A middle-aged couple with teenagers and two careers will need lots of room and convenience while physically challenged people have special design needs to fit their lifestyles as well. Understanding yourself and your needs are as important as any of the skills that are needed to see this project through to a successful completion.
A number of skills are required in this project, coordination, planning, negotiating, scheduling and supervision. The most important skill however is communication. The other major part of this project will be the paperwork, lots and lots of paperwork. Yes, the paper chase is the biggest part of building a house.
Consider a General Contractor
Usually the paper chase is conducted by the general contractor, for which you would pay him/her a percentage of the total cost of the project that can easily range up to 20 per cent or more of the project cost. A good general contractor or project coordinator is a valuable asset and worth every dollar. Taking on this part of the project yourself has the potential of some significant savings. It also carries the risk of some serious cost overruns if you are not prepared to put in the required hours and keep the project on track.
To be a general contractor or project manager takes no more that a pencil, a calculator and a phone. It does not require tools or a truck It does not require an architect’s degree. What it does require is an ability to handle the paperwork and communicate with other people, the two skills that can determine success in building a home or cottage, Most general contractors do get involved with some or all of the physical construction while project coordinators seem to stay more with the management side of the business. There are many different approaches to building a house and one of your biggest decisions will be how to get involved in your own project. Your choices will vary, from hiring a general contractor that will build you a turnkey house, complete with your new home warranty, to physically building it yourself. Some will have contractor put up a shell which they will complete themselves. You may prefer to hire the skilled work out to professionals, but handle all the paperwork, acting as your own general contractor. The approach that you take will depend on the time and skill that you can bring to your project. The other issue here is the amount of money that you may be trying to save. That could take precedence over time and skill.
The money factor, usually the most integral part of the decision process, is the most perplexing. An often-asked question is, “how much money can I save by building my own home”? This will spawn a number of different responses depending on the recipient of the question. My answer is nothing, because most people will spend all the money they have saved and all the money they can borrow to build their home. Add to that the fact that they will spend that amount of money weather they are they are building the home themselves or having it built for them as a turnkey. The difference you see is in the size and quality of the home they get for their money. Yes that sweat equity will translate into a larger home or one of higher quality, bust most will spend it all. That’s why you shouldn’t focus on how to save money, but rather how to build your home on time and stay within the budget that is set out to complete your project. You will be a lot happier!
Philip R Wood