So You Want to Build It Yourself…Really?
Every now and again, I’ll hear of someone who has made the enormous commitment of attempting to manage the construction of their home by themselves. Their reasons for taking this leap may be many but the only one that is certain to deliver is the thrilling adventure of taking on this task alone. Like a certain company deciding to change a decades old successful soda formula, riding a helium filled zeppelin through a thunderstorm or performing an appendectomy on oneself, some decisions should just be avoided.
There are myriad reasons for relying on a professional builder to oversee what is a very complex undertaking, some of which I will explain for your consideration.
Lenders in general, are casting a wary eye, if not outright refusal, to financing projects without professional management. Obviously this policy by lenders would not be in place if they had experienced a good deal of success with this approach. One might safely infer that there have been far too many d.i.y. projects that went very bad for the lenders to have this attitude.
Lenders are only the beginning of the hurdles that the do it yourselfers will need to negotiate. Next on the agenda would be the governmental entities, with ordinances that must be obeyed, permits that need to be procured and other approvals that the average person has no idea are required.
Next in the process will be making decisions on what products to use in your new home. Yes, you may be a very savvy shopper and actually enjoy seeking the best products at the best price but there are other considerations. Would you rather take suggestions about products from a professional who is obligated to stand behind that guidance or someone dressed in an orange frock that may have very little experience with the subject at hand?
As far as pricing of materials and mechanical items are concerned, most builders receive special product pricing reserved for builders only and not available to the general public. These price breaks are earned, over time, with repeated patronage by the builder of particular suppliers and stores. Using these discounts is a way for builders to stay competitive and these incentives are one way a new home buyer receives a return on their investment by using a builder. Labor arrangements with subcontractors work much the same way, wherein the builder receives a better labor rate than a d.i.y. and this helps offset the builder’s fee.
There are other things than simply pricing to keep in mind when choosing subcontractors to work on your new home. Most builders have spent years vetting those that will be working on their projects. They have developed a relationship with their subs and each knows what to expect from one another. A d.i.y. must rely on faith when it comes to making these critical decisions.
Please consider what happens when a subcontractor does not perform up to expectations or refuses to rectify a defect in workmanship post construction. A builder has leverage with the potential of a future steady stream of work for the sub, not to mention the ability to reserve payment on an unrelated project until the problem is rectified. It is very rare for a builder to have to resort to using this leverage because of the professionalism and quality of craftsman in this area but it is a remedy that is not available to the d.i.y. If one uses a builder, the customer has the assurance that the builder has the ability to demand quality work and the position to require subcontractors to stand behind their work long after the project is completed.
As you may now realize, there are so many things to consider when building a new home and I’ve really only touched the surface. This all takes time from whoever addresses these issues and in my opinion, the process of building a home is just way too time-consuming for it to be handled part time. Unless you will be taking a 6 month sabbatical from your full time job, or you’re patient enough to have the project last for a couple of years, you’re better off doing what you do best and letting the building up to a professional. We would consider it an honor for you to give us an opportunity to do the work for you.