Should I Build it Myself or Hire a Contractor?

Building a new home is usually the largest investment most people make in a lifetime. If you are considering acting as your own general contractor for your new home, instead of hiring a professional contractor, there are several important areas you should carefully consider before finalizing your decision.

Job Costing

      • Do you have the final completed price guaranteed in writing before starting?
      • How do you handle cost over-runs?

    Note: In most cases, a professional builder will have a final written quote for you to sign. No Surprises!

Deposits

    • Are your deposits to sub-trades protected for you?
    • How many separate sub-trade deposits are required?

Experience

      • How much personal experience do you have to be competent in the construction process?
      • Do you have the ability to recognize and stop potential problem areas as they occur?
      • Can you devote 3 to 4 months of "daytime" supervision that is required on the job? Will your own job suffer?
      • What is your personal knowledge of the Residential Building Code?

      Note: Ask for references on your builder. Call your local Home Builders' Association for direction and booklets on how to proceed. They would be pleased to help.

Legal Contracts

      • Have you prepared legal contracts to protect your interest with every sub-trade?
      • Are you protected against schedule delays?

Liability

      • Are you insured against sub-trade injuries on your job site? You and your family could face financial ruin overnight due to a job site injury!!!
      • Are your sub-trades insured themselves? Do you have proof of that insurance?
      • Do you have fire and damage coverage?

Sub-Trades

      • What criteria do you use to hire them?
      • Are you protected if they don't show up?
      • What guarantee do you have they will show up to do repairs after they are paid?
      • Do you have a list of their past references?
      • What is the policy and cost if you wish to make changes as your job progresses?

    Note: Professional builders use proven sub-trades that do the job right the first time and do it on schedule.

Warranty

You have no warranty on a job you sub-contracted yourself. Imagine no warranty on basement leaks, electrical, plumbing, roofing problems, and etc. You would not purchase a new automobile if it had no warranty, so how can you justify purchasing your biggest investment of all with no warranty.

Note: Professional Builders registered with the State must provide minimum State-required warranties.

Financing

      • Have you discussed your plans to sub-contract your new home with your bank first?
      • What policy will be used to advance funds?
      • Will the bank require extra collateral?
      • Will the bank require their own inspections?
      • How will the bank handle your cost over-runs?

    Note: The process of financing your new home is much easier and quicker using a professional builder with a quoted contract price. Ask your branch manager.

Selling Your Home

Will the potential purchaser pay more for a novice built home or one that was built by a reputable known builder?

Note: If your home was built by a reputable builder, the consumer will be more confident about its quality, removing that obstacle during their purchase process. Your return on home investment dollars can easily be higher using a professional builder.

Builder's Profits

MYTH... The builder adds excessive profits to the subtotal of the home cost. I can avoid paying the extra charge on the bottom line by building the house myself.

FACT... You would have to assume for the above statement to be true that both the novice builder and the professional builder would have the same net job costs. This is not the truth.

The sub-trades, material suppliers, and labor will quote better deals to organized professional builders. The more work and multiple jobs the builder supplies, the better the price quote. The professional builder's net cost will always be lower. A professional builder will keep profit margins reasonable; therefore, you might be pleasantly surprised at the little extra cost it will take to have your home built by a professional.

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