Building your own home for dummies can be easy, even for a dummy, which you are not. I’d like to start out by saying that anyone who has over 100K to build their own home is no dummy, and anyone who can figure out how to build one for significantly less than that is certainly no dummy either. However even though you are obviously bright, home building may not be your area of expertise or perhaps you are a really nice person who has trouble pushing your agenda. Reading all our articles, and downloading our free book, will help you build confidence, and gain the necessary knowledge to build the home you really want, not just the home your home builder or contractor offer’s you.
The first step for getting a great home is to carefully decide what you and your family need and want. I always recommend a home building journal. Similar to a scrap book, or diary your home building journal will allow you to record your ideas, define your needs, and eventually narrow your choices so that each aspect of your home is carefully considered before you approach your home builder.
The first mistake future home owners make is going into a builder’s office without a clear idea of what they want, that they can communicate to a builder. By presenting pictures, lists, rough home plans and designs from your journal you will be able to explain your ideas to the builder. Being prepared before you see the builder is essential.
In choosing a builder, compile a list from the phone book or listings from your local Home Builders Association. Be sure to research on line, and ask local realtors, loan officers, building inspectors and anyone else in the homebuilding and related industry for recommendations. Take a sort of a poll getting a list of three builders each professional likes, and at least one that they would not recommend. Compare results to find three to six builders to consider.
Demands may sound like a strong word, but this can be necessary with some builders. Home building companies vary considerably, and some can be quite pushy. They may try to force or bribe you into using their lender at an inflated interest rate. They may try to limit your rights to visit your home during construction. They may try to slide an arbitration clause into your contract or insist that you agree to this or that in order to get free upgrades. Make it clear to them that while you respect their right to have certain policies, in the end you are holding all the cards because in the end you have the right to walk out the door if you don’t like their deal. Do not allow yourself to be pushed around. Hire your own realtor or other expert to accompany you to visit the builders who seem pushy, and don’t be intimidated. It’s your money and your house. These people may or may not be working for you.
• No arbitration contracts
• Freedom to choose a lender, based on interest rate
• No arbitration contracts
• Insure your right to visit the property and inspect work on a regular weekly or bi weekly basis.
• Insure your right to surprise visits.
• Insure your right to select and stipulate adequate building materials.
• Make sure a list of all materials is included in the contract.
• Demand 2 by 6 inch studs at least 16 inches on center for traditional construction.
• Insist on five or six inches of closed cell insulation, and radiant barrier attic insulation.
• Make sure floor joists will be either 2 by 8 inches or larger, placed between 12 inches on center or for larger lumber the distance can be greater.
• Three quarter inch OSB plywood for all sheathing is preferred, five eights might be considered for walls, but the roof should be three quarter.
• Insist on roofing felt between plywood and shingles.
• If you are using any type of structural insulated panels or concrete panels or forms, be sure they include at least five inches of polyurethane insulation. Polystyrene is a fair second choice, but if you use polystyrene be sure to compare R value and make sure they offer top ratings.
It is vital that you learn as much as possible about home construction. Read the articles on this site carefully and do additional research to learn more about specific brands of materials, and specific building techniques. Be sure to download our 98 page book, and do plenty of additional research before speaking to a builder. Becoming educated on this site will make you building savvy when combined with just a bit of additional research, making building your own home for dummies easy.