If you are interested in owning your own home, the question has probably crossed your mind, “How do you build a house?” For some the task would seem daunting, if not impossible, yet we all know that our ancestors built their own homes. Most of us can look back on at least one grandfather or great-grandfather who built the family home place, and did a fine job of it. It couldn’t have been that hard considering how many fine homes from that era still exist, yet the art seems lost in our generation.

How Do You Build a House: Your Modern Home is Not the Same Thing as Your Great-Grandfather’s House

There are many reasons why the art of building one’s own home has gone out of vogue. One is building codes. In grandfather’s day, if the home suited his family he could move in, and the local government didn’t get involved. Now you have to get a permit, and a building inspector comes out and checks every bit of work. If a brick wall is crooked, or an interior corner isn’t square, they can make you rip it all out and start over. In the case of a brick wall this can be costly, time consuming, and much harder work than building the wall to start with. Another issue is the modern necessity of indoor plumbing, and electricity. These two elements require a professional, especially electrical wiring. A third issue is simply the fact that not as many people are involved in daily construction and manual labor duties as in the more agricultural past. Most people are not as handy with a hammer and nails as grandpa, much less able to dig a footing or climb on a roof carrying a few squares of shingles.

How Do You Build a House: Today’s Traditional Owner-Builder Is Not the Same
Some families do have enough friends and relatives in the construction business to manage to handle the job themselves, and trading labor among friends and relatives is a wonderful tradition if you have the right friends. If you do not however it’s just out of the question, unless you are really good at making friends opportunistically.

It is difficult to impossible to get a traditional mortgage loan on a project like this. Therefore it requires either capital or something else to put up as collateral for a personal loan. If one can get the materials and the skilled labor though this seems to be the cheapest way to build a house. The owner-builder can save up to 50%. Avoiding a mortgage is always a tremendous savings as well. If you can manage not to borrow money or borrow less money on a personal loan over a shorter period of time, you will be a lot better off.

There are risks though. One is that building inspectors may not approve the work, and another is the risk of injury. Without homeowner’s insurance, which you will not likely have, since your home isn’t built yet, or some sort of contractor’s employee insurance, you are wide open to liability, and medical bills which no one can afford, not to mention the pain of getting hurt.

How Do You Build a House: The Owner and Manager Concept
In this case the owner becomes a general contractor who interviews various sub-contractors for bids, purchases the materials and supplies, and supervises all the work. In order to do this you must first convince the bank that you are capable of doing this, unless you aren’t borrowing the money against the home. This method does generally work well, and you can save about 20% to 35% using this method, provided you make the right choices.

How Do You Build a House: Owners and Builders Working Together
The owner hires a builder at an hourly rate, and they work together on the project, subcontracting out the jobs neither one of them can do, such as the electrical work, or perhaps cabinet making, or plumbing. The builder takes the role of an advisor, suggesting suppliers, and getting builder discounts on materials. This works great if one has a good friend who is a contractor. The owner can save up to 40% by finding a builder who works by the hour, instead of handling the entire project.

How Do You Build a House Fact One: Builder Gets the Project Under Roof
This used to be very common thirty to fifty years ago. It would still work if you could get a contractor to agree. In this situation the builder is hired to clear and prepare the land, pour the footings, build the foundation, and subfloor, then frame out the house and get it under roof. Subcontractors can be hired for electrical, and possibly plumbing. Then the house is turned over to the owner unfinished on the inside. This is very advantageous because once the house is under roof, it will wait for the slower rate of work that a few people can do, plus all the complex work can be done by contractors, leaving the interior finishing to the homeowners. Most people can timber clad, or put up vinyl siding, hang drywall, paint, lay tile or carpet, and install stock cabinets from the home improvement store. There is really no sense in hiring someone to do these tasks if you have time to do them yourself.

How Do You Build a House Fact One: Working with a Home Builder or Contractor
In order to do this one need merely interview a few contractors who specialize in completing the project with a team of subcontractors. The process involves getting several bids on the project, making sure that the specifications are the same in each case. In this situation the owner does not help with the building process but hires everything done. Sometimes home builders and contractors work with designers which can deliver a custom home. This is a great plus, which insures the owner will get what they want without risking injury. Perhaps the safest and easiest answer to the question, how do you build a house, is that you can hire someone else to build it and just move in when it’s done.

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