Building a home with a contractor -- is it possible?

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Hi Everyone,
This question has probably been asked a zillion times before, but I thought I'd ask since the market is always changing. We're looking at possibly building a house in a few years, and we're thinking of first finding an acre or two someplace and buying it now with the hope of paying it off rather quickly (3-4 years) then starting construction of a house afterwards. My question is that if we spend those years researching the in's and out's of building a house, talk to local folks, etc, would it be possible for us to basically build the house without a general contractor?
I honestly don't know alot beyond general house repairs and construction, plus what I've read in Handyman Magazine and seen on television, but I'd like to think if I spent the time it'll take to pay off/down the properly I can self-educate myself to contract the house myself and save some money... plus possibly get involved in building the house to some degree to cut corners.
Is this common to do or maybe majorly not suggested?
Thanks for any suggestions or ideas in this re guard, and take care --
Alex
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It is possible, but why would you want to do that? A contractor is going to be able to get everything at wholesale prices, then they charge you a markup. You will pay retail, then have to do a lot of work just to get that.
Subs are going to want to work with contractors since a contractor can give them job after job. No sub is going to go out of their way to work for you since you are just one job, and you are a pain in the butt since you don't know how things are supposed to work.
Finally, few banks are going to want to deal with you. They know that do-it-yourself contractors are just are just like do-it- yourself brain surgeons--a plan for disaster.
-john-
--
======================================================================
John A. Weeks III 952-432-2708 snipped-for-privacy@johnweeks.com
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Is it possible? Sure. Is it advisable? No. There are so many reasons it's hard to know where to begin.
- You won't know which subs are reliable and which ones haven't a clue. - You won't know how to catch the mistakes the subs are making or the shortcuts they'll take when they realize you haven't a clue. - You won't get access to the good subs because they're busy working for contractors that will send followon work their way.
A friend of mine bought an owner built house and regrets it to this day. He is constantly dealing with repairs to improper construction and non-standard parts/construction techniques.
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Alex wrote:

Do what I did. Find a GC that needs a worker. Do the work at minimum wage until you learn. Then ask the GC to build your house. Work for the GS while building your house.
--
Bill
I am a peripheral visionary.
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willshak wrote:

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willshak wrote:

That's an interesting way to do it. I'd never heard that one before and it does make a lot of sense. Of course each person would have to work out the feasibility based on their current job and earnings to see if it made financial sense for them.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

What if it turns out the contractor you go to work for ends up to be shoddy?
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN
mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN wrote:

Then most likely the contractor he would have hired would have been shoddy as well. I don't understand your point.
R
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Well, other people have done it with varying degrees of success, so yes, it can be done. Is it worth it? Only you know that. Prepare for a lot of stress and a lot of work. You probably won't save as much money as you think, and it will be more work than you think.
Don't think that you can learn what a GC needs to know by studying for a few years. Being a contractor really takes more knowledge and experience than most people realize. Unfortunately, the only decent school I know of is called the school of hard knocks. A good contractor knows a good bit about pretty much every trade. You won't have that knowledge, so you will have to rely on your subs.
Finally, pick a simple plan.
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Don't expect to save any money, unless your time is worth nothing. Your job will be building a house, on spec, and you won't get "paid" until you sell the house.
To learn basic construction skills you might volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
    Una
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wrote:

The only thing I'd add is that in most places it does not take any demonstration of these hard knocks in order to ***call*** oneself a GC. So there are scenarios where a novice owner-builder could be not that much more incompetent that someone who calls himself a GC.
To the OP, see link:
http://www.bartleby.com/59/3/foolsrushinw.html
--


MichaelB
www.michaelbulatovich.ca
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Don't bother. A GC is obliged by contract to build a home per specifications in the contract. Its a legal document. Don't sign it until you're satisfied with its contents and wording. Watch for generalities, make it specific.
Yes, get experience in the general mason, framing and finish carpenter, plumbing, electrician, painter, roofing, sheetrock application, cabinet installation fields. Be familiar with building code in your area, learn IRC if not. Learn how to read blueprints. Pay attention to notes in those blueprints. Take what you learn to keep an eye on the subs. Don't work for any of the subs or the GC, you need to be free at all times for potential supervision.
Don't forget the wastewater if no community sewer system is available in the area. Same for water supply. A few GCs will take care of this too.
After all the experience, it can be generally carried over for homeowner general maintenance.
--
Noncompliant

Money don\'t wag the dog\'s tail.
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Don't bother. A GC is obliged by contract to build a home per specifications in the contract. Its a legal document. Don't sign it until you're satisfied with its contents and wording. Watch for generalities, make it specific.
Yes, get experience in the general mason, framing and finish carpenter, plumbing, electrician, painter, roofing, sheetrock application, cabinet installation fields. Be familiar with building code in your area, learn IRC if not. Learn how to read blueprints. Pay attention to notes in those blueprints. Take what you learn to keep an eye on the subs. Don't work for any of the subs or the GC, you need to be free at all times for potential supervision.
Don't forget the wastewater if no community sewer system is available in the area. Same for water supply. A few GCs will take care of this too.
After all the experience, it can be generally carried over for homeowner general maintenance.
--
Noncompliant

Money don\'t wag the dog\'s tail.
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Don't buy the land now. Wait. Within 3-4 years, a major recession/ deflation will arrive. You will be able to buy at lower prices.

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

<snip>
What makes you think the land will be there in 3-4 years?
--
Notan

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People will be cash-strapped. Lots of land and properties will be on the market. We're just seeing the very beginning.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Trust me (or not), if the land is decent, it'll be snatched up.
There are plenty of people, with *lots* of money, that can afford to take chances.
--
Notan

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wrote:

exactly. in my area, almost all of the land in town has been bought up and built upon. the places left are the hard builds (nearby washes, mountainsides, etc), which will cost you far more in the long run to build upon. also, the shortage of land has caused the price to quadruple in 5 years.
the OP should research where they want to build to see what special conditions are going to affect their decision.
regards, charlie cave creek, az
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wrote:

It's gone up, it will come down. Don't be a fool, don't buy at the top. '97-'03: NASDAQ quadrupled in much less than 5 yrs, then it went back to where it started.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Those who "know" when the highs and lows will occur are few and far between.
--
Notan

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