How to start with construction of my dream house?

I was wondering if anyone knows of a good resource to find contractors? I have been looking online and all I have seen are sites where you have to describe the job then wait to get called from a contractor or if I find a directory type of site there is a limited number of contractors in my area, but I know there are many more. I am trying to build my first house and I was planning on hiring all the contractors so I need a good resource to find them. Something with reviews and article would also be very beneficial, please let me know if anyone knows of a good place to look.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 06 Mar 2009 06:02:07 -0600, dick <tomchinmethew[at]gmail[dot]com> wrote Re How to start with construction of my dream house?:

Check real estate sales people in your area. Ask them if they know of any recently (last 3 years) built contractor houses in the area and the addresses of the houses so you can drive by to see if you like them. When you drive by stop and ask the owners how they like the construction quality of the house. Don't tell the real estate person that you are going to stop by, say you are just going to drive by.
You need to find at least 3 happy owners of different contractors.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A good idea if the real estate agents will cooperate, which is probably doubtfurl and he finds houses where the owners were actually involved to a considerable extent in the build process of a custom home. But he needs a lot more info than if the owners like the construction quality of the finished product. From his post, he wants to be his own GC. So he needs to find owners that know all the various sub contractors that were used and how they performed.
I'd also caution the OP that being a first time GC is going to be a difficult task and that he can expect to make plenty of mistakes and lose plenty of money in the process. The mistakes can vary from subs screwing with you, cutting corners because they know you're not experienced, to just honest mistakes in scheduling, customary practices, etc. It's sort of like deciding to fix your own car. Before you start, you need to assess your skills, strengths, weaknesses, what the job is and decide if it makes sense or not. Part of what you pay for with a GC is that they already know what you're trying to figure out. He may want to consider hiring a GC instead.
I've also heard of a website called Angie's list being advertised. It's supposed to be a resource for people to share info on experiences with contractors. Never tried it myself, but may be worth looking into. Also, if you engange with a local architect, which would seem to be a reasonable and necessary step, they can point you to subs that they have worked with on other projects.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dick wrote:

Word of mouth is your best bet. Talk to people in your town, talk to your local building inspector. He will probably say "i can't make recommendations" but he may hand you a list of contractors and a few of them JUST MIGHT have stars next to their names. That's what ours did. <G>. Word of mouth is invaluable.
steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dick wrote:

Glowing reports, especially online, are pretty meaningless unless you know the work and the sources. I would begin with neighbors or others you know in the area where you intend to build....know their experiences and look at the results. That is the beginning, to get names so you can check legal records for problems.
Planning on hiring all the contractors? Sounds like something only an experienced builder would attempt...there are loads of pitfalls, especially if you have no building experience. Got an architect? Attorney?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mar 6, 7:02am, dick <tomchinmethew[at]gmail[dot]com> wrote:

"Dream House" in the subject line implies that you are more interested in house coming out just the way you want it rather than saving money. If this is the case I would say forget contractors and start with an architect.
If you really think you have a design and want to skip an architect, then you either need a general contractor (GC) or else you are the GC and need to hire all your own subs. By the very fact that you had to ask about contractors means that right now you are not prepared to be the GC. But that's not to say you couldn't be the GC, you just have a *lot* to learn.
Start by reading some books on the subject. You will also need to find out who all the good subs are in all the trades. You can only really do this by word of mouth, getting out and talking to people. Forget anything you read online.
You'll also need to learn to deal with your town for the permits, inspections, etc. You'll probably still need some sort of drawings so if you have no architect you still need to figure out where your drawings are coming from.
Once you learn how to be a GC, then still be prepared for the biggest headache of your life once you start construction. Expect to be up till 4am finishing something yourself to be ready for the next sub that is coming at 7 am the next morning.
I'm purposely trying to scare you because this is a project that routinely breaks up marriages and such.
Ken
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mar 6, 7:02 am, dick <tomchinmethew[at]gmail[dot]com> wrote:

"Dream House" in the subject line implies that you are more interested in house coming out just the way you want it rather than saving money. If this is the case I would say forget contractors and start with an architect.
If you really think you have a design and want to skip an architect, then you either need a general contractor (GC) or else you are the GC and need to hire all your own subs. By the very fact that you had to ask about contractors means that right now you are not prepared to be the GC. But that's not to say you couldn't be the GC, you just have a *lot* to learn.
Start by reading some books on the subject. You will also need to find out who all the good subs are in all the trades. You can only really do this by word of mouth, getting out and talking to people. Forget anything you read online.
You'll also need to learn to deal with your town for the permits, inspections, etc. You'll probably still need some sort of drawings so if you have no architect you still need to figure out where your drawings are coming from.
Once you learn how to be a GC, then still be prepared for the biggest headache of your life once you start construction. Expect to be up till 4am finishing something yourself to be ready for the next sub that is coming at 7 am the next morning.
I'm purposely trying to scare you because this is a project that routinely breaks up marriages and such.
Ken
PLEASE hire a reputable General Contractor that will work with you to oversee the entire job..Word of mouth is the BEST way to find one...Take your time and do that part right and you will never regret it...It will save endless headaches and money as well...Having dealt with homeowners TRYING to run their own job , they are a MAJOR PITA for a bunch of reasons as have been outlined above...(No offense to you)It's really gonna cost you if you have a 2 boom trucks show up with 300 sheets of drywall and there's no place to put it and the crew is standing around all day because the insulation isn't done because the electical and or plumbing hasn't been inspected because you missed the the CEO because you were at the lumber yard getting the windows that just came in because you ordered the wrong ones the first time , ect. , ect......Things can QUICKLY snowball out of controll and crews get paid whether they are standing around or working.....Yes I am trying to scare you.....And it should....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
benick wrote:

And after all of the above stated hell, you might get stuck with the bill for the ruined load of drywall because the contractor went broke, didn't pay for it and you didn't get a lien release.....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
benick wrote:

I think that is likely to be the best advice the OP will receive.
When I built my house in 1995 - I was the GC - I hired a REAL GC as construction manager for the period until the construction was dried in. I used many - put not all - of his subs; I used his account at lumber/concrete/etc supply houses because he could get better prices; he acted as liason between me and the subs including doling out my money when necessary; he did most of the scheduling (of his subs); he ordered materials as needed by the subs; if there was a problem the subs came to HIM and he came to me. Conversely, if I saw something being done improperly or if I had a question about something I went to him and he dealt with the sub whenever possible (if he wasn't here and the problem was immediate, I dealt with it).
The portion of the job for which I hired him lasted about 60 days. He was here every workday for an hour or so at both the start and end of the day. That works out to be about 80 hours of his time, probably a bit more. He had asked for $5,000 for the job - probably would have taken $3,500 - and that's what I paid him. That works out to be $60/hour or less and for that I got all I enumerated above plus much less hassle than if I'd not hired him plus I still saved many 10s of 1000s of dollars over what the job would have cost had I just hired a GC to do it. It was money well spent!
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mar 6, 6:02am, dick <tomchinmethew[at]gmail[dot]com> wrote:

You wont save and it might cost alot more since you are new to the game. Contractors will want full price not what a pro is only going to pay. Check court records to find about dead beats before you hire anyone.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mar 6, 6:02am, dick <tomchinmethew[at]gmail[dot]com> wrote:

Take it from someone who went through the process with just a set of stock plans and a builder and no architect. Hire an architect. Give him stock plans to modify or he probably has plenty of plans too. Work and re-work the plan a lot before you break ground. Work out a design/build arrangement and have the architect and you co-manage the project using a builder he knows.
If I were to do it all over again I probably would opt for more time with my family during those construction efforts and a lot less stress, and maybe buy a dream pre-build house instead. My builder was great and flexible and reasonable, but overall I would have been better off involving the architect first. If I had even a slightly less flexible builder it would have been a nightmare.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mar 6, 6:02 am, dick <tomchinmethew[at]gmail[dot]com> wrote:

Take it from someone who went through the process with just a set of stock plans and a builder and no architect. Hire an architect. Give him stock plans to modify or he probably has plenty of plans too. Work and re-work the plan a lot before you break ground. Work out a design/build arrangement and have the architect and you co-manage the project using a builder he knows.
If I were to do it all over again I probably would opt for more time with my family during those construction efforts and a lot less stress, and maybe buy a dream pre-build house instead. My builder was great and flexible and reasonable, but overall I would have been better off involving the architect first. If I had even a slightly less flexible builder it would have been a nightmare.
--
find a good GC, and have him recommend an architect or two he\'s worked with.
look at some of the architects\' houses, and ones the GC has worked on. talk
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 6 Mar 2009 13:26:41 -0700, charlie wrote:

OTOH, our family had a great time building our own home. Everybody got involved. It only took about a year and a half to build. The only subs we hired were excavation, concrete work, drywall, siding, laying sod, and the decks. The electrician/plumber only did the drains, electrical to the breaker box, and the basic furnace hookup (we did the runs ourselves).

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"dick" <tomchinmethew[at]gmail[dot]com> wrote in message

********************************************************
The first step is to take about 18 to 24 months off from your job. Can you do that? If not, forget hiring all the contractors yourself. Find a reputable builder by talking to those that have used them. Every town has a good one and a couple of mediocre ones. Find one that is used to building the type of house you want. Some do a great job building the small starter homes, but don't do much high end work. Others do high end stuff and would be putting the same skills to work an a tiny box house and you'd pay more than needed.
There is more to building that just hiring the contractors. You must know the steps in building so you can co-ordinate them. The guy that does the excavation will dig the cellar hole and for footings, come back later for backfill, later for grading. Plumbers and electricians will do rough in and later finish work, but they may be interrupted by the tile guy or the cabinet guy, etc. Meantime, they are all juggling two or three other jobs that started and were interrupted just as yours will be.
In any case, if you can't be on the job the entire time, the contractors will be gone more than working, the job will take longer and the construction loan payments will stretch and the total cost will escalate.
It is also imperative that you know if the guy is doing a good job or not before he gets too far along so you can either re-direct or fire him. Read a couple of books, find someone building a house and tag along and give a hand for real life experience.
Whatever you do, don't piss off the inspector. He can make you life hell.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Good instructions, but you left out steps 1, 2, and 3 (not necessarily in that order) 1. Get your land arranged for, preferably owned outright. Makes it easier to get a construction loan- shows commitment. Also has an impact on design. What works well on one lot, may not work well on another. Directions the windows face, slope of lot, local soil and drainage, etc.
2. Get your money saved up and your loan approved. Not much sadder than a half-built house getting torn down because the cash ran out, or because the owner/builder got in over their head. Seen more of those in the last 2 years, than in the preceding 30. Note well that most lenders are highly reluctant to write paper for owner/builders, unless they have a track record of knowing what they are doing.
3. Get a good complete set of buildable plans, with a materials takeoff list. May need to do this before step 2, getting the money lined up. Sure, they will change, but you can't make all this up as you go, or it will cost twice what you planned, and any unscrupulous subs will rob you blind. Most areas, you don't need an architect, a good residential designer can do it all for you.
I would not try to be the GC yourself the first time out. Get a pro for the complicated parts, and maybe do the easier stuff yourself, like the final yard landscaping, the interior painting, etc. -- aem sends...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Along the lines of #1 and #2 above, here's a little story. Last year a good friend of mine was looking at either buying an existing house or a tear-down and building a house. He goes to his own bank, Chase, who he's been doing business with for a long time. The mortgage person assured him that with his excellent credit there would be no problem doing either and they could do a loan against the lot with the tear down, then a construction loan, turn it into a mortgage at the end, etc. They pre-qualified him for a loan in excess of what he needed.
Well, he wound up buying an existing house. About 4 days before closing, Chase comes back and tells him for the first time that there is a chance they won't be able to make the loan with 20% down and may need 30% down instead, because it's a jumbo. Of course, it was a jumbo from the time he first applied. But not to worry, they are working it with the underwriters and and will likely be able to do it at 20%. Day before the closing, final answer: 30% down.
Fortunately, the mortgage contigency clause in his sales contract was still in effect. So, he told Chase to get lost and wound up getting a jumbo at 6 3/8 rate from Hudson City here in NJ with a fast turn around.
You can only imagine what could have happened had he started in on the tear-down property and construction loan thing with Chase.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote in

Hudson City happens to be one of the most conservative banks, and shoud weather the current crisis well. I'm not a customer and have no relations other than occasionally driving by headquarters on Century Road.
--
Best regards
Han
email address is invalid
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 06 Mar 2009 06:02:07 -0600, dick <tomchinmethew[at]gmail[dot]com> wrote:>I was wondering if anyone knows of a good resource to find contractors? I

You want to build a dream house during this depression? You sir are a complete fool and an idiot. You're lucky if you have a canvas tent to live in these days, and it's going to get much worse.
Get yourself some toothpicks (steal them from McDonalds), and some Elmers Glue. You can build a model of your "Dream Home" inside your tent.
Ed
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You want this depression to continue? One way out of it is for the consumer to spend money and put the contractors to work. He'll be doing more to stimulate the economy that Washington is. Right now he should also get the better contractors on a more timely basis.
My company is running production only two days a week. Why? 60% of our business is tied to new house/apartment construction. Build a house and I employ a couple of people for a couple of days and the contractors employ even more people for weeks. I think it is you that is the fool and idiot.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Best of luck to you building your first house, it&#8217;s an adventure. I would recommend talking to your neighbors and friends and see if they know any contractors they worked with in the past. Since I&#8217;m sure you already did that you should try http://www.jobtrio.com/ I found that they have a very easy to use search. They have the biggest list of contractors I have seen to date, plus you can write reviews and read their articles.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.