We’ve talked about this a little bit before, but its one of the most common things we run into here in Utah, so I thought we’d talk about it a little bit more. We’ve had a couple of interesting experiences with homeowner builders, things worth sharing.
We were talking to some customers about building them a house. They wanted a pretty basic house, budget was the big issue. After talking to us they decided they were going to build it themselves. They got plans drawn up and then started getting bids. And that’s as far as they made it before they came back to us and asked if we would be willing to do the project. What changed so quickly? Well, the bids they were getting were high. Ridiculously high. How would having a builder change this? Well, almost every subcontractor you talk to, if they were being honest, will tell you that they give owner-builders a lot higher numbers than they do general contractors. Two reasons: First of all, they know most likely with an owner-builder the job will be a lot less organized and a lot harder for them to complete. Second, they have good relationships with general contractors. They want to keep getting business from the general contractor, so they give him better numbers. If the subcontractor does give you a decent number, I can almost guarantee that they’ll end up charging you more than that number. Contractors work hard to hold the subs to the numbers they give. They can also tell when they’ve left something out of their number.
Some past customers have friends who are building their own house right now. Almost every time they talk, these friends say that they wish they had used a builder. They are constantly stressed trying to deal with the details of building: working with the subs, the schedule, inspections, etc, etc. All of the things your builder will take care of to make building much less stressful.
We talked to one of the city inspectors. She said they really don’t love working with homeowner builders. Most of the inspections have pages of problems they need to fix. She said they spend hours with the homeowners explaining how to do everything. Not fun for the owner-builder or the inspector. We work hard to get good relationships with the inspectors. They learn that we build quality homes, so our inspections go quickly and we usually pass the first time around.
Just some things to think about if you’re considering building your own home. It might save you some money, but definitely not as much as you think. And I can guarantee it will take a lot longer and be a lot more stressful if you do it yourself. Take a look at our website and give us a call so we can help you build your home!