A place to call a home of your own is the foundation of the American Dream. With so many online video tutorials and in today’s do-it-yourself culture, some people may think they could save a significant amount of money by simply building their own home without hiring a qualified contractor. A self-built home could jeopardize your finances as well as your emotional and physical well-being in the long run. A professional builder has the expertise to construct a quality home you can cherish for years to come.
Before the first stake hits the ground, you’ll likely need to secure financing to complete your project. There is financing available for DIYers, although securing the funds might be challenging. If you are a self-contractor, lenders tend to provide short-term loans and have strict limits on how much money they will give you and may ask you to provide a sizeable down payment. Many lenders also may require you to provide house plans, specifications and an itemized list of documented costs and bids beforehand.
Bypassing the loan process presents its own set of challenges. During your build, there is a chance you may face materials or labor costs increases. Many mortgage companies will not lend money to cover the unanticipated costs when construction has already begun. The bookkeeping for your home doesn’t end there. The IRS requires that you send anyone you hired to work on your home—subcontractors—who earned over a certain amount a 1099 form at the end of the year. You’ll also have to be regularly on the home site to document delivery slips, check for inaccurate billing and track material returns to stay on budget.
Professional home builders know what it takes to coordinate the logistics and timing of building a home. There is a specific process for making sure you have all the correct permits at any given time for your build, knowing when to order the materials and how much amount is needed. You need to evaluate bids and hire and schedule qualified, licensed, insured and/or certified subcontractors. The list of activities happening at any given time during the home building process is complex and lengthy. Even for the best-organized person, a scheduling mix-up or need to re-order materials can cause major delays, not to mention thousands of dollars.
Building your own home is also risky from a legal standpoint. Home builders carry Builder’s Risk, General Liability and Workman's Compensation insurance on their building projects. As a self-contractor, you will have to assume most, if not all, of the same liabilities. You may want to consult with an attorney regarding potential liability issues, and with an insurance agent concerning appropriate insurance coverage.
These are just a few of the things you need to think about before building your own home. By hiring a professional home builder, you will get quality workmanship, building code compliance and an outstanding level of knowledge.