…what I know now about building a house (learn from my mistakes – part 1):
- Don’t use the cost plus method unless you are going to get your own bids for subcontractors.
- If you are going to get your own subcontractors you might as well be your own general contractor and save a ton of money – just be prepared to be on site every day.
- Regardless of whether or not you have a general contractor or not, you should know one or more other builders whom you can contact with questions (second opinions)
- Don’t close before everything is done (you thought things take long to finish before you close!)
- If you must close prior to everything being completed, be sure to withhold enough money to act as a carrot for the builder to complete the house.
- A custom home (defined here as any home where the ideas and direction come from you rather than the builder) takes a lot longer (and is thus more expensive) to build than a “choose-your-options” home. Determine if it is worth it to you to be different
- Do stuff yourself. While taking on tasks yourself will often mess up the timing of other jobs if you cannot do it on-time, it is also a way to save money and get things done exactly how you like them.
- Some things to attempt yourself: a) low-voltage wiring like coax, CAT-5, and phone cables for audio, video, and data distribution. b) painting (internal) c) flooring (most floors are pretty straight forward to install) d) landscaping (this doesn’t mean skip this) e) cleaning (they will not do a good job anyway) f) putting up drywall (not taping)
- Some things not to attempt yourself: a) taping drywall (that is an art) b) plumbing/electrical work (too many codes you need to know) c) roofing (unless you have a really flat roof) d) framing (they can do it much faster)