Build My Own House: Qualifications & Recommendations

Build My Own House: Qualifications & Recommendations

Ready to build your dream home as an owner-builder?

 

Learn about qualifications and recommendations so you can start your construction journey today.

 

When looking at house plans, one common question is, “Can I build my own house while acting as the general contractor?” The good news is that you don’t need a contractor’s license to build your home. You will, however, require the time and energy to dedicate to such a large project. But, if you are organized, this can be a very rewarding project. Let’s explore this question a little to better understand the requirements for completing a successful owner-built project.

Do you have the time to dedicate to this project? You will need to provide direction to workers and perform quality checks daily. You won’t be swinging a hammer (unless you really want to), but you must be involved in the ongoing scheduling, inspections, and budget review.

Problem-solving skills are another requirement for building your own home. No matter how much time you put into planning and preparation, things will happen that are beyond your control. When they happen, you must analyze the situation for alternative solutions to meet your budget, schedule, and quality requirements.

 

Build My Own House: Owner Builder Requirements

Your most significant requirement for any new construction project built by the owner will be spending the time to educate yourself on all of the different processes and terminology involved to lead you to a successful build. Your job as a General Contractor is to be sure all of the subs (sub-contractors) perform their tasks properly, to the requirements of the inspectors, and to your expectations as the homeowner. You don’t need to know how to frame a house but should understand the components of framing, and the same goes for electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and siding. You are the initial inspector of the work prior to your county inspector’s arrival.

 

Another key requirement to being your own general contractor is time. You will need an extra hour or two daily to dedicate to your general contractor duties. This includes contacting trade subcontractors to remind them of the schedule, performing quality checks on-site, coordinating inspections with the local building department…etc.

 

Besides needing the time to dedicate to your project to build your own home, you must also use your problem-solving skills. Don’t underestimate this requirement. It sounds obvious, and most people will give themselves a “check” next to problem-solving skills, but when things go wrong, this is a critical characteristic of any good owner-builder. Whether you have ten years of experience as a general contractor or ten days, avoiding all problems is impossible. There are just too many people and parts that contribute to the construction of a new home. 

 

Do I Need a License to Build My Own House?

In most professions, a license protects the public from those they hire to perform a task or service. For example, take a look at real estate agents. A real estate license is required to protect sellers and buyers from harmful practices. But nothing keeps you from selling your home without a license. Real estate agents are licensed to ensure the buyers and sellers they work for are represented fairly. So, when you sell or build your home, you are entirely responsible for the outcome…so no license is required.

 

Be sure to check with your local building department to see what requirements might apply when building your own home. They may ask you to sign a waiver stating that you understand you are entirely responsible for the outcome. They don’t want an unscrupulous builder to talk you into pulling an owner-builder permit when you don’t intend to be in charge of the project because this will leave you with little recourse should things go wrong.

 

Should I Choose a Lot or Land Before I Build My Own House?

Choosing the property to build your new home on is one of the biggest decisions you will make. There are so many important things to consider to ensure you can build a quality home at an affordable price. Here, we detail the items you will want to review before purchasing your land. Some of the things we discuss are…

 

The 20% rule. If you purchase a lot in a community, you will want to ensure you don’t pay too much for it. So what is too much to pay? After completion, the lot value should be approximately 20-25% of the property’s overall market value, including home and land. If you pay too much for the land, you might end up with a home that is tough to sell in the future.

 

Some other items to review before purchasing a lot or land to build on include

  • Local zoning requirements: for both your property and those surrounding it
  • Easements: for utilities and access (you can’t build here)
  • Utilities currently available to the lot include water, sewer, electric, gas, phone, cable…etc.
  • Subsurface soil conditions: how to check and why this is important
  • Topography – steep inclines can add costs
  • Remote locations can increase shipping and labor costs
  • Building department fees, including impact, permit, driveway, tree cutting,…etc.
  • Setback from the road – consider additional costs for driveway and utilities.

 

If you invest the time to investigate a potential property to build your new home on before purchasing, you will save yourself some money and hassles in the future.

 

How do you start the process of building your own house?

Building a home is a significant and exciting journey, but understanding everything at the beginning of the process can be overwhelming! Let’s discuss how to carefully plan and prepare for building your dream home! Determine what you want from home, and consider your lifestyle, family size, and future needs to create a clear idea of your dream home. Next, you should assess your budget realistically and consider land, utilities, permits, and other potential factors. Consulting with architects or experienced construction professionals can provide valuable insights and recommendations.

 

Now that you have your dream home in mind and a budget in place, your search for the perfect location begins. As we discussed previously, when choosing where to build, finding an area that supports your lifestyle is important! Check building codes and zoning regulations in the area you’re interested in building in. No one wants the disaster of planning everything to learn your dream home doesn’t match local building codes. Once you secure your land, budget, and dream, it’s time to make the big step and purchase blueprints for your home. 

 

As you begin construction, it’s essential to have a flexible mindset. You will probably experience some unforeseen challenges or delays throughout the building process. Please don’t freak out; delays are typical, and everyone experiences them! Patience is essential, although you may be eager to see your new home. Ensure to thoroughly check construction throughout the process to avoid big mistakes that can cost you more money down the road! Don’t hesitate to seek advice from experts or experienced home builders! If you feel stuck, online forums, workshops, groups, and classes are all great resources. Soon enough, all the hard work will have paid off, and you’ll be living your everyday life in your home that used to feel like an unachievable dream!

 

How long will it take me to build my house from start to finish?

Building a home can be an intricate process, and how long it can take to finish varies depending on several things, such as the size and complexity of the project, weather conditions, and availability of construction materials. On average, home construction can take anywhere from six to 24 months. 

 

The initial stages of pre-construction alone can take a few weeks. Acquiring permits, selecting your plan, and securing financing are the essential steps, and it’s safer to take longer on this process rather than rush through it to save time! 

 

Next, the construction process begins with site preparation, foundation laying, and structural framing. These steps can generally take a couple of months. Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems are installed, and insulation and drywall follow after initial construction. These installations generally take about the same amount of time, depending on the size of your project. In conclusion, the construction involves final touches that involve interior and exterior painting, flooring installation, and the addition of fixtures and fittings. Typically, landscaping and final inspections are done at this time. Concluding this stage may require a few more weeks to a couple of months, depending on the scope of work. Soon, the long-awaited journey will be worth it, and you’ll relax in your new home!

Brandon Hall
Brandon Hall

Our "go to guy" and company expert, Brandon is the visionary and dreamer of all we do here at America's Best House Plans. He manages quality assurance, audits existing processes for maximum effectiveness, and develops strategies to increase productivity and efficiency. With over 15 years experience in the home design industry, Brandon has a hand in every aspect of the day-to-day operations of our company, in addition to ensuring an unparalleled level of service to our customers.

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