Building Your House: Hiring a Builder Vs Building Yourself


hiring a builder vs building yourself

One of the crucial decisions you must make before the start of your building project is to decide on whether you are going to hire a professional builder/general contractor or handle the building project yourself/owner-builder. While it may seem unusual, there have been series of testimonies from individuals who have built their dream house without the input of a professional builder.

In fact, a report reveals that by choosing to build your home by yourself, you are likely to save up to 25% of the total construction cost. But while most individuals adopt the owner-builder route to save money, both the owner-build and builder method have their pros and cons.

Why Build Your Home With A Professional Builder?

Building a custom home is no small feat. It requires strategic planning, organizing, and management. Unless you are a super ambitious individual with a comprehensive of the local building codes, ordinances, and the required construction, hiring a professional builder is your best bet.

While the majority of articles and DIY videos on the internet will tout the ability to save more money by building your house yourself. The reality is that you are more likely to reduce construction costs, save time, and avoid the stress associated with building a house by hiring the service of a professional builder.

Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a professional builder when looking to build your custom home.

Advantages of Hiring a Professional Builder for Your Home

A Contractor has Years of Experience and Knowledge

Building homes and handling construction projects for a professional builder is more than just a hobby; it is a passion and source of income. Professional builders over the years have mastered the dynamics of the construction industry and understand what works. They know how to mitigate risk and manage unforeseen circumstances that may cost you money or unwanted delays.

Building a Home Takes More Time Than You Think

The average building construction takes around 4-12 months depending on its size and customizations. Building a home is time-consuming and may drastically cut into your typical office hours and weekends. Working with a builder relieves you of all the hours that would have been spent building or monitoring the tradies working on your home construction.

Professional Homebuilders Have More Buying Power

While there is a misconception about increased cost when working with a builder, builders can help you save money. This is because most builders have long relationships with vendors and can purchase fixtures, materials, and fittings at a lower price since they usually purchase in bulk.

Disadvantages of Hiring a Professional Builder for Your Home

Higher Cost

Hiring a professional builder or contractor for your home building project doesn’t come cheap. Sometimes you may spend up to 25% of the overall construction cost on builder fees and builder-related charges. Most of the time, general contractors add an up-charge on all the services they offer thereby increasing the total cost of the project.

At the Mercy of their Timeline

Hiring a builder or general contractor to handle the building of your home leaves you at the mercy of their timeline. You will have to work with their schedule and the timeline of those handling the project. Take for instance, if your contracted builder falls ill and in the hospital for months, you may have to put the project on hold till they recover.

You Are Not Free

While hiring a builder should save you time, you are still not free from the project. You will still need to visit the building site from time to time to inspect and make sure the tasks are performed correctly. Also, you will still need to schedule meetings and inspections with the builder and tradies.

Why Build Your Home Yourself or As an Owner-Builder?

While building a house requires the expertise of a professional builder, it is still possible to build your house without the need for one. For most individuals, building their house as an owner-builder allows them to reduce financial costs and build according to their schedule. However, this is no small process especially if you are not a skilled or handy person.

When building your house as an owner-builder, you must be prepared to take on extra responsibility and put in serious effort. Some homeowners may decide to employ the service of a contractor to handle certain critical aspects of the project. Others may want to exclude the input of a general contractor or builder and work directly with the tradies or sub-contractors.

For most potential homeowners, the primary motivator behind their decision to build their house themselves is usually down to the opportunity to save more money that would have been spent on paying a professional builder. While builder fees vary depending on the experience of your builder and the location of your property, the fees can make up about 25% of the cost of building your home.

Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of building your house as an owner-builder or without the input of a general contractor.

Advantages of Being an Owner-Builder

Reduce Financial Cost

Building your house by yourself will save you lots of money in the run. This is because you may not have to pay any form of builder fee or charges which would have eaten a sizeable portion of your building budget. You are less likely to be cheated since most/all of the material purchase will be handled by you.

You Work By Your Timeline

While lack of motivation may be one of the downsides to building your house as an owner-builder, however, you can create your building timeline without feeling pressured by any external party. You can decide to work only during the weekends or on certain days of the week.

Disadvantages of Being an Owner-Builder

Potential Structural Risk

If you are not familiar with construction works, you are more likely to run into construction complications which may negatively affect the entire building construction. Also, you may end up not building according to local codes which will likely lead to extra expenses in trying to fix the mistake.

Hidden Financial Cost

While you may be able to save on builders’ fees, there are still some hidden financial costs that may arise during the cost of the construction. Since you have little to no idea about a typical home building process, you are at the mercy of dubious contractors, vendors, and even sub-contractors.

Difficulty in Getting a Loan

It is a common practice for banks or construction loan lenders not to offer loans to individuals with no known licensed builder. Lenders are known to offer poor loan terms to individuals looking to build their houses on their own. More importantly, you may end up spending more money due to delays in project completion and costly time overruns.

Before You Build Your House with a Builder or As an Owner-Builder

While securing a nice portion of land is the first step to building a house, it is important that you get approved by your local building department. You should also hire a professional architect to create a proper architectural drawing of your potential building structure.

The major reason why it is important to get an architectural drawing set of your potential home structure is that it prepares you for the journey ahead. You get to see a digital representation of your future home, guide you through the building codes, and understand the details of your building structure better.

If you are looking to start your home building process notwithstanding the strategy you plan on using, working with Archimple can help you actualize your dream faster. At Archimple, we are here to create a comprehensive floor plan or blueprint that brings your building ideas to reality. From country houses, modern house style, to contemporary house designs, and others, we can provide you with a house plan that reflects functionality and beauty.  

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Last Updated: Dec 01, 2020

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