A lot of people wanting to own a house have been getting frustrated lately as it seems there is a shortage of quality smaller homes on the market. As a result, many of these frustrated buyers are turning into a owner builders for the chance to get exactly what they want. And yes, building your own home can be a hard work, it gets stressful at certain points as well.
However, we have created a design that is easy to assembly, with parts prefabricated offsite. We provide a step by step instruction guide, educational videos and even plan on organizing hands on workshops for those interested to learn new skills.
We have also put together a few steps outlining what to pay more attention to and what to avoid as a new owner builder.
Land selection is key
Location is obviously an important consideration when building a new home. Always weigh the distance and way of transport for your commute to work, shopping, as well as other personal location considerations.
Create a list of the location factors that are most important to you before you even start looking for land and thinking about the home itself. Suitable land can be difficult to find in the suburbs closer to the city, but there are also places within an easy reach of public transport just a little further that should be taken into consideration.
Hire a good builder
If you have never built a home before and still want to act as owner-builder, hire a reputable builder to supervise you and the building of your new home, for a much smaller amount than their normal fee. The builder/supervisor will help you managing the subcontracting on an ‘as needed basis’. If one of your contractors gets out of hand or you need help of any kind, you can call the supervisor for assistance. The builder/supervisor can also help when technical inspector issues come up.
If you decide on hiring a builder to do everything, make sure you hire a reputable builder or supervisor with a good reputation and plenty of references. Ask your friends if they know of good builders, and when you start to hear the same name over and over you know you’ve found a good one. Ask the building inspector for a list of reputable builders. The most important point is shop around until you find a builder with the most reputable and honest background. Be sure to find a builder that has been in business for a minimum of three to five years in your particular location.
Set Your Expectations
If you’re building a home for the first time, you’re going to run into a lot of reality checks. Building your new home is an overwhelming experience. So before you get started, adjust your expectations to be prepared for what is about to really happen. By keeping your expectations realistic, you can reduce stress and disappointment. Remember, planning is king.
The goal of being an owner builder is mainly to save money. Some people can save quite a bit of money if done correctly. However, some people are not meant to be owner-builders, as it takes a strong personality to manage contractors. Be realistic about your own skills but also don’t underestimate yourself.
Who ever said that “knowledge is power” must have worked in the construction industry. It is one of the golden rules of owner-building. Take courses, attend workshops, watch DIY videos. The more you know about all aspects of your build the better your new home will be.
Maximize the space
One of the most important things to consider when planning a new home is not the overall area – it is maximizing the home spaces. Smaller but well designed house can feel more spacious than a larger house that reminds more of a dark cold dungeon. Usually you can add additional space if you need to but it is very difficult to change the layout or functional space in a cost-effective manner. Simply pay special attention to the rooms that you will spend the most amount of time in. Plan these rooms with enough area so that you will be able to enjoy them now and in the future.
Invest into energy efficiency
We would recommend to spend money on energy efficiency rather over anything else. It pays you back over time, over and over again. Nowadays we are more aware about energy efficiency, and it can be delivered easily by choosing the right insulation, windows, doors, and even things like tankless hot water heaters. But – energy efficiency should always be functional and smartly integrated aesthetically into the space. Trust me, you will not enjoy living in an energy efficient box built into the side of a hill, with low ceilings and no windows or natural light.
Avoid the trendy finishes
Be wary of trendy finishes. Finishes such as wooden flooring and tiles are difficult and costly to change after the trend fades away. You should keep this finish timeless and if you need to stay with the trends, be trendy and personalize with finishes that can be easily replaced such as light fixtures, appliances and paint. This will help you to stay trendy without setting yourself up for a costly remodeling job in the future.
Build to enjoy now and in the future
We don’t like the idea of building a house that doesn’t fit your lifestyle but will sell better one day. You should build to maximize your current use and enjoyment. Life is short and we should live it fully, every day. Protect your investment by taking advantage of the advice of seasoned local professionals, timeless design, and a good location, and you will have a house with a good value to sell later on.