Should you hire a builder? Or carry out the works yourself?
I often hear these questions a lot.
“What’s the Pros & Cons of building my own house?”
“Should I build my own house, or should I get a builder to do it?”
As a result, you try and search for the answer and find certain websites which often take a biased view on the heavily debated subject.
Builders say “No Way! Don’t do it! You don’t have the skills needed!”
So, in other words,
“Hire me now and I’ll solve all your problems”
Websites selling Owner builder insurance and permits tell you,
“YES, Start, what are you waiting for? You’ll save 40% just by making the decision!”
“Oh, and by the way …. I’ll provide you with the insurance you need?”
Also, you may even turn to family and friends for advice. Which, depending on their personal views or experience. May, or may not, put you off the idea when you could possess a completely different skill set or level of understanding than what they have on the subject.
So with all that being said,
What the hell should you do?
My opinion and the only opinion I will provide in this post. Is that each case is specific to the individual’s skills, time and lifestyle etc.
For example, If ‘Mary’ a single mother with two young children, working full time and has no construction knowledge what so ever. Decides she wants to build an extension which consists of extending the kitchen and adding a new bathroom.
This may appear to be an extremely ambitious project and therefore, may not be the best decision to build without a builder.
But, If ‘Sarah’ whose semi-retired. Her kids moved out, and has done some research into the building processes. Decides to undertake the same project.
Then first impressions would be owner building would suit Sarah more than Mary, because of the time she has available and her beginners knowledge.
So, what I want to provide in this post is an unbiased and impartial view on both the Pros and Cons on self-built and owner-built homes.
By the end, you will be able to see if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and above all, are the following advantages or disadvantages specific to your circumstances.
- A sense of achievement & high satisfaction – To build something of such magnitude and potential worth. Whether you’re managing the build or physically carrying out the build is something to be extremely proud of.
- Higher sentimental value – Pouring your blood, sweat, and tears in to building it and knowing every little detail on how it was achieved. Can make it a lot more personal.
- Potential cost savings – The main incentive. Building for cost, not paying for builders or their profit margins. Some Countries & states also have self-built incentives like VAT exemption in the UK.
- Complete control – Control over the design right through to completion. You make all the decisions. Quality, time, money, materials, tradesmen. All up to you!
- Research – You can shop around as much as you like for materials, fittings, and fixtures. Decide on materials you want to use and build with. You are not dictated by set plans and specifications provided from kit homes or project builders. This becomes a house specifically tailored to you and your families needs and lifestyle.
- Control the budget – You can make your money go further, rather than paying 20 – 30% for builders margin you have the choice to invest that money in an area of your project or keep for savings.
- Time – Ensure you have the spare time to invest in the project outside of your normal 9-5 job. Also, in relation to your program, you have the control to complete the project as quickly and efficiently as you can. Instead of relying on builders who may not be as concerned as the program length as you.
- Learning – Building and undertaking a construction project will Undoubtedly improve your knowledge of the building process. Along the way, you will learn a lot of fundamental building skills and also learn how to plan, coordinate and manage people to get what you want when you want it.
- Faulty workmanship – As you may be “unskilled” in a particular trade or area of the project this will affect the quality of the finish. You may also struggle to coordinate and give instructions to tradesmen that require details.
- Lack of construction knowledge – If you have zero practical skills, man management, and time management skills then this will be a problem. You need to learn the processes of what needs to happen and when.
- Timeframe – If you need the project to be completed at its earliest possible time, then a builder will be more likely to finish the project before you will be able to.
- Cost could increase – Costs will increase if you don’t plan properly and schedule the works on time. They may increase through a variety of areas such as; If you are constantly repairing faulty work, you hire poor tradesmen, you take longer to complete the project & you probably won’t get the same discounts as builders do with suppliers.
- Tradesmen – You could find it difficult to find good reliable tradesmen. Rather than a builder who has established contacts.
- Finance – Depending on your circumstances you could struggle to find a loan and Insurance.
- Accountability – No one else is accountable but you. If something goes wrong or needs fixing you will have to resolve it.
- Peace of mind – Knowing a professional builder is controlling the process for you and managing all the work could give you peace of mind.
Finally, more and more people are deciding to carry out their own house builds and renovations with ever increasing success. However, it’s important to have a good understanding of what you are letting yourself in for before you take the plunge.
The above list of Pros and Cons will certainly help you understand your own personal circumstances and as a result will provide you with an idea of what rewards and setbacks you may come across.
If you have any stories about undertaking a project yourself, let me know, was it successful or what areas did you struggle with?
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