Build Your Own Home — Qualifications Needed

build your own homeQualifications Needed to Build Your Own Home

By Michael Luckado

You may want to build your own home but you just aren't sure if you have what it takes. You know the process can be complicated with all of the budgets, quality control checks, and schedule updates. Do you need a background in construction to build your own new home?

You've also heard that many locations require professional builders to have a license. Don't you need one of those as an owner builder? Let's take a deep dive into some of these questions so you can make an informed decision about building your dream.

General Contractor License

Requiring a general contractor license for companies that build homes is a way for states and local governments to protect the public. Most licenses require each builder to show a basic level of knowledge, show proof of insurance, and have a bond in place. The insurance is to protect both you and the workers on your site. The bond is basically a guarantee the work will be completed. You've probably heard the stories about the builder that takes a deposit and then never returns to build your project. The bond helps to prevent this from happening.

So the license is only required for companies that do business for consumers. Since you are building your own home, you typically don't need a license as there is nobody to protect but yourself. Some local building departments will have you sign a document stating you understand you are in complete control of the project.

Experience

When we say, build your own home, we don't mean you will be physically building each part of the home. Not only would this take forever, but it isn't realistic for most people. There are some success stories out there, but they make up a very small percentage of owner builders. The idea here is for you to manage the process as the general contractor and get help for the pieces you don't understand. As the owner builder, you do all the time consuming items while getting advice from a team of experienced advisors when you need it.

Your team will consist of your subcontractors (plumbers, carpenters, electricians… etc.), attorney (for contract review), bank loan officer (for the cash), builder consultant (to help with locating trades, budgeting, quality checks… etc.), architect (revising your plan to meet local code and for site visits to check things are built to plan), and your real estate broker (to find a lot or land to build on).

You will only use this team when you need them. They will point you in the right direction, and you will manage the budget, quality and schedule for your new home build. And then if you have the time, you can choose to do some of the actual labor yourself to save additional money.

Requirements

A common question is… "I would like to build my own house but I just don't know if I have the qualifications to make it happen?" Your two biggest requirements will be time and the ability to ask for help when you need it. Is it easy to build a home? It's definitely not easy. There are many different people and products that come together to make it happen. But if you have the will to do it, you can create your dream home and save some serious money.

Michael Luckado has built, remodeled, and repaired thousands of homes across the U.S. He co-founded ArmchairBuilder.com to help people save money when building, remodeling, and repairing their home. You really can build your own home with a little help. Owner builder savings can really add up for those that are willing to take on this challenge.

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