If building your own house is so great, why aren’t more people doing it?
I really don’t have a good answer for that. I suppose it has something to do with people not knowing all the facts. People don’t care about the facts because the thought of them putting on the tool belt and doing something so far beyond them doesn’t even merit consideration in their minds. They are self-defeating and certainly don’t consider themselves competent to undertake such a big project.
To those of us who dare to dream and actually do something to reach our dreams, the reward is there waiting for us. Rewards that are not only financial, but emotional as well. It is so satisfying to see a project through to the end and watch the appraisers actually put a dollar amount on your sweat equity. It was so amazing to me how much my hard work was worth. That equity is valuable to me as a homeowner.
A few years before I built my house, I remember reading somewhere that if a person did all his or her own work instead of hiring it out, that person could save as much as 30% on the cost of the house. I thought to myself, “Man, that’s not worth busting my hump just to save 30%.” I asked my friend that had built his own house, if that was correct. He said, “That’s hogwash, you’ll save almost 2/3 the cost of the house if you do everything yourself.” So, I went on faith and did my own construction and my numbers speak for themselves. It worked out that my savings came in at a little over 60%. That’s really good equity.
· Dealing with inspectors is too much of a pain; I hate it when other people tell me what I can or can’t do.
It’s hard getting told what to do. I remember having a particularly mean teacher in school when I was in the sixth grade. Man, that teacher was pure evil. She had armor-piercing eyes and a nasty disposition. In this day, a teacher like that would be drawn and quartered by the parents or the superintendent the first day of class, but in those days, strict teachers that used a paddle were heroes to the parents. I think it was right around that time in my life that I developed a big dislike for authority. I’m cool with supervisors and foremen as long as they are doing what’s right and are acting in the best interest of the company and the employee. I just really hate it when people tell me that I’ve screwed up and that’s what inspectors get paid to do. They’re nice about it though. One Electrical Inspector even told me, “I don’t really care about rules and regulations; I just don’t want you and your family to burn up.” How can you argue with that?
The subject of inspectors is one I’ve beat on too many times already. You can’t argue with them because it won’t get you anywhere. It’s their plump rump on the line if something goes wrong with a new dwelling. We all hate being told what to do, but sometimes it’s for our own good. I still think that teacher was evil though. No doubt about it.
· You have to be smart to build a house.
When I’m doing work with a circular saw however; it gets my complete, undivided attention. You know, I used to work around all kinds of saws. Some were huge circular saws six feet in diameter. Others were double-edged band saws forty feet long and spinning at fourteen thousand RPM’s. But the saws that I have the most respect for, is the circular saw or better known as the Skilsaw. Those bad boys are notorious for kickbacks. It’s crucial that a carpenter concentrate on the task at hand.
Other than concentration, anybody can be a carpenter or tradesman. Even some of the more complicated electrical circuits can be figured out with a little concentration and common sense. Besides, you’ll get a little smarter every day throughout the entire building process. It’ll be good for you and you’ll feel better about yourself too.
· I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do all the lifting
That is a very real concern. Through certain phases of the project, you will need to have a fair amount of strength. The heaviest materials will be the plywood or wafer board, the sheetrock, and the trusses will be heavy too. The walls won’t be too heavy if built in eight-foot sections. If lifting is a problem, you can cut the sheets in half, but that creates a lot more work for you. It’s just better to give it the heave ho and lob those fellas up in one piece. One note: if you’re lugging up twelve-foot lengths of sheetrock, find a buddy!
His help was a combination of moral support and strength. But, I didn’t need help all the time. The reason is because it was a one-person job most of the time. The thing is, most of the time I was doing things like running electrical circuits or putting ABS pipe together. One-person jobs. That will be the bulk of the time spent, so find yourself a good Walkman or MP3 player and some nice tunes and crank out brew!
There will definitely be times when you need a hand. If you’re creative, you might be able to do it all by yourself, but for safety’s sake, find some help doing the heavy stuff.
Well, that’s it for all the “why” reasons you should build your own house. Now it’s up to you to find the strength and endurance to get it done. Very few things in life that are worthwhile come easy or cheap. This is just one of those things.
We have all heard the saying, “You will get out of it what you put into it”. But that’s not even close to the truth as far as taking the time to build your own house. The truth is you will get much, much more out of it than you put into it and the small amount of hard work you do for just a year or two, will benefit you for the rest of your life.
Down the road, you will have forgotten all the hard work you had to do, but you will never forget how huge the advantages are of having high equity in your home, and low monthly payments. You will be reminded every month when you pay your mortgage payment and still have money left over for more important things. When you’re able to retire early with a nice nest egg, you’ll be glad you made the sacrifice earlier in life that enabled you to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money. Most people will spend roughly ten years of wages on mortgage interest alone. It doesn’t have to be that way at all.