What does licensing really tell you? When homeowner builders build their own homes and use their own labor along with that of friends, does this prove it’s okay to also use unlicensed contractors?Not exactly … here’s what I mean.Question: What’s the value of hiring licensed contractors?Answer:I’ll answer this question in a minute. But, first … is a licensed contractor necessarily a better contractor? The answer to that is no. Just because a builder or tradesman is licensed doesn’t necessarily make him or her better.But, that is not the whole story. You wouldn’t look at the license as an indication of quality as much as you want assurances that you can go back to the builder for reparations. When building and remodeling, there is a lot of work to be done, a ton of management, and quite a few companies and people involved. The fact is, with all that is involved, things can and usually do go wrong from time to time.Licensing Can Indicate Insurance and ExperienceIn most states and provinces, as well as some other parts of the world, a licensed contractor is required to demonstrate a certain amount of experience first. Also, licensed contractors are usually required to be bonded and insured. This is your fall back recourse if you feel products and services were provided with inferior results.But, never assume they are bonded and insured. Always ask to see their license and ask them to prove their insurance is current.Can You Be Your Own Builder and Still Have Protection?Laws and practices vary, and this isn’t meant to replace legal counsel, but, the beauty of hiring licensed subcontractors is it can provide you with some protection as an unlicensed builder yourself. You can build or remodel your own home by wearing your own General Contractor’s hat and hiring all licensed subcontractors to do the actual physical work.So, licensed contractors are essential, and with a good homebuilding coach and a proven step by step system, your savings can be significant.
Have you considered the pay-as-you-go plan for funding the building of your home? Amazingly, I’ve periodically run across home-owner builders who have built their own homes as money became available.Pocket change? Nuggets from under the couch cushions? Okay, that doesn’t happen and I’m not really in favor of the pay-as-you-go construction of your home for a number of reasons. But it definitely has been and can be done.The pay-as-you-go plan is just like it sounds. When enough money is saved, another aspect of the building process is completed. Usually, people considering this option have owned their land a while and have already paid for the improvements like well, sewer/septic systems, power to the lot, phones, etc. They are intent on not having a construction loan and not having any mortgage payments when the home is completed. A very nice goal indeed!Unfortunately, few people are in the position to do this and fewer people can pull it off successfully. There are draw-backs to this way of building. If you can deal with the draw-backs, or even avoid them, you’ll be doing OK. Consider these:DRAWBACKS TO THE PAY-AS-YOU-GO PLAN
There is often a lack of a well defined plan for the entire cost and an accurate assessment of the time needed to complete construction. This leads to added delays over and above the waiting for funds.
Materials and exposed structure are subjected to weathering and decay if the project is left in unfinished condition too long.
Projects that appear to be abandoned for periods of time are subject to theft and vandalism.
Long and drawn out projects cause a loss of interest and enthusiasm and can be a strain on personal and family life.
Funding can be more difficult to get later if you need to apply for money to finish the project.
Building departments often frown on projects that go too long and sometimes charge penalties.
Neighbors can become disgruntled. I’ve even seen unfinished houses deliberately burnt to the ground!
A lot of thought should go into the decision to build this way. Despite the disadvantages, there are also some nice advantages and if you can pull it off in a reasonable amount of time, it surely can be successful.IF YOU DECIDE TO USE THE PAY-AS-YOU-GO PLANIf you decide this is for you. I hope you have experience building! There is a lot of knowledge about the building process that is needed. However, since there will not be a lender requiring you to demonstrate this you could be unaware of things you’ve omitted. And there is no outside influence creating the urgency for to test your knowledge and ability.This is the main reason I’m not in favor of it for most people. People often just don’t know what they don’t know! To remedy this, you can hire someone as your consultant. Get a qualified person, usually a builder or construction superintendent to review all your plans and processes before you begin construction and agree to assist and inspect during construction. This should work well.Great planning and awareness of the pitfalls can help you avoid them. Getting help will be like a new set of eyes that can spot things you’ve missed. Being certain to not let wood and other components get damaged by weather is important. If you are building with a partner, open and honest understanding of the time this will take is essential. And not having neighbors too close helps as well!So, plan extremely well and make sure that your budget is sound and that your income is predictable. Don’t plan on going more than 2 years (3 maximum). More time than this and the failure rates go way, way up.For most, this simply is not a good option. So, for better options that include various ways to borrow money, please see other articles by Mel Inglima in this and other sites.
Construction home building is the “meat and potatoes” of erecting a home. There are several different stages that go into making one. Manufactured homes are made a lot quicker than custom homes, but they usually have cheaper materials and labor. The home plans that you choose will determine how long it takes to build your new building.There are several different stages in constructing it from new home plans. First the ground has to be leveled. If the ground is not level, then the building will settle and the foundation will crack, or the building will sink into the ground. Then the base of the house has to be constructed.This is usually pier and beam or a slab. Basic plumbing is added at this part of the building as well. Then they add some of the framework for the building. After the framework comes the walls and roof frame. The rest of the plumbing is added, and then the sheet rock and insulation.They put the roof on, and then add the electrical work. The windows and doors are added, and then they put up the bricks or whatever will be the outside of the house. Once the outside is complete, then they move on to the inside of the house and add whatever is needed indoors. The last thing to be done is floors and painting, and then finally the yard. This process is used because it is the most efficient for following home floor plans.Manufactured homes are made differently than custom homes. Construction home building for manufactured homes is usually accomplished all at once. If you are interested in buying one, then you look at the home floor plans that the company has available. Then it is possible to choose different features to customize the house. Paint colors and floor coverings are usually chosen at this time too.The building company then finishes the house so the new owners can move in. There are many manufactured homes built in the ranch house plans style or in the Tudor house plans style. It is easy to build many of these kinds of houses. The home building industry has grown a lot in past years. This started in the 1950s and 1960s with the first manufactured homes. Now, most homes that are built are at least somewhat manufactured.Construction home building has not changed much over the years. Home floor plans are built into 3-D homes. The main difference in new homes versus old seems to be the fact that manufactured homes are more popular now. While it is still possible to customize these homes, it is harder. However, the fact that the homes are cheaper keeps them popular.