(Please understand that the ideas in this website are based on building in 2006-7 before the housing bubble burst, so you might want to add on to an existing home right now to gain some experience. Study this and other websites thoroughly, and then when the housing market comes out of the "toilet" -and it always has before- you will feel more confident in building your entire home as owner/contractor.)
It takes preparation long before you actually dig that first shovel full of dirt. In this section of my website, I list what I determine to be 4 very important steps to follow.
First, you need to look at house plans. I found an excellent source for free houseplans. Of course, you know they aren't going to "give" you the plans, but you can look at the layout. That's what you want right now. IDEAS!
1. Decide on the budget and house plans
How much will it cost?
In keeping with the “free house” in 5 years idea, even if you are rich, you will probably want a construction loan, because you build with no money out of pocket. You might want to keep your money for investments that make you more money than the interest on a Construction Loan costs. So find out how much the bank will loan you and then you'll know how big a house to build.
One thing about a construction loan, is the deductible interest you pay on taxes while building your simple-house-plan.
If you already have a home you are buying, you already have an idea how much the bank will loan, and if you follow this site's guidelines, you will only build a modest starter home, so this is possibly a moot point. We're not rich, so I wanted to know whether the bank would loan to us for our simple-house-plan.
Would we qualify for a loan? I didn't want to spend time on something that wouldn't ever happen, so I went to the bank for a "pre-approval".We took our house plans, filled out a credit application and visited with the lender for a few minutes. She pulled our credit and determined that we would qualify.
After doing your research, then develop your budget, based on the plans you like and the projected costs.
2. Buying your Land
Before you start rushing out to purchase your simple-house-plan, you need to know a few things:
The selection of your house plans is greatly determined by your land. I know, because it affected us and we had to start over in developing our house plans, once we purchased the land.
While you are getting your plans, construction loan and lot secured you should be shopping for subcontractors.
3. Select your SubContractors
Since you are going to be the General Contractor, you don't need to find a General Contractor (GC), but you do need to find subs who will be willing to work for you in building your simple-house-plan. Often times, subs are basically employed or commited to a GC, so you need to get a commitment from your different subs that they will work for you when you are ready for them, and no it's not too early to ask..
Dangle the carrot, and tell them you plan to build 3 homes, and if you like their work, there will be more to come.
We joined a buying club which saved us thousands of dollars, because we were able to use their buying power to purchase materials we couldn't have purchased as easily otherwise. They also had lists of subcontractors who were willing to work with us at decent prices.
4. Sign Contracts with your Subs – before they begin
Written contracts can save you from Subs changing prices on you WHEN THEY SUBMIT THEIR BILL. Describe in detail all parts of the job required by each Sub. If there is a Change Order, this needs to be signed too.
Building a House