# 1- Deciding to Not to Consult a Qualified Professional

This first mistake can cost you your piece of mind, your home, your savings, and ultimately the loss of your family.

There are dozens of ways to make serious mistakes honestly and innocently- and dozens more ways to be taken advantage of from those who are less scrupulous. An honest misunderstanding can quickly become an unforgiving nightmare. It is avoidable.

Know this; every piece of paper you sign was written by somebody else’s attorney… to protect them. Every bid you accept is your authorization for work to be preformed on an “estimated” basis. If prices go up, guess who pays the extra amount? If something needs to be added, guess who pays for it? Remember you authorized work based on a bid. Do you know how to” lock in” pricing? Did you read and fully understand the legal implications of every word on every document you signed? If you didn’t, get an attorney! This is the most common failing of the typical home buyer, whether working with a contractor or acting as an Owner Builder.

A simple precaution here may cost you a small amount of safeguard your entire home construction investment. It is a small price to pay when compared to the protection you gain. This is your project. You are accountable. The liability is yours. We urge you to select a qualified legal professional, one familiar with residential construction law in your state. IF you end up not needing these services, you’ve purchased sound peace of mind. However, if you end up needing legal assistance, you’ll be forever grateful that you are fully prepared.

You are now warned about this mistake. We urge you to pay attention. This is not the place to cut expenses.

#2 – Poor Planning

Lack of proper planning will cost you time and money. It will increase the likelihood of dreaded construction change orders. Poor planning magnifies project stress, reduces your initial equity, and increases the odds of family difficulty. Our package helps you throughout the process, from preconstruction to owner occupancy.

Planning your new home requires that you be involved. While you don’t have to ever pick up a hammer, you do need to be involved, especially in the beginning, before you ever break ground.

You need a crystal clear understanding of all materials that will be used in the construction of your home- whether you work with a general contractor or choose to build your own home. Our package helps guide you through all this.

Proper planning requires that you be detail oriented- your success and the quality of your home ARE IN THE DETAILS. Do NOT be satisfied with blueprints calling for a “shower” . There are THOUSANDS of “showers”. Specify the manufactures name, model name and number, as well as physical dimensions and the exact hardware to be used. Your plumber and General, if you are using one, should acknowledge this description with there signature(s). Give this level of detail to EVERY part and piece that goes into your new home. Our package is an excellent record- keeping resource.

Anything less than this constitutes poor planning, and it opens you up to a host of problems including change orders, cost overruns, construction delays, degraded construction quality, increased project stress, reduced owner  equity, and family discord.

Plan well ahead of groundbreaking. Your reward will be an affordable and quality- built home that will be a source of pride for years to come.

# 3 – Choosing the Wrong Professionals

Poorly trained and challenged trades people increase the likelihood of cost overruns, construction delays, increased project stress, and poor workmanship on your home building project.

Choosing the most expensive bid DOES  NOT ensure that you will receive the best value. Choosing the least expensive bid does not guarantee that you will save a dime. Choosing the professionals right for your project is the result of performing “due diligence” on your part.

Check out each trades person. Ask at current job sites. Visit with the manager of the building center or wholesale supply house where he or she does business. Talk with your city / county building inspector. If applicable chat with competitors.

Your trades person candidate isn’t likely to give poor references, and there won’t likely be any legal records of past grievances. You’ve really got to dig here, but you are ensuring the quality and construction timeliness of your home construction project. If you are having ANY misgivings about a particular trades person, get them resolved well in advance of hiring this individual. If something seems “off” and you are unable to resolve it to your satisfaction, we suggest you pass on this candidate and seek someone who better matched your needs. This is another place where our package helps keep you going in the right direction.

It is so very true that “You can do it right, or you can do it over”. Doing it right may seem to cost a few dollars more. Doing it over takes more time, wastes money, increases project related stress, adds pressure to your family and does nothing positive to or for your construction project.

Avoiding this common mistake requires serious investigation, but then, the quality of your home and the equity you earn and retain are at stake, as is the comfort and quality of your family’s life. Do what must be done?

#4 - Lenders and relationships

Mortgage lending bankers have very strong relationships with their portfolio builders. A builder’s portfolio can be worth tens of millions of dollars to a bank. That bank will practically bend over backwards to protect the portfolio. Banks are terrified of loosing a portfolio client.

It is both niaeve and dangerous to think your banking lender will come to your aid if your project starts to go astray. You will likely be on your own and left to your own devices. Remember, your banker has a portfolio to protect. You can quickly become the “odd man out”.

Your builder isn’t your friend. He or she is a businessperson. As soon as the two of you have a disagreement over some aspect of your construction project you will learn the true nature of this person’s business philosophy. They may be willing to work with you to quickly and reasonably resolve the issue- the mark of a true professional. They may also go the other way to become remarkably less cooperative. Here again the best path is to avoid these situations from beginning.

The construction industry is built on the law of maximizing profit. Profit maximization equals owner equity reduction. There is no plainer way to state it. Contractors and subcontractors keep building material costs as low as possible. Taken to an extreme, this will affect the quality of your home. Labor costs are also tightly controlled. This can invite cutting corners. Corner cutting does not necessarily serve your best interest.

Misplaced trust or your lack of involvement can invite cost overruns, change orders, time delays, and low quality building materials, loss of project control, and other disasters. Your lack of attention is an open invitation for builders and trades people to take full advantage of a “profit opportunity”. Choose your lender and building professionals carefully.

#5 –Assuming You Lack the Experience to be an Owner Builder

Managing the construction of a home isn’t rocket science. It can be a powerful step toward financial security, saving you tens of thousands of dollars and cutting years off your mortgage. Our package is a core weapon in your war to manage your construction project.

It isn’t as scary as some would have you believe. General Contractors and Realtors will tell you horror stories of those brave souls who dared “build” their own homes. You aren’t building, you’re managing. Big difference.

Are you detail orientated? There are thousands of details to consider in building a home. However, you don’t make every  decision. That’s why you hire qualified trades people. It’s why you solicit there opinions and listen to them. A strong building team can make your building project smooth, organized, and even pleasurable.

Managing your home construction project is not a place for you to flex your ego. Wanting something done a certain way, just because you want it that way- without any practical experience backing up your opinion can be a dangerous thing. Remember, you’ve selected professionals to do the work. Listen to them. Odds are that your framer knows more about framing a house than you ever will… you don’t have the experience they do.

Select qualified trades people for your project. Utilize their skills. Like your trades people, you too will derive a well deserver sense of satisfaction from “building your own home” even though you never lifted a hammer.

You aren’t expected to actually construct your own home. Most people lack the time and expertise to successfully complete such a task in a reasonable time frame. You are the manager, the conductor of your merry band of builders. It’s your job to organize lead and manage. It’s there job to build. It’s worked for others. It can work for you.

Can you do it? Probably. We have a lender specializing in owner builder construction loans. They’ll be happy to work with you. How’s that for confidence?

# 6 - Paying Cash Advances to Contractors & Trades people

Never, ever pay advances- not to anyone. Do you really think it is wise to hand a stranger a few hundred or a few thousand dollars before they’ve done the work? If you think this is wise, I’d like to borrow a few hundred dollars, just until the end of the week. I’ll pay you back. “Honest”.

Pay your contractor and subcontractors only by check, never by cash. You need a record of payment.

Never pay unless and until you receive a signed “Release of Lien” from all parties paid by your check. Otherwise you are open to being liened, and that is not a good thing.

Pay as the stages of work progress, if you must. It’s pretty common. However, never pay a trade in full until there work is inspected and signed off by the appropriate city/ county building inspector. The only leverage you have with the trades people is withholding payment until there work passes inspection.

Make it a rule on your project that you pay your trades people immediately after their work passes inspection. Many general contractors make there subcontractors wait until the entire project is finished before they pay. You can have the advantage of paying upon completion of work, subject to passing inspection. This can be quite attractive to your subcontractors.

Remember, you’ll pay interest only on the amount of money you’ve actually used. So, it is to your advantage to use the money only as you need it and to take out only as much as you need. This is another great way to prudently manage your financial resources.

# 7 - Making Assumptions

We all want to believe that we can trust others- which they will look out for our better interests. Those are all but gone. While there are still people and businesses with whom we can seal a deal with a handshake, they are few and far between.

Memories are not perfect. What you and I remember from conversation can differ dramatically. It is in our mutual best interest to spell the content of that conversation in written form. This serves to document our understanding, and we can then discuss any misunderstanding openly and honestly before signifying our mutual agreement with our signatures.

This isn’t insulting its good business. Assume nothing. Take nothing for granted. There are too many opportunities for disaster.

Guard against tradespersons assumptions. It’s common for them to believe that you’re either uninterested or that you already know ‘it”. You’re not, and you don’t. Don’t assume. Ask. That’s why you have our Package.

Do not assume building a home is easy, it is not. Do not assume it is impossible, for that is incorrect, being an owner builder will challenge and reward you in ways you cannot yet imagine.

Thousands of owner builders will tell you that it is worth it. But, that decision is up to you.

We wish you the very best,

Custom Homes Built Homes By You

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