LESLIE: Next up, we have a call from Minnesota where John is looking to build a new house.
John, what’s going on?
JOHN: Well, I’m really interested in building my own house. And I’ve never – I’ve done some carpentry work. I can get a …
LESLIE: Oh, wait. You want to build it yourself.
JOHN: I do. Yes. And I want to general contract it myself as well.
TOM: So you want to supervise the construction and do as much of it as you possibly can.
JOHN: Mm-hmm. And I’m just interested in finding out what are some great resources that would cover the whole project in a very comprehensive way.
TOM: The first one’s called an architect. Make sure you hire an architect; especially somebody like you who’s never done this before. The architect can be your best friend on this because the architect is going to do a number of things for you. First of all, you’re going to work with the architect to get exactly the kind of house that you want. He’s going to make sure that it fits the lifestyle, it has all the rooms, all the nooks, all the crannies, everything you want.
And then the architect is going to do something else for you and that is he’s going to develop a set of specifications so that when you go to hire that general contractor, everybody’s bidding apples to apples. If you don’t do this, you’re not going to be able to fairly compare and contrast competing contractors; you may make some bad decisions. You never, ever want to leave it up to the contractor to select some of the material. Have your architect do that.
So spend some money on an architect. Have the architect design the building for you and spec it out. And then that architect, you might also want to consider hiring them as a construction manager because they can provide you a lot of guidance; they can provide you leads to qualified, competent contractors. And I think the project is going to come out a lot better; especially since you haven’t done it before.
LESLIE: Well, there’s another benefit of having an architect with you. It’s because their firm will have a lot of contacts with vendors of everything that you’re going to need to make that house: flooring; tiles; any sort of stone that you might need; paint; wall covering. And they might be able to even get you a better price.
JOHN: Well, that sounds good. I know architects are really expensive though, aren’t they?
LESLIE: It’s worth it.
TOM: No. It’s worth it. It’s worth it. Don’t cheap out on us now, alright? Spend the money on the architect. I’m telling you, in the end, they’re going to save you a ton of money, John. Don’t do this without an architect.
LESLIE: Well also, you’re not going to know how to jump through the hoops of everything in your region to make sure that you’re getting the right permits, all sorts of paperwork. They will. They’ll know the ins. They probably know the people and can get your paperwork done right away.
TOM: You could make dozens of small and costly problems; you can make a few really expensive mistakes; and all in all, it’s going to add up to a pile of money. So hire an architect and let them design the building and spec it out; at least. You know, you could consider maybe doing that construction management yourself but you’ve got to have a good start and that’s what an architect will do.
John, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.