2019 Idaho Real Estate Blog

Why NOT TO consider being your own General Contractor to build your custom home. Main Idaho Real Estate Insights

The new construction market in Boise, Idaho is hot and now is not the best time to build your own home. Here's why-

Being a general contractor is a full time job and in this market there are a number of reasons to consider before deciding to build your own home and being the GC.

  1. Have you built a home before?
    There are some 90,00+ pieces to put together. That is a huge puzzle! Are you sure you know what you are doing? If one piece does not go in at the appropriate time and in the right place, it can be a costly mistake.
     
  2. Are you good at managing the process including sub-contractors, suppliers and installers?
    Some things you can do on your own but you at least have to hire licensed electrical and plumbing professionals. Are you ready to manage the concrete guys that create the foundation? That is just the begining. Then the construction workers/ trades start coming- framers, roofers, drywall and painters. Don't forget the finish carpenters, windows and the all the installers like for flooring. Did you order the cabinets? The list goes on. You are also going to have to go to all the retail suppliers to select and order the finishes to your home and then coordinate delivery.
     
  3. Can you commmit to being at the jobsite and managing quality of the home construction?
    Most people have a full time job and are not able to be at the jobsite during most of the day which is when all the questions arise. Do you know what to look for as each sub-contractor reports they arefinished? Do you know if they took shortcuts?
     
  4. You are going to pay more
    The demand for labor is high and supply of skilled and qualified workers is slim pickens. You will be lucky to find someone that is available to work for you. Remember this, the good ones are working for builders that have continuous work for them. To pull them from full time work is going to cost you more. They also give their big clients bulk discounts for their work.

    You are likely to only find the best are not available for the reasons previously stated so you are going to have to work with new or possibly even 'B' grade subs. The best in the business are not going to chance they cannot take care of their clients for a one off construction job. They are not going to give you discounts if they do. They have work and that person pays them regualrly.

Most people just think about trying to save money and be their own builder. In this market, that may not be as easily accomplished as you might think.

  • Builders are not paying retail pricing for building lots.
  • Builders are not paying full price for labor, building product or retail suppliers as  they are buying bulk
  • The additional amount of time and effort to build a home without a team to support you adds up. You also have to go out and take time to find them, get bids and call references. Do you really want to go through that?

Back when the market crashed, there were many people trying to find jobs and it was fairly easy to be your own general contractor, if you had the time. Once the word got out, people called you. You would still need to verify references but jobs were scarce so you were in demand! In this market, it is a little trickier if you can even find a lot that you want to build on.

In the market we are in, builders can offer a great value. They have sub-contractors that they have already vetted and trust. Those subs understand the builder's system and expectations. The builder has systems in place to control costs and quality. If you are working with a quality builder, your money is 'protected.'

Lastly, for the time it will take someone to learn the job, probably on the fly, find talented workers to help build it, shop all the building suppliers and retail stores, then negotiate and coordinate delivery, you are probably not actually going to save any money and defintely spend a substantial more time and effort.

Trey Langford- Idaho Builder & Developer Services
Trey Langford  Realtor
New Construction Consulting

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Posted by tlangford at 12/23/2017 11:39:00 PM
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