2019 Idaho Real Estate Blog

So you think you want to be the Builder of your home? Main Idaho Real Estate Insights

Sometimes we have clients who want to buy land and become their own general contractor to save money and get a better home. In this market, that is a challenge

Starting in 2009, there were a lot of subcontractors looking for work and offering rock bottom prices to get the job, it was very competitive. That was a good time to become your own builder; assuming you were experienced or had the time to do your own due diligence. This market is different. New construction in very busy and there is already a lack of workers to fill jobs.

Here are three things to consider when deciding to become your own general contractor.

1. You probably don't know any sub-contractors

You don't know who the A-List companies are and unless you are retired, don't have time to vet them all out. As a reminder you need to hire a lot of people

  1. Drafting Designer
  2. Excavator
  3. Foundation people
  4. Framers
  5. Drywallers
  6. Electrician
  7. Painters
  8. HVAC
  9. Plumbers
  10. Carpenters
  11. Cabinet Maker
  12. Retail Suppliers including carpert and wood flooring plus installers

Do you have time to get estimates from at least 3 companies for each part of the construction process?  Even if you do, will you  be able to understand the difference between each estimate? Even if that is true, do you time to vet each company? There are a number of companies out there with a license a truck and a dog, that does not mean they run a good business, Many people try to make the jump from being an excellent employee to becoming a company and as you know very few small businesses make it. Do you want to hire someone just starting their business?

You are getting ready to spend tens of thousands of dollars and every thing must come together just right. One error and it could cost you thousands of dollars. If you are not experienced, do you trust yourself to get it right? Keep in mind that everything is good on paper!


2. The Good Sub-Contractors are already working

Currently the market is on fire for builders. They are building fast to try to meet customer expectations, market demand and striking while the opportunity is here now. The best sub-contractors are working for large builders or even several builders and for top dollar due to the shortage of workers and market drive. They have consistent work and are not going to mess that up to work on a one time job with you.

3. You are not going to Save Money

If they a sub-contractor has time, they are going to charge you for it! The really good ones know the value of their service. They may be working for the best builders and offering volume discounts but you will not get that benefit. For those of you trying to save money by being your own builder, don't expect to save money by hiring your own trades in the current market.

One likely scenario is that the B-Grade subcontractors and new companies will have time to work for you. Are you willing to trust they will bring you first class quality? Are you willing to take theg time to manage them closely?

In conclusion- If you have the time to take bids, vet the sub-contractors, manage the entire process including people and quality to maybe save a dollar, you are not valuing your time. It may actually save you money to hire a builder who already have this in place plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing that not only is it all handled but the risk and headaches are all on your builder!

The perspective shared is based on what we are currently experiencing. The market will change and opportunity to become your own builder will make more sense then.

Trey Langford

Posted by tlangford at 7/4/2019 8:11:00 PM
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Michelle Penick, Build Idaho Client Real Estate Services

Michelle Penick

208.629.0217 |
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