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  • Writer's pictureTyler Reed

You might save money...you probably won't...unless.

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

We were discussing with a relative the other day about them building their home themselves in order to save money. At first glance you can see where a person would be tempted to build their own home in order to save on the builder's professional fee but you'd be wise to take a deeper than surface look. Now, if you're going to build your own home, including doing much of the work yourself, then yes, you should be able to save money. If you can take the time off from work then congratulations and more power to ya! But if you're like most who need to work to to keep the "flow" coming in then let me give you a few things to consider.


Today, while I'm not aware of any counties that do not allow individuals to build their own home, we are hearing from more and more banks that they are not allowing individuals to build their own home as it substantially increases the bank's risk when an inexperienced person takes on a 6, and sometimes 7, figure project with many professional trades involved.


Unlike an individual building their own home, the professional builder is going to have professional accounts at the various supply houses in the area where they receive discounts upwards of 15-20% in some cases. You're going to pay more for your materials than the professional builder. Now, it is worth mentioning that not all builders take advantage of having professional accounts and some that do still charge retail to the customer plus their builder fee. Blue Willow Designs does not charge customers retail for bulk materials. We allow our customers to enjoy our discounts that they see on the submitted original invoices. So let's say that 1/2 the cost of a 500k home is material, to be conservative Blue Willow Designs is paying 25k less for materials than a person trying to build their own home. This is fair, we've been using some of the same material providers for many years having bought 10's and 100's of thousands of dollars in materials from them year after to year. To think that an individual can walk in off the street, building 1 home, and get the same pricing we do is upsetting to say the least.


Then there is the labor issue, their charge and their availability. At this point, we do not need to go looking for subcontractors. Blue Willow Designs has long established relationships with some of the best trade contractors in the area. Are they the cheapest? No, but we will get a better price than the individual trying to build their own home because of the relationships with our trades and the volume of work we've given them through the years. There is an old saying that states "the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is gone". It only takes one barely mediocre paint job to see the truth in that statement. If you're trying to build your own home then hopefully you know at least some trades in the business you can trust to do an excellent and fairly priced job, but buyer beware if you're having to choose trades amongst people you do not know, especially today. Blue Willow Designs will have at least a 10% savings on labor to build a home over the average person trying to build it themselves.


Lastly, the nuances involved in properly scheduling the construction of a new home are numerous, particularly the more "custom" the home. Schedule a trade at the wrong time or not have everything completed for him or her to complete his or her part is frustrating for the sub and they will most likely charge a trip charge to come back and you will lose time...which is money. New home construction has increased in complexity in the last 27 years, to where one really has to focus and consider every little detail that you're working on today and how it affects the minute details of what's coming in the days ahead. Supposedly the allowable slippage (uh-oh) for new construction is 2% of the project cost. That means the current home I have under construction could reasonably be expected to have $16,000 in slippage. Perish the thought! We believe because of the accuracy of our design software and the constant turning of our mental gears regarding the schedule, our slippage is very near 0. If it's your first time building a home the likelihood of costly mistakes is greatly increased. Bottom line? You'd be miles ahead to allow a professional to build your home. With Blue Willow Designs as your builder, you'll most likely pay the same or less than you would if you try to tackle it yourself.

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