I get asked this question a lot!
“So you didn’t hire a general contractor?”
“What does self-contracting even mean?”
“Who is building your house?”
No, we did not hire a general contractor. We (my husband mainly) are acting as our own contractor, which means we are building our house. We hire out all of the sub-contractors (framers, plumbers, electricians, roofers, etc.) We line up the schedule and we make all of the decisions. There have been several pros and cons to this method, but of course, the biggest pro has been the money we saved.
A general contractor quoted us around $200,000 to build our house from top to bottom. We are right on schedule to save around $50,000 from hiring out our own sub-contractors and doing a lot of the work ourselves. I will be the first to say this method is not for everyone. My husband is self-employed, and the shop where he does most of his work is directly across the road from our build. He has the time and availability to meet with the sub-contractors and be there within minutes if a decision needs to be made or if something goes wrong.
Also, you may have noticed that it has taken us quite a while to get this house built. We have gone at our own pace and paid cash for as much as possible. As I write this, we are in month 15 of our build and we still have at least a month to go before we can move in. We will not be moving into a finished house. This is a game-changer for some people. After moving in, we will still need to finish trim, tile, exterior work, and I’m sure several other little projects will come up. We are in a hurry to move in at this point because we have a baby on the way.
I will also warn that not all cities/counties/HOAs will allow you to act as your own general contractor. We live in rural, south Georgia, where building codes are pretty lenient compared to some. We still had to sign an Owner Builder Affidavit which basically said we can not rent out or sell our house for 2 years after building. I think this is to ensure we build a solid, durable dwelling that won’t collapse on a new buyer/renter. LOL.
I did a lot of research on owner-builders before we got started. My favorite blog by FAR is Farmhouse From Scratch. She and her husband self-contracted their house and saved close to $200k. She has a ton of resources builders and she created an awesome Facebook group that I reference to daily – Build your own house-Owner Builders.
So far, I don’t regret the route we chose at all. It’s been hard, yes. It would have been nice to move in after 6-9 months of building. However, I will never regret the amount of money we saved or the sense of pride we get when we say that we built our own house.
If you are thinking about self-contracting your house and you have questions, feel free to reach out! I’m always happy to help.