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The 10 Steps to Build Your Own House


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Introduction - Preparing the House Site
Public Domain: State of MO
Want to build your own house; that is, by yourself, without a contractor or with minimal help from a contractor? We're here to outline the basics of building your own house.

None of this entails you picking up a hammer or driving a single nail. All of the physical labor is performed by sub-contractors whom you hire out on a piecemeal basis (yes, you can put in some sweat equity if you want, but we're not assuming this in our guide).

The reward for building your own home is gigantic. Contractors charge 15% to 25% of the total price for building your house. And I'm sure you don't need a calculator to figure out how much you could save on a $100,000 job by not hiring a contractor (OK, it's $15,000 minimum).

The downside to not using contractor can be equally huge. Good contractors do earn their fee. They know sub-contractors ("subs"); they know the permitting offices; they have suppliers; they know how to coordinate to eliminate or minimize downtime; and so on.

Let's start with a house that has already been drawn up by an architect and begin with...

Step 1 - The Site and Construction Basics

First, it's time to get situated--literally and figuratively. Not only are you getting your project straight in your mind and on paper, but you are literally siting your intended home.
  • Basic site clearing, so surveyor can do his/her job.
  • Surveyor stakes out the lot.
  • Decide on direction house will be situated.
  • Deal with site's topography, as pertaining to water flow.
  • Complete site clearing, down to ground and 25 feet around intended house perimeter.
  • Order 40 yarder rolloff dumpster.
  • Order portable toilet.
  • Order temporary utilities from power company.
  • Call in an electrician to hook up temporary electrical panel.
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