What you need to know when building your own house

Nowadays it seems like DIY projects are all the rage. The desire to customize and personalize everything has led people to handcrafting numerous formerly mass-produced items. From beer to jewelry to furniture, there are people who are skilled and dedicated enough to create beautiful things out of almost nothing. Setting aside the obvious pleasure that comes from owning something that you've created with your own hands, going the DIY route is often healthier for the environment as well, since most projects of this kind rely heavily on recyclable items and materials.

What you need to know when building your own house

In this climate it's no wonder that some people want to take things to the next level. While homeownership is a dream for many, some people want to go that extra mile and quite literally build their own homes. While by no means an easy feat, the act of constructing your dream house can be immensely rewarding, especially if you've got the time and know-how and aren't afraid to ask for a little help when it matters. First things first, if you're thinking about becoming an Owner Builder, there are a few considerations that you should definitely take into account before you even think about touching a shovel. Depending on your region's specific laws and conditions, the details may differ quite a bit, but at the very least you'll need to ask yourself these four questions:

1. Why are you doing it?
It seems basic enough, but building your own home is no joke, so it makes sense to analyze your motivation beforehand. If you're only doing it to save costs, you should know that building something of a larger scale by yourself is bound to bring about some pretty hefty unforeseen expenses, especially if you're a beginner. On the other hand, if the main reason you want to do it is because you feel confident in challenging yourself and being fully responsible for the ensuring results, your odds of succeeding are higher from the start.

2. Do you have the necessary skillset and enough time at your disposal?
There are a multitude of facets to consider when building your own home. A person who is handy in one area may not be an expert in another. Say, for example, that you're a master carpenter. Are you certain you have what it takes to install quality plumbing? What about electricity? These things and more should be compiled in the form of a list where you can cross them off one by one. Do not hesitate to subcontract any and all work that you don't feel 100% comfortable in undertaking yourself. Also keep in mind that building your own home requires a lot of planning and can be quite time-intensive, so it's not really the kind of thing you can do while juggling a full-time job and a busy family life.

3. What are the local rules and requirements that you'll need to comply with?
This one can be tricky as well. Even if you have all the technical expertise and financial acumen to handle things on your side, you'll also need to find out what the rules and regulations for being an Owner Builder are in your specific region. Be sure to pay your local council a visit and find out more before you begin the actual work. You can get a head start by obtaining your White Card online, a nationally recognized certification that allows you to work in construction safely and legally.

4. Are you aware of all the risks associated with being an Owner Builder?
DIY home-building hasn't reached the mainstream yet, which means that there are still certain risks associated with the endeavor that you should consider before getting started. For one, banks will be reluctant to fund such a construction without a licensed builder on the job and will usually only relent after you purchase specialized insurance coverage. Then there's the issue of re-selling your house if and when you decide to move out of it. The resale value of the property may be negatively impacted due to the fact that it wasn't built by a known industry professional. And if you intend to sell within six years and a half after the building work was completed, you'll need to provide documentation attesting that no structural defects can be detected in your building.

While all this might sound like a lot of hard work (it is!), the truth is that there are numerous happy homeowners who have managed to build their own houses and never regretted it. If you're ready for a genuine adventure while also being fully cognizant of the responsibilities you'll have to bear, building your dream home might just be in the cards for you.

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