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We Are Writing a Book: How NOT to Build Your Own House

| 12/16/2013 11:27:00 AM

illustrated manDavid: Richard, we have developed quite a list of reasons to be an owner builder, let’s discuss some of these in more detail.

Richard: Let’s start with the bottom line - cost savings.  There are two very different reasons for seeking those savings:  1. Because you need to; 2. Because you want to.

DW: You may need to from “simple necessity” -- you don’t have much in the way of funds. You can save money by purchasing property in the boonies which helps, but by building yourself you can save all the way through the project from beginning to end.

RD: You need do it yourself because you can’t afford to hire others to do the work, and the only way you’ll end up with a house is if you do a substantial amount of the work yourself.

DW: Another reason you may need to is if where you are located there is not much help available. This is a common problem in more rural locations.

RD: Yes, there may be a jack-of-all-trades builder, who may not be licensed, and specialists like plumber or an electrician may be in short supply. You can either put your faith in the local folks, pay people to travel long distances, or you can teach yourself to do the work. 

12/10/2013 2:40:57 PM

I just signed on with an earth sheltered home builder in Illinois (Davis Caves)on a piece of my families (100 years plus)heritage farm Sadly I do not have skills, time, or tools to build such a structure. Having trouble finding financial business/ insurance companies who will deal with me to actually do this project next summer as anticipated. Also finding living in Indiana means one of least progressive states as far as grants, tax incentives, etc for the wind and solar power I hope to include. After some discussion with I&M Electric Power Co. beginning to think they are trying to discourage any "grid tied" system that I could hope to make profitable. may go off grid with battery back up. Getting discouraged and fearful enough to consider dropping this like a hot potato. Please pass this on to any you may know to have ideas, good advice, or possible contacts. Thanks and all have a joyous Christmas time!

12/9/2013 3:24:02 PM

We didn't build our own home, but we supervised. One thing I would change is where the HVAC guys put the registers for the heat pump. For some odd reason, they put nearly all of the register vents under windows. I didn't realize the issue until after we moved in and had curtains up. When the heat pump is on, the heat blows right up under the curtains. We have tried those magnetic plastic vents, but with 3 crazy cats - they don't stay put very long and they break (even though the package said unbreakable). I would have put the vents on solid walls. I can't change them now so we are making due. I bought some more unbreakable vent deflectors, but to date we have not turned on the heat pump - we've been using the fire place.

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