The opportunity to have a brand new home built is often a once in a lifetime experience for Australians. Now you are ready to start selecting a builder for your project, it is important to know that you can save potentially thousands of dollars off the cost simply by becoming an owner builder. Before your horrified spouse hides all the hammers, it is not quite what the label means. These are the main pointers you need to know about being an owner builder and how it saves you money.
What is an owner builder?
Traditionally, if you want a home built for you, you approach a property developer in a new estate, select the home plan you want, and they oversee the complete building process. When you decide to be an owner builder, you cut out the role of the property developer, and you liaise with the tradesmen yourself.
You save money going down this route by helping the builder with various tasks during the project. They oversee the construction of the project, but you organise the contractors they work with. However, only consider this route if you are an organised person who can give attention to the daily decisions required during the building project. If organisation is not a strong skill set, don't go down this path.
How can you help the builder?
You pay by the hour to use a builder and other tradies, so the more you do for the builder, the faster they finish the job. Tasks you can do to reduce the number of hours builders and other tradies are on your site include:
- running errands - if the builder needs more nails for the nail gun, your hourly rate to run down to the hardware store is a lot less than theirs
- negotiating price of fixtures by visiting showrooms to haggle the best price for fittings
- carry gib board, stack pipes, or dig a hole - do general labour work as directed by the builder
- continue working after the tradies have gone to clear away the day's debris
Every little piece you do on the building site to be helpful is one less task the builder needs to do. Now you know more about being an owner builder, you can discuss the idea further with builders you are interested in working with. Not all builders like to work in an owner builder situation, so now is the time to determine if it is a situation you want to venture into.