In these times of recession, we are always trying to find ways to cut costs. If we can do it ourselves, we will. Companies are downsizing because they find that they can maintain an acceptable profit margin with fewer employees. Homeowners are finding that they would rather clean their own home instead of hire someone else to do their dishes.
There are all sorts of cheap software at various office supply stores that help home owners to draw their own house plans and to select their own finishes and furniture. Other home owners are finding that they would rather save the extra 21% surcharge that they would normally have to pay to a contractor by doing the construction management themselves.
Does this work?
According to several home owners that have come to me in the recent months, they are finding that it cost them a lot more money and time to design, draw, detail, and build their own homes.
Just recently, a couple was telling me that they will NEVER design and manage the construction themselves again. They have a historic colonial home that they are now thinking about doing more renovation/remodeling work. They said it took them a lot more time to get the home rebuilt, a lot more money to get it done right, and they still have kitchen cabinets that don’t align.
Here’s five ways how you are throwing good money after bad by doing this work instead of hiring an architect to do it for you:
1. There is a sequence of events that, if followed, make the entire design and construction processes much easier. You can buy all of the books that you can find with checklists and suggestions, but until you find someone to work with you that does this every day, you will waste a lot of time and money. You will probably miss some important things along the way that would be much easier to fix if it was done in the correct order.
2. The resources of experts available can offer their services that can help you select and install finishes, furniture, and equipment that can be bought at a savings and can show you a return on your investment. An example of such an expert would be an architect familiar with designing your home to orient correctly for the best solar gain/protection and while installing panels that can help you spin the dial on the electric meter backwards.
3. Cost of books and time spent at home improvement seminars can add up. How much is your time worth to you? A couple of pennies per hour? $100 per hour? $1000 per hour? Hopefully one of the latter. Get the information from specialists, like architects, who will provide it with proven results for a fraction of the cost of you starting from scratch.
4. If you do the construction administration yourself, you are liable to pay the contractor more than if you had an architect observing the construction process. The architect can review the contractor’s bills and compare it to the real progress that was discovered at the job site. Don’t let your money dry up before the home is built.
5. Repair costs can eat you up if the home is not built with the proper materials. Although architects do not regulate the means and methods that the contractor uses to build the designed home, the architect can certainly red flag any poor construction practices and have it rebuilt properly before you pay the contractor.
It might cost you over $20,000 to hire an architect to design and to stay with the project through construction, but you will save a lot more than his/her fee if you do it yourself. Otherwise, you will be jumping over the dollars to save a dime.
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