Buying a new home is fun. It can also be an exhausting experience. Building a new home is all that and more, but on a much larger scale. There is so much that can go wrong. If you don’t have any experience in building or designing, you may be setting yourself up for failure. It will likely be a much simpler and better experience if you go ahead and hire a general contractor to do it all for you.
Building a Home Is Hard Work
There are tons of shows on TV about wonderful and beautiful new home construction. The same is true of renovations, specializing in kitchens or baths or anything else. There is, though, a cottage industry of TV shows about the exact opposite happening. The DIY Network has an entire suite of programming devoted to this reality. They call it Disaster DIY, and this is only one channel. Renovation Realities and Rescue My Renovation are two of the many shows. They highlight how gargantuan a task it is to build or renovate a home on your own.
While it can be funny at times to watch, if it was me, I would not be laughing. I doubt you would be either. It is hard to laugh when your dream home is collapsing in front of your very eyes. Even with some experience in construction, building a house from scratch presents challenges. New Home Source says that there are at least ten primary steps involved along the way. This is not an exhaustive list, but it does paint an accurate picture. Major hurdles and problems can arise at each step, of course. This can cause countless headaches and major stressing on your budget.
Classic Island Homes general contractors (website) advises that you’ll have to prepare the site first. Then, you can pour the foundation and construct and finish all the framing. Next, the plumbing, electric, and HVAC work needs executing. Install the insulation and begin raising the drywall. Situate the interior textures in every room. Begin the exterior finishes on every wall.
We haven’t even gotten to the trim, driveway, walkway, flooring, countertops, or grading. What about all the bathroom fixtures, the mirrors, and the shower doors? Do you know how to wire a home the safe, secure way? Or how about yard work and landscaping? After all this, do you still feel confident that you can do the final walkthrough with an inspector? If so, you are a jack of all trades!
Here’s the thing. It is redundant to say this, but building a home is very, very, very difficult. It requires an enormous amount of knowledge, skills, and resources. It can render you ridden with stress and escape with all your money, too. Home building can be a real bandit as well as a pain in the you-know-where.
So, if you do not have the tools or background or experience yet to do it all on your own, there is someone who can. Thank goodness, right? These are the true superheroes of home building. They are the general contractors.
Not All Heroes Wear Capes
When you want good, solid, lasting work done on your car, you always go to a professional. I do, at least. I wouldn’t want to pop the hood and start poking around. Who knows what I could break? The same should be true of your new home. You will want someone that knows the ins and outs of construction work. They will also know the best people with whom to partner. This part (subcontractors) is every bit as important as the know-how.
You may now be thinking, “Wow, I’m glad I haven’t started yet. That sounds like a lot of work.” You would be right on the money. This “lot of work” is exactly what general contractors do.
Angie’s List is a major online source of reviews for workers of almost every stripe. According to them, general contractors pretty much do everything. And they do mean everything. They say that general contractors are in charge of “hiring and paying subcontractors”. They manage the “securing [of] all building permits and code inspections.” They will have “have specific subcontractors they work with on a regular basis”.
What this conveys, in practice, is much less stress and worry. It does not imply that everything will be perfect at every step. That would be just about impossible. It only means that having a general contractor should insulate you from the often savage structural and practical surprises of construction. The building of your home is up to them. Every detail, no matter how big or small, is in their trusted and capable hands.
Given that they have likely spent years in the industry, you should have little to worry about. The same might not be the case if you took on the whole burden yourself. Keep this all in mind the next time you are looking to build, or even renovate, your new home.
If you want a quick primer on what a general contractor does in video form, check out The Conscious Builder, Inc. Casey Grey, their founder, explains their work in a clear and succinct way. It’s a Canadian company, but the job description will be very similar in the United States.
If you are more hands-on and you want to speak with intelligence to your general contractor, get this book. It aims to be the complete, step-by-step guide to contracting your home.