This post I have had typed up since February, and now is the time I am posting it…I just felt like it was time to share it now. Here goes:
Some random truths on being an owner-builder (others have said these before us):
1. It’s all about communication! True!
2. You won’t remember what a weekend is like! Mostly true for us…need to remedy this!
3. You will need a holiday at the end! What end?? Definitely true when you are still ‘building’ one year after ‘the end’!
4. It will test your relationship! There sure are stresses involved.
5. You will wish you had built smaller! Now this is an interesting one – I am not convinced it is because anyone thinks the house is too big, or it would have been exponentially easier/cheaper being smaller?? I think it may be because many owner-builders live on-site in a caravan while they are building and get to realise that you don’t really need all the space society tells us we do. I have always thought our house was ‘too big’ – but the bathroom ended up dictating the overall size – because I wanted that size bathroom and we wanted to keep the house ‘square’ – so that is that.
6. It will cost more than you have budgeted! We have ended up paying more than we envisaged before we started – but the total so far is quite a bit below the actual budgeted amount we got in our bill of quantities quote. We attribute this to some wonderful cost savings in materials selection and the savings have covered Michael’s wage for working every day on the build.
7. Things will, of course, go wrong! Yep, that happens. Plan your coping strategy before you start!
8. You need to weigh up the wisdom and time in doing it yourself, compared to getting a professional in. True.
9. There are 1,000 decisions to be made – per day! Well, maybe not quite that many – but they were/are ever present!
10. You will feel a great sense of satisfaction when it is all over, and you can say, “We built this house!” Hmm, another interesting one – I don’t at all feel like I have *built* this house, Michael says he mostly does. Probably a true reflection of our ‘hands-on’ tally.
I think the most important thing I have ‘discovered’ about being an owner-builder was to do more research than you think you need to; make your informed decisions and try to stick to them so you don’t have to keep making decisions along the way; certainly know that it *is* all about communication and plan out your communication strategy before you start (ie, plan to write it all down/get it in writing - this works well!); plan how you will deal with the stresses (they don’t have to be insurmountable and can even be laughable (in hindsight ;-) when you can see that you did actually cope quite well in the long run); and, for us, working with local knowledge, was exactly what we needed and gave us a wonderful experience and outcome.
Can’t ask for more than that now!