Over the past several weeks I have had loads of people contacting me with questions about being an owner builder so I thought I would write a post about it. Now … you need to be well aware that these are MY experiences only, and that I am not a professional in the building game in any way shape or form. My only past experience has been renovating a few houses however I do understand the fear and doubt associated with this “title” as we went through it all ourselves … wondering if we had the skills needed to pull it off. The simple answer is YES! We did it and if we did it then I think most people could have a go too.
For us it was a matter of budget. We didn’t have a huge amount of money to put towards a new build and we were not looking to build a monster of a house with 5 ensuites, which all the big building companies only seemed to have on offer. We were after something that was specifically designed for us with our lifestyle at the top of mind so that the house fit us perfectly. We found Storybook Homes many years ago and always loved the look of their designs. We especially were drawn to the fact that they were all individually designed to suit the clients “wish list” as well as taking into account the block of land and the surroundings. The biggest surprise for us was that the house we wanted could not only be tailored to our needs as far as lifestyle goes but also to our budget. We jumped in!
It was a BIG scary step, but we did it and no we didn’t go and do an “owner builder course”. We had to apply for our owner builder certificate which was an easy process and once everything was approved through council and we were ready to go, we had to arrange insurance. The team at Storybook were on the end of the phone if we needed help or advice or simply wondered where to next. The building inspectors that we had looking after us were also a very useful resource as well to ensure everything was done properly. Although we were in control of the build we felt totally supported. We also had a team of amazing trades that we contracted to do the jobs that DIY fans should just leave alone, some that came recommended by Storybook, and most that we had used on projects before or people we found as we needed them.
I loved the fact that we had total creative control particularly over the inside of the house as this was important to me. I also love the fact that I know without any doubt in my mind that it has been built correctly and that I have had the opportunity to speak with all the inspectors and trades first hand to help me understand the process. I was never made to feel foolish and every one of them was helpful and respectful of my
annoying “enthusiasm”! I am so grateful that we had such great people around us to help us.
Of course it wasn’t always rosy. There were days where I was just exhausted and thought I would never be finished. There was loads of self doubt. I found it a real challenge to manage the budget and given that budgeting is not a strong point of mine, it was always going to be hard. Even now, months after moving in we still have bits to finish but they are minor. We look at them as on-going projects!
Would I do it again? The answer is YES – in a heartbeat!! I love the home we have created and feel so incredibly proud. Aside from my amazing children, this is my biggest achievement in my LIFE! Its just a little house but it is perfect for us in every way and as time goes on it just gets better and better as we finish things off completely.
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