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Be Your Own House Contractor: Save 25% without Lifting a Hammer Paperback – April 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1580178402 ISBN-10: 1580178405 Edition: 5th

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Be Your Own House Contractor: Save 25% without Lifting a Hammer + The Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home + What Your Contractor Can't Tell You: The Essential Guide to Building and Renovating
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Product Details

  • Series: Be Your Own House Contractor
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; 5th edition (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580178405
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580178402
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“If you are bound and determined to plunge ahead…pick up a copy of this little book before you start.”


“If you are thinking about building a new house, or renovating your current home, first read [this book].”— San Diego Union-Tribune

“If you are bound and determined to plunge ahead…pick up a copy of this little book before you start.”— Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“If you’re intrigued by the idea of being your own contractor for your dream house, here’s where to begin.”— Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

“…Heldmann offers something that you can hold dear for a lifetime: the skinny on homebuilding.” — Timber Home Building

 

“Carl Heldmann has written the bible for people who want to act as their own general contractor….Strewn through the book are interesting tidbits a layman probably wouldn’t hear unless he showed up at a job site at break time with a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.” – Los Angeles Times

From the Back Cover

Simple language with no technical jargon. (The New York Times)

This excellent book offers the average person a way to say 25% of the high cost of a new house. Recommended. (Library Journal)

For those who are considering building a home (or addition) this book is a must! (American Homeowners Foundation)

If you can balance a checkbook, read, and deal with people in a fair manner, you can build your own house or addition. You don't need any technical knowledge or building skills - in fact, you'll never pick up a hammer.

With veteran contractor Carl Heldmann as a guide, you'll learn that you can get exactly the house you want, done the way you want it, for less.

In this completely revised and updated fourth edition of his classic how-to book (more than 185,000 copies in print), Heldmann gives an overview of all the steps of building and includes a glossary of building and business terms and sample contracts. He tells how to:

Select land

Secure financing

Develop house plans

Establish schedules

Identify cost-saving options

Select subcontractors

Negotiate contracts

Buy materials and supplies

Estimate building costs


More About the Author

Carl has been a licensed home builder and a licensed real estate broker for over 30 years and a construction loan consultant to credit unions for 20 years. He has personally helped thousands of folks like yourself build their dreams. He is also the founder of two schools of homebuilding, a former newspaper housing columnist, and author of several books on building your own home whose aggregate sales are more than ½ million copies.
Be Your Own House Contractor has sold over 300,000 copies and is available in all USA libraries.

You can find out more about Carl Heldmann and the free advice he provides on his website, www.byoh.com

Customer Reviews

Good information available through both the book and the web portal.
Oly Joe II
This book really opened my eyes as to how much was involved in building/being your own contractor.
P. D. Alexander
I would recommend this book for anyone considering building their own home.
Jenny K

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By MR Cart on March 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I expected this book to be more helpful, but it is really a few vague suggestions spread out across as many pages as the writer could manage.

In fact I can save you the money and tell you the entire book in just a few words

1 Hire good people that know what they are doing and trust them to do a good job, the city will ensure they do it to legal spec.
2 make sure you like your house plans before you start
3 don't pay ahead of schedule Have a budget and stick to it

Of course the problem with this advice' is finding good contractors and trusting them. That is exactly what general Contractors do for a living they spend time developing relationships with contractors. It does not happen overnight, GCs also hire bad contractors they just stop using them after one or two jobs. We don't have that luxury the owner builder needs to get the right ones first time out and that is hard

Carl's big idea is to go to a lumber yard and ask for help, this is great if you happen to get lucky. The lumber yards loyalties are not to some walk in that is only buying lumber for one house it is to the guy who builds houses 365. So sure he might suggest someone, and that guy might talk a great fight and he might be great. But he might also be the next "up" or the guy struggling to pay his lumber yard bills.

These kinds of books are suitable if you just want a very hazy outline. But it fails completely to deal with the real issues of acting as your own GC. Schedules, build orders inspections etc are all huge deals that are hardly addressed at all.

If you want solid building advice there are a number of very strong sites that give strong detailed accounts of owner builder construction.

I strongly suggest skipping this book. And if you want a cheap lightly used copy.....
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Oly Joe II on May 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
Very up-to-date publication. Author's web site provides much additional information. I plan to build using ICF's and Geothermal heat source. Good information available through both the book and the web portal. Clearly the best and most current of the 4 similar books purchased at the same time.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Tami L. Rosengren on August 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a great purchase that I made based on other reviews. I am using this as a template for our new construction. I would recommend this to anyone interested in building with or without a general contractor. It gave me the confidence (this and 2 other books-see my other reviews) to general our home. Make sure you order the latest edition (5th, I think). I read the reviews and all the reviews were under both the 1st and 5th edition. I have both...dont make that mistake.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By wrenn on March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Taking on the general contractor role is a huge task, and there is a lot at stake. I was looking for a realistic guide, but failed to get it from this author. He does not mention any downsides, instead claiming it is easy to do the work without interfering with one's existing job and not even necessary to make more than a couple site visits. This defies common sense and the experience of anyone I have talked to. Look elsewhere for practical advice.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jenny K on September 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Be Your Own House Contractor: Save 25% without Lifting a Hammer
I have read several books on this subject. This one offered the best information for the beginner. I would recommend this book for anyone considering building their own home.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tropics on February 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this book could make you believe you can handle a large construction project yourself, if you have a substantial ego. If you live in an area of the country where building codes are not that tough, this book probably is a decent blueprint. Personally, I looked at this book as a way to educate myself prior to a large construction project for which I hired a general contractor. With very tough building codes and countless permits needed, where I live the deck is stacked against a homeowner acting as a general contractor, so reading this book gave me some tools to use, specifically, knowledge about what to expect, questions to ask, and tips on staying on schedule. It's readable and informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charlie Swain on May 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So this is a great book! But I wish someone would have told me he gives it away for FREE on his website! Well... almost the entire book. It doesn't include the lengthy appendix and some of the checklists.
No joke.... check it out: [...]
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got-this-book-to-see-if-i-could-really-save-25%-on-building-a-house.----already-had-the-land.----i-had-most-of-the-building-knowledge.----i-estimated-that-i-will-be-saving-between-50-60%-when-i-build-my-house.---very-easy-to-read-and-follow.---just-have-to-do-your-shopping-list-and-cordinate-the-subtractors.---carl-is-a-great-teacher.---------gonna-build-your-house---get-this-book-and-save-money
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