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How to Plan, Contract, and Build Your Own Home, Fifth Edition: Green Edition (How to Plan, Contract & Build Your Own Home) Paperback – July 27, 2010


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How to Plan, Contract, and Build Your Own Home, Fifth Edition: Green Edition (How to Plan, Contract & Build Your Own Home) + What Your Contractor Can't Tell You: The Essential Guide to Building and Renovating + Designing Your Dream Home: Every Question to Ask, Every Detail to Consider, and Everything to Know Before You Build or Remodel
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Product Details

  • Series: How to Plan, Contract & Build Your Own Home
  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional; 5 edition (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071603301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071603300
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

  • Save and get more from your money
  • Pick the perfect site
  • Minimize maintenance cost and effort
  • Maximize indoor and outdoor space

There are countless reasons why building your own home makes good sense. But for most people, the chance to create the home they've always wanted is #1 on their list. And this all-in-one guide can help you every step of the way toward realizing your vision -- from hiring the right vendors to picking fixtures.

Whether it's basic planning ("What's your move-in date?") or construction methods ("Wood or steel?"), this trusted reference, now fully updated to cover new materials, techniques, energy-saving options, and environmentally friendly technologies and methods, is the most complete source for homebuilders available.

Written by experienced instructors and builders, and used by thousands of savvy buyers of custom and not-yet-built homes, How to Plan, Contract, and Build Your Own Home will help you:

  • Select the right site and supervise its preparation
  • Make wise decisions on floor plans, types of construction, framing, and foundations
  • Plan for home office use, communications upgrades, "smart house" technology, and a home that will serve your needs throughout your life
  • Choose the newest and most economical and efficient types of insulation, roofing, plumbing, wiring, and more
  • Select amenities such as decks, patios, gazebos, sidewalks, and driveways
  • Evaluate doing it yourself vs. subcontracting
  • Know when you'll move in with a helpful calendar-style checklist
  • Select the right mortgage
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Richard M. Scutella has written several books on new construction, home buying, home maintenance, and safety, including Homebuyer’s Checklist, Second Edition (Tab Books; 1993), and the first four editions of this book. He has designed and supervised the construction of many new homes.
Dave Heberle is the author of McGraw-Hill’s Construction Safety Manual and the co-author of the first four editions of this book. A former environmental and safety consultant, he currently manages investment real estate.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 20 customer reviews
This is an excellent book with a lot of great advice.
Randy Given
This book should be required reading for anyone planning to build their own home.
Granny T
The orientation of the book is for you to really get a contractor.
John Matlock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Randy Given on March 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book with a lot of great advice. The part of the title that says "build your own home" is misleading -- it does not mean it shows YOU how to build your home, it means it in the general sense of whether people will buy a pre-owned or build-your-own-home. I was fine with that because that is exactly what I was looking for.
I spend a half hour poring over a wide selection of similar books. This one looked best. I spent another ten minutes on it before selecting it as the best. I was looking for specific tidbits that I know that I would give other home builders. After reading the book, I was even more impressed. There is a tremendous amount of good advice in an easy-to-read format. Highly recommended.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Gare on September 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is lives up to the first two parts of the title - Plan & Contract. It falls short on the building process but if you know you are going to use a Builder or General Contractor, it is a great source of information.
I haven't got the time to manage the building process but I know I can intelligently talk with my contractor. This book gives the reader a firm footing in dealing with the house design and contractor processes.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By G. Reid on January 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is very helpful for you to work with and speak the language of your contractor. It is not designed for you to be your own contractor, but to work with one that you select. In Part II "How to Build It", the book shows how a house is put together. If you never lift a hammer throughout the entire construction process, it still pays to know how a house can and should be put together. The difference between mediocre and excellent construction involves a ridiculously small materials cost. Knowing construction methods and materials will also assist you in your dealings with whichever contractor you choose.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Roy R. Loya on April 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've read dozens of books on home design and this is the most useless of all of them. It's full of such brilliant insights as, "Have the toilet paper holder installed within easy reach of the toilet." (I kid you not) Some construction methods are suggested which are generally frowned upon by builders and there are suggestions of using materials that are illegal to manufacture.
The description says it was thoroughly revised and it has a publication date of July 27, 2010 but another suggestion is, "Consider running two phone lines into the kitchen in case the household cook plans on being on the Internet while preparing meals." Do the authors think that most of us still use dial-up?
Don't waste your money.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By H. Schaff on January 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought the book with the intention of using it as a guide as I built my new home. I found it more of a research guide to use in the process of preparing to build or purchase a new home. The "how to" portion is absolutely not there. It is a good book and well worth the money, but not what I was looking for. I was looking for something to "knock the cobwebs off my brain", since it has been over 20 years since I was involved in home construction in my late teens. I just bought another book on line, "How to design, build, remodel and maintain your home", hopefully this will meet my needs.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By SC on September 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book gives excellent strategic advice. It is not a tactical manual on how to build a house with your own hands, but rather informs a buyer on how to get the job done and which decisions are critical (e.g. site selection, architecture design selection, and builder selection). If you want to learn how to install drywall, then this is not the book for you. If you want to get a general idea of how it is done, but want to learn more about specifications from an owner's perspective, then this is the book for you. Some of the best advice in the book is really in the chapters on builders (how to select them, and how to work with them). This 'soft sceince' is the critical knowledge that I needed to build my own home that I would not have obtained otherwise. The sample specifications list using a HUD form proved to be invaluable to me. I didn't need an architect after that.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be great! It gave me alot to consider that I had not even thought about. It you are planning to build a home this is a great book. It starts out giving you advice on what to look for in your floor plan then walks you thru the complete building process. I was hoping for a little more advice on how to go about being your own contractor but the book did not promis that. This book will be by my side for a while.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jon R. R. on January 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
FIrst, it should be noted that the editorial review and back cover both note, "Know when you'll move in with a helpful calendar-style checklist" and "Select the right mortgage". Neither of those are covered, at least not in this 4th edition. I see the number of pages were reduced from 824 pages in the 3rd ed. to 791 in this edition. Part of the mystery may be that the index does have an entry that says, "moving in timeline, 783-803". Well, not only does it NOT have 803 pages, the index is on pages 775 - 791! Finally, the back cover also says "Evaluate doing it yourself vs. subcontracting". This my be presented in a round-about way, but it really goes right into using a builder - never presenting the "do-it-yourself" versus contractor analysis.

With that said, the book DOES provide a lot of great information. Every part of the building process seems to be covered. The pros/cons of the various construction methods (such as foundation types, wall construction, etc.) is very useful.

The bottom line is this is a very good book that I would recommend for anyone building a home, but just keep in mind things noted in the editorial info, back cover, etc. are missing. I can't believe the editorial staff at McGraw-Hill were so negligent in this matter, and it makes me wonder what other inconsistencies can be found throughout the book.
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