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Journals
Name Visits Posts Pics Videos

Barrel-Race6,983771570
YesterdayHouston, TX

Vilano-Beach--Water-...21,141391170
4/5/2014Saint Augustine, FL

HudsonHouse6,940300
4/2/2014Omaha, NE

Tanglewood86,2217862,22242
3/24/2014Colorado Springs, CO

697MarlinAustinArea1,12818910
3/15/2014Austin/McDade, TX

1860s-Texas-rehabnew...43,031441910
3/14/2014Boerne, TX

Bladenkirk467640
3/13/2014White Oak, NC

P-Wade-Crocker338100
3/12/2014Spring, TX

Shana411200
3/11/2014Chaffee, MO

OwensNewHome59,7971033810
2/2/2014Chandler, AZ

Du-Lock-Lane1,246200
2/1/2014Houston, TX

Family-Affair10,525440
1/31/2014Saint Petersburg, FL

TheCastle9,915270
1/23/2014Cheshire, CT

The-Last-Rodeo9,56927100
1/14/2014Angel Fire, NM

TheHoskensProject58,3641504333
12/31/2013Dome-ville, central, FL

NorthPoleHome30,110341330
12/29/2013North Pole, AK

navarre-village-buil...1,124100
12/26/2013Gulf Breeze, FL

Seven-Peaks-Faswall-...34,706483181
11/18/2013Graeagle, CA

The-Dailey-Project1,736100
10/27/2013Pompano Beach, FL

Beaver-Creek-Ranch30,198213210
10/15/2013Hayfork, CA

The-Cortes-Adventure17,600520
10/14/2013Snowflake, AZ

jeff3,805300
8/29/2013Jackson, MO

Miami-FL-country-hom...5,327320
7/30/2013Miami, FL

Brevard-County--Pt-S...2,510100
7/17/2013Rockledge, FL

Dream-Build-Austin-T...4,093300
4/17/2013Austin, TX

Eschete-Dome22,23030530
12/24/2012Lafayette, LA

ChapelHillNCBob5,509110
10/23/2012Chapel Hill, NC

The-Skimino-Bluff6,9013130
10/13/2012Williamsburg, VA

Octagon-in-Glencoe-C...48,651144110
10/8/2012Glencoe , CA

nateshomemtpeakview4,620100
9/29/2012

sherman19,939221560
9/27/2012Downers Grove, IL

Omaha9,081380
9/13/2012Omaha, NE

Holy-Hill-House16,38635530
8/27/2012Richfield, WI

Omega-CEO5,560110
8/13/2012Manassas, VA

JayHouse10,2657190
6/22/2012Sebastopol, CA

30233,27823770
5/20/2012Belfair, WA

SunburnStateHome6,243110
3/6/2012Charlotte County, FL

VICTOR-MONTANA8,039110
2/22/2012Victor, MT

Houston-720125966,744100
1/21/2012Houston, TX

Workshop15,523630
1/8/2012Florissant, CO

Our-simple-home11,760223080
12/5/2011LaPorte, IN

ICF-Construction19,228500
11/11/2011Elkridge, MD

Little-Help-from-my-...12,21711150
11/4/2011Rockwall, TX

YaNYca13,955810
10/29/2011Boston, MA

The-Man-Refuge10,795310
10/19/2011San Antonio, TX

mckernanmc11,099320
10/6/2011Amite, LA

Large-Family-Compoun...7,398200
9/23/2011Covington, GA

Woodchuck-Ridge10,222480
9/12/2011Akron, OH

Forever-Home-Sweet-H...20,79534310
8/24/2011Issaquah, WA

Clarksville-MD9,018200
8/22/2011Eldersburg, MD

steve-n-carolyn16,2574140
8/21/2011Sun City, CA

Old-York8,100200
7/27/2011Bridgewater, NJ

Carriage-House17,00920282
7/24/2011Ft. Collins, CO

DomeSweetDome22,18418291
6/4/2011Suffolk, VA

Goodpasture24,013562880
5/28/2011Westminster, CO

Marks-Log-Cabin13,874392210
5/12/2011Altoona, PA

Bill20,995100
5/4/2011Tucson, AZ

Mueller-Dream-Home8,748100
4/15/2011

Oklahoma-Steel10,693650
4/13/2011Minco, OK

DutchG8,357200
4/5/2011

HiddenInOhio10,2579130
4/1/2011Elyria, OH

MagnoliaHouse8,807100
3/29/2011Houston, TX

Buffaloader13,654200
1/11/2011Valley Center, KS

SouthernEcoHome27,68620210
1/9/2011Blacksburg, VA

Austrian-Chalet14,077780
1/2/2011Twin Lakes, CO

Vista-Ridge13,12821660
12/21/2010Swanton, OH

OurFarmstead28,327601890
12/10/2010Pennsylvania

AirparkHome-Remodel29,52222460
11/8/2010Hillsboro, OR

Holloway10,813200
11/7/2010Petersburg, VA

Building-Our-Lakefro...9,694110
11/5/2010Piscataway, NJ

SunburyGalena-Build8,975100
11/3/2010Galena, OH

BUILDING-OUR-GREEN-D...9,843800
11/2/2010Pattison, TX

RR-Homestead23,88031740
10/26/2010Janesville, CA

Casa-Paradiso-Vieque...9,783200
10/19/2010Chelsea, MA

Millerbuild11,0545110
10/1/2010Carstairs, AB

Delisledigs11,449300
9/16/2010Jacksonville, FL

h20dave11,304430
9/10/2010Waterloo, AL

Mountain-Idyl11,044900
9/9/2010Asheville, NC

High-over-Lake-Granb...14,50312230
9/8/2010Granbury, TX

Homestead35,83864850
9/8/2010Smithville, MO

philandjan12,900100
9/2/2010

Commons10,112200
8/21/2010Atascocita, TX

Our-First-OB-home10,509300
7/27/2010Gardner, KS

Louisiana-Mediterran...20,060311870
7/21/2010Sunset, LA

Crows-Nest9,783100
7/20/2010

Patterson-Project10,347400
7/16/2010John's Island, SC

Hidden-Meadow-Home12,3902100
7/13/2010Murrieta, CA

New-house-in-Selah-W...10,132140
7/4/2010Belfair, WA

Arnold-CA-Alpine-cha...20,85522100
7/2/2010Arnold, CA

Working-Wilton39,822343010
6/16/2010Wilton, NH

JJ-Residence9,561100
6/7/2010San Antonio, TX

Thompson-Valley-Home10,753330
6/6/2010Monticello, FL

Naperville-Webster-S...26,2632360
5/21/2010Naperville, IL

Gary--Suzi11,010100
5/7/2010

crystal-falls-home28,74420270
5/5/2010Cedar Park, TX

Kapoho-Retirement-Ho...10,842130
5/4/2010Santa Ana, CA

NC--New-Construction10,448100
5/3/2010

Collins-on-Cobblesto...11,43421910
4/30/2010Waynesville, NC

Dwight--Colleen-Hart...11,843130
4/30/2010Vaughn, WA

Riley32,71332950
4/29/2010Cave Creek, AZ

The-New-Ries-Homeste...14,82719980
4/21/2010Polk/Richfield/Erin/Hartford, WI

The-Season9,498130
4/10/2010Mount Airy, NC

The-Naas-Place10,008200
3/30/2010Pittsburg, CA

Phil-and-Lauras-home13,056400
3/20/2010Tulsa, OK

Southport-NC-Home17,470201281
3/18/2010Southport, NC

Loris24,913110
3/11/2010

Seaton-Station10,195140
3/10/2010Siloam Springs, AR

Backwoods-Project14,249390
3/4/2010Jeffersonville, GA

ICF-in-Ann-Arbor26,164293710
1/25/2010Dexter, MI

DancingPines10,943200
1/25/2010Clinton, LA

Log-Cabin10,531150
1/23/2010indianapolis, IN

The-Kinzel-House9,916100
1/21/2010New Orleans, LA

PahrumpProject17,0165390
1/17/2010Spokane, WA

TheBeachHouse14,58713200
1/16/2010Shoreline, WA

Artist-Haven-Home14,909970
1/13/2010Kansas City, MO

SOPHIA--SAMUELDELAWA...17,32511310
12/2/2009Smyrna, DE

Plant-City-Craftsman16,7844100
11/22/2009Plant City, FL

WestermanFarm11,392130
11/10/2009Dickson, TN

Shane22,440600
10/31/2009San Antonio, TX

ADCountryHome12,8171130
10/31/2009Fort Worth, TX

ICF-Keller-Tx51,150321220
10/6/2009Roanoke, TX

digs24,137100
9/30/2009Tracy City, TN

threegables21,329201340
9/29/2009Hartland, WI

LittleLakeCorner72,7031016040
9/29/2009Groveland, FL

Utah-Casa11,533200
9/28/2009Saratoga Springs, UT

Tornado-Reconstructi...10,993800
9/24/2009Port Neches, TX

toolehouse50,215891450
9/20/2009Reno, NV

Bobs-Blog52,909614140
9/16/2009New Florence, PA

Blessings10,145100
9/11/2009farmville, NC

Schrammelot15,9377900
9/11/2009Pierson, FL

PennsmithLostValleyT...35,779552150
9/9/2009Dripping Springs, TX

River-House10,595220
9/7/2009Clinton, NJ

SantaFe-in-AJ10,342100
8/28/2009Apache Junction, AZ

Dennis-Dream-Home29,982385050
8/27/2009Readington Twp, NJ

Massive-Undertaking11,4981100
8/26/2009Wimauma, FL

Lafayette10,240200
8/11/2009Cramerton, NC

Dream-site-on-the-La...11,020200
8/5/2009La Porte, TX

Williams-New-Home-Si...10,278110
8/2/2009Windsor, NC

Cobblestone-Lane10,365100
7/30/2009Great Falls, MT

PensacolaBeachHouse10,183110
6/22/2009Gulf Breeze, FL

12YEARSINTHEPLANNING10,834120
6/16/2009LADSON, SC

Steinys-Hideaway10,801200
6/9/2009Venice, CA

DreamHome29,440261900
6/7/2009Orlando, FL

CastleHeims20,70921590
6/5/2009Cedar Rapids, IA

Utah-Warehouse10,058220
5/20/2009Fairview, UT

Where-to-start12,382610
5/16/2009Lemoore, CA

Castle-Rock-Lakehous...16,28710840
4/27/2009Necedah, WI

Oleg25,894360
4/22/2009San Diego, CA

MoeCompound10,206340
4/9/2009Camano Island, WA

Huckleberry-Home10,300200
4/8/2009Williamstown, NJ

Vonk24,156100
4/7/2009Zeeland, MI

Small-Timber-Frame14,631110
4/2/2009Central Mass, MA

EatonLoch-Haven11,083110
4/1/2009Roanoke, VA

windowsnsiding10,148110
3/28/2009Long Island, NY

Arkansas-First-Timer25,76639880
3/27/2009Trumann, AR

Back-Home-In-Crisp12,386111510
3/22/2009Ennis, TX

Victor--Susan-0820,284211210
3/17/2009Ruckersville, VA

Rick-and-Tinas-dream...11,614120
3/14/2009Auburndale, FL

Keener-Road13,0114100
3/11/2009Elizabethtown, PA

NC-Newbie10,914100
3/10/2009Boone, NC

MadisonGA11,1411130
2/26/2009Madison, GA

Techbuilt-Scammed12,566100
2/25/2009Rebew, LA

choanne83110,161100
2/9/2009charlotte, NC

WilliamsinVegas33,941301190
1/29/2009Henderson, NV

PhilesBryant12,016260
1/20/2009graham, WA

MortgageSmart10,379100
1/19/2009Cocoa, FL

QuarterlyHouse57,796136990
1/12/2009Orlando, FL

RabbitRun19,706311690
1/11/2009Afton, VA

Sonave-Sunsets10,492120
1/9/2009Yucca, AZ

Heart-of-PA16,0789160
1/6/2009Lewistown, PA

Krusehome11,567200
12/27/2008Lake City, FL

BrunkHouseAlmaKansas15,547260
12/26/2008Garden Grove, CA

Raider-Bills-Tenn-Ho...14,5916320
12/22/2008Largo, FL

Andel-Ranch28,249334020
12/17/2008Rogers, TX

Elijahs-Home11,754460
12/6/2008Vero Beach, FL

ranch-house10,390100
11/25/2008springfield, IL

Howard-Georgia-Retir...15,991670
11/9/2008Harlem, GA

The-Woods-Journal11,261110
11/6/2008Doraville, GA

StansTLH15,9621090
11/1/2008Tehachapi, CA

Kevin--Kerrys-Dream11,521350
10/17/2008Northvale, NJ

Katabatic-Wind12,133470
10/16/2008Huntsville, AL

Elmhurst-Modern13,573120
10/14/2008elmhurst, IL

Accessible-House11,5443100
10/14/2008Munford, TN

Cherry-Valley-Vista10,604120
10/5/2008Duvall, WA

Jon-and-Mollys-House18,201150
9/25/2008Ellicott City, MD

Proctor-ICF11,680110
9/25/2008Fredericksburg, VA

Hawaiian-Bungalo18,017111020
9/23/2008Holualoa, HI

Pete--Rhiannon12,679430
9/19/2008Springfield, MO

2008-Cedar-Ln17,50614350
9/19/2008Seaville, NJ

dmaceld20,68314880
9/16/2008Nampa, ID

Help-with-Goulds-and...12,845100
9/16/2008tampa, FL

Consulting10,252100
9/2/2008Orlando, FL

AlaskaICFREMOTEHouse16,65219380
8/17/2008Wasilla, AK

NC-Pond-House11,720320
8/4/2008Wilmington, NC

MargaritaVilla11,318240
8/4/2008Raleigh, NC

Latest-update12,6298100
8/4/2008Sierra Vista, AZ

ANDREA11,225400
8/2/2008Dallas, TX

The-Ridges13,98811130
7/31/2008Logan, UT

Avenida-Del-Sol15,10713520
7/31/2008Peoria, AZ

dream-home-ohio11,283600
7/30/2008Zanesville, OH

Penetang-Craftsman10,906360
7/27/2008Penetanguishene, ON

Tristan--11,374600
7/25/2008Lebanon, NJ

Dreamy-Design-in-Glo...16,633100
7/9/2008Clifton, VA

need-help-Jim11,838110
7/8/2008Bandon, OR

deltona-fl-custom-ho...12,4514140
7/6/2008Deltona Beach, FL

Ingraham-House-Chape...11,681200
6/29/2008Cary, NC

famborgie10,597100
6/26/2008Lockhart, TX

95821-Addition21,8287140
6/24/2008Sacramento, CA

Cajun-Homestead18,97812930
6/22/2008Lafayette, LA

West-Texas-Ranch-Hou...12,794110
6/18/2008Andrews, TX

Quail-Bluff-Pasco12,6129290
6/10/2008Pasco, WA

Spyders-Web10,510100
6/10/2008Norman, OK

mike-and-tori-darnle...13,040510
6/2/2008Rainbow, CA

Lin-Washington10,544100
5/29/2008Fresno, CA

Capernall-House11,403420
5/15/2008Belleville, MI

Hidden-Valley-Texas10,698100
5/7/2008Southlake, TX

cosdreamhome41,312731470
5/5/2008Colorado Springs, CO

Sowle-Family-House13,194590
4/29/2008South Burlington, VT

Cyberdoc-Residence10,892200
4/25/2008San Diego, CA

Fortune-House10,925100
4/17/2008Mooresville, NC

Joeb28,707400
4/15/2008Oakland, FL

Alvin-House11,157200
4/14/2008LaPorte, TX

Thomas-Home--Raintre...21,220271800
4/9/2008Lee's Summit, MO

Greg--Kathys-New-Hou...12,151200
4/3/2008Barryton, MI

Where-is-Waldo28,26644830
4/2/2008Marion, OH

Nimmerrichters-Fores...10,023100
4/2/2008Waldorf, MD

Mayfield-House10,639100
3/31/2008Mayfield, UT

beamanhouse10,669100
3/27/2008Manistique, MI

Kanak-ICF--Virginia15,432900
3/26/2008Fredericksburg, VA

Sheldon-St15,253300
3/21/2008Orlando, FL

Bert-25,769310
3/20/2008Southern, CA

Our-Ohio-ICF-home21,96820270
3/20/2008Mansfield, OH

ericdc11,168310
3/8/2008Uniontown, PA

EurekaHouse-ICF15,0305150
3/6/2008Berkeley, CA

Superstition-Views15,355281600
3/6/2008Mesa, AZ

Blue-Springs-Project12,8328230
2/24/2008Broken Arrow, OK

Our-House10,512100
2/24/2008Miami, FL

httpownerbuilderbook...13,272830
2/19/2008Clayton, NY

JourneyBackHome10,365100
2/3/2008Oviedo, FL

Collier-Home12,809110
2/1/2008Little Rock, AR

DDs-ICF12,346330
1/27/2008New Smyrna Bch, FL

EurekaMT-Timberframe11,9831430
1/24/2008Augusta, MI

The-Larnerd-House13,4605210
1/21/2008Newport News, VA

Casa-Bella11,289100
1/14/2008Pueblo West, CO

Gordon-Lake-House15,30617510
1/3/2008Oakland, IA

STEPHANIES-DREAM12,50217570
12/30/2007Lower Burrell, PA

Florida-Waterfront-C...14,896310
12/29/2007PB, FL

6158-in-Montgomery-T...11,251410
12/23/2007Conroe, TX

ClearwaterHills13,652260
12/14/2007Paradise Valley, AZ

BobDonna9,928100
12/12/2007Sacramento, CA

AboveTheAppleTree9,920100
12/8/2007La Farge, WI

Casa-Nostra12,188230
12/2/2007Bangor, PA

Building-the-Dream-i...13,722700
11/29/2007Gladstone, OR

Ingram-Fleming-ICF-H...16,313480
11/29/2007Plant City, FL

inniagara9,412100
11/24/2007Niagara Falls, ON

SchnabelEstate10,525240
11/16/2007Avon, IN

WeAreBuildingAgain21,30527560
11/15/2007Orlando, FL

Lake-Pleasant10,483210
11/14/2007Erie, PA

Green-for-Dean10,505100
11/10/2007San Jose, CA

The-Ponderosa12,2758220
11/4/2007Perry, OK

FlagholeRoad10,565260
10/25/2007Franklin, NH

Beckynray11,736300
10/24/2007Powhatan, VA

Spicewood-TX12,227330
10/20/2007Austin, TX

Powderhorn24,096481760
10/4/2007Florida

Luray-VA-1stTimeBuil...14,801730
10/4/2007Luray, VA

kittyfhughesnet10,269250
9/27/2007Noblesville, IN

Scott-Family10,869100
9/25/2007Trinity, AL

Taking-the-Plunge13,3656180
9/18/2007Springfield, OH

RozBuildingAdventure10,741100
9/14/2007San Pablo, CA

Helpful-Tips11,836200
9/13/2007Encinitas, CA

Poplar-Creek-Farm13,7745250
9/10/2007Oakland Park, FL

TheWillemsHome21,4581750
9/10/2007Galloway Township, NJ

ComfortHome11,307200
8/30/2007Dublin, OH

10000-sq-feet36,27622260
8/26/2007La Habra Heights, CA

Bird-house12,4233400
8/22/2007Ithaca, NY

Circle-S_ICF_House35,696462640
8/21/2007Sparta, IL

New-England-Saltbox10,726100
8/16/2007Columbia, SC

RamblewoodatJeterFar...11,5256330
8/10/2007Kansas City, MO

Kraemer-Collinwood-H...11,124200
7/21/2007Delano, MN

BigOakBuilderTX14,728270
7/20/2007Wharton, TX

Johnson-Family-Dream10,977100
7/20/2007Normal, IL

19225-ROBERTSON-ST17,67514250
7/12/2007Orlando, FL

Thattle-Dew-Farm10,925220
7/12/2007Halls Harbour, NS

WindyJ14,88811260
7/2/2007Knoxville, TN

Vistoso-Green-Home12,225310
6/28/2007Tucson, AZ

Lewis-Chapel-House16,424200
6/25/2007Dunlap, TN

father-daughter10,483200
6/25/2007Loveland, CO

davewhite11,449100
6/24/2007Nanaimo, BC

NutmegWedgefieldOrla...12,446600
6/22/2007Orlando, FL

4600SF-Dream-Home-in...14,532410
6/19/2007Mooresville, NC

Coeur-dAlene-Idaho-H...12,306240
6/13/2007Coeur d Alene, ID

Tampa-Bay13,890490
6/10/2007Ruskin, FL

Dream-In-Progress14,332540
6/7/2007Shawnee, KS

todd-in-tullahoma10,851100
6/4/2007tullahoma, TN

TheOwens11,641300
6/1/2007Dickson, TN

Country-Cleaver11,750140
5/29/2007Springfield, IL

South-Dakota-Lake-Ho...12,0286110
5/23/2007Sioux Falls, SD

Gods-Home11,169200
5/18/2007Eustis, FL

hammock11,018110
5/14/2007Martinez, GA

Grove-St-Rocklin11,102300
5/13/2007Orangevale, CA

Gardeners-Delight11,936330
5/13/2007Norristown, PA

Newman-Family11,947100
4/26/2007oralndo, FL

do-over-house12,559200
4/25/2007Roseville, CA

Mountain-Building11,333370
4/21/2007Hiawassee, GA

Alaskan-Log-Home12,645120
4/15/2007Tok, AK

Warner-Dream12,850600
4/11/2007Astatula, FL

RehmannSchreiner13,84418150
4/2/2007Maple Grove, MN

outspokenbikeguy13,4944140
3/29/2007Sanford, FL

SmelltheForest35,736471480
3/23/2007Colorado Springs, CO

PolkCityProject15,1587110
3/21/2007Norcross, GA

DwaynePam11,982200
3/21/2007Normal, IL

cypressknoll11,050100
3/20/2007Palm Coast, FL

candlepower19,039241550
3/20/2007Lansing, IA

Team-Rosa11,926200
3/19/2007Springfield, VA

GLOUCESTER11,607120
3/17/2007Newport News, VA

Ohiodreamhome11,9964140
3/16/2007Reynoldsburg, OH

Gypsy-Love12,480110
3/12/2007Highland, NY

Forrest-Towne11,655220
3/10/2007Brinnon, WA

Dreams-Come-True10,931100
3/8/2007Glen St Mary, FL

Almost-A-Country-Gir...10,938100
3/7/2007Addison Township, MI

BrandonBuildingBlog11,734100
3/4/2007Layton, UT

SafecreteHouse12,983300
3/4/2007Raleigh, NC

newbie-12,081100
2/21/2007North Plains, OR

BuzzardsNest14,332310
2/14/2007Saint Lucie, FL

woodfamilyhome12,446200
2/10/2007Keno, OR

vegascastle11,759100
2/3/2007Henderson, NV

newsteel17,728100
1/28/2007Florence, SC

Dream-Home-200712,256100
1/27/2007Gwynn Oak, MD

DelgadosAdobeAbode12,652200
1/18/2007San Diego, CA

bobindeltona14,875250
1/14/2007Deltona, FL

Highland6412,368300
1/8/2007New Orleans, LA

SmallProjectSilverSp...17,6871020
1/7/2007Silver Springs, NV

BeehlerHome22,60411640
1/3/2007Kalamazoo, MI

eveningshade11,965110
12/25/2006Evening Shade, AR

Bruce in Petrolia, O...11,119120
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I look forward to the support of other owner-builders who frequent this site during this challenging but exciting time for our family. I also look forward to being able to give back to this community and assist others in any way I can with my experiences of the process when we are complete.
Kerry in Newport News, VA

The Owner-Builder Book Downloadable MP3's
List Price: $19.95
Our Price: $9.95
You Save: $10.00 (50%)





Author: Mark A. Smith
The MP3 version of the book is finally here! About 8 hours of valuable listening. (1st edition of The O-B Book)

Click here for a sample.

We think you can learn a great deal more by listening than by just reading. Reading addresses the left side of the brain, and listening goes to the powerful right side. You'll find yourself saying "I've never thought about that before..." or "I need to try that..." even though you've already read it.

Listening makes it easy to get in several repetitions, which greatly increases your learning as well. See the essays below on learning and repetition.

Read by author.

 

5-7 Repetitions

by Mark A. Smith

Recently, I indulged a hobby and took a part in a community theater production. I was the Modern Major-General in "Pirates of Penzance" by Gilbert and Sullivan. I had to learn a song that went along at a dizzying, breathless pace. Because I would be in front of people, and sing by myself, I had to learn it well beforehand.

I had to refresh skills of singing, breathing, projecting my sound, dancing while singing, etc. There was no chance that I could become proficient by just listening to a "Pirates" CD. So I practiced a lot. I sang while running on the treadmill to increase my lung capacity, and timed myself to get my fast song up to speed.

I didn't get paid to perform, but I probably put more into rehearsal than I did into planning my house. I got paid handsomely for building the house, but could have been paid more and performed better if I practiced the needed skills in advance.

Glenn A. Overton says that we become proficient at a skill after a minimum of 5-7 repetitions. An owner-builder can profit by practicing the skills needed to succeed before the "performance" of breaking ground.

I regard the major skills of owner-builders to be budgeting, scheduling, featuring, and buying. Recently I observed an owner-builder friend break ground before ever practicing the first skill - budgeting. The spreadsheet budget he submitted to the lender was the first time he had ever tried to make a budget for the project. It turned out incomplete and misleading. Better to make 5-7 attempts before show time.

Same goes for developing a schedule of construction and written features for the house. Do and redo until you are proficient. Develop written RFQ's (request for price quotes) to buy materials and services for the project 5-7 times until it's easy for you. Use your skill to get multiple bids in every category before you break ground. You'll save a lot by doing so.

You could theoretically practice the skills after you break ground, but that's when the unprepared seem to get lost and bog down. Most people find that it's too late for practice when it's showtime.

 

How Do You Learn?

by Mark A. Smith

When you plan to build a house, there are many things you could learn that will save effort and money and create more quality, convenience, and value.

The trouble is, most of us forget the things we learn. There is a theory called the "Half-Life of Human Knowledge" that says we forget half of what we learn in a day, half again in a week, half in a month, and we have only 2% left at the end of a year. As my high school French teacher explained it, "Then it's a question of whose 2% is bigger."

In an Owner-Builder Workshop session, we challenged our students who had read our book to recall the "Ten Commandments of Owner Builders," the most important money-saving principles we know on the subject. Half the class could recall one commandment out of ten. Three people knew two, and one person could recall three of the commandments.

Management guru Peter Drucker said, "When you get a new boss, first decide how he or she likes to communicate. Some prefer written communication, some prefer face to face." You may be like that. Some learn well by reading, and should read everything they can before building. Some learn best by listening and can benefit from audiotapes or disks. Some learn best visually and should watch lots of videos on the subject.

According to Confucius, whoever we are, we learn best by doing. "I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand." Unfortunately, by the time you "do" a house, it will be too late to take advantage of your learning for that house. And you'll learn plenty.

Elaine and I have tried to take advantage of all the above in preparing for our next building project. We read copiously, search the Web, listen to tapes, and watch videos. In addition, we help others who are building, which consolidates our learning. You might make a friend by helping another owner-builder or by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, for example. It all helps grow your 2%.

 

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