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I downloaded the Planning Steps spreadsheet from your Free Software Gallery. It was incredibly helpful. Thanks.
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Try one of our new Construction Bargain Strategies for free. Coupon code: CBS. One strategy could save you $1,000 or $10,000 or maybe $50,000 when you build or remodel.

The Owner-Builder Book: How You Can Save More Than $100,000 In The Construction Of Your Custom Home - 4th Ed.

The Owner-Builder Book: How You Can Save More Than $100,000 In The Construction Of Your Custom Home - 4th Ed.
List Price: $19.95
Our Price:
You Save: $8.00 (40%)

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Author: Mark A. Smith
ISBN: 1932272046
The brand-new Fourth Edition is here!!!

The best available guide to saving money on a home construction project, The Owner-Builder Book shows you how to contract your new home, remodel, or addition at phenomenal savings. Contains a step-by-step description of the process, including how to find and hire good subcontractors, how to get a construction loan, and how to estimate costs and choose features for your project. Includes 85 planning steps and a section of construction bargain strategies to save you thousands. Includes contracts, agreements, budget and schedule forms and worksheets. Super-index provides 1,500 search terms for total utility. Winner of the National Association of Home and Workshop Writers Silver Hammer Award for Books. Bestselling self-contracting title in the U.S. for 2004, 2005, and 2006.


Editorial Reviews

Women's Day Home Remodeling:

"... the Smiths' advice covers everything about building a home ... the book is an awesome resource guide"

The Pocket Change Investor:

"It's incredibly detailed, with valuable lists, charts, ideas and questionnaires, yet is easy reading ... this is must reading."

The Orange County Register:

"If you've always dreamed of a special, custom home of your own, you may want to try The Owner-Builder Book."

Creative Downscaling:

"Why would anyone want the [contracting] hassle? Money and quality, ...and $100,000 tax-free is not bad..."

REM: Canada's magazine for Real Estate Professionals:

"Even if you decide to hire a contractor, [book] will help you manage your builder while still realizing significant savings."

Pocono Record:

"Can't afford it? Can't swing a hammer? [Read] this book, start [your dreamhouse] and save a bundle of money, too."

Rocky Mountain News:

"...guides you through...building...and saving considerable dollars that will build [your] wealth without the [typical] risk..."

Kansas City Daily News-Press:

"What are the secrets money on the construction of your home? This book tells all."

Book Description:

The best available guide to saving money on a home construction project. The Owner-Builder Book is the most reader-friendly of the self-contracting books currently in print, and has the biggest emphasis on saving money when you build. The only book in the category printed in two colors, or reaching a fourth edition, it is loaded with interesting reader sidebars and a substantial resource guide.

"...16 easy to read chapters with lots of charts, lists and examples...More practical advice..." Nancy Cook-Senn, The Shawnee News-Star

"...this is the book which will tell you how to design and build your own home just the way you want it. It also tells you how to save thousands of dollars in the process...You can also save up to 50% of the cost of a house by becoming an owner-builder...goes through the stages of how to plan, planning, how to buy, developing a network for purchasing your materials, how to get bids, what to look for in bids on different areas, how to supervise your sub contractors, etc...seems to leave very few, if any, stones unturned." Curtis Rivers, Vero Beach Press Journal

"Assuming you have the same costs that a general contractor will have, you will save the profit (more than 10 percent average) and the overhead (two to three times the profit) paid to a general...The Owner-Builder Book discusses just how this can be done." "Ask the Experts", Country's Best Log Homes

"If you don't want to be sorry, follow the process outlined by Mark Smith in his book, The Owner-Builder Book." "Builders Showcase", Northwest Herald

"...covers every aspect of the building process, including planning, scheduling, working with subcontractors, financing, building permits, etc....has, perhaps for the first time, demystified the home-building process for the layman. Consider this to be a textbook." Prince William Region Home Focus

"...highlights techniques for materials shopping (what he calls "commando shopping") and planning your home room-by-room to maximize savings." Home & Real Estate Weekly, Daily Times-Call

"This new book gives a step-by-step approach to building your own home and saving up to 50 percent on construction costs. Chapters show how to beat contractor pricing tactics, how to deal with paperwork (contracts, permits, and legal and insurance protection), how to manage home building project on a daily basis, and how to avoid common owner-builder mistakes." The Henry Herald

"Great practical little book filled with tips to save money when building a home. If you want to take on the project yourself, it's good to know the tricks of the trade first. You'll learn to manage bureaucratic paperwork, how to get subs on your side, and even become privy to "commando" shopping techniques. The Smiths explain how to benefit from new tax laws and how to prepare yourself to get loan approval." Simple Living Quarterly

"If you ever have thought of building your own home, The Owner-Builder Book is for you because it is a step-by-step guide for the amateur and covers all aspects of building a home." Robb Northrup, Kitchener-Waterloo Record

"When it comes to building your dream home, sweat equity a.k.a. doing it yourself, can help economize. But you don't need to swing a hammer to nail substantial savings. In The Owner-Builder Book Mark Smith leads homeowners through a step-by-step guide of planning, scheduling and financing a custom built house." Michelle Mahfouri, American Press

"The 16-chapter book takes [you] from putting a materials list together and putting out bids to subcontractors to shopping for bargains and close-outs on framing lumber, fixtures, concrete and appliances. It also discusses how to avoid first-time mistakes." Kansas City Star

From the Publisher:

The Owner-Builder Book was honored by the National Association of Home and Workshop Writers with it's Silver Hammer Award for Books.

This book will help you through a challenging task, that of acting as contractor on a new home, house addition or remodel. There is a tremendous amount of money you can waste when you build, and the book will help you to save a substantial amount while building a better house.

We have provided many other resources to help you build at, including a free Download Gallery with software templates for construction budgeting and scheduling.

At we have posted more than 60 pages of reader comments such as these:

"My friend had your book checked out of the library so much that the librarian bought her her own copy." Dale B. Tucson, AZ

"I enjoyed your first edition very much. I was very glad to find this second edition at the bookstore. Because I remodel houses, I watch for all the books on this subject. I've probably read them all. There are so few books out there that you can use. The majority of the construction books are just written to sell.. Yours is written to inform.. Some of the books I just get maybe a paragraph out of that's new. Yours I can use." Cliff S. York, SC

"We are working on a huge apartment project, and this is coming in really handy. The book gave us the inspiration to get started in the first place." Edmund & Emily M. Coppers Cove, TX

"This book fell into my hands last year. It was like an answer to prayer. I just devoured the book immediately. I have 20-30 sticky tabs sticking out of it all over." Dorethy H. Topeka, KS

"The book has been helpful in pointing us in the right direction, and giving us the right questions to ask. We wouldn't have been in as good shape if we hadn't read it." Kurt A. Hayden, ID

"Excellent book. A lot of useful information a lot of people don't have. Very informative. As a contractor. I sat down with the book. At first I was wanting to toss it out the window. Either this guy is clueless, or he's been there before. I finally realized that the realities of running your own project are right on target. You can run your own project and become your own construction manager. Often the client doesn't have a clue and they are running fifteen subs and don't want to cut loose control and it turns into a nightmare. They are never there, but they hold the power of the purse. When the subs know that you're not cutting the check, they don't paying attention to you . It was very informative and very on target. And this is the wave of where construction will go. A great book to pass on to clients. I've got a client now where they can't get a hold of a contractor. They've done a lot of footwork, but don't have enough information to take the reins and do it. It's very hard to get contractors right now and this is a great resource for people who could do this on their own. This will give them enough to know what they are getting into at the very least. It gets crazy with people who don't know what they are doing. A contractor's perspective. We hear how to sell. And we find contractors that just slam dunk people, and we are trying to build a reputation for doing what's fair. I've laid my books open to people. Everyone talks about leveling the playing field, but that's difficult when there's no one to reinforce the certification of contractors. We find scabs out here who undercut the price but don't carry the insurance, the workmens comp., and they're not above board. We often have to go out and clean up a bad mess. If people really want to level the playing field they have to reinforce the certification of contractors. In stead, let's give everyone the information to be a true owner-builder. We're trying to run a square game. We try to make enough profits to stay in business for another day. We get slammed with high liability insurance, workers comp., and all the overhead. I'm all for people being fully informed. If someone had this information and had their project as well planned as it should be, it would be a joy to work for them. There would be very few problems. That does everybody a service." Larry T. Santa Rosa, CA

Mark and Elaine are available via email to assist you:, and There is also a toll free phone for your convenience at (888) 333-BUILD.

From the Author

The author, Mark A. Smith:

When we built our own home, a general contractor estimated the cost of construction at $115 a square foot. It was more than we could afford. We had two choices: shrink the house we had planned, or build it ourselves.

We decided to build it ourselves, and completed the house for $65 a square foot. The amazing thing was that we didn't sacrifice anything in the original plan. In fact, we included dozens and dozens of upgrades on which we found great bargains along the way.

We found very little published help on the key issue - saving money - when we were building. So we decided to make it easier for others by writing The Owner-Builder Book. We began by going to the Library of Congress and reading all the books out there on the subject. They were almost all written by general contractors. Believe me, they don't try to help you save money.

Next we conducted 200 interviews with subcontractors, generals, lenders, inspectors, and many other owner-builders. We found answers to all the sticking points like: "Where can I get a construction loan?"

We found that the average owner-builder saved 35% on the cost of construction against contractor estimate or appraised value.

I also drew on my experience as a former construction industry executive and consultant. We provided templates for the reader to the three key tools needed for success: Written Budget, Written Schedule, and Written List of Features. These tools were almost nonexistent in the literature.

We have been honored by reviews or mentions in 165 newspapers and 20 magazines and newsletters to date. People tell us that our book is enjoyable and gives them confidence to build.

Buy this in a combo!

The Owner-Builder Book Electronic Combination

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