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By Mary in Corpus Christi, TX on 2/13/2007


In order to get a construction loan, I am required to have a builder who has built at least three houses and of course is licensed here in the state of TX. The Owner Builder Network will provide the contractor of record (and building guidelines etc.) for a fee of $2.45 sq. ft. on a 3,000 sq ft house that will be $7,350. I must have a contractor or record to get some additional funds. Does anyone out there know if I will get my money's worth if I go with the network?
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By Tom in Stroudsburg, PA on 2/13/2007


Mary,

Is that a state requirement or is the bank requiring three prior builds? If it's the bank, there are more user-friendly banks. Read through the finance forum.
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By Michael Penn in Dripping Springs, TX on 2/13/2007


If you can't find a lender that you can persuade to accept a no-cost "straw builder", such as a friend or relative, as the "Builder of Record", then you'll have to go with one of the "consultant companies" set up for this purpose. Owner Builder Network seems to be one of the least expensive--actually I'd thought their standard price was $2.95 sq ft, but they're local franchises, so maybe you're getting a better deal with your local franchise. If you scour these forums, you'll find lots of discussion pro and con on Owner Builder Network, and many others, including OBCH, UBuildIt, Texas Help-U-Build, BuildMax, etc.

Whether you'll get your money's worth of course depends on the quality of the local franchiser, and even more it depends on how much you need their help. Some people with more limited time or experience may easily get their money's worth, others may consider it a total waste of money. But if it gets you the loan you couldn't get otherwise, and you still save a lot on your build, maybe it's okay.

Myself, I don't think I need their help, and I hope I can get a lender to work with me and my no-cost "straw builder", probably my mother. But I'm planning to prepare loan applications to go either way, just in case. I'll find out soon.


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By Jason in Burleson, TX on 2/14/2007


If your lot is outside of the city limits, you qualify to borrow from any of the banks associated with the TX Farm Credit System (farmcreditbank.com). I spoke with a couple of these banks, and they did not require that I or a relative register as a builder with the TRCC. I also spoke with someone with First Horizon bank and they would allow my father-in-law to be my "builder" but I would need to register him as a builder for $500. MidCountry Bank (midcountrybank.com) was also willing to lend without a builder of record, although their rates would be a little higher in that scenario.

We are going with a bank in the farm credit system (Lone Star Land Bank lonestarflba.com) because the costs were among the lowest we encountered, and also because it is more of a "small-town" banking experience. The people we would deal with and who would be responsible for our draws and other aspects of the loan are all in the bank a few miles from our lot and we were more comfortable with that than dealing with a larger bank where we didn't think we would get the same level of personal service.

Your situation may be different; just passing the info along for yours or anyone else's reference.


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By Mary in Corpus Christi, TX on 2/14/2007


I understand it to be a bank requirement. I will look into the finance forum. I am going to request more information from the network builder. I would like to have specifics as to what services and tools (software, references, etc.) he will offer outside of finance arrangements, and to know just what his responsibilities will be. Thank you.


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By Mary in Corpus Christi, TX on 2/14/2007


Thank you. I'm in the city. But we will be selling some property south of College Station, so I may get the opportunity to share that information with the new owners.
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