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George's Forum Posts: 33
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By George in Wharton, TX on 3/20/2007


Anyone have information/experience with this particular franchise?
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By Rachel in Magnolia, TX on 3/20/2007


Not that one, but we spoke with Owner Builder Network, Build Your Own Home, Bee the Builder and Owner Built Custom Homes.  I emailed UBuildIt a couple of times but no response so I figured I probably wouldn't get much response during the build either.


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By George in Wharton, TX on 3/20/2007


Sounds like you were motivated, did you find anyone better than the others?
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By Rachel in Magnolia, TX on 3/20/2007


We have signed on with Owner Built.  My husband took the building classes at the Owner Builder Network so he was around them for a few weeks and didn't seem impressed with their know-how or the guy that was running the show.  Bee the Builder didn't seem very well established and stretched a bit thin.  Build Your Own Home was very pleasant and informative but they seemed more geared toward guidance, emphasizing their program including the site supervisor.  They also had a bit of a problem providing me with references.  Owner Built seemed geared toward showing us ways to save money (without sacrificing quality) and that is what we were looking for.  They offer general guidance of course, too.  They provided me an extensive list of references and at what stage of building they were in. 

We are only in the early stages but I still feel we made the right decision.  They call us weekly and ask if we have any questions.  We also get calls almost weekly from subs wanting to bid our plans.  We have a set at their office and subs come in all the time.  So far of the things we have paid for: foundation engineering, soil analysis, septic design, their subs have given the best price and believe me, I tried calling around!
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By George in Wharton, TX on 3/20/2007


Thank you!  Have you started a journal yet with this site?  I and probably a few others would be interested in following your progress with Owner Built.  I have not seen a lot of people who have been real pleased with these types of companies and it would be nice to know if there was a reliable one nearby.  Thanks again and good luck.
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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 3/20/2007


If it's not prying too much, how much are you being charged for their services, connections, etc...?

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By Rachel in Magnolia, TX on 3/21/2007


I have not started a journal and I'm afraid I wouldn't be very good about keeping up with one.  I will however answer any questions you may have. 

We have had a slow start, but that comes with being your own GC--it only goes as fast as you make it.  Unfortunately, we twiddled our thumbs a bit at first and it really was a difficult decision to decide to use one of these O-B companies so I took a bit too long. 

As soon as we were ready with the plans, soil tests and foundation plan, the rains began!  It appears that our lot tends to stay soggy a bit so just when things started drying out it'd rain again.  This won't be a big deal once we get past the slab but it's throwing a wrench into the dirt work.  We're building on a slight slope and we're going to have to bring quite a bit of dirt in. 

It's been nice getting bids without even having to call anyone.  One of Owner Built's deals is that they will get you a minimum amount of certain bids: slab, windows, plumbing, electrical, roofing, framing.  This happens as soon as they have your plans so it helps with the budgeting as they may already have some hard bids by the time you go to closing.  Like I said, I am still doing my own checking around but their vendors seem competitive.  We are using their dirt work guy (who also happens to service the other OBNs) but picked up the concrete guy from another place.  We received a call from a trim carpenter who wanted us to come out to one of the builds to check out his stuff and he has turned us onto a framer that we might use who is not in the vendor list yet.  The list of vendors isn't extremely long, but that may indicate that they actually do have some screening and quality control in place.  They say they don't charge subs to be on the list when I know in fact that OBN does. 

The one thing they have indicated they may add, which I think would be great, is a rating system for their subs.  But so far the consultant seems very upfront and familiar about everyone on their list.  We were advised that "X" has been giving them the best prices recently but they haven't been pleased with his service and "Y" will price match, but will not match on customer service, etc.  They even have contracted prices with certain people such as the soil analysis (which was a couple hundred dollars cheaper).  In fact when I mentioned what I paid to one of the guys there his face got a little stern and said "I need to call them, that's not our deal"  I then told him we had them drill 20' instead of 15' so that was why it was more (still cheaper than the 15' drill from cold calls). 

Anyway, that's the good stuff so far.  I don't want to seem like I am trying to sell them--after all they are not paying me for marketing; I am paying them.  In fact there is a little resentment for having to pay anyone at all - my little rebellion - I haven't displayed their sign on my jobsite.  Back to the $ question--we are paying $2.85/ft2.


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By Rachel in Magnolia, TX on 3/21/2007


Hey Trey.  I noticed on another thread you mentioned going through Capital One for financing.  That's who our financing through Owner Built is with.  So they obviously do have some way for owner-builders.  Maybe you can sneak in the back door.  You'd be the Texas O-B hero!  Let us know what you find out even though it's a bit late for us.
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By George in Wharton, TX on 3/21/2007


I have a call in to Tom Horst with Capital One in Austin.  I need to confirm what my local bank president says which is they will accept a "straw builder"/"dummy builder" (they know will have no building experience) and it does not require any fees to register him. 

I've got no problem with that personally.  I don't understand the trouble others are having.  I talked with another local credit union who will do the same thing and I could not believe they do not require an independent inspector to check on the progress.  That to me seems a little reckless, but I'm not complaining.  I may just be ignorant because I'm still early in this process but I will report in an appropriate section of the forum what Capital One says about O-B financing.  Have a great day and thanks for the info.


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By Jeanne in Conroe, TX on 3/30/2007


We have spoken to Owner Built Custom Homes as well, Please keep us posted on your progress and your experience with Owner Built.
Thanks.

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By Buff in Houston, TX on 4/2/2008


Did you follow through with Owner Built Custom Homes? Are they doing a good job? They seem to have their act together for being the Builder of Record, registering with the TRCC, getting a construction loan, etc.  I'm watching them work in a subdivision called Benders Landing in the Houston area and I'm hoping to meet with some of their owner-builder clients to get their feedback.  Their construction signs are all over that subdivision.  I'm also looking at UBuildIt but I'm having difficulty reaching their current clients.  Any ideas?  Buff

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By Steven in Houston, TX on 6/22/2015


Anyone with updates on their experiences so far with Owner Built?
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