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I read your story about the movie-making ordeal; that was quite enjoyable. I’ll have to watch that one for sure.
Jack M. in Trumann, AR

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.
Owner-Builder Book News - Oct 2007
Mark A. Smith, Editor Vol. 6 Number 2 - Oct, 2007
  • New DVD released
  • New Server - Give us another try.
  • Annual Owner-Builder Survey Results

New DVD Released

The Ten Commandments of Owner-Builders DVDs: IV. How to Create Your Written Schedule
 has just been released. You can view a sample inour bookstore.
After written features and budget, the principal task of an owner-builder is a written schedule.  Meet a couple of owner-builders who broke the code and built faster than the average general contractor.  How to use our free software template to build a computer schedule.  How successful owner-builders get cooperation from subs and vendors to make the schedule come true.  Practical and money-saving ideas from a 25 year old owner-builder and a tour of the amazing custom home that brought him a quarter million dollars in equity. 

Also includes a "$1,000 Idea" by Mark Smith, author of The Owner-Builder Book.

Run Time:  66 minutes

Cover price: $15.95 - you can purchase at 50% off ($7.95) for 30 days using coupon number 022606. Enter this number at checkout from our bookstore.

Or, buy all the existing Ten Commandments DVDs at a special combination price of $49.95 (List price: $79.80)
These are the first four "commandments of owner-builders" on DVD. These are the crucial ones - representing planning and the three basic tools of owner-builders, spreadsheet budget and schedule and written features. The set comprises 6 DVDs because the first commandment, "A Thousand Hours of Planning" is a set of three discs; commandments 2-4 are one disc apiece. Each of the DVDs is over an hour in length.

We've gone all over the country filming these programs, they are unique in the world of self-contracting. The basics of owner-building are spelled out by real owner-builders, each successful in a different setting. You'll love the people we feature, they are representative of O-B's everywhere - inventive, resourceful, and financially sound. Using computers and basic planning and control techniques, these couples show the way to save 35% while building superior homes.

There will be more commandments forthcoming in our series of ten commandments, comprising 12 discs. The series is fully filmed and in the editing process. Each time a new one comes out, you'll get email newsletter notification and a coupon for purchase of the new DVD at the "series price" of under ten dollars a disk - you won't lose out on any discounts.

Give us another try. was horribly slow a few months ago. With around a thousand visitors a day, 15,000 pages, and approaching 5,000 photos, we tanked.

Our answer is a new monster server with 8 very fast processors and a very fat data pipeline. Most pages render in less than a second now, and the big server is only 1% utilized. Our sincere apologies for the delay in catching up with the increased traffic.

User Comments:
"Yeah!! Yeah!!! Yeah!!!!! I quit frequenting this site because I was being driven batty over the incredibly long load times. I just happened to click over today and WOW!! Like warp speed!!!! Thanks so much! I know there has to be so much info on here that I have yet to mine. I don't think I did anything differently on my end, so it must be coming from you.
Thanks Again!! (Mary Beth in Dublin, OH)
"I'm as happy as Mary Beth about the speed improvements!  Jeff, I'm one that used to experience slow load times (the page would become visible fairly quickly, but it would be upwards of 10-12 seconds before I could scroll down and use the page).  And that was with IE 7.  Now each page loads fully and releases control to me in 2-3 seconds at the most!!
I don't know if it was the server migration or something else, but your website just became 100 times more usable!  Thanks for your diligence!" (Shane in River Ridge, LA)


Annual Owner-Builder Survey Results

Evidence of Downsizing

    It finally happened - the era we all expected, when "big houses" start to become dinosaurs in the marketplace. Our 2007 survey results of owner-builders, just released, indicate that homes built by O-B's this year were much smaller than last year. 2006 projects averaged 2,982 finished square feet. 2007 projects averaged 2,345 finished feet, a dramatic 21% decrease.

    Budgets were down too, as smaller houses joined with lower labor and material prices and downward pressure on loan sizes to produce a 19% decrease in as-built budgets. The 2006 figure of $264,000 shrank to $214,000 down 19% in our 2007 survey.

    Amazing, but true, subcontractors became available again. "Dead" project days when no subs were on site declined from 34 days in 2006 to 17 days in 2007, a 50% decrease. Statistically, we conclude that subs are twice as available this year. For '06 O-B's were obliged to do an average of five trades themselves to save subcontractor dollars. Average self-work savings amounted to $91,000. For '07 O-B's helped themselves to cheaper subcontractor assistance and only performed three trades themselves on average. Savings for self-work were a much smaller $47,000 in our survey.

    The best news, is that in spite of market weakness, O-B's still report an average 30% savings vs. contractor-built.
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