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Be Your Own General Contractor and Save Money - Do You Have What It Takes?

Nov 24th 2015 at 8:59 PM

If you are like most people your home is probably your greatest asset. With this said, it is natural that you would want to increase its value, keep it appealing and enhance its livability. Most homeowners would also like to be able to save themselves thousands of dollars by doing work on their own home and not having to hire a professional trades person. The value you add to your home by improving it yourself is called "Sweat Equity." The idea is that the less you pay to improve or enhance your home, the more profitable your home will be at resale time. Before attempting any project yourself always consider the scope of the project and what your real skills are.

What is a General Contractor?

So what does a general contractor do? They are usually hired to manage and oversee large home improvement projects, act as the main contact for the homeowner, help to ensure that the project goes smoothly and that the work is completed on schedule to the homeowner's satisfaction. Many homeowners feel that they could handle the role of a general contractor - and some of them have.

Let's find out more about the typical responsibilities placed on the general contractor's shoulders.

Responsibilities of the General Contractor

The general contractor is in charge of the home project start to finish-and everything in between! Here are some key elements of a project that a general contractor needs to be trained or skilled in.

- Ability to Get the Required Permits for the Project - local permits are required before any structural work can take place. A good general contractor knows which parts of the project will need a permit. He will also know how to apply for them and how to properly complete the paperwork. Some projects may require approval from the local Board of Appeals and/or Planning Board. Be prepared to attend some meetings.

- Communicates With the Project Designer - the general contractor and project designer will normally work together reviewing the homeowners' ideas and final plans before work begins. If problems arise, the general contractor is the one who will normally be looked upon for suggestions by the designer.

- Receives and Evaluates Project Estimates - most general contractors have a network of quality sub contractors they rely on. For each trade needed good general contractors will get at least 2 bids to compare pricing. This can be the most time-consuming part of the general contractors' job. What he may be able to do in a few days could take the homeowner many weeks.

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