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Own contribution in building a house: potential savings
Own contribution in building a house: potential savings

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The cost of building a house can be significantly reduced through personal contribution - it contains enormous savings potential. But it doesn't always make sense to lend a hand. Read here which work you should prefer to leave to a specialist and what you have to consider when working on your own.

Table of contents Table of contents Own work in building a house: You can save that much

  • What is a muscle mortgage?
  • Realistically assess your own contribution
  • Make arrangements and calculate correctly
  • Personal contribution also harbors risks
  • Secure helpers
  • What you can do in each case
  • That brings you your own contribution
  • Warranty for own work
  • Interview: If you screw yourself, you save money

Table of contents Table of contents Own work in building a house: You can save that much

  • What is a muscle mortgage?
  • Realistically assess your own contribution
  • Make arrangements and calculate correctly
  • Personal contribution also harbors risks
  • Secure helpers
  • What you can do in each case
  • That brings you your own contribution
  • Warranty for own work
  • Interview: If you screw yourself, you save money

Building your own house is a good way to save money, for example if you don't have enough equity to finance your house. But you can't do every job yourself as a handyman. The risks are often too great and the necessary expertise too small. In addition, the time involved can often go beyond the scope. So only take on activities that do not represent excessively high technical and technical requirements and that can be specifically delimited from the contractual services of the house construction company or the developer.

What is a muscle mortgage?

The muscle mortgage is the cost that can be saved through manual work. Not only can you lower the loan amount, you can also achieve more favorable interest rates for the bank's building loan. As a rule, the bank recognizes approximately 15 percent of the total construction sum as an own contribution. The Building Code specifies how the monetary value of one's own contribution is determined: "The value of self-help is to be recognized as an own contribution with the amount that is saved compared to the usual costs of entrepreneurial contribution (Section 36 Paragraph 3 II WoBauGe)."

Herbert Groth, Head of Sales for Building Finance and Real Estate at Frankfurter Sparkasse, explains: “In a first conversation, the builder and LBS or Sparkassen advisor clarify the main features of the financing. They determine the total costs, the loan amount and the equity. Personal grab replaces part of equity. The amount depends on which trades the customer wants to undertake and what handicraft skills he has. Then the personal contribution is broken down according to wage and material costs. The value of the personal contribution is measured only according to the saved labor costs."

Realistically assess your own contribution

“If you build yourself, you need the necessary know-how and a lot of time,” warns Bernhard Riedl, consultant in the Association of Private Builders (VPB). Homeowners must ensure that everything runs smoothly on the construction site and check the work. Additional personal contributions can quickly become overwhelming. If you take over, you risk botching and delays and finally that improvements make the construction more expensive. "The future owner should limit their own contribution to a maximum of five to ten percent of the total costs, " recommends Florian Becker, managing director of the Bauherren-Schutzbund (BSB). It should also be borne in mind that do-it-yourselfers often buy tiles or paints more expensive than a contractor who benefits from volume discounts. Often, the right tool has to be purchased first. In addition, laypeople lack the routine. Experience has shown that they do not exceed two thirds of a professional's performance. Builders should ask themselves critically whether the effort is worth it at all.

Paar plant Hausbau
Paar plant Hausbau

When planning the construction of a house, you have to consider which work you want to do yourself.

Photo: pressmaster / Fotolia

Make arrangements and calculate correctly

If you still want to tackle it yourself, you should contractually regulate your own contribution. Then it is clear which work the contractor does and which does not. And the customer knows how much he saves on costs. So that there are no delays, own work must be precisely integrated into the construction process. This applies in particular if the client builds with a general contractor or property developer. "The contracting parties should precisely define the interfaces between external and in-house services, both in terms of organization and in terms of time and technology, " advises Bernhard Riedl. This is the only way to avoid performance gaps. If the builder cannot complete his work within the agreed period, he may have to commission external companies. In that case, additional financing may even be required. In addition, the builder should draw up a comparative calculation: Anyone who takes extra unpaid leave, for example, should carefully consider whether their use compensates for the lost wages.

Also, don't forget to clarify who is responsible for what, if your own contribution causes damage and there are delays. "The best thing to do is get advice from construction experts in advance, " says Riedl.

With regard to the calculation, you should have your construction company provide you with a list of the material and wage costs for the desired services before the contract is concluded. To ensure that the contractual completion date can be met, adapt your assignment to the schedule and coordinate it with the architect, the house construction company or the developer.

Personal contribution also harbors risks

Not all work is suitable for the client. Trades such as heating, electrical, gas and water installation belong in the hands of specialist companies. Laypeople should be particularly careful when possible mistakes have far-reaching consequences for the entire construction. Then there can also be a dispute over who caused the defect: the builder or the construction company. In principle, there is no guarantee for personal contributions. "Builders are on the safe side if they only take on work that only starts when the actual house construction is finished and the house has been accepted, " says Florian Becker. Above all, they can do the finishing work and the design of the outdoor facilities. According to the Bauherren-Schutzbund, trades that contain a high percentage of wages and a small amount of material should also be preferred.

Secure helpers

Without the support of friends, it is hardly possible to build a house yourself. So that the statutory accident insurance also applies on the private construction site, the builder must register all private helpers with the BG Bau trade association no later than one week after the start of construction. Even if they work for free or the client is already insured. Otherwise, he risks a fine of up to 2, 500 euros.

What you can do in each case

Not everything belongs in the hands of lay people. So do not overestimate your skills, but weigh them up exactly what you can do yourself. The following classification can help you:

inexperienced craftsmen

Painting and wallpapering: They take a lot of time (about 125 hours), yes with a little patience and the right equipment, you can save between 60 and 80 percent.

Laying tiles: The costs here depend primarily on the quality of the selected tiles. However, if a craftsman is also commissioned, there is a wage share of around 30 euros per square meter.

Laying laminate flooring: You can expect 15 to 20 euros per square meter and a time expenditure of around 90 hours. For installation by a craftsman, you have to calculate 30 to 40 euros per square meter.

Drywall: In drywall, Rigips boards must be laid, filled and sanded. This work is extremely time consuming (around 102 hours), but can save between 60 and 70 percent in money.

Outdoor facilities: Depending on your wishes, you can get by with little money.

selber tapezieren
selber tapezieren

Wallpapering is one of the light handicrafts that can also be done as an inexperienced handyman.

/ Atelier 211

skilled craftsmen

Structural work: This takes a lot of time and is therefore labor-intensive. Almost half of the construction costs are due to the shell, of which around 40 percent are material costs. Even if you probably can't do everything yourself, just packing it in can save you money.

Windows, doors and stairs: In contrast to structural work, the wage share is very low, so that only around 10 to 30 percent of the total costs can be saved.

Plastering: Plastering walls is also time-consuming, but is worth it if you consider the savings potential of 70 percent.

Do-it-yourself professionals

Sanitary installation: Basically, the following applies here: It's better to leave your fingers out. Unless you are a specialist and know exactly what to do.

Electrical installation: The electrical installations should never be tackled by lay people, because the risk of power accidents is great. Leave the work to a specialist.

Elektroinstallation
Elektroinstallation

The electrical installation should always be carried out by a specialist, the risk of electrical accidents is too great.

Photo: VRD / Fotolia

That brings you your own contribution

You can use the following tables to see how much potential savings you have when building your own home. The data refer to a basement end house with three floors and 140 square meters of living space. The builder saved a total of around € 18, 867 from € 253, 482.

Type of personal contribution

Time expenditure

Savings

Drywall with thermal insulation of the roof areas

102 h

€ 4, 085

Put window sills inside

3 hours.

€ 124

Lay tiles

48 hours

€ 1, 919

Set room doors

79 h

€ 3, 173

Painting and painting work

94 h

€ 3, 775

Install floor coverings

89 h

€ 3, 553

Wallpapering

31 hours

€ 1, 238

Outdoor area

30 hours

€ 1, 000

Total personal contributions

476 h

€ 18, 867

Source: Association of Private Builders - Regional Office Munich and surrounding area

Warranty for own work

The construction company assumes no guarantee for own work or consequential damage. You cannot make any claims for recourse against your construction workers either. In order to secure warranty claims against the company, one must carefully formulate in the contract where the performance of the professionals stops and your own begins. You are on the safe side if you thoroughly check the company's preparatory work for defects and, if in doubt, request rectification. You only start your project after acceptance. Conversely, let the site manager also approve your sub-plant before the next specialist begins his work.

Interview: If you screw yourself, you save money

The architect Marai Ströcker and her husband put a lot of effort into building their own houses - and that with a system. In an interview with DAS HAUS, the building owner from the Soest district reveals how they can do their own work.

A survey of builders recently showed that almost 90 percent of builders work on the site. You and your husband have also contributed a lot. Was it worth the effort?

In any case. We saved a total of 100, 000 euros - a good third of the construction costs. We couldn't have afforded a house of this size without our own contribution.

As an architect, you are a specialist. That was certainly a big advantage?

Right. I was able to do all the planning myself. However, personal contribution always depends on the craftsmanship. Fortunately, my husband is very talented in this regard. He single-handedly handled almost the entire interior, the complete electrical installation and the installation of the wooden facade. Incidentally, he is a mechanical engineer by profession - so he has nothing to do with the construction industry.

From your experience as an architect: How much can average builders save with their own contribution?

Ten percent of the total cost is possible. If you can handle tools well, you can do a lot of work without special knowledge. You should then have a specialist at hand for each trade. Watching a video on youtube is by no means enough for building a house.

Where can you find a professional if you don't have a craftsman in the family or among friends?

Do not buy the material in the hardware store, but in the specialist shop. You pay a little more, but you get good goods and, above all, a competent contact person. Builders can then immediately ask whether they can report again if there are problems. Specialist shops also often lend special tools, and the expert usually shows you how to use them correctly.

You have planned your own contribution from the start. How does it work?

The choice of materials is important. A wooden house offers the greatest opportunities to work with. Anyone who builds a solid house must be able to build walls. However, screwing panels to the wall does not require any special skills. After all, everyone had a cordless screwdriver in their hands. That is why we have a wooden facade instead of plaster and wooden floors instead of stone. Which work you can do yourself depends of course on your own abilities. Tiles are not our strength, so we have kept them to a minimum. Even with complex architecture it becomes more difficult - for example with a gallery, open stairs, frameless glass railings or round walls.

Which jobs are worth doing yourself?

Craftsmen generally buy building material at a significantly lower price than builders. Therefore, trades with high labor costs and low material costs are suitable for your own work. This applies to drywall, for example. Attaching lightweight walls, filling and sanding them is also very time-consuming for the specialist. The layperson can do this more cheaply. And you can't do too much wrong. Painting, flooring and outdoor facilities are also easy to do.

Which activities should laymen better leave to a specialist?

The statics and all trades where defects can have serious consequences. Caution is advised when installing water and electrical installations, and when covering roofs and floors. If the floor tiles in the shower are not tight, you quickly have moisture in the screed and high repair costs. There is no guarantee for anything you do yourself. With difficult trades, you can still lend a hand, but better only under the guidance of a craftsman.

Craftsman and client work together?

Yes, the client then becomes a helper. Artisans often bring a colleague with them because some work can be done better in pairs - even if it is only a question of an assistant handing over material. Builders save the hourly wages of the second man if they instead assist themselves. The prerequisite is, of course, that the craft company gets involved in this deal.

Bauherrin Marai Ströcker mit Familie
Bauherrin Marai Ströcker mit Familie

Start photo gallery

OSB-Platten
OSB-Platten
Kind auf dem Bau
Kind auf dem Bau
Mellrich: Luftansicht
Mellrich: Luftansicht

6 Show all If you screw yourself, you save money

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In-house architect - Marai Ströcker is a managing partner at the architectural firm RSA in Lippstadt.

Photo: private

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Image

Wood is the key - the client Markus Oel found it easy to install OSB panels. That was also a reason for the choice of materials.

Photo: private

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Where do the stones go? - The three-year-old son shows great commitment. Mama never takes her eyes off the building.

Photo: private

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In the countryside - Mellrich is a small village in the rural North Rhine-Westphalia district of Soest. The most striking house in the village belongs to the Ströckers.

Photo: Eschrich design office

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Image

Farsightedness - The view of the countryside is unobstructed. Inside, different floors visually divide the room into the living and dining area.

Photo: Eschrich design office

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Image

Meal - Family meals are served in the open kitchen. The dining table by the large window is only two steps away.

Photo: Eschrich design office

Bauherrin Marai Ströcker mit Familie
Bauherrin Marai Ströcker mit Familie
OSB-Platten
OSB-Platten
Kind auf dem Bau
Kind auf dem Bau
Mellrich: Luftansicht
Mellrich: Luftansicht
Wohn- und Essbereich
Wohn- und Essbereich
Wohnzimmer
Wohnzimmer

What mistakes should you avoid?

Wrong self-assessment is the worst. Builders who have little experience with their own work often overestimate their skills and time requirements. This is risky, not only because of possible defects. Anyone who blocks a specialist because their own work has not been completed in time causes high additional costs.

What should builders consider when planning their time?

A layperson always takes significantly longer to work than a professional. It is best to concentrate on a maximum of two to three trades that do not follow one another directly. This creates a breather. In general, breaks are very important, because building a house is exhausting. At first we were at the construction site every evening and every weekend. It was a tough time. Later we only planned the weekends for work, and things went much better. The days of the week served us as a buffer: if something had to be done quickly, work was exceptionally carried out after work.

Many build because they need more space for the growing family. How to build a house with a child?

When we built our house, our son was three years old. He was mostly on site, but was easy to keep busy. Sometimes he was allowed to turn screws into a wood, sometimes he could swing the brush. Of course I always kept an eye on him. That already limited my workforce, but I could still help. We now have two children. Personal contribution to the extent that we have provided it would no longer be conceivable today. Our working hours would double smoothly.

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