If you’re planning on using friends or family as builders or tradespeople, here’s a word of warning.
Watch this video to find out.
And here’s the transcript, if you prefer reading to watching …
I want to share this as a word of warning.
I have a lot of homeowners who talk to me that when they’re building or renovating their home, they’re going to use friends or family members or friends-of-friends or friends-of-family (!!) to …
- help them get it done for less money,
- in less time
- or with more flexibility
- or some other range of options.
And (on the flipside) I also have homeowners telling me about when that situation has gone really pear-shaped!
So I wanted to make a suggestion to you. If you’re planning on using a friend or a family member to help you build or renovate your project, firstly picture the worst-case scenario.
If everything went to hell in a hand basket, what would that look like and what would you need to do in order to protect yourself? And what can you set up now?
I think the challenge that we have is that when we do things like this with our family members or with our friends, is this:
We treat the situation a bit more casually than we would if we were actually commissioning them to do it formally.
That may mean that you don’t get proper quotes, or you don’t get contracts.
And when there’s so much at stake, it’s not just the fact that it’s your home and it’s the quality of your home and the amount of money that you might be spending on it.
Or the fact that you might be borrowing that money to do this project.
There’s also (when it’s family or it’s friends) relationships at stake.
What I see happen often, is that homeowners think, “we’ve known these people for ages, it’s not going to happen to us” or “it’s not going to be us that this happens to”.
However, I seen enough times where it’s gone so badly, so pear-shaped that I really want to issue this as a word of warning.
Please just be sure that you understand what can go wrong.
It doesn’t mean that it will … but if you actually think about what can go wrong and then you at least have an honest conversation about it. You can protect yourself financially, legally, and build in buffers to your process and project overall.
Then the best-case scenario is that it can all be perfectly fine and that you do come out of your renovation or building project with it costing less money or being faster or more flexible.
But the worst-case scenario is just so far at the other end of the spectrum.
To the point where I’ve actually seen homeowners have builders who were family members or friends of family leave their site half done, walk away with drawings, walk away with approvals and all sorts of things … and leave them with a half-finished house and nothing to be done about it.
So it’s really a hairy situation to try and reverse.
So word of warning:
If you’re going to use friends, family members or friends of friends, as your builders or tradespeople on your renovation or building project, then:
- picture what the worst-case scenario is,
- make sure you’re protected
and then you can be confident that if things do go wrong, that you’re covered.
And if they don’t, that you’re getting a great outcome!
Other blogs you may find useful …
How do you choose a builder, and is it just luck? These are my tips.
Is your builder telling you to forget about using an architect? This may be why.
Nicole Cox, from the blog, The Builder’s Wife, gives her top 5 tips for pain-free renovating and building here.