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Video:Be Your Own Contractor

with Anne-Marie Barton

Building or remodeling your home? Learn how to be your own contractor and get the results you want.See Transcript

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Transcript:Be Your Own Contractor

I'm Anne-Marie Barton for About.com Home. When it comes to remodeling or building your home, there's no need to feel intimidated. Go ahead--take the chance to make your mark.

If you are setting out to build a new home or even remodel, there is no reason you can't be your own contractor. As a woman, you're definitely setting foot into a man's world. And why not? This is going to be your home, so it's up to you to define it.

Make a List of What You Want

Yes, you might hire a builder, but select one with a low fee, and make it clear that you are going to get involved. Begin gathering your list of must-haves, things you can't live without, like this private craft room or this concealed laundry room.

Take, for instance, this bathroom. It creates a lot of warmth and has some things are just a little bit unexpected.

This antique European mantle is something we fell in love with years before building the house. It's something like this that you can base your entire palette of ideas on.

Hire an Architect

Select an architect who listens to your requests. Try giving a few ideas, but don't dictate everything from the start. Wait and see what they'll come up with. After all, you're paying for his expertise.

Prepare a Notebook With Your Ideas

Prepare a notebook, a bible of the home, with every room having a separate section. This will be helpful to both the clients and the subcontractors on the job, helping to reduce expensive change orders in the end.

Fill it with your careful selections, and remember to use things like the architect's layouts only as suggestions. For instance, if you search out several bids from cabinet specialists, it will cost you nothing and give you more ideas.

Stick to Your Plan

Make it clear you have a budget right from the start, and do the footwork yourself. Seeking multiple bids is a way of getting subcontractors to sharpen their pencils and compete for your business.

As your home is going up, push to the end. Don't give up on your vision. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Make a Statement With Your Front Door

The front door is the first thing people see when they come to your home, so it should definitely stand alone. Make it interesting.

You can save money by buying a first slab, applying your molding, and adding some great hardware. In this case, this door was made even more interesting by adding a painted landscape.

Face the Kitchen Sink Toward the Family Room

Fortunately, we no longer spend as much washing and drying dishes. So there's no longer a rule that the kitchen sink has to face a window. Why not face it toward the family room, where all the action is?

Make Your Voice Heard

Speak up. If you don't get what you want at this phase of the building process, things can be nearly impossible to change later.

Use a soft yet assertive touch. I even bring cookies to the job site. But always make your voice heard. In the end, it will be you living with the choices. So dig in, learn something new, and remember that what you wants counts.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us the Web at homegarden.about.com.
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