Editor's note: Robert Bruss is temporarily away. The following column from Bruss' "Best of" collection first appeared Sunday, July 16, 2006. If you are thinking about building a house or renovating your current home, first read "Be Your Own House Contractor, Fifth Edition" by longtime home builder Carl Heldmann. This very valuable new book explains, according to the author, how to shave at least 25 percent off construction costs of a new house. More important, it goes into great detail of what is involved with being your own home contractor. Having been involved with renovating many houses and always hiring a remodeling contractor, I closely related to Heldmann's explanations of how to build a new house to save money or renovate an existing house without hiring a general contractor. The au...
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