Summary: Shell home builders build the house shell then you finish it. Shell house builders help you be your own builder.
Carl, I have a builder here in Washington DC area that offers "shell" build-outs, wherein I could then finish the house.
To quote their program:
"For those people who have the time and management skills, we offer a Shell Home program. We will install the foundation, frame the shell including exterior windows & doors, and install the siding and roof shingles. Then it will be turned over to you to complete."
Carl, Are you familiar with such arrangements?
Thanks, D. L.
Yes D. L., I am.
Having the shell of a new home constructed by a General Contractor and his subcontractors is an excellent way to build a new home, especially your first one.
You will still be the General Contractor and responsible for all the preliminary planning, cost estimating, mortgage financing, etc., but some shell home builders such as Pierson-Gibbs actually provide home construction loans.
You would need to compare their quote for building the shell vs. you hiring the crews to build the shell if you want to know if it's a good deal.
Use construction estimating software to obtain a rough cost estimate for the complete home and then subtract, or back out, the cost of the categories that the shell home builder will be including in his building contract.
You should also wait until the lender's appraisal comes in to see how much you'll still be saving by just finishing the interior of the house.
You should always be able to cancel the project before it is started if you don’t like the numbers. Do NOT start the house until you have everything, including financing, to your liking.
Most likely your savings as an owner/builder will be less using a shell home builder, but everything has a price, and a value.
Here's some information from Pierson-Gibbs Homes for the Owner Builder that explains the role of a shell home builder.
Good luck, Carl Heldmann