Home Improvement


How to Plan, Subcontract and Build Your Dream House by Warren V. Jaeger How to Plan, Subcontract and Build Your Dream House
by Warren V. Jaeger

Paperback: 279 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 11.00 x 8.50
Publisher: Trojan Homes Pub Co; 2nd edition (January 1, 1998)
ISBN: 0964782405

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Book Description: If You're Thinking About Building A Home, whether you want to be your own General Contractor, and SAVE up to 50,000 Dollars or more, or you want to hire a builder, there are many things that you absolutely must know to avoid costly errors and mistakes. "HOW TO PLAN, SUBCONTRACT AND BUILD YOUR DREAM HOUSE" has been written by Warren V. Jaeger, a Master Designer-Builder, with more than 45 years experience. Thirty four chapters, more than 130,000 words, and dozens of diagrams take you step by step through the entire building process with practical advice and real life examples. Learn what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how to get it done!

But, before you even think about construction, PART ONE guides you through: lot evaluation, drainage, sloping sites, public water and sewer connections, well drilling, septic systems, zoning, wet lands, flood plains, deeds and restrictions, easements, foundation designs and many vital considerations and decisions you must make long before you hire a builder or start to build. Part two covers: how to get plans, when plans are worthless, types of builders, how to choose the building process. Part three covers: the detailed process of construction, mortgages, financial discipline, hiring subcontractors, scheduling and supervision.

There are great chapters on Radon, Principles of Electricity, Energy Saving Windows, and much much more. You will save many times the cost of this book alone by following Proper Insulation Techniques and Construction Methods revealed by the author.

WARREN V. JAEGER explains the 69 essential rules of construction learned through his many years of practical experience. They cost him money to learn, and they will save you money if you follow them. Because the scope and detail of this book is so comprehensive we are including the complete Table of Contents so you can appreciate all the thing that are covered which you need to know to succeed.

You wouldn't remove an appendix, or represent yourself in court, without the necessary knowledge. Don't undertake an expensive building project without getting the information you must have to succeed.

From the Publisher: This book has been sold by mail order to people all over the world such as Australia, Canada, Turkey, Germany, Puerto Rico and every state of the United States.

From the Author: I am delighted that you have decided to take the first and most important step in building a home, and that is to gain the necessary information and knowledge to assure your success.

I have been in the construction business since 1949 and with a few years out for the Korean war, have operated my own contracting business since 1954. I have been a subcontractor on Manhattan sky scrapers, schools, hospitals, airports and industrial plants.

I have always had a creative urge and in 1973 I designed and built my own home in the beautiful Hudson River Valley in New York. I must have done something right because people heard about the house I had built and came to me asking that I design and build their dream house for them.

Building and designing homes was love at first sight. I never felt so fulfilled and satisfied. The excitement and delight of my clients as they saw their life's dream take shape was a big extra bonus and I never looked back. Over the years I have designed and built hundreds of original homes, developed sub-divisions and condominium projects.

I was often invited to give seminars on new home construction to real estate brokers and sales people who wanted to know more about the product they were selling. The lectures were popular and I was more and more in demand. After every seminar people told me how helpful and informative my little talk was. They always asked, "Why don't you write it all down?" But with running a very active building business there just never was time.

Well a few years ago, after I had finished selling out my condominium project the housing market was pretty poor so I decided to take some time off. Suddenly I realized that I had the time to write that long delayed book. SO NOW I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL THE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE I HAVE GAINED BUILDING CUSTOM HOMES, IN A WAY THAT WILL ENABLE YOU TO AVOID THE MISTAKES AND PITFALLS THAT I MADE ALONG THE WAY IN LEARNING THE BUILDING BUSINESS.

This book pulls no punches. It tells you exactly what you are in for if you decide to build your dream house and what will be required of you for success.

This is your first important decision and it must be an informed one. "HOW TO PLAN, SUBCONTRACT AND BUILD YOUR DREAM HOUSE" will give you all the facts you need to know.

There are important things you need to know before buying land or a building lot. In this book I explain to you all the factors and pit-falls that the broker trying to sell you the lot is not going to tell you about, even if they know!

How do you find and hire good sub-contractors? How do you motivate them to do what you want? How can you tell if they are doing the work properly? All of these things are carefully spelled out for you in easy to understand language and with real life examples.

Just learning how to insulate the RIGHT way will save you hundreds of dollars every year in energy costs. The TABLE OF CONTENTS will show you how many topics and details are covered, from selecting the lot to planting the lawn.


When have you ever gotten an offer like this? Act now and start on the road to the excitement and satisfaction of building your dream house! I'll be at your side every step of the way. Very truly yours, Warren V. Jaeger LaGrangeville, NY. Email: Buildup28@aol.com

Customer Reviews
Voice of experience--good advice, July 5, 2002
Reviewer: A reader from Safe Harbor, MD USA
The best part of this book is its easygoing style. Written seemingly entirely from memory, you'll understand and remember every word. The author skips the commonly available info and writes about the crucial nuts-and-bolts problems of building a house: what do you do if you've drilled a hundred foot well and come up dry? (Keep drilling.) His advice on some details, vapor barriers for example, is OK but you'll want to check the latest thinking on the topic too. Some harmless misinformation is passed along, like that Palladio, eponym for those short-tall-short windows, "invented" them. (He may have invented residential architecture, but those windows date to antiquity. In his day they were known as serliana, after the architect Sebastian Serliano.) The scientific explanations fall a bit short, and the chapter where he disparages Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's engineering does not show him in a good light. However he does caution you that drywallers, more than any other trade, will try to rip you off with a high materials estimate. Stuff like that you can't get anywhere else.

Great first source, January 11, 2002
Reviewer: A reader from Cambridge, MA USA
If you want to have a house built, this is a great book to start with. The author is a general contractor who has seen it all and wants to educate readers about the building process. His intention is to prevent others from the pitfalls and scams of building, and simultaneously he explains the science behind plumbing, electricity, sewarage, insulation etc. He also discusses the attitudes and scams of subcontractors and local bureaucrats. This is not a how-to book; the purpose is to educate you enough so that you know what questions to ask as your house goes up.

He begins with purchasing the land and ends with the final detailing of the house. He includes interesting anecdotes to make his points. I was impressed his ability to go from the abstract to simple things usually overlooked. Although I was lost in the section on laying the foundation, the book was written simply, and is easy to follow.

My only criticisms are limited. There are occasional typing errors (I'm an English teacher) and a need for a few more illustrations. The author can also be opininated about his person tastes in decor and such, but I found that to be humorous and endearing. Finally, I don't think the book is titled incorrectly. Yes, you should read it if you want to be your own gerneral contractor. But I think this book is more about the risk involved in doing that. After 20 pages, I was convinced I would definately want a general contractor.

Had a lot of useful tips, but lacked a few key areas, December 4, 2001
Reviewer: Richard W. Sherwood from Detroit, MI
I would actually give it 4 1/2 stars if I was able. The book had many useful tips concerning windows, framing and insulating to produce an energy efficient house. It also had tips for hanging drywall, planning lighting and measuring techniques, as well as tips for dealing with contractors and inspectors; all of which are helpful. The authors distaste for basements leads to an absense of information on poured basements which are the standard in my area. He continually pushed slab houses and only had block wall basements as an example. This was disappointing. Not being a plumber, I also would have liked more information on tapping into city sewer and water and into gas lines. Most of his examples were of a septic system and well. The book was not edited well, as it had many spelling errors. If you are not looking for a novel, this should not bother you much because the information in the book is simple and very benificial. It is well worth the purchase price and should save you a lot of money and headaches if you decide to build your own house.

Helpful hints without editing!, March 28, 2001
Reviewer: Tracey Porter from Joppa, Maryland United States
Mr. Jaegers' book is chock full of handy hints for the homebuilder, but it's difficult to believe that no one at Trojan Homes Publishing Co. can spell! There is nothing that will ruin an author's credibility more than a poorly edited book(or non-edited, in this case)! Though Mr. Jaeger's wisdom and experience in construction shines through the horrible grammar and constant misuse of the possessive "it's," the responsibility for proofreading of his manuscript is the publisher's. I understand that this book should just be a guideline for the homebuilder and that simplicity in typeface and layout of this book probably allowed for initially less expensive publishing costs, but there is just no excuse for this high number of errors to find their way into print!! Despite my ranting about the lack of editing,this book is still a treasure for the all the do-it- yourselfers out there(and I think you know who you are!).

Very handy book but not complete, December 15, 2000
Reviewer: msecoda from northampton, pa United States
I found this book very helpful. The author tells goes into extreme details for his home preferances. Since he does not like basements he does not go into great detail about pouring foundations for full basements. There are a couple of things like that. All in all I think he does an excellent job at stearing you around the big bumps. Luckily my concrete guy is my cousin so we had no problem at all. This book will however give you a ton of great ideas, and help you to plan everything well but if you know squat about the building process I would but more technical books in addition to this one. I worked for a general contractor through college so I am pretty handy. My advise is if you are planning on building your own home, congratulations and good luck. Most people that I have talked to say that it is too stressful, and they'll never do it again. If you are like me you will welcome the challenge. It is one of the most rewarding things you can do. I worked my full time job and did this and it not only gave me more energy than I have had in a while but it helped me get in shape from sitting behind this desk full time. You can always blow off the gym but you have to go to the site everyday.

read more than one of this type of book!, November 24, 2000
Reviewer: Clif Woodall from Atlanta, GA USA
Mr. Jaeger comes across as a very experienced man with some strong opinions, however his expertise seems to be in colder, northern climates. This does not mean that some of his opinions are not valuble. He does seem to have a prejudice against basements, as he finds them damp and musty (perhaps if he recommended poured concrete instead of cement block foundations this would not be as much of a problem). He also makes some recommendations that are code violations in Georgia. For example, he instructs you to dig a burial pit for your construction debris. This might be fine in colder regions where termites are not a problem (as long as you don't mind sink holes as the wood rots) however, in the south, buried wood is a picnic for termites that will soon go looking for another source of food after the construction trash is consumed (most likely your new home). He also says to run your natural gas line in copper (a code violation in GA) instead of threaded pipe. He dosen't cover the pros and cons of steel construction, and the book is very short on illustrations. However, the sections on lot selection and dealing with subcontractors are good, as is his "matter of fact", direct style of writing. I am not saying that you should not buy this book. I learned a great deal from it! I would say that with ANY book in this genre, many opinions are just that, OPINIONS. The writers opinion may not match up with your lifestyle or taste. The words of the proverb are very true, in a multitude of counselors, there is wisdom. Buy more than one of this type of book.

My Home Building Bible, November 22, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from Boston, MA. USA
This is a wonderful and very comprehensive book covering every aspect of building a house in all climates. It contains information that I have not seen anywhere else. i.e. The chapter on looking at and evaluating a building site is very informative and insightful. Every step of the construction process is explained in detail. There are diagrams showing construction details, grading techniques and even showing how to survey and lay out a foundation yourself. There are special chapters on understanding electricity and it's role in your home, Radon and most importantly in this time of rising energy costs, how to insulate for maximum effect for both heating and cooling in hot and cold climates. I especially enjoyed the anecdotes and real life examples taken from the authors vast experience. Mr. Jaeger has the knack of explaining complicated things in a clear and easy to understand way. I am most impressed with his offer to answer all reader questions by E-mail and I can verify he keeps his word on that. I've never before heard of an author offering free consultation but he does. He answers all questions about the book and/or your own project. I read the prior "review" by "greeba" and I wonder how much of the book she actually read because she missed all the important lessons. She admits she got her knowledge from watching "The Brady Bunch" so how much can you expect? The paper is standard paper used for high speed electronic printing and I only noticed a few minor typos. The line drawings are technical diagrams, not illustrations. If you want pictures I suggest you watch the television programs that show all aspects of actual building in progress. Check out, "Hometime", Bob Villa's "Home Again" and "This Old House". Actually, I thought the picture of the Taj Mahal (the ultimate dream house) on the cover was a neat touch. What Mr. Jaeger provides from his 45 years experience as a pro builder, that pictures cannot supply, are the techniques and strategies of planning, managing and coordinating a construction job and a vast wealth of information you wouldn't ever think of. The most important lesson is Mr. Jaeger's instruction on how to get sub-contractors to do what you want willingly and how to keep them showing up. He also tells you how to avoid the pit falls and rip offs common in the construction game. This book is my home building Bible. The value of a book is not in the paper or a few typos or some pretty pictures as "Greeba" thinks. The real value is the information it contains. This book will help you save many thousands of dollars and contains all the information you will need. Any questions? Ask the author. For a proper perspective on this book check out all the reviews especially the one by George Ehrenhaft, an experienced builder. HE knows what he is talking about.

Good start, but needs pictures and an editor!, November 2, 2000
Reviewer: greeba from New York, NY United States
If you don't mind wading through typographical errors, this is a good informational book about building a house from top to bottom. If you are planning on building or subcontracting your own house, this will not be enough, however. The book is lacking in actual photos; all illustrations are line drawings. The book does not *appear* to be worth the price paid for it. An editor, a higher grade of paper, and some photos would make this a really good resource, and would probably make this a much better selling book for the author as well. The most valuable lesson Mr. Jaeger tries to get across is caveat emptor, ("buyer beware") but I learned that for free years ago on the Brady Bunch.

suitable for the northeast, August 8, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from Cypress, TX USA
Most of the information in this book seems to come from the author's experience building in the Northeast or colder climates. If you live in a warm weather climate he doesn't give enough information about building in these locales. Also, not enough detailed info. on selecting sub-contractors and what they should exactly do for you. I am planning to build my own home and will need to buy another book because this one didn't do it.

This Book Saved Me A Bundle, January 25, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from Chugiak, Alaska
Thanks a lot Mr. Jaeger, for your fine book on the various trades and how not to get taken for a ride. What a Godsend! I like to think that I am reasonably smart but there is always someone who is smarter and the really smart ones write books. Not just any books but books one can READ AND UNDERSTAND. This is such a book. Easy to read. A pleasure actually. Mr. Jaeger I really appreciate your sense of humor. Anyhow you saved me a bundle. How? Well I was about to sign a contract to build a home for my family (just a three bedroom winter home, nothing too fancy) on the big island of Hawaii. Now I realize all the things that could have gone wrong (and would have with my luck) with just about everything from the slab to the paint. I was actually going to TRUST these guys to do a good job... and I'm 7,000 miles away here in Alaska! Now It'll still get built, but I'll be there when it does. It may take longer but so what, Hawaii isn't going anywhere(I hope). Anyway thanks Mr. Jaeger for all your effort! That was one book I was sorry had to end.

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