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Owner Builder Testimonials

"Thanks so much for teaching the Owner/Builder class! As a teacher you provided the perfect mix of knowledge and entertainment. We definitely got our money worth and came away with priceless information. I can't wait to study and digest your web page! We definitely will be spending lots of time on it. Love what we have seen so far, and the recipes look tasty, too! Thanks again for all your help and your contagious positive, personable, and awesome attitude."

Roxie and Ron Arnold

"Tom's 'Guide and Video' is absolutely content-rich for the owner-builder… we also know some General Contractors who would do well to spend a few hours with it. The only way to get more information and value is to retain him in person to be involved in your project. The two sections in the Guide most valuable to our project concerned Quality Control and Cost Analysis: we required a house we could live in forever that didn't leave us in debt for that long. The most important lesson we learned from Tom and his 'Guide & Video' is that without complete and detailed specifications, you probably don't know what you want and you certainly can't communicate it to the people that supply it, install it or loan you money to buy it."

Myrna & Daryl Harper

Roof Trusses
Click here to visit site

"Partition Separation" with Guest Chuck Walker

Tom interviews Chuck Walker, industry expert in manufacture and installation of engineered truss systems. Mr. Walker defines partition separation sometimes blamed on truss uplift, but more often attributable to other structural problems as building elements interact with one another; he then suggests preventative action to be taken to avoid partition separation.

 Visit Down Home Radio for the entire audio archive

"Anyone interested in designing a home or understanding the building process needs Tom's Guide and Video to create order and make their dream attainable. The Guide and Video have been invaluable in leading us through the Design/Build process."

Ross & Lisa Oswald

"The Guide is a well written, and researched, comprehensive step-by-step manual that helps 'de-mystify' the building process. It is presented in an easy to understand, logical, time-based format that lays out the sequence of events any owner/builder can expect to encounter when building a home."

Michael & Kelly Dowling

"There are two important reasons the Guide and Video are beneficial to the consumer. First, you get a 'Design/Build Matrix' which is an excellent format for organizing project details before work begins. Second, you get a 30-page 'Quality Control' checklist for reviewing work as it's accomplished. Adequate planning during the design phase and quality control during the build phase are the key to a successful home building project. . . . .Tom provides both elements. I highly recommend the Guide and Video to the consumer."

Mark Higley
Custom Home Builder

"The Guide and Video give everyday people clear and concise steps for building a custom home. It's an absolute must for anyone who intends to 'general' their own project."

Kenneth L. Greenleaf
Diamond Bay Electric

"I believe that owner/builders who choose to apply these techniques to their own projects will come back to the Guide and Video time and time again as valuable and practical 'tools' of the trade. I would highly recommend the Consumer's Guide and Video not only to prospective owner/builders, but also architects, contractors, planners, building officials, and anyone who works with construction professionals on a regular basis."

Jason Paulsen
City Planner

"Tom Landis' 'Home Building Consumer's Guide & Video' is a perfect 'mirror' of himself; it clearly reflects his thorough knowledge of the subject matter, ability to make the information easy to understand, while demonstrating his enthusiasm for the lifelong learning process."

Brenda Hopkins
Community Education Coordinator

"Understanding the construction process is the key to planning a successful outcome for your design/build home construction project. Tom cuts a wide swath through the jungle of confusing and overwhelming information out there. This is not another 'How To' book designed to lead you through the hands-on labor of construction. Rather, this opens the door to a lifetime of knowledge and experience with the building process."

David B. Simon
Youthbuild Instructor

"Consumers will do well by reading the Guide and viewing the video. Realizing just one page could be expanded into 100 pages, Tom sticks to providing the 'Big Picture'. Whether you hire an architect, general contractor, or act as an owner/builder, the Guide and Video keep your attention on the main issues and help you stay on the critical path."

Gerald J. Liggett

"If you're incompetent with construction details, you have to be honest with yourself," says Tom Landis, a former builder in Black Diamond, Washington, who now consults with homeowners about their construction projects. One client, a university professor who was considering acting as his own contractor, finally decided: "I just can't do this."

"There's no shame in that," Landis says. "We all have different competencies. I can't play the piano, and I'm not ashamed of it."

To help clarify whether you have what it takes to be an owner/builder, ask yourself these questions: Do I have time in my life? Am I aggressive? Can I make quick decisions? Do I have confidence in my choices? Am I organized?

If you were honest with yourself and still answered yes to these questions, you might be a candidate for an owner/builder project. According to those who have done it successfully, the satisfaction is deep.

Excerpt from
"So You Want to be Your Own Contractor"
Better Homes and Gardens'
"Remodeling Ideas" Magazine (Winter 1998)
Article by Kathy Price-Robinson

"Thank you again for the excellent remodeling overview and instruction you provided in your Owner/Builder class ! This really helped us to take another look at a very long home-improvement list and find a better way to prioritize and organize the work. It all makes so much sense and definitely relieves the overwhelmed feeling. Thanks again!"

Nancy Wildin & Wil Hasegawa


"We want to thank Tom for sticking with us throughout our project. Our entire process took four years from the time we found the property, closed the sale, articulated our design, got through permits, cleared the land, found the right lender, and then built our home. It was a long challenging process--we knew it would be but you can never really feel the pain until you've experienced it! Tom stuck with us with assurances that all would be well in the end.

Of course, it's all worth the effort as we love our new, 3,000 square foot, ranch style residence. We stayed BELOW our budget--thanks mostly to my wife who had a good handle on what's really important. We were able to agree on spending more on some things while sacrificing others.

Tom emphasizes this point again and again: You must always question your budget. It's VITALLY important to create an ACCURATE budget BEFORE you start designing and building based on what you can afford. We had three different, knowledgeable people review our budget, and we still came up short in some areas--we added 10% to the bottom line just for a contingency buffer. We didn't use our 10% contingency but it was important nevertheless.

Not to belabor this point, but when you give your final budget to your lender, the lender will not vary from your construction cost breakdown one iota. Too bad if you spent $2,000.00 more for floor coverings--the lender will only disburse what you've qualified for and itemized in your final budget. You have to find the $2,000.00 somewhere else...a VERY PAINFUL process. Tom kept this reality in the forefront of all conversations right from the get-go.

Acting as an Ownerbuilder took a lot of time! We shared many of the same trade contractors with other Ownerbuilders so this was very helpful. However, we need to emphasize that being our own contractor was time consuming. We especially liked using building components because the walls arrived at the job site prefabricated with siding and windows already installed, and it took only one day to set all the walls in place - BAM!

We surely thank Tom for coaching us through the design/build process!"

Chuck & Betty


"My wife and I were facing a very difficult issue with our framer, because he was not meeting his contractual obligations, and we were unhappy with the poor quality of his work. We enlisted the help of Tom, hoping he could help us find an amicable resolution to our problem. Tom was able to help us focus on the important issues at hand and coach us on how we should work with our framer. Without Tom's help we would probably be left with an unfinished house and the unpleasant prospect of litigation. We would not hesitate to use Mr. Landis again, and we highly recommend him to other ownerbuilders needing just a little jump-start for their home building endeavor or maybe a little tweaking along the way!"

Wilson & Minh

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