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Anyone with good advice on building a house?

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Unlucky 13, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    Hey guys, just thought I'd pick your brains and see if anyone has any advice from your own experiences when building a new house. Anything that you did that you wish you hadn't? Or were grateful that you did?

    After 12 years of living together, and a lot of starts and stops in the process, my wife and I have started the process ourselves. After we got married, we planned to buy a bigger house together than the one my wife owned when we met, but the housing market was sky high back then and we couldn't afford it. So, we decided to put a portion of what it would cost to buy a new home into turning our then 1200 sq ft house into a 1800 sq ft one, and redo almost all of the existing rooms floor to ceiling while we were at it. The contractor did a good job, and we've lived in the house ever since, and multiple real estate agents say that we should be able to see it for about double what my wife originally paid. (which is also about double what we owe on the mortgage).

    We now have two kids, the oldest in Kindergarten, and along with the house not being quite big enough any more, we're too far away from the schools (leading to a 90 minute bus ride each way), and still cannot get broadband internet where we live. My mother-in-law is giving us some land, and we've had it surveyed, the tests for the well and septic system came back good, and we're in the process of talking to a lawyer to transfer the land.

    So, we're now at the point where we need to talk to some builders about getting the house started. We've literally spent years looking at house plans on various web sites, going back and forth on what we both like or don't like, what features are important to us, and which ones aren't, and how big we would like the house to be/what we think we can afford. We definately do not want to just go with a simple standard cube house plan that a lot of the local builders specialize in, and want to go with something that's a little more interesting, with a good layout and character, since we're going to be living here for at least the next 20 years, if not the rest of our lives.

    Has anyone else been down a similar road and have some advice? Or work in the home construction industry with some inside tips?
     
    eltos_lightfoot likes this.
  2. dolfan22

    dolfan22 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    It sounds like you have pertinent things covered. The number one thing I would emphasize is to go with a builder you know is good, can trust and have a real connection with.

    You won't get it "perfect" but with dilligent planning and professional guidance it it should be ma positive end result. It will be longer then you think and cost more, I would anticipate 20%. The other thing is make sure you both are fully on board and agree to as much of the decision process as possible. Meaning in all likelyhood you differ to her mostly:) Good luck.
     
    Unlucky 13 likes this.
  3. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    Thanks, man!

    The good thing is that my wife and I agree on a whole lot regardless. We have about an 80% overlap on our tastes, and have been talking about all of this for so long that we've ironed out our differences on most of the rest too. We're currently stuck in a holding pattern while we wait on the surveyor to get around to us, because we apparently can't do anything else until thats finished. Its been almost two months since we started talking to them, and we're just waiting in line.

    Talking to a builder this week though, and its a guy that my wife knows from church, so it'll be good to have a real back and forth and get a real estimate. We've had several other builders either quote us a price thats more than double what we want (because they specialize in luxury homes) or blow us off after emailing back and forth. Its been frustrating.
     
  4. dolfan22

    dolfan22 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    Trust your instincts. If the builder givesvyou any cause to doubt or feel uneasy its time to move on. You can also hire someone one that oversees the build but isn't a builder per set. Again its vital that the point person can be completely trusted and you can partner with.

    Its far far better to wait then feel the urge to start is overriding your decision to get this underway. If you have kids and doing a basement I'd recommend designing for the teen years. Meaning open is good in a lot of ways and places but being able to isolate regular"noise" if you dont like standard doors look at solid pocket doors and make the kid area furthest a way from your room or the family room upstairs.

    Its great you agree on so much, that will really help. It will take longer and cost more. That's not a bad thing as fast and "saving dollars" cost more down the road.

    Happy for you all. I'm sure when you're done it will have been well worth it.
     
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  5. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    I agree on the kids. They're only 5 and 3 right now, but one of the plans that I like is mostly one level, but has a section above the garage with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a play area space for them. They'd be close enough to keep an eye on when they're little, but it would be a section of their own when they get older. My wife isn't in love with it, but I'm pushing the idea.
     
  6. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    Update. Now I guess 10 months later, we officially have begun the process! So many steps, so many hoops to jump through, and so many extra things that we've had to shell money out for, and the ground isn't even broken yet. But we've officially got the loan, and they break ground next week!
     
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  7. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    We just had our 2nd visit with the architect last week. I can tell this is going to be a long process. lol

    Congrats!
     
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  8. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    Good luck! Its been a process of many years for my wife and I to get to where we are, with the ground cleared on our land and the digging starting next week. Do you guys own some land where you're going to build already, or are you buying a lot that's already zoned? One of our longest steps was jumping through the hoops, and paying thousands of dollars, to have a segment of land surveyed and partitioned so that we were allowed to build by the county after it was gifted to us by relatives. That step alone took all of last summer.
     
  9. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    We bought a 4 acre parcel of land a few years ago with building a house in the future. It's on the edge of what we call the "Greenbelt" which is a nature preserve so no one can build around us....We're excited. Keep us updated on your process and if you have any advice please share!
     
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  10. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    You probably know most of this yourself, but for anyone looking to build a house, my best advice is that no matter how prepared you are, its going to take more time and more money than you thought that it would. There are hidden fees around every corner, people you have to pay to do the most mundane of things, and your local city or county is probably looking to take a cut at every step.

    We also knew ahead of time that building would cost more than buying, but what we didn't know is that its even more expensive today than it was about 10 years ago. Some building materials have gone up in price, while in other cases you simply can't do things the old way before. This leads to a better house in the end, but it also removes options. For example, you basically can't buy a wooden front door anymore. They're all fiberglass or steel, and most cost over $1000.

    Pick a builder who has a good reputation, and hope that he's not ripping you off. We had a really hard time finding one who:

    A) Built something other than a bland, cheap looking cube, and would work with our own design

    or, B) Wasn't charging double, or more, to build the house than it would cost to buy an existing one.
     
    danmarino likes this.

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