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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?
     
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  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.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  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.
     
    Unlucky 13 likes this.
  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.
     
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  11. Tone_E

    Tone_E Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    If you are looking for some inspiration, check out Houzz.com. You can find design and contracting professionals in your area and they have reviews and project galleries. Go to find professionals section and browse. Can't offer much except this website if you don't know about it already.
     
  12. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    They're going to pour the foundation for our house this week, about seven months after we sold our last one. Its certainly not a fast process, but the end result will make it worth while.
     
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  13. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    The wife and I finished (we think) the rough sketch of our house last week. There are still a few things we may want to tweak, but as of right now it's almost ready to go to the computer. Once that process starts the builder can start giving us exact prices on price per sq ft. Depending on what he says we may need to either scale back or push forward. Our hope is to break ground around this July/August. However, there is a good possibility that we may wait until July/August 2019. The builder (who we are good friends with) is telling us that we may be able to save a ton of money if we start sooner rather than later because the housing market has really started to turn into a sellers market and building will potentially be a lot more expensive next year. Once he's able to give us some exact numbers we will decide if it's worth starting the build sooner rather than later.
     
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  14. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    Finally, nearly a year to the day after I started this thread, this week we've had the framing start. They delivered a big pile of lumber on Friday and now have mostly finished with the basement. And then today, they brought what looks like most of the trusses for the roof. Its finally looking like a house! And my contractor told me that once the framing is complete, we should be able to move in 40 days later. So, fingers crossed that we don't have any rough weather the next few weeks.
     
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  15. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Congrats dude! You should post up some pics if you feel comfortable.

    BTW, we have pretty much started over from scratch with the architect. lol...She came back with a house plan WAY too large for what we want and there was basically no way to scale it back with the way the layout was. She's supposed to have a completed rough draft for all three floors to show us on Monday or Tuesday of next week.
     
  16. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    Any recommendations on good and safe picture hosting sites? I've never once done that before. Happy to share what we're building.

    EDIT: I tried Google Photos and Photobucket, and neither one seems to let the pictures show up here.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
  17. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    We've had a very, very wet Spring here, which has led to numerous delays. Finally, our contractor has admitted that he's not going to make the May 31st deadline in the contract that we signed in January. Now shooting for May 22nd, since my wife starts vacation on the 23rd and we've been planning to move that day. Fingers crossed.

    They've been working hard in between the wet days this week and have a lot of the roof done. When they finish that part, the rest should be able to move faster than originally planned. He said that he'll have different sub contractors working at the same time as much as possible.

    I also realized that I can link pictures from Facebook! Should have tried that first.

    [​IMG]

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  18. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Looks great man! I’m excited to break ground. Most likely it will be in August.
     
  19. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    Good luck, and I hope that you have good weather.
     
  20. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Being that I now live in the mid-west the weather can get pretty bad soon after August, however, our builder said that it's actually a great time to break ground. Reasons being is that the majority of people up here tend to start building in the spring and thus all the construction people are stretched really thin. If we start in August we can get the best guys because they are actually looking for work around that time. It will probably take about 16 months to complete because of the winter, but if we waited until the spring we'd probably run into delays that would still make the process around 14 months long.
     
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