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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.
     
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  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.
     
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  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.
     
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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]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​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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  21. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    After multiple delays in the Spring, mostly due to weather, I met with my contractor in late April, and he still assured me that our May 31st deadline was within reach.

    After it rained the entire month of May (he said that it was the wettest May he'd seen in 30 years doing this), we pushed it back to June 23rd.

    Then, after the framers took about two weeks too long to do their jobs, he pushed it back to June 29th.

    Now, with the siding, front doors, and septic system all running behind, we're shooting for July 6th.

    My wife pushed back her week of vacation that she had planned on using to move twice, and has now been forced to mostly waste it. We can't really go anywhere, because we still need to be here to finalize the details of the house. And now my parents, who requested vacation back in February to visit five weeks after the expected completion of the house (trying to be really, really safe there) have had to forfeit theirs and abandon plans to visit. They'll now try for a weekend in the Autumn. Sucks.
     
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  22. eltos_lightfoot

    eltos_lightfoot Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    That sucks, my man! I hope it all finally gets done for all of your sakes!!!
     
  23. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    It's close. And being done right is more important than done fast, but it's been frustrating.
     
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  24. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    And then this morning, we get word that Lowes changed suppliers for doors between when we ordered ours this Spring and now when they're ready to go on, and the one we picked out doesn't exist in the new format. I was about ready to **** myself, but my wife likes the suggested replacement more, so we roll on.
     
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  25. eltos_lightfoot

    eltos_lightfoot Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    One door closes, another opens. Sorry, couldn’t resist. I’m trying to give CK some competition for worst dad jokes.
     
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  26. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

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    Lucky, I'm curious about your framers and style of home... there's 3 different types of rafters shown in your pics. That's fairly unusual. Do you have a high vault ceiling? What type of insulation are you putting in? Any updated pics?

    I use imgur myself for a pic host since I saw you asking above.
     
  27. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    Part of the difference is that there's a bonus room above the main level of about 500 sq ft. But it doesn't take up the entire area of the roof, so there is space on one side that's unused, and I would presume framed a little differently (it looked that way to me). And then the master bedroom on the other side of the house, on the main level, does have vaulted a vaulted ceiling. It turned out really great.

    The bonus room has sprayed insulation (I'm not sure of the type). The main level has traditional rolled, pink insulation. The basement has what I've been calling bag insulation, where its bolted to the walls every so often.

    We keep getting delayed, but we're hoping to move in by the end of next week. Getting closer. Unfortunately, the siding manufacturer had run out of the shade of blue that we originally chose, and had no idea when more would be in, so we picked another that I'm not quite as fond of. Still looks pretty good though.

    Thanks for the suggestion about Imgur. It seems to be working!

     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  28. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Looks like the pictures aren't working anymore, Lucky.
     
  29. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    The Facebook ones wouldn't load for me yesterday, so I tried Imagur like Cuch suggested, and they're showing up for me. Even in my post where you quoted me. :dunno:

    Anyone else able to see them?
     
  30. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    This is what I see:

    upload_2018-7-6_13-49-50.png
     
  31. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    OK, Im not sure man. This was my first attempt at using that service. Any other suggestions? Facebook worked before, but isn't now (Just tried again)
     
  32. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I like "Greenshot". It's a free app and instead of uploading pictures all you do is copy and paste them. That's what I used to show you what I'm seeing.

    http://getgreenshot.org/
     
  33. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    Uploading is actually easier for me. I'd like to just upload a picture from the pictures file of my laptop and share it, like I used to do in the old days. But I understand that doing that eats up bandwidth from the board, so its no longer feasible.
     
  34. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

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    Imgur always works for me and I can see your pics.

    I see what you mean about the blue siding, tho the vertical corner strips being white along with the window trim may make it look lighter. Painting the vertical strips either to match the blue or even going with a darker shade of blue might you like it more.

    You guys moving in this week?

    Looks like quite a slope from one end to the other. What's your view like off the deck?
     
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  35. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    We're still hoping to move in ASAP, but there seems to have been very little work done the last five days or so, despite good weather. There have been trucks there most days, but we are now locked out, since they changed the doors to the permenant ones and we haven't been given new keys. No real idea on whats been done on the inside, but that was pretty close to finished the last time that we saw. Haven't seen my contractor face to face in two weeks, or talked to him aside from a brief text on the 4th of July, so I'll be calling him tomorrow morning asking for a clear update.

    The slope of the land isn't all that extreme, but we had them grade it enough so that we could have the basement enterance and back porch under the deck. We have a pretty good view off the back deck (I'll take a pic to share later when I can), however we're going to have a much, much bigger back yard then we had intended, because I didn't grasp how much land they need for a septic field these days. They cut down about an acre of forest more than we thought that they would. But there are woods on all sides of the yard except where the road is in the front, so we have lots of trees still.
     
  36. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

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    You in the house yet?

    When's the house-warming? We'll get Sick and Todd to gather up McLovin and CashinFist, a few of Cash's "foxes", some of Todd's uncle's moonshine, and Sick to sing some Karoke. It'll be a blast.

    Hide ya kids. Hide ya wife!
     
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  37. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    *SIGH*

    We're hoping for next weekend. We figured it out, and decided that we've now been given eight different move in dates over the past six weeks. "It's really close"....and then very little seems to happen for days. But, we've already missed my wife's vacation, and my parents vacation when they were supposed to visit (A month after the original planned move in date). So, at this point, we just want it to be right, and before my kids start school in a month.
     
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  38. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

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    Good grief... house should be ready enough to move into. What seems to be the problem?
     
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  39. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    I'm honestly not sure. Despite people working every day, and the materials seemingly being there, things are going very slowly. Some aspects have gone weeks without being touched. With some others, we were told that they were jobs that would take a few days, and have been going on for about a month. The front porch was supposed to take a few days, and took more than two weeks. The stonework around the front of the house was supposed to take two days, and has been going on for three weeks now, and it looks about 90% complete. The siding was supposed to take three days, and has been going on for about a month. Same kind of thing with the front steps, back deck, and the back porch - which has yet to have even been started.

    Twice, starting about a month ago, my contractor gave us a timeline of about 10 days, laying out what would happen each day, leading up to us being able to move into the house. It made sense to us, and seemed reasonable. The first time, he seemed to be caught off guard by the septic man not being done with other jobs, which delayed ours, and then delayed various other aspects in turn. Since then though, I just don't know.

    The house seems very, very close to being finished. We were told by my contractor, the women who works with him who coordinated all the details for us, and several of his workers that things seem very slow for a long time, but once it gets near completion, things usually move very quickly. But, its been the opposite.
     
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  40. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

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    Sounds like you're being put on the back burner by your contractor and his sub-contractors with a domino effect... Exterior items should not be delaying you from moving in, and he could've found another plumber to finish the septic system in a timely manner.

    Has this guy been paid up front? If not, I'd give him 2 weeks to finish everything or start taking a percentage off whatever he was getting paid, or just fire him outright and sub out the work to be completed yourself. You can get a list of local contractors to take bids on finishing stuff from the contractor desk at HD or Lowes...
     
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