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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. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    upload_2019-4-6_17-31-22.png

    It's coming along! The weather has been great so that helps. They should have all of the framing done in about 2-3 more weeks. Then they plan on putting the windows in and once everything on the inside is protected from the elements...plumbing electrical and drywall.
     
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  2. invid

    invid Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    That's a big friggin' house, man! Congratulations!
     
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  3. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    It really is! Makes mine look like a guest cottage. :lol:

    Are you going to have any usable space above the garage?
     
  4. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    lol...Well, with 5 kids you have to have room. Well, I guess you don't "have" to have room, but it makes life easier.

    Thanks!
     
  5. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    Dude, your house looks awesome from the pics you posted!

    My plan for the garage is to have a catwalk above going down the middle so I can store things to either side and easily get to it. We initially thought about making it some sort of bonus room, but as you know, the more finished areas the much higher the cost.
     
  6. invid

    invid Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I'm going to make all my eventual kids sleep (and work) in the laundry room. I just have to find out how much installing a vault door costs.
     
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  7. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    lol...sounds like a good plan!
     
  8. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    Oh, I'm very happy, and its plenty big enough for my family. Just that yours looks a lot bigger! I know that you have more kids than I do, so thats important. And as my wife and I quickly discovered, the garage can make a house look MUCH bigger than it otherwise is.

    My favorite design was a "boomerang" shape, with the garage and first floor bathroom on the lower level of the left side, and the kids bedrooms, bathroom and play room above. But I was overruled.
     
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  9. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    Currently, my son's bedroom is over our garage. It's not ideal because when he was a baby the garage door would wake him up. However, it does make sense when they are older.

    From the garage in our new home you enter the mudroom. There is a half-bath a little further into the house. As you go further the laundry room is on the left and the pantry is across from that. That leads out into the kitchen/hearth area. All the kids bedrooms are upstairs. My wife and I have our bedroom on the main floor on the other side of the house. Basically one half of the main level is my office/den and our bedroom. It will be a nice place to escape the kids when they are older...lol...I also have a TV room/Man-cave in the basement. :)
     
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  10. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    Having my TV and the Playstation in our basement has been huge for me. In our old house, the living room and only TV were in the middle of the house, with the master bedroom on one side and the kids rooms on the other. Meant that I had to be whisper quiet after everyone else had gone to bed and hang out in the dark. Now, I can do things at a conversational volume without any worries.
     
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  11. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    Windows are going in!




    upload_2019-5-9_8-29-33.png
     
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  12. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Question- did either of you consider Tesla's solar tiles? They "claim" they're the same cost as a conventional roof....which obviously doesn't include the power wall to store electricity. But if I were building a home from scratch and it would only bump my total price $10-20k, I think it would be crazy not to do it just for savings and protection from storms/loss of power.
     
  13. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    https://news.energysage.com/tesla-solar-panel-roof-the-next-solar-shingles/

    Here's an article about them. My wife and I did look into those, or ones like them, and we spoke to our contractor about them. The reality is that the initial cost is still very high - much higher than a traditional roof for most people. I absolutely love the idea of solar or other renewable energy sources, for all reasons, and will keep up with it.
     
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  14. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    We looked into all types of solar options. Too be honest, the price is just too expensive for the return or they look hideous. These Tesla tiles are nearly 3x more expensive than the tiles we ended up buying. I think we ended up paying around $18K for the roof tiles and these would have cost us nearly $60K. And you still need to buy things like their power wall and the maintenance and upkeep is expensive also. To top it off, these solar tiles cost nearly 2x as much as typical solar panels and yet only generate about 3/4 of the electricity.

    In all reality the science still has a ways to go in order to make solar power affordable and efficient for homeowners.

    We did, however, spend more on things that will make our house much more energy efficient. Top notch windows, extra insulation, energy star furnaces and AC's, etc. We are being told that the steps we've taken will lower our energy consumption by ~40% when compared to the same size house with more traditional heating/cooling, windows etc.

    Also, the new house is built on 4 acres. So my wife and I have been doing our homework on gardens and green houses. We plan on growing enough veggies to support our family. We've also decided that we will compost. Also, we've chosen bushes and trees that don't need much water and the irrigation system is low volume and drip so we will use far less water. The city also encourages "rain gardens". These are basically areas with a slight depression that allows rain water to flow to and collect while being taken up by the soil and plants in order to avoid runoff. We will have a few of those. We also will have rain barrels that will help with irrigation, plant watering, etc.
     
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  15. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Aah, okay, so the pricing was all a lie then by Tesla. I figured it almost had to be too good to be true....that's unfortunate. They do make super serious insulation these days though so that's great you went that route.

    I'm on 5 acres that gradually slopes down to a pond in the back of the property...so it's perfect for a garden. Then I discovered how much work it actually is and never followed through, LOL. I keep saying I'll plant some fruit trees or something but it hasn't happened yet.
     
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  16. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    Maybe the prices depend on where a person lives? Yeah, I'm sure the gardening is a lot easier when you just read about it rather than do it. But I'm hoping to get all the kids involved and make it fun. We will see how long it lasts! lol
     
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  17. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    Well, it's been awhile since I've posted an update. Our builder told us that our house would take 16-18 months to finish. Due to weather, some changes, and just normal delays involving ordered supplies etc, we will miss that mark by about 2 months. The new predicted finish date is June. If indeed it is finished then, that will mean it took 20 months from the time we first broke ground to finish the house. I can't believe we actually broke ground in Oct. 2018.

    Everything is finished except the smaller details inside the house, (moldings, trim, paneling, painting, fixtures, etc) and landscaping. Also, they have waited until less people are in the house to place the island top, and some of the other finishes that may get damaged during these last few months.


    This picture was taken by my wife in ~November:

    upload_2020-3-3_9-53-51.png
     
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  18. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    Good luck, and I hope that there aren't any more delays between now and then. With our house, it ended up being three months later than was on the contract, and even then the house wasn't totally finished, just livable.
     
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  19. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    I remember you talking about that. I have a feeling that it won't be 100% finished in June, but like you we will be able to move in.
     
  20. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    That's a gorgeous house though- I may consider that route on my next home. My dad is 85 and lives in a cabin on my property so we're locked in for now, but I have close to $200k equity and will make a move once my dad passes (obviously no rush there!). We're thinking about a different route though- smaller modern house + condo at the beach instead of one huge home.

    Out of curiosity, could you PM me your "all in, finished" price for the home and the square footage? I'd love to have a real idea of actual costs vs advertised costs.

    And to both you and Unlucky...if you had to do it all over again, would you still build vs. buying/refurbishing?
     
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  21. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    My wife had bought our previous house before we met, back in 2003. We got married in 2006, and shortly after that started looking seriously at buying a new one, bigger and in a better location than the extreme rural middle of nowhere that we were. Then the financial collapse happened, and things changed with the market, and we decided to remodel that house instead. So we expanded from 1100 to 1650 sq ft, redid the floor and sub floor in every room, while totally changing the kitchen and making it 4X bigger.

    It was good. But it was still in the middle of nowhere, and our situation with access to things was unlikely to get better, maybe ever. Then we had our two kids, and the house wasn't quite big enough, and since we lived on the extreme periphery of the county, bus rides to school were obscene. So we started looking again, and spent years doing that, but were unsatisfied with what we could reasonably afford. The nice ones were in areas that were just as rural as where we were, or else they were on a really small plot of land. So eventually, my mother in law talked her husband (not my wife's father) into selling us 4 acres on the corner of their 100 acre property that they own, provided that we could find a builder.

    So, I started talking to people, but it was frustrating because housing prices in the area where we live are much, much cheaper than they are in Charlottesville, 20 miles away. But a lot of the builders wanted to charge us as much to build a house on our lot as they would in town, which wasn't happening. Since I knew that houses get built and sold here in our price range, that meant that someone had to be building them, and I eventually found one of those builders, and he agreed to build the house we wanted at the price we could afford.

    At the end of the day, it was all worth it, because we now have a house that's more than double the square footage of our old place, and a bit nicer, in a much better location. And we have monthly payments that we'll always be able to afford. However we got lucky as well due to my builder's eagerness. After the house was built and his guys were doing the finishing work, one of them that I had developed a good relationship told me that if they ever built a house like ours again, they'd charge three times as much for it. I got the impression that they might have taken a loss on the whole process, and so we're set for life where we are because of that!
     
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  22. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    Whelp...here we are, July 11th, and the house that was projected to be finished in April is still being built. Some of the delay can be attributed to the weather, changes, shipping delays, builder estimating the time wrong, and Covid.

    Here are some recent pictures:

    upload_2020-7-11_23-15-25.png
     
  23. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    upload_2020-7-11_23-19-5.png
     
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  24. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    upload_2020-7-11_23-20-17.png
     
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  25. Stitches

    Stitches ThePhin's Biggest Killjoy Luxury Box

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    Gorgeous dude.

    Edit: Just saw on previous page it's $400/sqft. ****, it better be gorgeous. :lol:
     
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  26. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    Tomorrow marks our two year anniversary of starting to move into ours. It feels longer. My wife and I lived together in the old house for 12 years, but this one quickly became home.
     
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  27. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    Thanks man...

    Tons of woodwork drove up the cost and also has taken longer than anyone imagined. I'm ready for it to be finished. We broke ground at the end of Oct. 2018.
     
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  28. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    It looks amazing...very glad you're in the final stretch to have it finished! Love the pavers in the backyard as well...cool way to do a deck and not have to pressure clean it annually.
     
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  29. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    I wanted to do a stone/concrete deck/raised porch on the rear of my house too, and the cost was just too extreme. I think that it would have added about $30,000, compared to having a traditional wooden deck. And now the problem is that just two years in, the wooden deck that we do have is coming apart, with numerous boards having warped and bent up. The problem seems to be that instead of using a number of thicker, shorter boards, they used long thin ones, and as few as possible.
     
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  30. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I'm currently looking for something to treat my decks with- they make that rubbery coating that's supposed to last 5+ years and comes in different colors...but it gets mixed reviews (great if installed properly, lousy if not). Our wood has lasted but it looks horrible within 6 months of spending a few days cleaning it.
     
  31. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    The deck on my old house was 20 years old when we moved away, and while it was showing its age, it was still very solid. The new one is in far worse shape after two years. The only major obvious difference is that the new one gets a lot more sun, but I'm thinking that it was built more cheaply too. It went up in like three days.
     
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  32. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    It might still pay to treat/seal it in order to get more of your money out of it before replacement. I've always pressure cleaned the decks myself but I think I'll hire someone next time and have them stain/seal it as well. I'm getting too old to stand there for 8 hours a day blasting away, LOL.
     
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  33. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    My wife and I have been planning on pressure washing it for a while. We had an extremely mild Spring and early summer with plenty of rain, which was awesome, given that we have a well. But unfortunately, our outside faucet apparently broke during the Winter, and we needed to replace it. That in turn was an even bigger chore than I had anticipated, because it was installed on a wall that was only a few inches thick, and apparently the faucets normally come pretty long. So, my dad helped me replace it when he visited earlier this month and we rigged it so that it would work and not look awful. But, now its been crazy hot and dry for a few weeks, and we don't want to use more water than we have to. So we wait. I'll likely end up waiting until the Autumn to do it. And then I'll likely replace a few of the boards, and treat the rest.
     
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  34. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    Thanks man. We really love the way it turned out. It looks really well with the stone on the house and should require little upkeep.
     
  35. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    How high is your deck? If it's just a raised wooden porch that's relatively close to the ground you may have ventilation issues. If humid air gets trapped under it the deck will really suffer. If it's a high deck I'd call your contractor. No way should a wooden deck only last 2 years. If it's raised high, it sounds like they didn't use properly treated wood.
     
  36. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    It's about 12 to 15 feet. Equal to ground level above the walk out doors to the basement. Unfortunately, the warranty period with the contractor is over. I think his subcontractor did a cheap, rushed job.
     
  37. danmarino

    danmarino Justice for Jacob Blake Club Member

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    That really sucks. Have you mentioned it to your contractor? Our builder told us that he has a 1 year warranty, but if something was/is blatantly his fault they will fix it free of charge.
     
  38. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    We had a one year warranty also. And as we were warned would be the case regarding any and all contractors, once we were a couple of months past moving in, it became increasingly difficult to get them to come and do anything.

    The handyman who generally came to do the work was very friendly, and admitted to us that the contractor ended up not making nearly as much on the house as he expected due to costs, and we think that played a part. Most of what he does is pretty boring cookie cutter, and ours was the most unique and ambitious he'd done.
     

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