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Thread: Has anyone built a house before?

  1. #1
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    Has anyone built a house before?

    My house hunting journey sucks.

    So everyone tells me to build.

    I wont lie, I'm tired of being cold in a drafty old house.

    I want a modest house 1,500 or so. No more than 1,800. BUT, and this is a big one, I will NOT live in a development. I'd sooner die than do that.

    Has anyone built a house before? What are some of the good things, bad things that I need to consider. Also, did teh builder give you an estimate and then it was way more? What should I know.

    Apprently we are going to head to a builder in March to ask them about things. This is the design we are looking at.

    http://www.familyhomeplans.com/plan_...244&src=search
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  2. #2
    Merry Christmas Everyone! MOTU_Maniac's Avatar
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    Yes, my wife and I built our 1,500 sq.ft. house on 2.5 acres of land just 6 years ago. My father-in-law was the builder (along with some of his buddies). I actually did a lot of the work myself in order to save money.

    I probably wouldn't hire him to do it again because we have no warranty and anytime something came up that needed to be fixed then we paid to get it fixed. A regular builder would be obligated to fix some of the issues; however, since he is family we didn't ask him to fix it for fear it will cause a strain on the relationship.

    As far as estimates. Yes, he gave us an estimate and it ended up being much higher than we were told.

    I would have no worries about hiring a respected builder, but I have learned....NEVER have family build your house

    Good things: We got to choose our own paint, carpet, flooring, appliances, accessories, tub, shower, deck, etc.
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  3. #3
    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    My advice- find the best in the business in your area, and hire them even if they cost more.

    Many of the homes in the county I live were built by the same man, who kept up working on home building up into his 80s- and he only quit because of cancer. I would think that a man in his 70s-80s who is still being hired to work on home building is known for doing good work.

  4. #4
    Grammer Flunky Shredder's Avatar
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    My advice, BE SURE you are HAPPY with your plans. once it's built, it's alot tougher to change things.

    I had no real interest in plans back in 2000 and being much younger when we built our new shore house. But now, I would have made a few changes. My sisters Room has no window facing front. only one is a small one looking at a house in the back. The up stairs showers are almost as small as lockers, and my rooms tiny windows let in no sunlight at all during the day, and then i get blasted at night with rays during sun set.

    A few minor issues, but you've got to think ahead so you're happy with the final result
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    Master of DVDs BCI Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shredder View Post
    My advice, BE SURE you are HAPPY with your plans. once it's built, it's alot tougher to change things.
    IMO, this is absolutely the key. If you're building, the house should be exactly what you want it to be. Now maybe the house you linked to is exactly your guys style - then that's awesome. IMO, I think the outside is absolutely charming, but I have major problems with a lot of the inside.

    As far as estimates, make sure you know exactly what you want. Its amazing how fast a house can skyrocket as you start upgrading.

  6. #6
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCI Guy View Post
    IMO, this is absolutely the key. If you're building, the house should be exactly what you want it to be. Now maybe the house you linked to is exactly your guys style - then that's awesome. IMO, I think the outside is absolutely charming, but I have major problems with a lot of the inside.

    As far as estimates, make sure you know exactly what you want. Its amazing how fast a house can skyrocket as you start upgrading.
    Interesting. what would you change?

    I know one thing I hate is the open concept crap. Ick. Nothing bothers me more. Rattling pans in the kitchen and someone is trying to watch tv in the livingroom just makes no sense to me.
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  7. #7
    Master of DVDs BCI Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Divia View Post
    Interesting. what would you change?

    I know one thing I hate is the open concept crap. Ick. Nothing bothers me more. Rattling pans in the kitchen and someone is trying to watch tv in the livingroom just makes no sense to me.
    The whole inside layout feels really dated to me. Its like a house that was really nice when it was designed years and years ago, but could really benefit from serious renovations.

    I'm actually a big fan of open concept first levels, so this layout is a dealbreaker for me, but I don't really like the upstairs either. You have minimal closet space - just a sliding closet in the master, tiny walk-ins in the other 2 rooms (the kind that actually have a lot of wasted space, but look bigger because they're walk-ins). And I love a proper master bedroom suite - with its own bathroom (with dual vanities if space allows). And while the "turreted" part of the house is great with all its windows, it doesn't seem like rest of the house (especially the back 2 bedrooms) get much natural light.

    If you don't plan on having kids or any kind of frequent guests, you can likely be fine with having only 1 full bathroom, but I'd think if you're designing your ideal house you'd want another. Although it looks like this house could have a basement? If so, maybe that answers that problem. I've been on the west coast so long now, that I forget basements exist in other parts of the country )

    But again, a lot of that is just personal preference. I actually love older homes - but only if they've been gutted and modernized.

  8. #8
    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    Then again, depending on the money you're willing to invest in home building, and the type of home you want, you could consider an "off grid" type home- solar power, propane, etc. It may be a bit more costly to build with the solar panels and batteries but with electric bills being as they are... it could potentially pay itself off after a year of not paying an electric bill. I know if I ever get a chance to move out and build a home I'm doing something like this. I get that the essential basics of it are somewhat modular and adjustable based on needs- you can tweak power, heating and all that, and even home size. It's also possible to save money by salvaging doors, windows, counter tops and other materials from homes being demolished.

    I'll embed a video by a guy who lives this way- I'm not trying to specifically endorse him(he pushes his book and website at the end but this was probably the most to-the-point vid he has on the channel) but it gives the basic idea.



    It does seem to have disadvantages though... if you live in an area with poor sunlight the solar panels won't be efficient. Winter also interferes. Living in California, Arizona, Nevada and that region seems like it'd make things more ideal for full-time solar power. Relying on wind generators? Unreliable if you don't have good winds. You'll need either propane or a wood stove for heat. A wood stove means either buying wood or cutting your own trees. However, it'd be nice not to have the power go out because of a disruption in the regional power grid during a storm.
    Last edited by diosoth; January 15, 2013 at 05:10am.

  9. #9
    Mistress of Meteorbs rhea's Avatar
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    Divz, congratulations on this new adventure! For the most part the house designs you've chosen are really nice. I will echo the comment of only 1 full bath may become a problem. Looking at the plans, it looks as if there is a pocket door between the kitchen and the large communal room, though it may be great for noise levels, it just doesn't seem to fit in with the overall vibe of the house. I do love all the reading nooks though! Good luck
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  10. #10
    Heroic Warrior Dual_Hares's Avatar
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    I do this for a living and would be happy to offer you any help I can. Are you settled on this plan or is it just the one you like so far?
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  11. #11
    Heroic Warrior mahuti's Avatar
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    Just remember that whatever they quote, will probably be the the bare-bones version of everything. When you build a house, you have the opportunity to spec everything… and they'll ask you to pick out cabinets, floors, etc. Every upgrade costs something extra… tweaks to the basic plan cost extra. Something like having a built in microwave, vs one on the counter, or a better carpet + pad, or ceramic tile vs. linoleum.

    Also, when they build houses, they might not spec a concrete drive, but an asphalt or gravel one. You might want a larger garage or something… any of these things will add MAJOR costs to the house. Also, keep in mind, that if something that they normally spec is out of stock, they might have to change.. usually whatever replaces their default is more costly. I'd guess that if you get an estimate, expect to spend about 20-30% more than the estimate in the final cost.

    I had a condo built, and it was specced at $155K, and ended up being about $170k with only minor upgrades throughout…. nothing fancy. I've had lots of relatives build houses, and every time, they ended up costing more. At the end of the day, the costs are usually driven in part by you. The builder has expectations, but they can't always be met by the market, and your changes as well can cost them and you money. Building a house will cost more than buying one in a subdivision, but at least you'll get what you want… though you'll have to have patience to get it. You may want to note that there ARE some older subdivisions with houses on more acreage with established trees. Those can be a nice alternative.

    When I wanted to build a house like you… I ended up settling on a house in a subdivision. We wanted the kid in better schools, and I found that when building off of the subdivisioned areas that it was really tough to get the good internet speeds that I need with my business (I work in a home office). For less money we ended up with about the same thing we'd have gotten from a custom built house. We just ended up buying in an older established neighborhood that didn't reek of soullessness. I didn't *want* to live in a subdivision, but I've been happy with my choice. We've spent the effort to be friendly with the neighbors and build some relationships, so it's nice to have the extra help good neighbors can provide. They check on things when we're gone… we borrow the occasional cup of sugar.

    In any case… I think owning a home is great. Worth it. After a few years you'll forget about the costs and the annoyance of building it or buying it.
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  12. #12
    Weekend Warrior DrPAYNE's Avatar
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    Cool thread! And cool link Divia, I've never seen that website before. That's a pretty cool plan you have picked out.

    I also enjoyed that video you posted diosoth.

    One thing I've been looking into is storage container homes.
    http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-h...r-homes-460309

    I'm hoping to buy a piece of land and build a house that I could build in steps and never have to take out a loan for anything.
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  13. #13
    Southern-Fried Preacher Dave-Man's Avatar
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    I feel like I have built a house before, doing most of the repairs and maintenance on an old house DIY. But I have never had that kind of experience really. Good luck and hope to hear more about it.
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  14. #14
    Supreme Fudge Dynamo of Eternia's Avatar
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    Does building a house out of Legos count?
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    If I built one it would be more of a bomb shelter/zombie survival type of home
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  16. #16
    Master of New Adventures!
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    You're dating yourself. No one does Legos anymore. It's Minecraft now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dynamo of Eternia View Post
    Does building a house out of Legos count?

  17. #17
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    Well I want an older style house, so I'm always on the lookout for Victorian style homes.

    I have a modest home 1800 square feet right now with a well and septic and 1 1/2 baths. his house is even smaller. I dont want larger, so BCI Guy adding the stuff you said would just make the price skyrocket, I'm sure.

    I just wish this was going easier than it was. Its so frustrating.

    Thanks for everyones input
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    Heroic Warrior Dual_Hares's Avatar
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    Divia, feel free to post or pm me your preferences and I can give you some input or help dig around for plans online. It can be a frustrating process but if you get started right, it will be exciting!
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  19. #19
    Heroic Warrior Stratos*Major's Avatar
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    I agree with BCI.

    I like the outside...it is charming. You can do alot to with your accent and roofing to really make it your own! If you really like the red shingles I would get a red door. What I like the most is the white with gray accent. However, I would go with a slate roof...or a slate colored shingle.

    That said, I would go with a different inside. .5 bath down stairs is a must. But 3 bedroom 1 bath upstairs...no way. If youre fine with the 1 bath I would atleast have an entry into it through the master bedroom.

    Just think LONG-TERM!

    Kids?
    Guests?
    Just the 2 of you?

    That will really make a difference.

    If you like the Victorian...

    http://www.familyhomeplans.com/plan_details.cfm?PlanNumber=65196

    I'm really digging this outside. Almost identical inside!

  20. #20
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    There wont be kids unless I get knocked up, but I doubt that will happen. Guests? Doubtful.

    I have 3 bedrooms upstairs with only one full bath and it was never a problem growing up. You guys are so caught up on the bathrooms.
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  21. #21
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    Where is the dedicated toy room?

  22. #22
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patreek View Post
    Where is the dedicated toy room?

    I sold all my toys. Only a library.
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  23. #23
    Heroic Warrior Stratos*Major's Avatar
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    I think most men do their best thinking in the bathroom!

    I just like the ease of walking in and out of the bedroom to the bathroom. Having the closet inbetween is the best!

    Have you thought about renovations to your current home. Unless youre renting... That can be most cost effective. You could get new windows to help with the draft. Maybe knock a wall or 2 out and update some fixtures in the home to make it feel new. It's a great option if you like the home overall and the neighborhood is good. Just becareful of putting too much money into renovations.

  24. #24
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    The house is currently worth around 80, and we'd have to but at least 50 thousand in upgrades into the house, such as a new roof, doors, knocking down an addition that was once a shed that is attached the the house, new windows, siding, some plumbing issues, new floors(I have subflooring exposed upstiars, cause the carpet was so nasty). Plus this house is on a well, and the SO doesnt like wells he's always had public water. It doesnt bother me, but it bothers him.

    With the cost of upgrades to this house and where the current location is, it would be overpriced for the market. Granted I have 20 acres, but houses tend to sit on the market in this area that are that high, even with land.
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  25. #25
    Heroic Warrior Stratos*Major's Avatar
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    I hear ya about the well!

    I've had both and prefer the city water...well...it's one of those 50/50 things. If you've never had it, it can be difficult to adjust to. I moved to the MS coast, low lying, and even the public water is like well water its crazy. High in iron so it comes out with a yellowish tint.

    Do you like your location otherwise? Maybe you could just get one of the floor plans built onto your land? Unless you were going to use the house equity to help finance the new home.

    It sounds like you all have done alot of research already.

    The manufactured homes are cost effective and they usually offer upgrades thoughout the entire process. Like i said before you can really do alot with the trim paint and roofing to really make it your own.

    If youre cool with the upstairs I would really recommend more of an open floor plan downstairs. It'll really add more visiual space and add value to the home right off the bat! That would apply to the upstairs too! Even if you just do a sliding/folding/french door from the master bedroom to the bath it'll add value!

    Also, most areas I am familiar with usually have 1 - 3 home manufacturing operations. Get quotes from them all or as many as you can and show the others what you can get for the same amount of money! Be assertive with them and have your game plan before you approach. It'll save you time and that will save you BIG money in the construction process. Which reminds me. Build in the summer - mid fall. Contractors are busy during this time period for a reasson. Cold weather months = harder working conditions & less light = longer to build. Stay away from your rainy seasson too for the same reasson.

    Just remember anything you decide to change AFTER construction begins can cost you, in some instances, 2xs as much!
    Last edited by Stratos*Major; January 20, 2013 at 07:31pm.

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