Author Topic: DIY Home building  (Read 806 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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DIY Home building
« on: August 27, 2017, 06:38:25 AM »
My aunt's friend has a plot of land on the west coast of FLA.  It sits on a river that connects to the ocean.  She's looking to sell the land.  If I could find a way to build a low cost house on it, I might seriously consider it.

Since it's near the ocean, the house would have to be built 10 to 12 feet above water.  You can raise the level with fill dirt, with stilts, or with concrete blocks.  In addition, it has to meet hurricane code, which means the house has to be built with concrete blocks (not just wood frame).

There is something called an "impact fee" that you'd have to pay to the county, in addition to the normal permits.  That could run $20k-$30k easily.

If I want to build a small house around 1500 square foot (3 beds / 2 baths) with very basic materials, what realistically is my cost?  I will most likely have to hire out most of the work.  Has anyone built a house on the water in Florida recently?  Subtracting out the permit fees and the impact fee, do you think $50/sqf is a realistic construction cost?

Papa bear

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Re: DIY Home building
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 07:00:01 AM »
I have family with a house in western Florida.  Sink holes are a problem. Mitigation can be expensive.

I would say, in my experience, 50/sf is not realistic if you are paying anyone to do any work.

If you do the work yourself, you might get to that point, but I think that could be a stretch too.

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  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: DIY Home building
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2017, 06:38:22 PM »
It's been about four years since I quit building in one of the lowest cost areas of the Mid-Atlantic states. At that point, costs for very basic new construction was in the $100 a foot range.  You might want to think about installing a modular up on piers, if you have a very tight budget. I only mention this because we spend our winters north of Tampa, and the "nature coast" area, of Homosassa, Crystal River, etc has a lot of existing, and new construction, being done this way on, and near, the coast. Obviously, this is not a concrete block house, but I would encourage you to double check the info. on this. A lot of codes in FL. require concrete block for structures on grade, or piers, then stick framing for the higher floors. Now this is all based on what I have observed, and certainly doesn't mean that you aren't 100% correct, and that the specific lot you are speaking of requires a higher level of hurricane resistance. The concept of elevating homes in coastal zones is interesting. A lot of the effort is because most residential construction, block, or wood frame, does really poorly when it deals with tidal surge and waves, even seemingly minor waves.  A house that would be totally destroyed if it sat at grade level, and heavily damaged, or washed away, if it was up on a tall block basement, can ride out near armageddon storm, if it's tightly strapped to 12-14 ft. tall piers. A lot of people don't realize that many fancy three story beach houses have an entire first floor built around a pier structure, and the walls, and interior of the first floor are designed to be swept away, in a severe storm.