Author Topic: Building your own house ( Canada )  (Read 3681 times)

Dmy0013

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Building your own house ( Canada )
« on: October 12, 2014, 09:37:39 AM »
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« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 09:48:03 AM by Dmy0013 »

Spork

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Re: Building your own house ( Canada )
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2014, 09:59:13 AM »

(Not Canada... not sure if that matters).

Your plan sounds like my original plan.  But... the thought of me doing it myself, in my spare time gave the wife the dry heaves.  (I have a tendency to drag projects out much longer than average.)  As a marriage saver, we hired a general contractor.  We planned on the house being half finished at the end (upstairs left rough).  The builder left the finish carpentry, tile work and interior paint to me.  We had the exterior painted so that it would be protected from the elements.

I figure I added about 3 months to the build with just the finish work.  It's been 2 years and the upstairs ...  well it's getting close to being done, but it is still not finished.  I expect it to be "mostly finished" (all but one room) by the end of the year.

Some friends of ours did something in between my plan and yours.   He did all the general contracting and contracted everything except the plumbing.  (He's also a plumber.)  I can't say exactly ... but I think it took about 1.5 years (?) to finish.  They had a lot of trouble getting subcontractor schedules to line up... and lots of subs were really flakey with them.  (I.e, not showing up... or showing up and saying "I'm not going to be able to honor my bid price.")  As their own GC they had no leverage.  A pro GC will have jobs in the future and no subcontractor in their right mind would pull crap like that.

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TL;DR:  Yes, there is some amount of money to be saved here.  But it is a serious time suck.  Personally: I love the satisfaction of being able to say "I did that."  But I had to balance that between what I was able to do in the time I had and what lovely wifey was able to tolerate.


Hopefully Rural will chime in here... I think she and hubby did pretty much what you're talking about doing.

Rural

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Re: Building your own house ( Canada )
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2014, 10:46:04 AM »
It sounds like we went further on the DIY end of the scale than you're talking about, DMY0013, doing the foundation dig, prep for slab including gravel, rebar, and insulation, but not the pour (slab and three walls), then absolutely everything else, framing, electrical, plumbing, roofing, up to the drywall which we hired out to get into the place faster at the end. Oh, we did hire someone else with a ditch witch to run the main water line up to the site (a quarter of a mile, not a hand-digging job) and to put in the septic tank.


The finishing still isn't done, and the siding isn't quite done either, after almost a year and a half in the house. From breaking ground to moving in was almost exactly three years. (We lived on site in a mobile home that could most kindly be described as "vintage.")


It all takes a lot of time. We didn't really have the trouble with subcontractors Spork is talking about, but then we only hired three (water/septic, concrete, and drywall) and the septic guy and the drywall guy were people we knew; the drywall guys are good friends. So we got lucky with the concrete folks showing up, and we had the estimates in writing.


But Spork and I both live in warm places, and, I think, in places with less stringent codes and inspections than I imagine you may have. Both of those are likely to change things. Hopefully someone else will have some insights in to Canada or at least the northern US.

Zikoris

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Re: Building your own house ( Canada )
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2014, 10:56:09 AM »
If you do it, you might want to consider building in a few secondary suites. I rented a place from someone who bought a house, tore it down, built a triplex, and rented out the two suites he wasn't using. Given what me and the other unit were paying in rent, he must have been living almost for free.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Building your own house ( Canada )
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2014, 11:02:45 AM »
This is of interest to me as I am jonesin' to start building our cabin on our gulf island acerage. Apart from the septic field installation, I'm not sure I'm up to doing the rest. This irritates me to no end. Now that I'm ER'ed, I have lots of time to learn all sorts of home building skills, but DW really wants to get going NOW. I think it likely that I'm going to contract someone to do pretty much everything.

From everything I can gather, this will add about 40% to the overall cost. Maybe more.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 11:29:24 AM by Jon_Snow »

Spork

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Re: Building your own house ( Canada )
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2014, 11:16:26 AM »
From everything I can gather, this will add about 40% to the overall cost. Maybe more.

Yes and no...  Our GC said he charged 15%.  In the end, it was closer to 10%.  But... he seriously worked his ass off.  He was here every day.  He was always working on schedules and lining stuff up.  He also got significant discounts on things.  Even most of the things I did myself -- I had him buy the materials. 

I'm also not sure our GC was "normal."  He was the hardest working, most honest man I have ever run across.  We weeded out quite a few used car salesman types along the way.

[edit to add...]
I think the biggest savings to be found is done in the plan.  Sadly, in retrospect, I think this is where wifey and I had good intentions and didn't quite get there.  Don't get me wrong.  I love what we did. And since we live in a low CoL area, it came out "reasonable" by comparison to other areas... but... we could have spent less.

The fewer corners you have and the more simple your roof line: the cheaper the house is.  We ended up with a relatively complicated plan and a pretty complicated roof line.  On the plus side, it makes for a more interesting look to the house.... but we paid a price for that.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 11:54:59 AM by Spork »

Jmoody10

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Re: Building your own house ( Canada )
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2014, 11:54:21 AM »
My wife and I are building our house right now. We are still framing the roof (just stopped for lunch).

If you don't have a urgent need to get in and have access to someone who has done it before, you can save a ton if money! Our total cost should be around 150000. The cheapest reputable quote we got was 225000.

Greg

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Re: Building your own house ( Canada )
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2014, 10:41:10 PM »
Schedule wise, if you can do it, buy your land and get the utilities in, and the foundation built in the fall, let it sit over winter, start framing in the spring when the weather improves, that way you have a jump start on the summer.  Get the roof on before fall again, etc.

Credaholic

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Re: Building your own house ( Canada )
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2014, 06:56:05 AM »
We are in the middle of a build ourselves. We are living in the little old house on the property, but are building a shop with apartment in the back from the ground up. Should be moving into it next weekend, and then the roof and back of the little house come off. It's almost going to be a new house, but technically a remodel, and most of the foundation is already there. We'll be framing in the dead of winter, but it's Seattle and DH is used to the rain since this is what he does for a living.

The shop took almost 2 months longer than planned, but we also had a baby in that time and underestimated how much that would derail us. DH works on it most evenings after his real job (about 4:30-7:30) and on the weekends. He has subbed out plumbing and electric, but to friends, and drywall, carpet, and paint to subs he works with often who gave us great deals. He also has help every Saturday for 8 hours which is well worth the cost because of the amount they can get done together. He'll be taking a week of vacation at work and getting assistance to get the main house framed, I'll probably do the painting this time since I won't have a newborn, but other than that same subs as above plus counters and maybe hardwoods, and the rest he'll do. We plan to be in in 7 months, which is mostly realistic I think taking into account how the shop went.

Savings for is huge over buying a similar house new, especially since we're willing to get things like appliances on Craigslist, etc. but keep permitting costs in mind, and architect fees if you go that route. I was surprised how high those can be. Plumbing isn't cheap, so even if that was all you did you'd have some savings there. Do you have friends in the industry you can hire for the rest, and maybe work alongside and pick up some new skills at the same time?