Author Topic: Curious - Cost of Building a house? What to consider?  (Read 3539 times)

mandydean

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Curious - Cost of Building a house? What to consider?
« on: June 03, 2014, 06:46:18 PM »
We have been homeowners of a small modest home in our small town, SC, for 5 years now. Before buying our house, we had briefly discussed building a house (someday), but some quick research indicated that, at least in our area, even doing a standard "pre-fab" type home on purchased land would cost considerably more than buying a well-equipped already-built (probably-brick) home.

Anyway, we've had an interesting opportunity/idea come up recently in regards to building a house, and it's led me to additional research. So I naturally turn to you mustachians for advice - what things should I consider, or could you help me consider, in regards to the actual cost of building a house? Obviously this kind of thing depends a lot on location and other factors...

Some details (although I'm interested in the discussion as a whole - not just as it relates to our particular situation):
-Some family has offered us a small piece of their land, if we want to build on it. The land would presumably be free - excepting any fees for surveying and re-deeding the property.
-We are not extremely handy people, and while we relish the idea of "hard work" in a number of situations, we both feel it would be detrimental to our marriage/family were we to try to DIY any large parts of the building operation. :-) So while I know that's the most expensive part of home-building, I'm not interested in laying the boards ourselves (but am open to advice like "Here's a really easy thing where you can do the labor yourselves and save a ton of money that requires absolutely no prior experience").


Would love discussion on what kinds of building options are out there - is pre-fab quality OK these days? Specific things to avoid/look for? Etc. Really.. just throw whatever info/opinions you've got at me!



Milspecstache

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Re: Curious - Cost of Building a house? What to consider?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2014, 08:20:55 PM »
You brought up land:
Where is it?  (subdivision, zoned agricultural, in a jurisdiction with codes, etc)
Does it have a perc test that allows a normal septic?  Or will it be on sewer?
Any chance there are wetlands on the property?
Survey fees are not cheap and I have spent $1500 just getting that done.

My current opinion is that the housing market in most areas is so low that you can (as you said) buy a house much cheaper than you build a newer, lesser quality (vinyl vs brick as you mentioned) house.

mandydean

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Re: Curious - Cost of Building a house? What to consider?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2014, 06:11:13 AM »
You brought up land:
Where is it?  (subdivision, zoned agricultural, in a jurisdiction with codes, etc)
Does it have a perc test that allows a normal septic?  Or will it be on sewer?
Any chance there are wetlands on the property?
Survey fees are not cheap and I have spent $1500 just getting that done.

Good points! Surveying costs I had figured would be high. Hadn't thought about any of the rest. The land is a part of a larger plot that they already have a home on, not in a subdivision or with codes, but possibly zoned agricultural. No idea about septic/sewer. Thanks for giving me some things to find out and think about!

I also feel it would cost more to build... but feel foolish not doing all my research anyway!

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Curious - Cost of Building a house? What to consider?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2014, 08:29:09 AM »
In addition to septic, consider what your water source would be. City water or a well? Drilling a well isn't cheap, either.

rebel100

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Re: Curious - Cost of Building a house? What to consider?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2014, 12:24:53 PM »
There used to be a local company called "Jim Walters Homes" (JWH)  that would produce what they termed 80% complete homes.  The idea was that JWH would do all the heavy construction and leave the homeowner a "finished shell".  The homeowner could then finish to their ability and taste.  So as a lay person you might be able to apply texture to walls and paint, perhaps you could hang your own door hardware, tile the kitchen, etc..  the idea was that all the major systems and heavy construction were done by professionals and the house came fully weathered in.  If I was trying to build with little experience I might approach a few local builders with an idea like this in mind.  If you wind up in over your head you can always step back and bring in individual contractors to finish it up.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Curious - Cost of Building a house? What to consider?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2014, 02:03:51 PM »
There used to be a local company called "Jim Walters Homes" (JWH)  that would produce what they termed 80% complete homes.  The idea was that JWH would do all the heavy construction and leave the homeowner a "finished shell".  The homeowner could then finish to their ability and taste.  So as a lay person you might be able to apply texture to walls and paint, perhaps you could hang your own door hardware, tile the kitchen, etc..  the idea was that all the major systems and heavy construction were done by professionals and the house came fully weathered in.  If I was trying to build with little experience I might approach a few local builders with an idea like this in mind.  If you wind up in over your head you can always step back and bring in individual contractors to finish it up.

My in-laws bought their first house (maybe 30 years ago) like this. I haven't heard them talk much about it, so I can't offer any insights besides that. They only lived there a couple years.

rebel100

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Re: Curious - Cost of Building a house? What to consider?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2014, 02:19:29 PM »
Jim Walters went belly up in 2009 following the bursting real estate bubble....but the concept was a sound one for some 30-40 years.