Author Topic: Where would I start to build a home?  (Read 865 times)

GiantTaco

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Where would I start to build a home?
« on: August 05, 2020, 01:28:41 AM »
Hey folks. I've been daydreaming about building a house. I'm fortunate to be in a position where I could splurge (within reason); the right layout, the amenities I want, maximum efficiency, and so on. I'm in my late 20s and am living in my first home, a small townhome; it would be a big transition to go from this to a bespoke home.

Motivations aside, as a hypothetical where would I start? I imagine I have to find an architect, designers, a bunch of other contacts. How do I find good architects and engineers? How do I find a reputable builder that will "do it right"?

Thinking about cost, I can look at an article like this[0], and see that I might spend upwards of $500k plus the cost of land. I don't know if it's accurate, and that's not cheap, but it also doesn't seem outlandish, especially considering the inflated housing market where I live.

I actually would probably do this in Colorado, would like to use MMM as a resource, but that's a long shot.

Thanks in advance.


Papa bear

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2020, 07:04:55 AM »
For a custom built fancy house, you need to start with the land. The design, layout, orientation, etc would all depend on your lot or tract of land. 

Youíre probably going to want to interview a few architects or designers to get an idea if they are in line with what you want. They might be able to recommend a custom builder they work with, or youíre going to need to interview and find your own.

Are you going to do any of this yourself? Have you ever built anything? Do you want to have any input in how the place is built?  Thereís a custom home builder on YouTube, Matt risinger, and his channel the build show that I watch.  Heís got some pretty good info on building high efficient custom homes, though itís geared toward a warmer climate area. 


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Fishindude

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2020, 08:04:06 AM »
For a custom built fancy house, you need to start with the land. The design, layout, orientation, etc would all depend on your lot or tract of land. 

Good advice here.

GiantTaco

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2020, 11:33:13 AM »
snip

Thanks. I wouldn't do any of the building myself, and I'll start looking at Matt's videos.

How do people start making connections with architects, designers, builders? Googling and hoping to get lucky? Are there catalog-type sources like one might find for CPAs?

Fishindude

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2020, 12:42:41 PM »
I'd try to find a builder first.  Many of the good ones offer in house design services and / or have a preferred designer that they partner up with.

The good builders don't do a ton of advertising because they don't need to.   Most of their work comes from repeat clients or referrals.    If you don't have any friends in the area that have a builder they are happy with and you are starting from scratch here is my advice.

a. Locate the best privately owned lumber yard in the area, not a Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, etc. privately owned.
b. Call or stop in and ask to talk to a rep for contractor sales.
c. Tell him you are in the early stages of planning to build a new home and ask if he has a name of a contractor or two he would recommend.   Someone he would use himself.
d. Call the contractor and tell them XX at the lumber yard said you would be a good guy to talk to in regards to building our new home.
e. If the contractor sounds interested, set up a meeting and go from there.   

It's a long hand holding process going from raw ideas to a finished home, so you are best off to simply partner up with a good builder and work with them to put all the details together -vs- having an independent architect / designer develop plans and put it out for bids.

joe189man

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2020, 02:15:10 PM »


I actually would probably do this in Colorado,


i am assuming you dont have land yet, or anything beyond a dream at this point. i would start with land or location, many developments out here have restrictions on which builders to use or the developer own everything and you have to pick from several model homes.

there could be zoning restrictions also

if you are thinking raw land in the mountains some where there are often utility or septic  concerns and sometimes wells to be drilled

if you are local search zillow and drive around some of the areas, some look great online till you get there and its a terrible or the land is really unbuildable.

if the area is little ranchettes of 35 acres or so knock on some doors to see who they used or look for homes being built, often custom homes have contractor job trailers or signs advertising themselves.

you can ask the realtors selling high dollar land or property who past clients have used also

GiantTaco

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2020, 06:44:05 PM »
I'd try to find a builder first. 
...
If you don't have any friends in the area that have a builder they are happy with and you are starting from scratch here is my advice.

Thanks! Super helpful. I was going to ask "ok, but how do I 'find a good builder'". An in-law is a realtor down there, so I have the one contact, but even then there's a far cry between "selling homes" and finding good builders for a custom project (I guess).

i am assuming you dont have land yet, or anything beyond a dream at this point.

Thanks. I indeed don't have land. :^) The rest all makes sense. I know it's several levels of "I don't know" before I get from here to even starting.

Jon Bon

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2020, 06:57:34 PM »
I will try the other side. You are getting good advice on how to find the right people though.

Why do you think you need a "custom" home? I believe you said you were still pretty young, so don't fall for that forever home nonsense. What I wanted at 25 was completely different at 35.

I feel like you might be better served picking a house out of a book, and or a semi-custom home. I mean who cares if there is a house just like it 800 miles away right?

Just the way you are thinking of this SO MUCH WORK goes into building a house that is not even about the building so to speak. As others have said utilities can be a huge issue as well as site issues. Just remember there is a reason that builders buy a 1000 acre farm and put thousands of houses on it with only a few different designs. You are going to be missing out on significant economies of scale. Maybe you are ok with that, but for me (I'm not saying this is what you are doing) a custom home is very much about ego.

I guess all I am trying to say is this is going to be hard, expensive, and take forever. Now you might find the perfect builder, and it might not be hard and time consuming for you. However it still will be for your builder he will just shield you from it and of course pass that cost along to you.

Good luck!


GiantTaco

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2020, 07:18:50 PM »
I will try the other side. You are getting good advice on how to find the right people though.

Why do you think you need a "custom" home? I believe you said you were still pretty young, so don't fall for that forever home nonsense. What I wanted at 25 was completely different at 35.

I feel like you might be better served picking a house out of a book, and or a semi-custom home. I mean who cares if there is a house just like it 800 miles away right?

Just the way you are thinking of this SO MUCH WORK goes into building a house that is not even about the building so to speak. As others have said utilities can be a huge issue as well as site issues. Just remember there is a reason that builders buy a 1000 acre farm and put thousands of houses on it with only a few different designs. You are going to be missing out on significant economies of scale. Maybe you are ok with that, but for me (I'm not saying this is what you are doing) a custom home is very much about ego.

I guess all I am trying to say is this is going to be hard, expensive, and take forever. Now you might find the perfect builder, and it might not be hard and time consuming for you. However it still will be for your builder he will just shield you from it and of course pass that cost along to you.

Good luck!

Thanks :) If I'm being honest, it's unlikely to pan out, I get that it's monumental. It's a daydream after all. But it's a thought, and if nothing else I get to learn about what it takes to build a home.

joe189man

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2020, 10:31:50 AM »
if i were you i would hop on zillow and look around, you can see what existing homes are selling for in the areas you may want to live and what types of amenities they have, from there you can see what your budget may have to be.

also look at developers building homes for whats available from a full service developer, you pick lot, house style, layout, finishes, etc.

custom homes on land are not cheap, even building a regular home now is $200-300 psf, custom homes can be way higher.

newer homes are smaller with smaller yards for more money than existing homes, newer homes are often outside the city requiring a longer commute


Fishindude

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2020, 01:24:01 PM »
Thanks :) If I'm being honest, it's unlikely to pan out, I get that it's monumental. It's a daydream after all. But it's a thought, and if nothing else I get to learn about what it takes to build a home.

Please don't bother wasting contractors, real estate agents, designers, etc. time and effort if you're not pretty darned serious about building, that would be very disrespectful.
If you just want to kick tires, attend walk through open houses for new homes and developments or spend your time on the internet learning.

Car Jack

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2020, 06:00:27 AM »
I would encourage you to carefully look at existing homes first.  A custom home will not only cost more, it will cost a LOT more and when it's time to sell, won't bring the added cost back to you.

If you must build, find a builder with a portfolio of plans that you can move little things here and there.  Using an existing plan is going to save you a boat ton of money.

My son is a structural engineer, so I hear about the process from him on buildings in general.  First the architect works with you to design the house.  Then when you're set, they send it to a structural engineering firm who goes through it and comments on the things that defy physics and sends it back to the architect.  When a plan is close, a shop drawing is then drawn up by the architect.  That's sent to the structural engineer who points out all the mistakes, code violations and more defying physics things that have to be fixed.  Finally, when everything is good, signed off and stamped, the plans are sent to the contractor and as the senior guys at the structural engineering firm say "The contractor does whatever the hell he wants", ignoring all the proper ways to do things because he thinks he knows better.  I doubt the structural engineer makes visits while the build is being done, but for bigger builds, my son has visited sites with senior engineers who show up, smash dry wall to see joints, find they were improperly done and let the contractor know that they have to pull major things apart and do it right.

What's all this cost?  A hell of a lot more than a cookie cutter design and more still than an existing house.  I won't say twice as much as an existing house, although that's possible.


GiantTaco

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2020, 12:44:11 AM »
newer homes are smaller with smaller yards for more money than existing homes, newer homes are often outside the city requiring a longer commute

Well aware :/ Seattle is inflated and ever-increasing. I'm well paid and yet new just doesn't make sense. Outside of a low COL area or FIRE, I couldn't reasonably make this plan work.

Please don't bother wasting contractors, real estate agents, designers, etc. time and effort if you're not pretty darned serious about building, that would be very disrespectful.
If you just want to kick tires, attend walk through open houses for new homes and developments or spend your time on the internet learning.

Right, totally agree. I didn't mean to suggest I'm going to actually engage people without the intent to follow through. Threads like this is part of the learning.

My son is a structural engineer, so I hear about the process from him on buildings in general.

Ooh, this is interesting! Thanks for the anecdote. I'm considering this with the full understanding that it doesn't make sense financially.

former player

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2020, 03:19:49 AM »
As someone who has probably watched far too many episodes of Grand Designs, my one piece of advice to you would be: don't build too big.

It's the ones who build bigger than they could reasonably need or want who get into trouble, every time.

And who, even if they do manage to finish, are then left rattling around a building that's too big for them and has rooms they won't use from one year to the next.  And then they sell it within a few years.

Jon Bon

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2020, 07:00:53 AM »
As someone who has probably watched far too many episodes of Grand Designs, my one piece of advice to you would be: don't build too big.

It's the ones who build bigger than they could reasonably need or want who get into trouble, every time.

And who, even if they do manage to finish, are then left rattling around a building that's too big for them and has rooms they won't use from one year to the next.  And then they sell it within a few years.

Lol great show, some of those people are nuts, and some are downright filthy rich because I have no idea how the numbers work on those. The water tower one was especially crazy. The show would be a good place to start for OP honestly. All different types of people, likely one is going to be in your same financial place and phase of life.

I do love at the end when they have built a 5000sqft custom home with 100 tons of concrete and custom features out the wazoo how it is a "green and efficient home" Yes you care about the environment so much.....

Dicey

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Re: Where would I start to build a home?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2020, 07:16:23 AM »
Custom homes get outdated just as fast as non-custom homes. The mechanicals wear out at about the same rate as well. Installing landscaping from scratch costs a fortune.

There are so many more productive ways to expend your life's energy.