Building Your Own Home

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by texasgirl, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. texasgirl

    texasgirl Songster

    May 27, 2007
    South Texas
    We have been looking into buying a home for the first time but have recently considered building.
    If we decide to go this route we will probably be buying the land and begin building in about a year or so. We are aware of the huge effort and responsibility it is.
    Is the expense of building that much more than buying a similar house? Is there any reason first time homeowners should buy a home instead of building?
    I'm open to all opinions and advice [​IMG]
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Best of luck. All I know is that when you build your own things... it is always like 50% over budget by the end! However, if you can be there every step of the way, you can ensure quality is up to par.
  3. Ga Chicken Mom

    Ga Chicken Mom Songster

    Jul 24, 2007
    Just my 2 cents - with the economy the way it is and the housing market in a slump, seems to me you could find a real deal on an existing house. Building always does seem to go over budget.
  4. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    Yep, building always goes over budget BIG TIME... especially with the way gas is right now. Lumber and concrete are over the top, and the prices will just keep rising. So, say you are quoted $110 a yard for concrete today. You save your money and a year later, concrete is $120 a yard. That's just the way it is.
    So, if you're prepared for that, go for it! I'd love to build my own house. My parents did it and built exactly what they wanted, but my dad and uncle are both contractors and built the house themselves.
  5. ams3651

    ams3651 Songster

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    I dont know much about it but my cousin and his wife built their house with the help of some friends and it took almost 2 years. Its not like you can do it full time like a builder can.
  6. jnjross

    jnjross Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    edwards, ms
    we just start digging for the footers for a slab, but we've owned the land for 3 yrs and live on it in a mobile home so we got time. now with the housing market in the toilet you could find a house with land for about the same cost
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Generally the completed house is worth 125% of the sum of all the parts you pay to go into it. So yes, it's something to consider doing since you get more house for the dollar. But, as mentioned, construction never comes in under budget.

    I've been told that building a house is something everyone should do before they die. I'm usually thent old that building a house will make you want to die before it's all said and done.
  8. yankeemtfarm

    yankeemtfarm Songster

    Sep 13, 2007
    Yes you can save money by building it yourself.
    That said... there are many things that need to be considered.

    The biggest problem in our area is..
    The bank will not give you a loan with out a licensed contractor.
    or if you try to build it without a bank loan then run short of money, then it is even harder to get a construction loan.

    Do you have friends or family in the construction business? that would be a big help [​IMG]

    Some suppliers/ sub contractors will charge you the contractor rate, and some will try to take advantage of the homeowner trying to do it themselves .

    Hope that helps [​IMG]

  9. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    We were going to do that, before we bought a house, after multiple, multiple land sales went sour.

    The thing about buying land:

    IS IT BUILDABLE? It needs to have a perc (septic) test already done on it and certified and the certificate needs to be absolutely current and filed with the town records or wherever. Shady folks will try to sell you all sorts of things which are technically land, many of which are quite picturesque. However, the land NEEDS to be buildable. It must have either city sewage or a current perc certificate (will vary by state as to how that is handled exactly). If the land you absolutely must have does not have such a thing, then make the seller pay for the perc test or make the closing contingent on a passing result. Put this part of the agreement in the Purchase & Sale agreement, and do NOT waver, not for a second on it. I tell you this after many failed attempts to purchase land. Seriously. You will save yourself a lot of heartache and a LOT of time and money. Be aware that perc tests change over time: for example, one piece of land I was interested in, had previously been one large lot. It had been perc'ed at that time, and then was subdivided into three lots. Two of those lots were on the part that passed the perc test. Guess which lot they were trying to sell me...

    I gather that Texas does not have the same sort of building regs as where I live. While this may seem convenient, in that you can do much of the work yourself, OTOH there will always be some things you just don't have time to do, or that you don't have the equipment to do (such as pouring a foundation), and you will have to contract it even if you are your own general contractor. In a state with tight building codes, you can make contractor payments contingent on the work passing a building code inspection, so you know the work is at least half-decent and probably won't go bad within the next few minutes. In states with fewer building regs, you're on your own, and good luck to you. You must be extra-diligent about contacting references and following up on examples of the contractor's work, checking with the Better Business Bureau and the local court dockets, etc. to make sure your contractor is any good, when you are hiring. Know your local building codes so that you know when you are in a "buyer beware" situation.

    It is a lot of WORK. It is a full-time job in and of itself. I don't know that it is possible to do alone, lots of building projects require at least four hands and heavy lifting. It is approximately as stressful as the worst full-time job you ever had, and you can expect it to take a toll on your relationships, your health, and your mental state.

    True story: My mother hired a house built, only to discover while they were finishing the kitchen that her general contractor was embezzling money meant to pay the subcontractors. The subcontractors promptly sued the pants off HER, because the general contractor didn't have a pot to pee in even after stealing $10,000 from her, but the subs all knew that she must have money since all buildings run over budget, right? And this guy had a good reputation with a local architect.

    There's just a lot of pitfalls. Really, really think about whether or not you can find a house already built that you could renovate to acceptable levels. Seriously, DH and I looked at about a zillion houses online, we never thought we'd find something we both liked, but we love the house we finally bought.
  10. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    I've only ever bought pre-built homes, but the one thing that you can do if you are building is have much more of a say in style of constuction, materials, and layout. If you want stained concrete, double paned windows and solar screens, you get them when you build, not later. You also have more say in insulating and reducing later energy costs, etc. But I think I would make sure I have a huge cushion in my budget. When my HOA build a new pool and activity room there was 10% overrun written into the budget. With the rising fuel costs, all building materials will be going up so a 20-50% overrun might be necessary. I think planning for the project to take at least 20% longer than the contractor quotes you would be wise too. Everyone I know who has added on, added a pool or built a house has waited much longer than they were quoted.

    Find out how much per square foot homes are selling for in your area and how much projected building costs are per square foot. That may be a good place to start.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2008

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