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Home Buying Help Thread

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Just now, The Gnat said:

4 blocks away, fairly residential.

We'll see how much it actually changes things, there will be still always be hipsters who want to live in this area.

Dang, stay safe. My girlfriend lives in St. Paul and got out of there last night. We're gonna avoid the cities for the weekend.

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Any of you guys built your own house? Did you think it was worth it? If we decide against a vacation rental condo, we might just buy a lot and build a house but we know nothing about home buying or building. Since we live abroad, don't have much of a time constraint. 

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Just now, titansNvolsR#1 said:

Any of you guys built your own house? Did you think it was worth it? If we decide against a vacation rental condo, we might just buy a lot and build a house but we know nothing about home buying or building. Since we live abroad, don't have much of a time constraint. 

My parents built their house about 15 years ago, and I would say yes, absolutely worth it. You can make sure it is exactly what you want, and make sure it gets built right. The problem is finding the right piece of land for a decent price. 

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3 minutes ago, Heimdallr said:

My parents built their house about 15 years ago, and I would say yes, absolutely worth it. You can make sure it is exactly what you want, and make sure it gets built right. The problem is finding the right piece of land for a decent price

Seems to be the biggest piece to the puzzle. Where my wife is from in western WA, 0.3 acres is about 100k. Where I'm from in East TN, you can get anywhere from 2-10 acres for that. It'd be mostly a place to stay for the summers when school is out or during global pandemics. 

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Finding the land is key.
And starting from scratch has its plusses and minuses. The most expensive part of building a home is the first 12 inches above ground, so if you find a cool piece of land with an existing dwelling, but not a suitable house - give it some consideration.

New utilities and new sewer/septic are very expensive, so if they are already on the property that saves headaches, hassles and money. If you're going to be someplace else during construction, you're going to need somebody trustworthy nearby who can go out to the property and help you work through the hundred decisions that aren't spelled out on the blueprints. We did a complete remodel and we lived only 4 blocks from the house we were remodeling - and I was damn glad to be available during construction.

Either new or remodel, its awesome to see it all come together and as Heimdallr noted, you get it exactly the way you want it. Good luck

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10 minutes ago, Shanedorf said:

Finding the land is key.
And starting from scratch has its plusses and minuses. The most expensive part of building a home is the first 12 inches above ground, so if you find a cool piece of land with an existing dwelling, but not a suitable house - give it some consideration.

New utilities and new sewer/septic are very expensive, so if they are already on the property that saves headaches, hassles and money. If you're going to be someplace else during construction, you're going to need somebody trustworthy nearby who can go out to the property and help you work through the hundred decisions that aren't spelled out on the blueprints. We did a complete remodel and we lived only 4 blocks from the house we were remodeling - and I was damn glad to be available during construction.

Either new or remodel, its awesome to see it all come together and as Heimdallr noted, you get it exactly the way you want it. Good luck

This would be the toughest part. Easier with my wife's family. Nigh impossible with mine. 

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26 minutes ago, titansNvolsR#1 said:

This would be the toughest part. Easier with my wife's family. Nigh impossible with mine. 

What you want is a retired/ semi-retired contractor who's looking for a little beer money on the side. Hire him to be your eyes and ears.
Given the overall expense involved in building a home, its really not much extra money and that guy really knows his stuff. 

Think about it this way -
If you were headed to a car dealership to buy a car...how cool would it be to have a car salesman with you who knows how the game is played ?

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On 5/29/2020 at 6:17 PM, Shanedorf said:

What you want is a retired/ semi-retired contractor who's looking for a little beer money on the side. Hire him to be your eyes and ears.
Given the overall expense involved in building a home, its really not much extra money and that guy really knows his stuff. 

Think about it this way -
If you were headed to a car dealership to buy a car...how cool would it be to have a car salesman with you who knows how the game is played ?

It''ll save you more than what you pay him... by far.

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On 5/29/2020 at 4:06 PM, titansNvolsR#1 said:

Any of you guys built your own house? Did you think it was worth it? If we decide against a vacation rental condo, we might just buy a lot and build a house but we know nothing about home buying or building. Since we live abroad, don't have much of a time constraint. 

Currently in the process right now.  The pickings in the part of town we were looking at wasn't very flush.  Ended up looking at a few houses that were up for sale, and pretty much all were the exact opposite of what we wanted.

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On 5/29/2020 at 5:06 PM, titansNvolsR#1 said:

Any of you guys built your own house? Did you think it was worth it? If we decide against a vacation rental condo, we might just buy a lot and build a house but we know nothing about home buying or building. Since we live abroad, don't have much of a time constraint. 

We just finished the process of building our own home, and for us, it was worth it.

8 hours ago, CWood21 said:

Currently in the process right now.  The pickings in the part of town we were looking at wasn't very flush.  Ended up looking at a few houses that were up for sale, and pretty much all were the exact opposite of what we wanted.

Best wishes. This was part of our issue as well. We had some specific floor plans we wanted/that weren't available for us. We built a ranch with a full basement with essentially a completely open floor plan. 

We got a great deal on 2 acres in the Township and pulled the trigger. It took us about a year from the time we sold our house to the time this was built, and 8 months overall once they broke ground. We did a custom build and hired an architect who helped us design with his blueprints as opposed to choosing a cookie cutter floorplan (which we considered).

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On 5/29/2020 at 5:06 PM, titansNvolsR#1 said:

Any of you guys built your own house? Did you think it was worth it? If we decide against a vacation rental condo, we might just buy a lot and build a house but we know nothing about home buying or building. Since we live abroad, don't have much of a time constraint. 

Haven't done it.  And some of the guys above gave some great information.

One thing not mentioned that i thought worth mentioning - on a sq ft basis you're going to pay more to build.  IIRC, the number that's popping into my head is something like 10-20%.  You can probably verify that with a google search.  

So before you build, make sure you can't find what you're looking for in something existing.  Remember that tearing down a wall or doing some interior rehab is going to be way less costly and infinitely less stress on you/your family than building new.  Not saying it can't be worth it.  But there are downsides.

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28 minutes ago, theJ said:

Haven't done it.  And some of the guys above gave some great information.

One thing not mentioned that i thought worth mentioning - on a sq ft basis you're going to pay more to build.  IIRC, the number that's popping into my head is something like 10-20%.  You can probably verify that with a google search.  

So before you build, make sure you can't find what you're looking for in something existing.  Remember that tearing down a wall or doing some interior rehab is going to be way less costly and infinitely less stress on you/your family than building new.  Not saying it can't be worth it.  But there are downsides.

It's also worth noting that in some areas, you'll need things like a well dug and a septic put in, whereas in others you can link up to city water and sewer. The up front cost with these things can be anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 (you can roll it into your mortgage or pay out of pocket), so there's a plus/minus to both. The plus is, if you can link into the city water/sewer, you'll save a boatload up front, but the plus of digging a well/doing a septic is that you'll never have to pay for those utilities again (granted, there are always upkeep costs to both). 

The materials you use are also a factor (brick/stone/cedar siding compared to vinyl, what type of cabinets and countertops you put in, what materials you use in your bathrooms, etc.).

I also saved several thousand doing things myself (painted it all, laid all the flooring), but most people who build don't want to/aren't able to, so you're absolutely right about the cost per square foot.

That said, the land I bought is worth twice what I paid for it over a year ago, which is crazy to think about.

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We're going to listing our place tomorrow. That'll be a fun time with showings.

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1 minute ago, The Gnat said:

We're going to listing our place tomorrow. That'll be a fun time with showings.

The last time I sold, I was working from home like I am now. That was not a fun process lol. Between work and the animals and their stuff, I was so thankful we some relatively quickly

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1 minute ago, Forge said:

The last time I sold, I was working from home like I am now. That was not a fun process lol. Between work and the animals and their stuff, I was so thankful we some relatively quickly

Yeah, I can go into the office, but my wife can't. We're thinking about listing lower to try and get the process done as fast as possible with a bit of a bidding war as well, hopefully. But for my wife she'll have to figure out where to go.

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