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Anyone ever build a house or have you house built new?


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Anyone ever build a house or have you house built new?
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2019-11-13, 14:19

My wife and I are thinking about moving. Not sure it will happen but really considering options. Part of it is to move to a larger home. This would be a must really at this point. So what I'm wondering is has anyone had a home built or build their own? I know that's generally something our grand parents did, but I'm thinking in a more modern setting. How did the financing work out for that? I know there are tons of resources on the internet but I figured I'd check here to see if anyone has any firsthand knowledge of the process. You know, find land, buy it, clear it, have house built on it. Buying new from a development isn't the same since really you're agreeing to buy the finished product not work it out without the developer.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-11-13, 15:44

We have had two homes built, and remodeled two. With the two we had built, we bought from Hubble Homes here in Boise. The two remodel projects I have done almost all of the work myself, other than subcontracting HVAC and window installation (my neighbor is an installer and does great window work for a good price). I have had help with plumbing, but now feel confident doing it all myself, and I do all of my own electrical work.

If you plan to act as the general contractor, most banks are going to ask a lot of questions before they decide on a loan. They are going to want proof that you can get the work done within budget and not leave them with a loan on a pile of firewood. This bit can be very tricky. You are likely going to have to demonstrate some collateral, as well. Banks are not too friendly loaning construction money to inexperienced builders, unless you have hired a general contractor. Hiring a general is also a lot more expensive because he wants to make his cut.

If you plan on whacking all the nails into place yourself, it will get even more complicated. Again, the bank wants to know that you are going to complete the task in a reasonable time frame, and that you are going to build a house that meets all applicable codes, passes inspections, and then has a floor-plan that can be resold should you fail. This can be difficult if you don't know what you're doing.

I am mostly self taught, but rely on the Google to make sure I am meeting code, especially with electrical and plumbing. However, there are also a gazillion building codes covering every aspect of the home's construction, up to and including the distance between your cabinets and how far apart your outlets are. If you appear to know what you are doing, inspectors will generally go pretty easy on you. But if you don't, they'll ding you to death! Also, codes differ from state to state so you have to be very careful to apply the correct ones.

Anyway, caution should be taken if you plan to build yourself. Make sure you know what's up. Otherwise, you're going to get taken advantage of or make serious mistakes that could cost a lot of money to fix. If you are inexperienced, hire a reputable builder.

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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2019-11-13, 16:37

Well, I do fall into the inexperienced category. I helped frame a house once in the summer of 1990. I hated it. Not my cup of tea.

So really then I need to look for a builder who does homes and see what they have to offer. Then the next question is do I just look for developer who are building new subdivisions or what? At least if I see a house in a subdivision I like I know what I would be getting.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-11-13, 19:14

You need to decide whether you want to live in an established, incorporated neighborhood with its resulting set of commie-level CC&R's, or purchase a piece of property outside of an incorporated neighborhood and blaze your own trail. A lot of builders will only build inside of established joints, and others won't build in them at all. It will likely be more expensive to build outside, because a lot of builders buy up "cheap" lots inside HOA's.

My preference is to either be outside an HOA, or find an older neighborhood where the HOA has long gone dormant and will never gain life again. I mean, once people gain their freedom, they never want to be shackled again! Our current home is inside a 40 year-old neighborhood whose HOA dissolved about 20 years ago. There was a dude going around trying to convince people it needed to come back, and we pretty much shooed him off our porches.

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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2019-11-15, 14:18

Well, if there is an HOA then there is no chance for my family. Dormant or not. I just can't have people telling me my grass is to tall because it rained a lot this week and I haven't been out to cut it yet... among other things.

My wife and I are thinking more of a plot of land at this point. We really like the idea of +3 acres and we won't get that in a development. At this point we might even look for one that includes a house we don't fit in but will get us land and a basic starting point. Then we can build at a reasonable pace while already being there. This is as opposed to selling our current home, buying land and putting a doublewide on it while the real house is built.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-11-15, 14:24

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle View Post
buying land and putting a doublewide on it…
I knew there was some trailer trash in you.
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torifile
Less than Stellar Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2019-11-19, 22:45

We built our last home. Or, rather, we had it built in a subdivision. The builder had a few different model of homes to choose from and several facades/materials. It was fun experience and the variety of choice meant that while there were only 6 or so layouts to pick from, each house looked different and had a different feel.

But new homes are full of unexpected problems because of the grading, the way the foundation settles, etc. We liked the house but we wouldn't do it again and that's separate from it being in a subdivision with an HOA (which we didn't mind since they were entirely reasonable). It was the house just lacked character. 3 years ago, we moved in a house that's nearly 100 years old and love it. It, too, has problems but they are entirely expected with a house this old.

If it's not red and showing substantial musculature, you're wearing it wrong.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-11-20, 11:42

Quote:
Originally Posted by torifile View Post
3 years ago, we moved in a house that's nearly 100 years old and love it. It, too, has problems but they are entirely expected with a house this old.
My preference is to buy much older homes and remodel them to meet modern code/specs. This way, you get the exterior character, the settled foundation, good exterior walls, and modern conveniences.

And usually no HOA.

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- Stand for something, or fall for anything!
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2019-11-20, 16:47

This seems to be more of the direction we are heading now. An existing home on a chunk of land. While we could still build, I think we will be happier if we just have something relatively "move in ready". I'm still looking to build as an option but Mrs T is not so I'm fairly certain that's the direction we head instead.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-11-20, 17:08

Yep. The boss speaks. You're just there to move the furniture.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2020-04-19, 16:15

While I was actually really interested in getting a house built we ended up getting one that was prebuilt. It was only built in 2004 so it is pretty new generally speaking. The home I was in back in Tidewater was built in 1964 for reference.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2020-04-19, 17:22

Congrats!
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-04-22, 14:05

Things sound a lot different in many USA subdivisions. HOA's don't seem particularly active in our region. City councils have most of the power of bylaw and architectural control, except for any special policy areas governed by senior levels of government, like conservation and flood plain/water management (which can involve all three levels) and HOA's can't really affect that except to remind councils to enforce or amend existing bylaws.

We recently partially remodeled a 40 year old home in a late 70's early 80-'s built subdivision. I gutted the first floor and rebuilt everything I could, and hired experts for the things I couldn't. I acted as the general contractor when I wasn't smashing, scraping, stripping, refinishing and/or installing. You don't know until you get into it, but some work is surprisingly cheap to pay for while other things are deceptively time consuming. Many little jobs that seem simple require precise methods or attention to details or you may end up with serious deficiencies even if the initial result looks good superficially. Luckily, there's a ton of high quality tutorials out there if you're somewhat mechanically inclined.

Here's what I learned.

Minor structural consulting is cheaper than you think and worth the security. Don't skip it. I had two LVL beams installed on the first floor, so I could make most of it into an open concept. I checked the span tables at the lumber yard to get an idea and then had a contractor get a drawing signed off by an engineer. Beams installed and inspected for a lot less than I had anticipated.

Plan, plan, plan. Not everything we did was as efficient as it could have been for a couple of reasons. Life gets in the way and some things get done out of order when you're living in the space you're renovating. You'll waste huge amounts of time setting up and cleaning up if you don't stage things right. Plan it out over years if you have to, so you're not taking things down and re-installing them to make way for the next stage.

With that in mind. Respect the space. I looked at a lot of renos and new builds before buying our place with a clear set of renos in mind. You can do virtually anything to virtually any property, but for every lot/house/neighborhood there's a point where it's just not worth the cost or aggravation relative to what you can achieve. Find a new building, or embrace the character of the one you have.

Anyway, I think I have a few weeks more before having to return to the office, so it may be time to get after the last trim items. The home had wood door and interior window casings, so I saved those - stripped, sanded, filled, built-out with back-band, thicker baseboards, and painted white to finish the lower trims. It started life in a high gloss honey colored oak. Doors were crappy hollow slab lauan, and got changed out for filled composite single panels I found on sale. Still cheap, but more contemporary looking and a bit weightier.

Then I got lazy. I never got around to installing panel molding and crowns. I'm deciding between using poplar and MDF - since it will all be painted white (ceiling colour) or wall colour. Unlike the doors/windows/baseboards, none of these should come into contact with moisture unless there's a big failure somewhere else that would ruin the drywall anyway. So, what do you think?

There's a bit of premium for the poplar, but our local supplier is excellent - have never gotten stuff that is not consistent, smooth and true - he supplies up to 16 ft lengths. Just not sure it's worth the expense...

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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2020-04-22, 14:12

Given it will be painted and not readily noticeable I'd say MDF. Like you said, if there is an issue then you are going to have to replace it anyway. The hardest part for those kinds of trim is still getting the seam right. I hate trim work for that reason. I'm too much of a perfectionist.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-04-23, 03:21

A finish carpenter taught me a trick for wood baseboards. He dry fits the pieces for any especially long wall and then glues and clamps the seam together and lets it dry before installing it as one extra long piece. I hid a seam in a 35 ft long wall this way. But I get your point. Even though know one else can see it, I know where it is. I can just make it out, and one day it will probably crack.

With the benefit of some past experience in mind, I've been considering how the materials in question (MDF and poplar) install on less than perfect surfaces. MDF's dimensional stability, light weight, and ability to flex to conform to surface irregularity makes it pretty easy to neatly join corners. But that "light weight and give" is also a bit of a liability. It can be brittle and nail holes tend to bulge if you don't use a really light nailer, which is a finishing hassle if you don't have a feel for it. I have seen guys install it so nicely that once painted it looks like plaster, but I've also seen installs that look cheap...

Which brings me to one issue with our space. Thanks to the open concept, there is 35' long, unbroken wall to one end of the space, but is only 8' high, unlike the 9' and 10' ceilings in more modern homes. This is offset somewhat by the open ceiling and stair on one side of the space. But, the crown profile and install need to be carefully considered here. It's close enough to touch for someone tall. On a ten foot, flat white ceiling, most people can't spot imperfections, not so at eight feet, at least not for me. If it's simply pressed to the wall it will fit tight but end up accentuating the undulations in the wall. I've seen this in long corridors where the chair rails end up looking wavy because the wall itself isn't true. Looks terrible when looking down the length, but invisible when looking head on. Our wall is pretty good, but where the wall meets the ceiling you can see the imperfection in both when looking down its length. The crown needs to minimize this not accentuate it. Large floor to ceiling panels should stretch the eye upwards and reduce the long low look. No chair rails - space doesn't need any additional horizontal details. I'm thinking that at least this wall should have poplar crowns because I can get a very rigid fit and fill in the low spots so this horizontal detail looks straight. The rest can be MDF.

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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2020-04-23, 14:53

Yeah, some thing like a long stretch would be huge in making it look truly square. Making MDF straight without the wall being straight would be tough. It can be done, but not worth the effort.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2020-07-13, 06:37

The house I’m living in was torn down to the studs in 2008 and rebuilt over 2 years, finishing in 2010 with about 2 weeks to spare on the construction loan. Took 23 dumpsters to remove the old house (roughly $25K in dumpster rental and tipping fees alone).

One needs to be careful about scope creep. We received a formica level construction loan but decided on granite, so we ended up with about $75K of the house on credit cards on top of the construction loan. This amount includes the previously mentioned dumpster fees, as that wasn’t covered by the loan. Another $17K was a dual fuel hybrid heat-pump driven HVAC system that wasn’t part of the initial design.

Probably the best thing was that the house was built by almost-retired craftsmen. The 3 main workers were in the 65-75 range and had been working their craft their entire life.
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-07-13, 12:40

Happens to us all. We were pretty disciplined but in the end there isn't a single area where we didn't spend just a little more. I figured I don't intend to rip it all up and start again, so I may as well do it the best I can now.

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