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  #1  
Old 04/27/11, 11:27 AM
 
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Price to build a stick frame home?

What is the cheapest that someone could build a small stick frame home? I would do nearly all the work, and have experience in doing most of the work. Does anyone know of a good way of estimating the cost, without buying plans ahead of time?

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Old 04/27/11, 12:26 PM
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The only way to accurately figure the cost is to make a list and add everything up- not very practical, I realize. The shell of the house is only a fraction of the total cost, and there are so many variables along the way. Just site work alone can cost tens of thousands- or nearly nothing, depending upon location, knowledge, and equipment. I read recently of someone building a cabin in Truckee CA, and the various permits and fees came to $58,000!

Where we're building in SC, permits will probably total under $1000. Site work is going to run about $15,000, and septic system another $6000. That's without building anything.

Assuming you have land that is nearly ready to build on, and you aren't suffering under some governmental dictatorship, I would guess you could get a place somewhat livable for $15,000 or so. If there's no building department, and you're a good scrounger, you could do it for a lot less. Most places won't allow used building materials, at least not structural. Even windows have to have the specification stickers on them to pass inspection.

I recommend you ask this question over in the forum at countryplans.com. Great bunch of folks over there, many of whom have done, or are doing, just what you speak of. They have very reasonable small home plans, too.

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  #3  
Old 04/28/11, 03:53 AM
 
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We made a set of base plans and then were able to take it to the lumber store(local not big box) and get a materials estimate which gave us a rough start.

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  #4  
Old 04/28/11, 08:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mama View Post
We made a set of base plans and then were able to take it to the lumber store(local not big box) and get a materials estimate which gave us a rough start.
Not a bad first step. however...... You need to be vary careful if you then go ahead and order from their list. lumber salesmen are famous for doing a lot of guessing, and typically to the high side. I always do my own take-offs from a print, and then cross check it with the framer's list. If you use a list provided by a supplier, be sure that you have shopped the list around and that the low bidder is in agreement that they will pick up all extra material and credit you in full. No pick-up charge, no handling fees, no "store credit" for the returns.
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  #5  
Old 04/28/11, 03:36 PM
 
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Dh's father has been very good friends w/ the owner of the lumber yard we use, has been for decades and actually we usually get discounts. We did price around as well and pretty much everything the local lumber yard beats the big box store hands down, it is the place all the contractors use, my brother builds houses for a living as well so he has a keen eye for prices. We were very involved w/ the building and prices of most everything though and didn't just take anyone's word for anything from the biggest to the smallest things. We have built 2 houses now so have some experience. Doing a lot of the work ourselves, so we know what is needed and what is not and found the list to be pretty accurate. Some things we upgraded and some downgraded, it wasn't any big deal.s

I think it is a good idea to be aware of these things though and those estimates can at least give you a jumping point.


We never had any issue with returns either, it is just a matter of business. I guess that is why he has such great business, good places don't try to rip you off.

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Last edited by crunchy_mama; 04/28/11 at 03:41 PM.
  #6  
Old 04/30/11, 10:24 AM
 
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If a person was to go to one of the big box stores with a build list, and take the time to price things out, how much more of a savings do you think you might get when ordering the hole package from them, or a local lumber yard? 10%, 20%, 25%????

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  #7  
Old 04/30/11, 05:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thestartupman View Post
If a person was to go to one of the big box stores with a build list, and take the time to price things out, how much more of a savings do you think you might get when ordering the hole package from them, or a local lumber yard? 10%, 20%, 25%????
As a builder, I can't really deal with a big box store for any serious project. That little lumber "isle" you see in the store? Well, a typical serious yard carries at least ten times as much product in inventory. You see a stack of dirt cheap 2x4s with the top fifty or so being picked through, twisted scrap? Who do you think gets them when you need 220 of them delivered? If you have the money to buy a significant amount of material at once, get a list together and get prices from a few yards. Now is the time, the whole industry is starving and there are a lot of people who will try to earn your business. Good luck.
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  #8  
Old 04/30/11, 05:40 PM
 
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That is the same problem dh has, the stuff from the HD is crap and certainly not good for any serious building. There is a reason why the contractors do not use them, they are out to make a profit and shopping there doesn't do it.

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  #9  
Old 05/10/11, 07:17 PM
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I use my local yard, they are comparable to HD and Lowes, where they beat the box stores is in delivery. HD and Lowes charge me to deliver, $75 for the last load, local charges nothing. There is something nice about calling the yard and asking to deliver a load of lumber and tell them I will be into town in a few days to write them a check and they say "ok"

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  #10  
Old 05/10/11, 10:40 PM
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Almost finished with a 12x20 'kennel' house. Standard wood frame building, insulated, with drywall and waterproof 'bathroom wall' board on one end. Up to code, with electricity, water, and gas. Still need to put paint on the walls, and linoleum on the floor... will work out less than $10/foot.

If I were building a 'house' to live in, on the cheap, it'd have two stories, cutting out a lot of extra costs, lowering the final square foot cost.

In my new home (for us humans) I'm looking at less than $20/sq foot.

Of course, I have a sawmill to make my own dimensional and beam lumber.

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  #11  
Old 05/10/11, 11:49 PM
 
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Texican, do you have to have your home inspected as it is being built?

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  #12  
Old 05/11/11, 04:25 AM
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for a rough idea

http://www.building-cost.net/

Dave

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  #13  
Old 05/11/11, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thestartupman View Post
If a person was to go to one of the big box stores with a build list, and take the time to price things out, how much more of a savings do you think you might get when ordering the hole package from them, or a local lumber yard? 10%, 20%, 25%????
I don't know about the "hole" package, but I do know that almost anything I want I can get at Menards for about 30-50% less than the local yard. Which really bums me, because I'd really like to use my local yard more often.
However, I will agree with whomever pointed out that there's a lot of crap in the pile. I would NEVER let them just bring me a load of lumber.
I pick.

There was an afternoon I was in the board shed for nearly 2 hours, loading out a large lumber order because I hand picked everything that went in my trailer. I must have tipped the yard guy enough for putting up with me, because he's shown up since then to help me load, too.
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  #14  
Old 05/14/11, 08:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davel745 View Post
for a rough idea

http://www.building-cost.net/

Dave
Usually I find these calculators to be wildly inaccurate.
In this case, I compared their numbers to my current costs as a home builder. They are within 5% of my real world #. I can see how this could be real helpful, especially since it delineates things like builder profit. I would caution to not place a lot of weight in the individual line items. In my case, things like excavating costs were extremely light.
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  #15  
Old 05/15/11, 05:22 AM
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I too found the calculator to be close but individual costs are so variable that I use it only for a rough estimate.

Dave

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  #16  
Old 05/16/11, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thestartupman View Post
Texican, do you have to have your home inspected as it is being built?
With no mortgage, there are no inspections... We have no code laws here. However, if you get a mortgage, the bank will require code inspections, basically to cover their investment.
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  #17  
Old 05/16/11, 01:13 PM
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We are thinking of building one of these:http://www.firstdaycottage.com/
We have a friend who's a contractor & said we probably wouldn't be able to build any cheaper than this.

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  #18  
Old 05/17/11, 06:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julieanne View Post
We are thinking of building one of these:http://www.firstdaycottage.com/
We have a friend who's a contractor & said we probably wouldn't be able to build any cheaper than this.
As a builder with a few decades of experience, I have had some heated debates about this product, here on the forum. IMHO, it is a lightly built, lightly insulated home with a lot of issues. Others may disagree, but I think that a Stick built home is far superior in many ways, and that a SIPS panel structure would simply crush a "First day" product in any comparison. From the info. and pictures on their website, I cannot imagine how they can meet current requirements for deflection, snow loading, braced wall lines, insulation levels or fire blocking. Remember however, that in some cases where things look awfully lightly done, a company can get the approval of a licensed engineer or architect to basically over-ride a lot of current code requirements.

In my area, If I wanted to build a very light duty post and beam structure and wrap it with horizontal boards and a few inches of foam, it simply would never get past the plan review stages. Minimum code requirements are just that, the least you can do to provide a modestly energy efficient structure with a reasonable level of durability and fire resistance. In this case, I can't see it meeting those minimum requirements.
YMMV, but I certainly wouldn't bother with this company.

BTW, your buddy is wrong about costs. By designing a very simple stick built structure, shopping locally and aggressively for material, and doing all the work yourself, you end up with the lowest cost for a new home. Once you buy a kit product from a company, you introduce their overhead, labor, advertising, consulting, engineering, transportation costs and profit into the deal. Therefore, 99% of the time, it will cost more in the end.
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Old 05/17/11, 10:25 AM
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Rough Idea on framing. I just built a 20x24' out building with one dividing wall inside. The floors were framed with 2x12's and covered with t&g osb sturdi-floor. The walls are 2x4 precuts covered with 1/2" osb. I made the trusses for the roof myself with 2x6's and covered that with corrugated tin. Now keep in mind this is an outbuilding and there is no "foundation" it is simply sitting on piers. The total material cost delivered to the site was $3250.00 this is for the rough framing, no insulation, no wiring, no plumbing, no drywall, no kitchen cabinets or appilances and no bathroom or floor coverings. I got a really good discount on the materials because I have built several houses using the smae local yard (best price around)

I hope this helps you in some way.

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  #20  
Old 05/17/11, 10:47 AM
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Just a quick idea,...it saved us a ton of money buying from a local sawmill. Not a lumberyard,..but a one man operated sawmill in his backyard type deal. Just be careful and deal with a well known person with a good reputation.

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