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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We are getting ready to launch on building our custom forever/dream home. We have a builder, (very good reputation, love the quality of the houses we have seen him build, and he built our barn already), we own the land, and we have well and septic already in. Fortunately in an area with little to no code requirements (other than septic which we have already gotten approval for house/barn on this septic).

We have drawings/layout of house and have had them cleared by architect and builder, but we don't have real "blueprints".

Has anyone else done this and could share advice? We hope to break ground next January (yeah, it's early...but I'm a planner).

Thanks

-Boats
 

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Hubs and I built our house with drawings on graph paper. Granted he was in construction and knew how to do the right numbers but we ended up with the house we wanted.

If your builder is worth his salt, he'll spot things on your drawings that will need adjustment before it becomes a problem.
 

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We are getting ready to launch on building our custom forever/dream home. We have a builder, (very good reputation, love the quality of the houses we have seen him build, and he built our barn already), we own the land, and we have well and septic already in. Fortunately in an area with little to no code requirements (other than septic which we have already gotten approval for house/barn on this septic).

We have drawings/layout of house and have had them cleared by architect and builder, but we don't have real "blueprints".

Has anyone else done this and could share advice? We hope to break ground next January (yeah, it's early...but I'm a planner).

Thanks

-Boats
We planned our house out on my iPad and then sat down with our builder and talked everything over. He spotted things that needed to be tweaked to meet code and make sure everything would fit the way it should. Any good builder should be able to do the same. Just make sure to spell out exactly what you want and have a good contract.
 

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Will you be using the "builder" as a general contractor? Letting him find electricians/plumbers/drywallers/roofers/tilers etc etc? If that is the case I hope you really trust the guy.

I had a carpenter who did the forming, carpentry, roof etc, and I would get 2-3 quotes for each item and I hired the trades. Figured I saved quite a bit of money not just hiring my carpenters buddies- BUT, it was a heap of work on my part (running a business full time on the side). If I was to do it again and I hope to never do so.... :) I would ensure I had a slush fund, hire someone I trusted, and let them deal with all of the trades. You pay a premium, and if anything goes sideways your builder will deal with it not you.

One tip. Know exactly what you want early on. What type of windows. What type of siding, roofing. What type of flooring. Finishing- there are so many ways to go, have an idea. Having to decide and be one step ahead of the contractors is incredibly stressful. Be ready and let it fall into place.
Deck screw colour choices almost killed me- the pressure of needing to know what screws in my wrap around- I live in the boonies and needed to drive 2+ hours to view options at the last minute. Don't be like me :)
 

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We just did it. I don't have a lot to add. I would highly recommend you buy your own fixtures. They can be really expensive and your plumber will mark them up a lot. There are different grades as well. The one sitting at the big box store likely isn't the same one as the place the plumber buys his. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

Building material prices are WAY up, so factor that in as well. Our builder says they are expected to drop soon, but plan for worst case scenario. Depending on how much you are planning to spend on "extras", regular countertops or granite or something, flooring, faucets, light fixtures, building costs between $100 and $150 a square foot right now in this area, and depending on the things I mentioned, you can push that over $200 a square foot pretty quickly. Bathrooms add a lot of money, so don't build more of them than you need.
 

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Building codes are generally good things. Have seen some really backwards junk in localities that don't require them, and the quality and competency of the contractors in such regions can be lacking.
 

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We lived in a house in Indiana we really liked.

We rebuilt it in Illinois. All we gave the builder was the sketch you get when you look at home floor plans, and a list of things we wanted different. He nailed it. Literally
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Since you already have the plans completed, all that is left is to wish you Good luck :)
Glad that's it! lol

BTW, are you a sparky or a cook??

ust make sure to spell out exactly what you want
That requires me to know exactly what I want!

Will you be using the "builder" as a general contractor? Letting him find electricians/plumbers/drywallers/roofers/tilers etc etc? If that is the case I hope you really trust the guy.
Yes, and we do.

One tip. Know exactly what you want early on. What type of windows. What type of siding, roofing. What type of flooring. Finishing- there are so many ways to go, have an idea. Having to decide and be one step ahead of the contractors is incredibly stressful. Be ready and let it fall into place.
Deck screw colour choices almost killed me- the pressure of needing to know what screws in my wrap around- I live in the boonies and needed to drive 2+ hours to view options at the last minute. Don't be like me :)
I guess that's what I'm trying to do now...but after sitting on the house plans for a year I'm looking at them and wanting to change....

I would highly recommend you buy your own fixtures. They can be really expensive and your plumber will mark them up a lot. There are different grades as well. The one sitting at the big box store likely isn't the same one as the place the plumber buys his. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
Yeah, that's on our to-do list.

Depending on how much you are planning to spend on "extras", regular countertops or granite or something, flooring, faucets, light fixtures,
I think my plan is to spend more money on the more permanent things (doors/windows/kitchen/etc) and less money on the things that get replaced every few years anyway (flooring, lights, paint, etc).

The entire downstairs will be unfinished, as will be a bonus room above garage....will finish those later.

Building codes are generally good things.
The idea behind building codes are good ideas, too often the building codes (and subjective enforcement of them) is ridiculous.
 

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The entire downstairs will be unfinished, as will be a bonus room above garage....will finish those later.
In my area, if you don't put in a ceiling, the room is considered unfinished, as in, you don't pay property taxes on it. Same if the siding isn't complete. I know a family a few miles from me that built a new house and left a piece about 3'x3' under the front eave with no siding so he can say the house isn't finished. I don't know if, or for how long, that will work :)

I left my basement ceilings open in most of the rooms, so the basement is considered unfinished. That's nearly half that house that doesn't factor into my property taxes. Those ceilings will never be finished unless something completely unforeseen happens and the house needs to be sold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
In my area, if you don't put in a ceiling, the room is considered unfinished, as in, you don't pay property taxes on it.
BINGO! It'll likely be decades before I finish out the other 2000 feet in the basement (2 beds, 2 baths, theater, game room, and wet bar)....
 

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I would recommend at least making the interior of the house ADA accessible, with larger doors and plenty of space in the bathrooms. I had a friend in a nursing home. As long as he was able to stand and transfer we could bring him to our house for holiday meals with our family. However, once he could no longer do that, we couldn't have him over as our interior doorways made it near impossible to move him in his wheelchair. Our house was built in the 40's with 30" interior doors. Our bathroom, although fine for us, was too small to get his wheelchair into, shut the door, and maneuver him to the toilet. Also, my wife and I have both had knee surgeries and it was difficult moving about the house, especially the bathroom, with crutches. It was doable, but difficult. If we were older, it would have been much more difficult.
 

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I second that notion that you go ada as much as possible. The difference in a 32" door and a 36" door is 5 dollars or less. They often even cost the same.

If you have a sliding patio door, consider making it a French door instead. With a French door you can open both up and move large furniture in and out.

Spend the extra money and get the plugs with USB ports in them.

No matter how much you like this builder, get a good contract that protects your interest. Don't just rely on the bank getting you out of a jam. I am a builder myself and this is the number one mistake made. A good contract keeps you both safe and spells out each responsibilities.

Best of luck and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
would recommend at least making the interior of the house ADA accessible, with larger doors and plenty of space in the bathrooms.
Yes, we are planning for this. We are designing the first floor to completely WC accessible, even requiring garage being same level as house with a WC accessible threshhold. Also designing closets on top of each other that can later be retrofitted for an elevator.
 

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My builder decided that I didn’t need a 36” door on the bathroom (that has an accessible shower.). Luckily, I checked the framing during the build. He ripped it out and rebuilt what the plans called for.
 

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The most important thing is you need a good builder and he need to be trust worthy .
It’s a bad time to build , material is way up .
a job that cost 50k will come in at 75 k it’s a lot of money and when thing get back to normal you won’t get the money back .
Guys are scrambling for work.
 

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Yes, we are planning for this. We are designing the first floor to completely WC accessible, even requiring garage being same level as house with a WC accessible threshhold. Also designing closets on top of each other that can later be retrofitted for an elevator.
Very nice. The way you are thinking things out you will do just fine.
 

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The most important thing is you need a good builder and he need to be trust worthy .
It’s a bad time to build , material is way up .
a job that cost 50k will come in at 75 k it’s a lot of money and when thing get back to normal you won’t get the money back .
Guys are scrambling for work.
You have to weigh that against the interest rates though. Wait too long and the interest rates go up, it can cost you a lot more than the extra 25% materials cost.
 
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