Help with home construction questions

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Tinker, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. Tinker

    Tinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am sure this has been addressed before, but even with wording it several different ways, I could not really find what I was looking for using the search feature.

    After looking for over a year for our "dream home", we are now considering buying land and having it build. Can someone list some websites that will direct me to the steps necessary to make this happen? I am sure there is a checklist/guideline out there to help me figure out how to proceed once we buy our land. I know there has to be some logical progression as to when you select a builder, clear your homesite, dig a well & septic, etc.

    Thanks for all your help.

    Tink
     
  2. CarlaWVgal

    CarlaWVgal Well-Known Member

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    The only site I can think of is www.diynet.com (I have never built a house myself) The DIY channel has a show about how to be your own contractor. I don't know if it's any good or not but it's a start!

    Carla
     

  3. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    iff i can help you by answering any questions you have let me know see what i am doing at www.rushingtrail.com
     
  4. shakeytails in KY

    shakeytails in KY Well-Known Member

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  5. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Review 'construction' in the archives, lots of stuff there.
     
  6. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

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    The first thing to do is find a good builder, who is experienced in the type home you want. Go and see what he has built and talk to his customers. If he can't show you anything, then go find another builder. :) Once you locate the builder, then you can discuss location of home and what problems you might run in to. You need perk test for septic system location. driveway and drainage problems. Then get down to what you can spend and plans of the home you want. Decide on what you want to do yourselves to save you money. Agree on a house plan and make sure you get in writing what he is to supply for x dollars.
    I mean everything down to door handles. Once you have a idea of cost, you need to go to the bank, if you are going to need a mortgage. After mortgage approval, you need to make a plot plan of the property and where the house will be etc. Apply for building permit, and get started.
     
  7. Tinker

    Tinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the info guys--that will give me a great start.

    I have been searching on realtor.com and other home/land sale sites looking for property, but I want to know what I am getting myself into before I get started. Unfortunately we will be relocating, so I can't just pop out and look at property. We are moving back to our home area though, so I will be able to go up a time or 2 a month to look at land. My sister is getting a list of some reputable builders. I know we will have a long way to go, but since we are unable to find anything ready built that we like, it seems like having it built will be our only option. Once the foundation is poured and the frame put up, dh will do a lot of the interior and finishing work.

    Thanks again for the links and info!

    Mtman, you are doing a great job on your place.
     
  8. MissMartha

    MissMartha Member

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    My husband and I built, still building, our home. He's a contractor, so he has the knowledge and tools. It took the two of us almost a full year to lay a driveway(has to be done first to get machines in), clear the land, pour the foundation, and stick frame enough for us to live in it. While it is a very large, beautiful, custom paradise, when we moved in I had to bathe by standing in a dishpan in front of the slop sink. That was two years ago, we're close to finishing and, wow, it's the most beautiful house I've ever seen. And we built it.

    My point is; if you're not going to build it yourself for the experience, why not look at the modulars? They cost much less, are fully customizable, and come plumbed and wired! No dishpan baths! I've been in a few of my neighbors' and I'll tell you (but don't tell my husband) I'll never build from scratch again. These houses are real houses. Not like years ago from the Sear's catalog and definetly not like mobile homes expanded. The choices are amazing. I can't say how time affects them, because I've only been in new ones. But it really might be worth looking into.

    Miss Martha
     
  9. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    You may want to try searching something like "do it yourself general contracting." I know that there are books on the topic somewhere in existance.

    Two things you may want to consider for construction - precast foundation walls instead of pouring a foundation on site and Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for wall and roof construction. Pre cast foundations, from my research, appear to be stronger, more exacting in their casting, less likely to seep groundwater, and from what I understand, can realistically be erected in a day's time.

    SIP panels, like precast foundations, are built in controlled environments and are generally considered to be more exact in measurement as well. SIPs have superior R-factor compared to stick frame construction and also tend to go up much more quickly. Remember that you're going to have to balance materials costs with labor costs. What extra you may pay for materials in these cases you will more than likely see a return in labor costs as well as things like energy efficiency over the life of the home. Something like geothermal heating/cooling and radiant heating tend to lend themselves nicely to SIP construction as well.

    You're only going to build it once (hopefully). I've always been a fan of doing it right the first time. My experience in the entertainment world taught me that - the general motto that I found to be true there was "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing over." But at least there I was being paid overtime instead of having to pay it out to someone else...:)

    www.superiorwalls.com will give you an idea of precast foundations and "SIP panels" easily shows up on search engines.

    Good luck with your new construction. With any luck I won't be far behind you.
     
  10. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    Number 1 is of course find the land. Be sure you will have water. There are places in CO that are facing serious shortages because they don't own the water rights on the land.

    Then you need a house plan.

    Next, is figure out where the septic goes.

    Then do the well. There is usually a minimum distance from the septic for a well. Since the septic is the hardest to place, you do that and then figure out the well with what is left.

    Clear the land if needed and then plan the foundation.

    The type of foundation will dictate the next few steps.

    Frame the house

    Get the roof on and windows and doors installed and exterior finish.

    Next is plumbing and electrical and whatever you decide for heat and a/c.

    Insulation

    Wall treatment/painting

    Cabinets, lights, ceiling fans, trim, appliances, flooring, porches,

    There are lots of books available. Go to amazon.com and search. Make a list and take it to your local library and ask them to find the books via interlibrary loan for you. When you find one that you really like, then buy it.
     
  11. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is good advice. In our situation, we had to have loan approval before the builder would sign anything. The builder did all the foot work as far as getting a building permit (perk test was done by the County Health Dept. as part of issuing the building permit).

    It is imperative that you get any agreements with the builder IN WRITING and that you check out the builder before signing anything. We started building our house in June 2003 and were supposed to be moved in by November-December 2003. We moved in March 2004 and things are still not finished! Honestly, I wouldn't build another house for all the tea in China. If this one burns down we're moving into the barn!
     
  12. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    The first thing I would do is evalute your tolerance for aggravation. I don't mean small annoyances, I mean AGGRAVATION!!!. Every time I hire a contractor I am frustrated with their quality of work, lack of showing up, cleanliness of work and on and on. Be prepared for the fight of your life and a lot of compromise.
     
  13. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    thank you very much and good luck
     
  14. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    ok,first of all, before you think about well andseptic, talk to a general contractor,/builder , a good builder will help you to place these so that theres no trouble with foundation breaking lines , etc, we generally dont put the septic in till the foundation is poured, same with the well .
    a good builder will meet with you, on your land, and talk with you,
    they WILL NOT make you feel inadequate !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    you need to find a builder you can get along with !!!!


    ok, im talking as an owner of a construction company here, we do residential , and commercial , often times we will meet with you, 5-6 times, on your land, with plans for your home , etc, really getting an idea of what YOU want , and need and can AFFORD !
    see other buildings they have done ,
    actually talk to others they have built for,doint just get a reference sheet , investigate, !
    and ask them any question that comes to mind about the contractor , such as is this a budget your accustomed to work with? whats your normal price point ?
    do you build spec homes ?
    how many crews do you run , how are the crews equipped ( ideally each crew has a work/supply trailer they bring to the job site )
    if youre building green , or off grid, or passive solar, or any of that, find out if the builder knows about this, again ,references !!!
    and ask them how long thier home warranty is for . any good builder will give you at least a 1 year home warranty

    ask the contractor, how do you work , do you sub contract all the work , or do you have paid employees ( this is the answer you want)
    then call the lumber yards, they should give you good references on builders ,and builders that work within your price range !
    this is all BEFORE a contract is signed !
    dont go with anyone who pressures you to sign a contract right off the bat !
    if it turns out you dont like this person , then youre kind of stuck , because firing a contractor is expensive,and then you have to try to find one to finish what someone else has messed up , and frankly lots of us are pretty hesitant to fix someone elses mistakes , and accept the liability for it !
     
  15. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    I would also recomend checking a builders financial capabilties, ask the lumber yards if the company pays their bill, are they a good account for the lumber yard etc. Make sure you know the way the payments atre going to work have someone else you trust make sure the builder is not going to get "ahead" on the money. When a builder does get ahead he feels he can break contract with out losing. I always use a two week draw schedule I complete two weeks of work before I get money for the work completed. then The payment takes one week. so you always have more work then money out. Also if they ask for more then 5% down ask them what they need that much down for, if the reply is for materials offer to purchase those materials for them. Use their account make the payment and get lien waivers form all the suppliers. NEVER GIVE OUT MONEY ON A PROJECT UNTIL YOUR SURE ALL OF THE CONTRACTORS BILLS AND EMPLOYEES OR SUBCONTRACTORS HAVE BEEN PAID AND SIGNED LIEN RELEASES.
    I insist on providing a homeowner with lien waivers at the time of each draw.
    A great way to ensure that you do not get taken is to use an escrow company.



    _neal
     
  16. Tinker

    Tinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks guys! You have helped me a lot.

    Neal, wish you were in my area--I'd hire you! Thanks for a contractors viewpoint.

    Beeman, though our patience/tolerance is decreasing as we get older, we have done enough of our own remodeling to realize that things seldom go as planned. We have had our share of "it will only take a day, and cost $800.00" projests turn in to 3 weeks and $3,000.00. LOL That doesn't mean we will not be tearing our hair out, and fighting like crazy on this one. Also, we once purchased a home that was just under roof, and worked with the developer during the completion. I know this will be much more complex, as we will be starting from scratch, and it will not be in a planned development.

    Now, I just wonder how much home costs will be going up in the next month or 2, with tons of wood and building supplies being sent to FL to repair hurricane damage? Seems I'm always a day late & a dollar short!