How to get ourselves to the land???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by witness, Feb 15, 2004.

  1. witness

    witness Member

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    Hi folks!
    I used to hang around here quite a bit and still lurk occasionally. I've been preoccupied for awhile with other things (new baby), but am ready to get back on our big project.
    We've bought 40 acres of land in OK, about 15 minutes out of Norman, where we're living. We purchased with 2 other couples, whom we've known forever. We wanted to choose our neighbors and have a bit of a community, so this seemed like the route to go. We're figuring right now how to split the property, and once that's done, we'll build our houses.
    I have a burning desire to GET OUT THERE, but feel a bit confused about how the heck you do this stuff. I was gung ho about alternative building, but apparently baby conflicts with my spending many hours building cob or strawbale. Now we're leaning toward log. I think part of my confusion stems from not even quite knowing the right questions to ask.
    One factor is that we're purchasing this property direct from the owner, 3 years into a 15 year note. She's agreed to deed over a percentage of the land as it's paid for.
    I've found a company outside of OKC that does log, and I guess I could just rely on them to direct us, but I feel like such a sucker like that!
    I know we need financing, I know we need a well. A roof. Like that.
    Does anyone have any helpful hints in response to my vague wonderings?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Jo

    Jo Well-Known Member

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    Hi, That is great you have land and you were able to go with friends.......contact the log home company and see about their financing. If their interest is to high....contact a bank, I think not all banks will do log homes. Lots of places will finance the well and foundation, and other improvements with the cost of the logs. You need to see how much you can afford? Most places figure about 33% of your budget to go for housing.
    I know others can add to this,but this will get you started........
     

  3. heelpin

    heelpin Well-Known Member

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    I personally try to stay away from debt but think its necessary sometimes to buy something like land. If I were in your shoes, I would probably build a good quality metal building and make it livable til I had the cash for a good home and the metal building is something that will always be useful after you build a regular house. I like the looks and feel of a log home but I've heard a lot of complaints from people who bought them, they are continually shrinking and all kinds of bugs love wood. When I get ready to build a house I'm going to seriously consider the prefab forms for concrete. I've talked to people who live in a concrete house and they love it, this would eliminate a lot maintenence worries and a good side benefit is not having to worry as much about tornados everytime the weather changed. Search out concrete houses on the internet, lots of information.

    Tom
     
  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I have heard that some people build a garage first, with a bathroom.

    But, they ALSO said to not make the garage too comfortable, or you won't have the incentive to finish the house!! :haha:
     
  5. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    Your future is going to make some tough choices. First, you have to figure out how to divide a 40 into 3 parcels. I believe this should have been undertaken well before the property was purchased. If the property gets divided among the 3 couples.....and you're still talking to each other....consider yourselves fortunate.

    Then comes the hard part. Building a house. Basically, you have 2 choices.
    1)go into debt and purchase a modular, log home kit, contractor built, or something where you can move in.....relatively quick, say within 6 months.
    2)avoid taking on any major debt by building it yourself. Of course, you'll still need some temporary housing. Purchase of an older trailer is the route many take. Realize that this is painstakingly slow choice, and it could easily take 5 years or more to complete the house. During this time, there will be a strain on your relationship from such things as working very long hours, lack of any "fun time" (you'll be too busy working), economic woes (the building process always takes twice as long and cost twice as much as one thought), and the like.

    There are pros & cons for every type of building method. Log homes exude a warm feeling, but require more maintenance than a conventional home. Vinyl sided homes require little maintenance, but they're .....vinyl.
    Every home requires a driveway, water, septic, excavation, a foundation, electrical service (be it on-grid or off-grid).

    You have some tough choices facing you. Be realistic.
     
  6. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I can't help with the land-sharing situation, but I can tell you what I did.

    I bought bare land. First had a well drilled and septic put in, and we're talking big bucks, several thousand dollars. Then a gravel driveway and gravel pad for a very old mobile home. I didn't want a slab to deal with later when I decide to start building. I bought an incredibly old mobile, because I'd read over and over if you get a nicer one you'll still be living in it in 10 years. I paid $2500 for the mobile, delivery included. Put in a new Coleman furnace and hot water heater and here I am. I love it!! I am much more concerned with getting outbuildings and fencing, fruit trees, blueberries and a garden established than I am building right away. I always said I'd NEVER live in a trailer, but it's really not bad. Good luck to you!
     
  7. Talk to several people that have owned log homes (before). As a real estate broker for 20 years I have never sold a log home to anyone that has owned one before. All i hear is maintaince and heating issues. I have never lived in one so all i know is what customers have told me. I have heard enough that I wouldn't even consider one.
     
  8. Hammer

    Hammer Active Member

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    As some one that lives in a log house.... I am not sure I would do it again. I don't feel that it much to maintain. I water seal it every couple years and that is about it. When i was building mine it was no problem at the bank. I looked into kits and found them too expensive. I built my whole house and paid myself to build it for less than a kit. Mine is 1260 sq ft with a 10 by 26 front porch and all hardwood floors and it cost 48,000 to build. That is well,septic, driveway everything. I think that if you are willing to take some of the advice listed above it would be to your advantage. I wanted to build mine right away and take on the 15 year note rather than the live cheap and save plan. I would also say that I think I can build more house for the dollar stick building a house.
     
  9. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Cob, strawbale, log homes and solar power... I'm still at a loss as to why people think they have to use odd building styles once they "move to the country"? Is there a downside to a square or rectangular simply built well insulated stick frame house?

    cheers,
     
  10. witness

    witness Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts ya'll!
    I guess I'm thinking about oddball buildings because I'm just like that. If I can't live in a cool old house, then I want a cool new one! :)
    And we are pretty close to agreement on how to divide. We did all agree that our friendships are going to be maintained! There's no point otherwise.
    Anyhow... I do appreciate the information you've given and I'll let you know when we finally make it!
     
  11. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Norman OK... the folks i got our horses from moved there a awhile back....

    Log houses are AWESOME, however depending upon the style you chose and can affors they can be monsters for a cash drain over the years. I built [and maybe one day will build again] full scribed log houses, hand peeled, hand selected logs. I also built, and perhaps will go back to contracting again one day stick frame housing....

    A full scribe log shell with roof and foundation will cost about $45 per sqft, where a cabin/house kit can be as low as $25 with roof, however most do not count the roof in nor the foundation, I have scribed houses that the shell ran over $60 per sqft [cedar logs].... this does not count the cost of interior walls not made of log but does count the T&G flooring and cieling boards.

    Stick frame houses generally built as tract housing not custom houses will run about $17-26.00 per sqft, interior walls finished.... i have built for less but not many people are willing to cut to bare minimum when building. Custom housing can run into high dollars... i know one fella who imported hand paint tiles from Italy for 3 bathrooms....at $70 per tile for his log house [mansion].

    Metal shop buildings are ok to live in, friends of mine did that for a few years beefore buying a used mobile... they built a 25x25 set of rooms inside of a 40x60 quonset.... however it took about 3 years to fix all the leaks they encountered..... and not everywhere cqn folks actually be permitted to live in such a structure so check the local laws.... the good side it is easy to heat and keep cool too.... though the cost can set you back as much as a log house in the end run when you include plumbing, wiring, concrete flooring [check into radiant floor heating no matter what].

    The last log hose my crew did, we got there after the owners had tried to start it, and got 4 courses up....they were off to the inside nearly an inch in those 4 courses.... we pulled it back up to where it was right on by the time we were finished.... they were lucky as we did not have to pull any logs off the wall and it was barely noticable anywhere [logs are forgiving even in kit form] but the labor we had to charge for the duplex was higher in the end than what we would have charged for a stick frame, as the logs all had to be fixed in some way or another.... all hand labor.

    Im not trying to dicourage you from building your own... just need to take care in building it, and dont figure the factory is correct in the amount of time it takes to put one up.... figure about 3 times the estimate for varying reasons... mostly from not having built one before..... and remember ....anything worth doing is worth doing right!

    and what do i do now?.... i am System admin for one of the local internet providers... trying to work more from the neck up than the neck down for awhile.

    William
     
  12. TXlightningbug

    TXlightningbug Well-Known Member

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    Hey, Witness! Got some solid tips for you to pay attention to so get your pen and paper and start taking notes.
    1. Get the land sorted out and staked out between the three couples first and formost. Some of the log cabin companies try to tie the land to the purchase. Be aware of this since it could affect the other couples.
    2. Log cabins can be warm if built with big logs. The smaller the log, the less thermal mass there is to retain heat or coolness, depending on the season. Logs as big around as a tackle on a pro football team is the size you need and that means you and your friends are not going to be able to lift them into place without mechanical help like a tractor with a frontloader.
    3. Soil cement is a lot easier to handle, better at the thermal mass problem because you can include insulation with it, and you use the soil from your building site to mix with portland cement, lowering the cost of the building. Also known as lightweight cement. This is not papercrete!
    4. Share these websites with your family and friends who are going in on this with you to make your plans. Be on the same page!!! If you and the spouse have two different ideas, it will cost extra money if you settle your differences during, not before, construction.
    www.magellanmortgage.com/library/home/building/construction_sequence_guid.htm
    www.greenhomebuilding.com
    www.minifarmhomestead.com
    There are others, but these will provide plenty of food for thought for now. There is another site, but I can't think of it at the moment. It discusses how the soil cement can be poured in 1-2' tall layers per day, reusing the forms so you don't have to pour a lot of money into the forms or risk a blow out at the bottom as you reach the top.
    5. Do it in stages that are manageable. Don't plan on doing everything all at once or you'll be overwhelmed, overstressed and won't accomplish half of what you plan to do.
    6. Get a magazine on log cabins if you really want to go with one and visit every website you can find on log cabins. Each one will have something educational to teach you if they are worth dealing with. Read!
    7. Pray!
    That's the best advice I can give you. You're ahead of me in that you've gotten land. But I don't have a baby to deal with either. Just a four-legged furry one that meows a lot. lol
    Good luck, Judi
     
  13. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    ideas = library = ken kern - owner built home - owner built homestead - don't look too hard for specifics - look for philosophy - then read articles about successful homestead ventures undertaken by absolutely numb couch potatoes - if THEY can do it, SO CAN I !!!!!!
     
  14. Peg

    Peg Well-Known Member

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    Hello,
    Saw this site on another forum. http://www.loghomebuilders.org/ Very interesting! It sounds very doable.
    I also find Mortgage Free by Rob Roy to be inspiring.
    Good luck!

    Peg
     
  15. ebriggs51

    ebriggs51 Active Member

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    I didn't see where anyone mentioned Insurance, My wife is a Loan Officer and she told my that Log Homes are very expensive to insure. May need to check in your area.
     
  16. d-k-g-1

    d-k-g-1 Member

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    Have any of you folks looked at dry stacked CMU... its inexpensive... and once you fill the cells with rebar and concrete, its tough as nails (fireproof too)...

    Its also an "acceptable" building practice as far as resale values, insurability, etc... as opposed to sod, strawbale, earthships, etc...

    Here is a link if you are interested..

    Passive solar design

    and another...

    VOBB dry stack

    Don't know if it will help, but if you are going to owner-build this might be a way to go...

    Dave
     
  17. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are going to build an earth wrapped house for our retirement home. Three sides wrapped in earth with a regular roof and windows high up on the walls (casement style). From the outside you see @ 4 feet of wall and then the roof. Passive solar facing south, radiant heat, outside furnace with a wood cook stove. Do not expect to spend much on heating or cooling. Wood is from our land with a good friend giving slab wood to us for getting it gone from his portable sawmill. There will be natural light in every room @1800 square feet...Joan
     
  18. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    dkg1 - the passive solar site you posted is EXCELLENT- thanks
     
  19. Peg

    Peg Well-Known Member

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    I agree! I haven't gotten all the way through it, but it looks very interesting.

    Peg
     
  20. Dixie912

    Dixie912 Well-Known Member

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    We bought uncleared land several years ago and started from scratch. There will always be something that you didn't plan on. First, there was the bulldozing to make a road just to get to the property. If you have to do this, consider having a timber company come in. They took the trees out of our way (everything over 15") and paid us enough to cover the expense of putting in the road. Then a cardboard, chip company came in and made the trash that was left over into mulch. Didn't pay us as much, but it cleaned things up a little. I was afraid it would look like a war zone when they were finished, but they were very careful. I was happily surprised.
    If you have as much as 40 acres there will probably be an expense of getting electrical power run in. This can be a huge expense, so check with the power company for an estimate. Also, as you are dividing the acreage, the guys in the back will have more expense here. Consider that when you are drawing your lines.
    You will need a septic tank. They can only be dug in places where the soil has not been disturbed (at least around here). You might want to plan on the position of the house early to be sure you have a place for the septic system. Also have to be sure the ground "perks". If you have hills it can be a little tricky. Call the health department for help with that.
    Wells can be expensive. Check several companies. There are many ways of digging wells and some are better than others. Have the water tested for contaminates before using it. People around here used to have wells, but when they got city water, they started pumping their sewage into the old wells. It contaminated the water.
    You said if you can't have an old house, you wanted something different. We had the same idea. We wanted an old house, but didn't want to look into a McDonalds parking lot, so we bought 60 acres and built an 1860s plantation house right in the middle. We love it. We also built a 6 car carriage house (garage) out back, and all of the other outbuildings; outhouse (non-working) smoke house, well house, wooden trough,etc. The look is great. We did rent a trailer while we were building. I wish now we had finished the barn and made it just livable enough to stay in. We could have saved the rent, and been close enough to supervise the work better.
    Some banks will not loan the money to build a house unless you own the property in full. Check into that. You may have to postpone your plans for a while. If you do, don't fret. It took us a year to get financing because we are self-employed. Every minute of that time was spent planning details. When we started building we knew exactly what we wanted. It saved a lot of wear and tear on our marriage!! Building a home is hard, and with a new baby, you have your hands full already.
    Good luck! You will love it. Don't get in a hurry. Find some oldtimers in the area who can give recommendations, both good and bad. It's just as important to know who NOT to hire on a project this size, as it is to know WHO to hire.