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-   -   Cost to subcontract modest home (http://www.diychatroom.com/f19/cost-subcontract-modest-home-45001/)

catbird 05-22-2009 09:20 AM

Cost to subcontract modest home
 
I know this forum is basically for experienced carpenters/builders who are already working on their own projects, but it's a good as place as any to ask about the basics.

Houses are too expensive, and I want to buy land and build my own *modest* home, to my specifications. (No McMansions here.)

It's not that easy to find how-to guides on the web. I have no carpentry experience other than helping a friend of a friend put a roof on his house. He said building a home was not brain surgery but a lot of work, and it takes a long time if you are on your own without a crew of 20 people. He cited Amish barn raising and other carpentry as proof that simple work with good materials can be the best work.

Here are my questions:

Books you recommend about building your own home?

Which thing figures more into a costly home? Materials or size?

Is it possible to build a small 2-3 bedroom home for under 100k, even under 50k, if it's simple enough? (no upstairs, no extra rooms for den, etc)

If you are a beginner but patient enough, how long would it take to learn the basics of homebuilding?

Isn't it true that 25-30% of the cost of a home is the labor?

If you can build everything but the concrete foundation (if this is mandatory), the electric and plumbing, can you still save 25%?

Finally, don't brick homes make more sense in terms of fire damage or termites? My German friends says that in Germany homes are always brick, thus, built better.

walkman 05-22-2009 10:02 AM

Wow catbird, I really think you're on the wrong track if you're thinking you can build your own home to save money if you don't have any construction experience. You'll probably spend more money on tools than you'd save and it would be forever before you were able to live in the house. I think you'd be much better off trying to find a cheap foreclosure house that is liveable, but needs work. You could save money, accumulate tools and learn the process by doing renovations to it.

Willie T 05-22-2009 11:22 AM

I don't know how it is where you live, but I couldn't GIVE away a home right now. This is probably the best time to buy a house in decades. They are dirt cheap here. I recently saw a home that sold kind of short for a quarter million three or four years ago, on the market for 160 something. You could barely build it for that today... if, indeed, you could.

Scuba_Dave 05-22-2009 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by catbird (Post 276937)
I know this forum is basically for experienced carpenters/builders who are already working on their own projects, but it's a good as place as any to ask about the basics.

This forum is for DIY - that's why its called DIY Chatroom

Houses are too expensive, and I want to buy land and build my own *modest* home, to my specifications. (No McMansions here.)

VS the cost & time of building a house you can get some great deals on houses these days

Here are my questions:

Which thing figures more into a costly home? Materials or size?

Yes & Yes - both, but more expensive materials will increase the cost 1st

Is it possible to build a small 2-3 bedroom home for under 100k, even under 50k, if it's simple enough? (no upstairs, no extra rooms for den, etc)

How small is small? I'm building a 24x36 garage/addition over & it may cost over $100k by the time I am done

If you are a beginner but patient enough, how long would it take to learn the basics of homebuilding?

Isn't it true that 25-30% of the cost of a home is the labor?

Will depend upon the area & who does the work

If you can build everything but the concrete foundation (if this is mandatory), the electric and plumbing, can you still save 25%?

I've been doing carpentry on 2 different houses for 12 years now & I'm still learning. Then there is electric, plumbing, heat & cooling & making sure you meet all the codes

If we were buying in todays market we would have bought a bigger house

Possible you will save 25% doing everything. As you said there is still electric & plumbing. I figure I am saving 50% of the cost to hire someone to frame out my addition. But it's 3 floors - quite a bit of work. I do my own electric, there isn't any plumbing in the addition

Termite 05-22-2009 12:53 PM

The experience you listed is inadequate to even come close to successfully building a home. Sorry to be frank, but that's a fact. I've seen a lot of people fall into the "I think I can pull it off" vortex in my days in the industry as a building inspector, and they almost always have a multitude of serious expensive problems that a builder could've avoided based on knowledge and experience. And their finished product is usually crap...Maybe polished crap, but crap nonetheless.

Start here...
There are about 1000 pages of applicable code that you need at least a basic familiarity with...And sometimes an initmate familiarity with in order to even do work that will pass an inspection.

When I was building our target profit margin was 16% of sale price. That isn't that much. That of course depends on the home, the area, the level of finish and craftsmanship and of course the market conditions.

Don't forget that you'll be paying more than a builder would for subs, materials, etc.

WillieT said it. Now's the time to get a builder because you're crazy not to and they're eager for work.

Build it yourself and I can honestly say that you probably won't save enough to buy yourself a nice dinner.

AtlanticWBConst. 05-22-2009 01:10 PM

Along with KCT's points, I will share some more real world situations, that I have seen repeatedly:

When "many" Home Owners/Property Owners/Flippers/Wanna-be GC's (not referring to anyone in particular, etc - take on a large project, and they lack enough experience (are completely clueless of codes, workmanship, trade responsibilities, etc, )= they usually end up way behind schedule and paying lots more.

What happens is that there is no one to determine what each particular aspect of work is the "correct quality", and what needs to be done for it to be properly finished, for the next tradesman.
As a novice - how can they tell what is correct? (it's not just about how it looks on the surface). I've seen some real shoddy work out there, that novices have ok'd and signed off on, only to find problems, sagging, leaks, cracking, pealing, etc the following month.

For instance, Subcontractors come in and perform "their trade" work, BUT, things need to be finished up to a certain level for each of them, to proceed. How is a novice to know what needs to be done, or, in what order?
Many a subcontractor has walked into a novice run project, only to "angrily" tell the novice that they cannot start their work, because various things are not completed. The novice will stare with the "deer-in-the-head-lights" look = because they have "no idea" what the subcontractor is talking about (what else needs to be completed for them to start).
Work comes to a stop; the novice has to call the Framer, or the Sheetrocker, or the Sider, or the Roofer, etc - to come back and finish a list of items.
The subcontractor comes back and points out that these were never on the original agreement, and that it will cost them more, and that they can't come back to do those things for another two weeks.

I could go on, and on....

As stated earlier, it happens a lot....I see this several times a year, but hear and read about many more stories.....

catbird 05-23-2009 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. (Post 277032)
Along with KCT's points, I will share some more real world situations, that I have seen repeatedly....

good advice. Thanks. btw, I am NOT a flipper.

AtlanticWBConst. 05-23-2009 10:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by catbird (Post 277325)
good advice. Thanks. btw, I am NOT a flipper.

I didn't think you were. But, I understand that you want to make sure that you are not confused as one.

texas115115 05-23-2009 03:00 PM

You could try earth bag construction.

catbird 05-24-2009 12:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by texas115115 (Post 277455)
You could try earth bag construction.

wow. Now THIS is a cool suggestion. I checked it out. Thanks!!!

texas115115 05-24-2009 03:56 PM

yes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by catbird (Post 277795)
wow. Now THIS is a cool suggestion. I checked it out. Thanks!!!

I am doing one right now 15 feet in diamanter. I yhink my total cost will be about $750.00. No electric or plumbing yet. This is a trial work to see if I like it. So far I do. There are houses that have been built like this still being lived in around the world, some of the houses are suspossed to be 100s of years old.:thumbup::thumbup:

catbird 05-24-2009 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by texas115115 (Post 277887)
I am doing one right now 15 feet in diamanter. I yhink my total cost will be about $750.00. No electric or plumbing yet. This is a trial work to see if I like it. So far I do. There are houses that have been built like this still being lived in around the world, some of the houses are suspossed to be 100s of years old.:thumbup::thumbup:

Texas,

I did not know it was possible to wire these things for electric --- how much would this and plumbing cost for something this size? Please share pics if you have any.

Also, did you dig a trench or something similar or just build from ground up?

These kinds of alternative ideas are what I was looking for!
:yes:

DangerMouse 05-24-2009 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thekctermite (Post 277030)
Build it yourself and I can honestly say that you probably won't save enough to buy yourself a nice dinner.

i RARELY have seen anything from you i disagree with kc, but i gotta say something here......
i have shopped newspaper ads, (jarrah and ipey from that), auctions, garage sales, habitat for humanity and craigslist and other places for materials and have done ALL the labor myself.
...and boy, i'd LOVE to eat the gold-plated meal that would cost the many, many thousands of dollars i've saved!

DM

Willie T 05-24-2009 05:52 PM

I'll bet if you typed " how to build a house & how to build a roof " into Google, you'd find someone willing to sell you a whole book on the subject for less than $20. That tell ya anything?

Scuba_Dave 05-24-2009 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DangerMouse (Post 277922)
i RARELY have seen anything from you i disagree with kc, but i gotta say something here......
i have shopped newspaper ads, (jarrah and ipey from that), auctions, garage sales, habitat for humanity and craigslist and other places for materials and have done ALL the labor myself.
...and boy, i'd LOVE to eat the gold-plated meal that would cost the many, many thousands of dollars i've saved!

DM

But I don't think you are a beginner :no:
I have also saved several thousand on windows & doors buying thru Craigslist. Since I could adjust the plans to the sizes available
4 windows were going to cost $1600+
I bought 2 sets of mulled windows for $400 total - brand new
2 garage windows were going to be $500, I paid $100
Main picture window - $1k+, I bought one for $300 = brand new in the box


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