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Old 07-11-2011, 05:43 PM   #16
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


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You might plan a two-stage home; a large first story; no deck/garage/etc. But plan for where the garage will be; and the second floor. Build the base first floor living/dining/kitchen/bath/bedroom/etc and complete it 100%. Then take off the roof and add your second floor + garage?
Id like to keep it one story. I just never really have been interested in two story homes. I think they are nice, but I have no desire to build one. I guess the only advantage is more. Sq ft. For a smaller slab area.

Thanks for the suggestions though.

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Old 07-11-2011, 05:45 PM   #17
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


My wife and I built our own log home. Got the Occupancy Certificate just a couple of weeks ago. We did everything ourselves but the foundation, metal roof, and HVAC. I am not a professional, just an educated DIYer. It took us about 2-1/2 years. With some software I bought, my wife designed it and the log home company did the kit to match. It was all out of pocket, so no mortgage company was involved (a big hurdle if you're not a licensed GC).

I retired in 2008 (engineer for a defense contractor). After traveling the country in our RV and working with Habitat for Humanity for a few months, we set up the RV on the property and built the house. In WV, a homeowner can legally do virtually everything.

It was a LOT of work. Needless to say, we won't do it again.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:00 PM   #18
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


In 1988 I built my own home. 2400 feet.

I was working full time and doing what I could efficiently . broke ground in June and move in in January.

I hired two framers and a helper--plumbling and concrete subbed out---most electrical done by a friend.

Roofing subbed out---drywall subbed out.

I saved a lot and ended up with a very energy efficient home----Would I build another ?? Oh, yes.

I would still sub out a lot,but the next one I would do more---It's a matter of time---Some times it makes more sense to work a job that you are good at and use that money to pay someone else to do what they are good at.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:22 PM   #19
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


I built my home back several years with the help of my son and two nephews, the oldest one was 16, the house was 3,200 sq ft. I would highly advise not moving in until the house is finished, you and your family will hate the day you do.

If I had it to do over I would do like a fellow I knew did, he built a huge workshop/garage away from the house and built removable walls inside so he could take them out after the house was built. He didn't spend unnecessarily on a trailer home or rent elsewhere.

I know of places in Alabama and Mississippi where there are no permits issued, just go out and build what you want. I think they are now inspecting the electrical and plumbing but not the building.

Many will tell you not to do it, but I am not one of them, you can do it but be warned, you will be very frustrated, it is not easy. Matter fact if you had someone build your home you would be very frustrated. If we can help you, just jump in here and ask.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:09 PM   #20
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


It's crossed my mind, and I think my next house (in the far future) what I want to do is get a contractor to come in, dig the basement, pour the foundation, install proper weeping tiles, frame the outside and any inside load bearing, do the roof, as well as all the outside "weather" covering. So basically from outside the house will look done. From there, I would do the rest. Electrical, plumbing, inside wall divisions, drywall, flooring etc etc. My reasoning is that the shell of the house is the most important part and if I don't do it right, the rest of the work could be ruined. Ex: bad flashing on roof = roof leak, bad siding/brick install, walls rot out due to moisture, etc.

I'd probably do the bedroom, kitchen and bath first, basically to a finished state, that way the house is more or less livable. Then the rest I would just do all at the same time.

What makes a project like this hard is working full time. A contractor, well it's their job, so they get 8 hours or more per day to work on it. As a DIYers we only get a couple hours here and there, and the weekends. So it would be a very long process.

But at the end, the money savings would be very good and it would be a great feeling to know you did it. Though you'd still probably end up with like a 5-10 year mortgage, materials arn't free, and while you're saving money in labour, may as well buy the good quality stuff such as the more expensive higher R value insulation, maybe even spray foam. Split up electrical circuits more, etc.

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Old 07-11-2011, 10:04 PM   #21
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


I built my home 10 years ago and I'd have to agree with those that say it was a truly rewarding experience.

I was a couple years out of architecture school with a young family and a lot of energy. I learned the trade (mainly carpentry) from my father and grandfather, and always knew I'd build my own.

I spent about a year working thru several designs, always tempered by my pragmatic father, because after all this was supposed to be a starter house. I found three acres in the township and finalized plans for a unique 1800sf two-story, with unfinished basement. Being in the township, we just had to get a zoning permit, to be sure the home was far enough off the road. Despite not having inspections, I did design and build it to the current codes.

My father assisted, mostly as a laborer, and I did all the GC work, getting bids, scheduling subs and handling the loan draws. We did a good bit of the work ourselves, footers, framing, insulation, painting, trim, interior finishes, and siding. But I also subbed out a lot - excavating, block work, concrete work, plumbing, electrical (though I assisted with that), HVAC, drywall. Other than taking a week off to get the framing started, most of the work was done in evenings and weekends. I spent about 6 months getting it to the point we could move in, though it was far from finished.

My wife was very supportive and while it certainly put some stress on the marriage, it was temporary.

The main thing I would do differently, if I do it again - (and I'm about ready to do it again) - is not move in until it is totally complete. If you can afford to wait, it's so much easier to finish a house that is still a construction site and not your living quarters.

We did secure a mortgage, but in the end we probably saved at least 40% over what it would have cost to have the house built. And sweat equity builds character!
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:35 AM   #22
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


If your buying land you can build small you have to build big. Your house won't be worth what you paid if you build small. If you buy a lot for 100k and build your house for 200k and then tried to sell your house, your house might sell for 250k because you did a lot of work yourself but you invested 300k so you'd be out 50k. But if you build big and work it will offset the land. Here's my suggestion, build a 2 floor home and only finish the first floor kitchen bath and bedroom. Leave the upstairs roughed in. This will give you a mortgage will small enough payments to allow you to finish the home with money you save avoiding high interest charges. If it takes you an extra year or two it's worth the savings
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:14 AM   #23
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


I can't speak too much, as I haven't done anything like building a home at all. My father has done some building work, not quite an entire house from scratch, but pretty close.

When my parents got their house, they decided to get a cheaper fixer-upper originally build in the late 1920's and my dad spent a year or so gutting the entire inside and re-doing almost everything except the outer shell of the house. The house turned out pretty nice, got everything brought up to the current code and re-laid out the interior as they wanted it. I always though what they did seems like a good idea, and may be interested in maybe doing something like that further in the future. I know when I was shopping for a place, I viewed a few different fixer-upper houses that one could probably do that with, where you'd be paying less than half of what most of the move-in-ready home were costing, and a quarter of what any new-construction would have been.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:25 AM   #24
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


I guess this could always be a possibility as well. With half of the work done, I would just have to go in and redo everything like you say. Problem is, around here, they still want $35-50k for houses. I'd probably have $100k in it by the time I got finished with it.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:32 AM   #25
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ok, I gotta share my story. I just built my own house, moved into it on May 31 of this year. The inside is done I still have to side it and do a little more tweeking. As others have suggested it will be a disaster if you try to live in it while you are under construction [we did not]. A few suggestions and pointers. First it will be important for you to check with all local governing boards to see what type of inspections you will need. We were very lucky on our plot in the rural part of the county the only inspections we needed was for the electrical and the septic system. If you are not a real extreme DIYer or have family or friends that are I would suggest not attempting such a project, I just happen to be one so I never hesitated. I did plumbing, electrical, HVAC, finish work, everything I possibly could. I had a contractor frame the house (never would attempt that unless you have framing experience], roof the house, pour the foundation walls, and hang and finish the sheetrock, everything else I did myself. It was the most frustrating and gratifying 10 months of my life, but be prepared for long long days and nights. Like I said it took me 10 months to finish the inside, that was every night and every weekend. Sometimes when you get frustrated with what looks to be no progress, you step back and take a good hard look at your work and say WOW it is coming together.
One suggestion about living in the house while working on it. A realtor friend of mine told me that a finished basement will add way more value to a new home than a second story or additional square footage on the first. You could finish the basement then start to work on the first floor.
Just keep in mind that if you do the build yourself, every problem now and forever will be your fault. You get no warranties and you'll get no help from a contractor. That is basically why I had a contractor do the framing, the sheeting and roof. At least I knew I would have a structuraly sound, water and air proof home.
Everyone asks would I do it again? I tell them HELL YES I would I just wish I would have done it ten years ago.
One last piece of advice, build for maximum energy effiecency. Spray foam top to bottom, better doors and better windows, highest effiency HVAC system possible. You'll never regret spending extra money on those things. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:47 AM   #26
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So as far as efficiency goes, is the spray foam stuff really that much better? I was wlaking through a recently built house while it was under construction and I noticed this stuff. It was the first I had seen of it.

You could call me a real extreme DIY'er I see with many of the stories here, people have subbed things out. I don't know what my deal is, but every since I was younger I have never wanted people to do things for me. Very independent I guess. I feel like I will always question something someone else does, in fear of it not being as good of a job as I would have done. I do realize this is foolish, as there are plenty of reputable people out there that do great work.

I think alot of it has to do with me just wanting to know how it's done, and then once I've done it I have a way better understanding of what is going on.

By the way, here is a finished picture of the shop. The only thing left to do is the metal trim work on the fascias and bird boxes. I don't have a metal brake(break?), so I have been contemplating renting one. I just realized I never did finish updating the thread about the build.

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Old 07-12-2011, 09:55 AM   #27
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


I personally don't like spray foam. There is a post on here about how it caught on fire during installation. Once installed it needs to be covered with a thermal barrier. In New England it cost 2x-3x more than traditional fiberglass. And for all the extra $ you still get the thermal bridging of the wall studs. My currently prefered wall makeup is a traditional wall system with a outer foam sheathing. Whether it be a 1" foam beneath the siding or a full SIP panel attached to the studs.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:03 AM   #28
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


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The only thing left to do is the metal trim work on the fascias and bird boxes. I don't have a metal brake
Just go get a box of aluminum fascia wrap. It'll slide right up under the drip edge perfectly. No brake necessary!
I built our home from the dirt to the shingles, saving many thousands of $$$ doing so. Of course, it's JUST me doing 99% of the work, (the wife and kids help a little) and it's taken me almost 4 years, but considering I did not hire out ANY phase except the HVAC, (I can't crawl around in that tight area any more) I think I did rather well. Most of my questions while doing the plumbing and electric were answered by the helpful folks here. I even invented a homemade drywall lift to do the ceilings! It's been a real adventure for me, since I basically was just a hobbyist with a table saw and some hand tools to start with.

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Old 07-12-2011, 10:16 AM   #29
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Just keep in mind that if you do the build yourself, every problem now and forever will be your fault.
Amen to that one! One of my architecture professors told me an architect should never design his own house, because he (or she) would see the design mistakes every day. Same is true with building your own home. I did both and while I do notice and take responsibilities for the 'imperfections' it doesn't diminish the value and satisfaction of the accomplishments. Plus, it gives me something from which to learn!
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:17 AM   #30
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How many here have ever taken on building their own home?


About 30 years ago, my dad hired one of my uncles and a buddy of my uncle's, both framing carpenters at the time, and the 4 of us, along with a couple of friends who dropped in at opportune times, built my mom and dad's retirement home. The kicker was that it was almost 200 miles from their primary home, so we drove the well ahead of time, by hand, hired the footings and foundation done, then took two weeks off work, in which time we obviously had some long days, but managed to get if completely closed in, including roof, siding, windows and doors. Again, long days, and it was hard heading back home when the time came, but very rewarding to see it that far along. Working weekends and some extra vacation days, it probabably took a year or so to get things the way we wanted them, but it was worth it. Side bar, sadly, dad never enjoyed it much, in fact he died while on vacation, just a week or so after my wife had gone up to finish the deck on the back of the house. But, mom enjoyed going there, and now that she has passed, my brother and I have held onto it.

Interestling enough, while my wife and I were looking for a house, we talked a bit about building our own, and I was leaning that way some, until we stumbled into a custom built ranch that has the almost identical footprint to a house that I designed in an architectural class in high school, so we bought it; that was over 25 years ago, and I couldn't be happier with it.

If things were different, would I build my own home? Yup, with no reservations, but, these days, I would hire framers and such, to ensure that a) I could get it enclosed in a timely manner, and b) to add some assurance that I might enjoy it more than my dad did his.

The only thing that I would add is that there are a lot of houses on the market, and nobody will ever convince me that building a house is less costly than buying an existing one. I am a believer in the fact that a lot of indebtedness comes not from just the cars that people drive or the homes that they live in, but from those "small" monthly bills, such as the extra 60 cable channels, satellite radio, extra unnecessary cell phone features, etc. Building a home can be very similar, if budgets are not closely adhered to. Look at closet doors; you can buy this one, or, for "only" X dollars more you can buy that one. Let's bump out the bathroom wall 2 more feet, it's "only" this much more. Things like that are what shoot the heck out of budgets, and is one of the reasons that you see new homes with no drapes, because the dollars were gone by the time they got to that point.

I know, "shut up already". Okay, I'm done.

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