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Old 04-25-2013, 02:42 PM   #1
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Deciding between build or remodel


EDIT:May benefit to skip to page 3, as pricing out each section seemed to be an underestimate.

Here is a spreadsheet that I have created trying to break the costs down. LINK


Those figures are ones that I know will be similar situations for each house. As you can tell I left out any finish materials other than what it takes to seal a house up.

I'm not necessarily asking if my figures seem realistic, but I am open to opinions.

I'd like to know what areas I have missed, and then a whole hearted opinion on the options of building my own house, or buying the fixer-upper and reworking a few things. It's a heck of a lot of work to renovate down to the walls in old lath and plaster places. It's also a lot of work to build a modest house


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Old 04-26-2013, 06:05 AM   #2
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Deciding between build or remodel


The fixer upper will be far less complicated then starting from scratch. There is so much planning that goes into starting new that you will have already done a massive amount of work before you ever pull the first stick of lumber off the truck.

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Old 04-26-2013, 06:59 AM   #3
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Deciding between build or remodel


why not just buy something ready to go and move in and not worry about all that remodel business? New homes are far to air tight and off gas for far too long. You could not pay me to live in a new house.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:32 AM   #4
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Deciding between build or remodel


I took a quick look at your spreadsheet, but there's no way to tell if your numbers are remotely realistic. Some of them wouldn't be where I live. As I said in your other thread, my wife and I built our log home by ourselves about three years ago. The only things we subbed were the foundation, metal roof, and HVAC. Just for rough comparison, below were some of our costs. Our house is 1600 sq ft.

Land - $64,000 (1.5 acres).
Impact fees - $13,000
Grading/dirt work - $5,000
Septic - $5,000
Well - $12,000 (my immediate neighbor's is 200 ft; mine is 750 ft)
Metal roof - $11,000 (standing seam with 12/12 pitch - definitely not a DIY job)
Hearth, chimney for wood stove - $6,000
Miscellaneous tools I didn't already have - $3,000 (includes a 16-1/4, $1,000 circular saw for cutting the logs)

That's just a few examples. Having lived in the Midwest (Kansas), I'm sure they're quite high compared to Nebraska. As I said in the other thread, I am retired and my wife wasn't working, so we had plenty of time to devote to the project. We even lived on the site in our RV during construction. Also, we had owned/remodeled nine previous houses so were hardly beginners. As I recall, this would be your first house? If so, please think long and hard about trying to do it yourself.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:36 AM   #5
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Deciding between build or remodel


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Originally Posted by md2lgyk View Post
I took a quick look at your spreadsheet, but there's no way to tell if your numbers are remotely realistic. Some of them wouldn't be where I live. As I said in your other thread, my wife and I built our log home by ourselves about three years ago. The only things we subbed were the foundation, metal roof, and HVAC. Just for rough comparison, below were some of our costs. Our house is 1600 sq ft.

Land - $64,000 (1.5 acres).
Impact fees - $13,000
Grading/dirt work - $5,000
Septic - $5,000
Well - $12,000 (my immediate neighbor's is 200 ft; mine is 750 ft)
Metal roof - $11,000 (standing seam with 12/12 pitch - definitely not a DIY job)
Hearth, chimney for wood stove - $6,000
Miscellaneous tools I didn't already have - $3,000 (includes a 16-1/4, $1,000 circular saw for cutting the logs)

That's just a few examples. Having lived in the Midwest (Kansas), I'm sure they're quite high compared to Nebraska. As I said in the other thread, I am retired and my wife wasn't working, so we had plenty of time to devote to the project. We even lived on the site in our RV during construction. Also, we had owned/remodeled nine previous houses so were hardly beginners. As I recall, this would be your first house? If so, please think long and hard about trying to do it yourself.

Thanks for the figures. only 12k for 750 ft well? That seems reasonable! That's a hell of a roof! The truss system I planned on was 4/14 and 32 or 34' long. The house depth would be 32-34' also. I assume it would be DIY to roof as long as I had a couple of my contractor buddies working with/along.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:42 AM   #6
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Deciding between build or remodel


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Originally Posted by mj12 View Post
why not just buy something ready to go and move in and not worry about all that remodel business? New homes are far to air tight and off gas for far too long. You could not pay me to live in a new house.
I could get a first time home buyers mortgage for a local home, but I don't like being in immediate town and having preset plans. I like independence, water wells over city water, bigger lots of land, and of course the idea of building my OWN home (with help).

Any country house (bit too far out for me) are going for a LOT more money because of the country life, and there are honestly not many if any for sale within reasonable distance like the land I have been offered.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:53 AM   #7
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Deciding between build or remodel


Again I get the distinct feeling you are coming to us not for advice but for affirmation of what you have more or less made up your mind to do. You got great counsel the last time you posed a similar question but seem to expect different answers this time. I suspect if you rephrase or tune this question more you will still get the same answers.

We still cannot react with anything but generalities---that help you not at all---to estimates of what this will cost you even with breakdown you provide. Building a home from scratch remains a major undertaking you seem intent to take on with very little experience to pull it off. And you still have no idea how you plan to pay for new construction and whether you can get a mortgage having built a place yourself.

I am sorry to sound harsh but what exactly is it you expect from a DIY site at this point? Some of us have been down this new home or renovation path before more times than we care to remember at times. In my case I have usually made the journey with architects, home designers, engineers and other structural professionals at my side. I never got around to building or renovating my own dream home. And I was often comforted to have a localized GC able to navigate finding real sub-contractors working with me too in instances where I needed help only someone up on permits and the quirks of inspectors could provide.

I fear you may have shut down and cannot hear what we are trying to say I guess. Perhaps the dream of building a new home exactly where and how you wish should wait until you have some experience with one you had to fix up under your belt? And please know you will not likely be able to build exactly what you want without plan modifications. You are walking into a money pitted minefield the way you are thinking this through and you threaten relationships with family trying to stand behind or fund you in the process. At the end of it all you could end up with a house you cannot mortgage or ultimately sell when it is time for you to leave it.

Your enthusiasm is admirable and I do not mean to squash it. You are just not ready for this yet.

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Old 04-26-2013, 08:04 AM   #8
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Deciding between build or remodel


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Again I get the distinct feeling you are coming to us not for advice but for affirmation of what you have more or less made up your mind to do. You got great counsel the last time you posed a similar question but seem to expect different answers this time. I suspect if you rephrase or tune this question more you will still get the same answers.

We still cannot react with anything but generalities---that help you not at all---to estimates of what this will cost you even with breakdown you provide. Building a home from scratch remains a major undertaking you seem intent to take on with very little experience to pull it off. And you still have no idea how you plan to pay for new construction and whether you can get a mortgage having built a place yourself.

I am sorry to sound harsh but what exactly is it you expect from a DIY site at this point? Some of us have been down this new home or renovation path before more times than we care to remember at times. In my case I have made the journey with architects, home designers, engineers and other professionals at my side. Up to you whether you can hear what we are trying to say I guess. Perhaps the dream of building a new home exactly where an how you wish should wait until you have some experience with one you had to fix up under your belt? You are walking into a money pitted minefield the way you are thinking this through and you threaten relationships with family trying to stand behind you in the process.

Your enthusiasm is admirable and I do not mean to squash it. You are just not ready for this yet.
Appreciate the input. I wasn't looking for opposite answers. My thread was hi jacked and I wanted to spit out the spreadsheet I had on figures. I know location is a world of difference, but it would be targeted towards those in the midwest to compare with what they have spent. Nothing is set in stone yet, I am just really...really...against living in town, and the only option aside for building on this land to quench my desire is that fixer upper which is beyond just some TLC to make it nice, can't imagine trying to sell it until dumping a good 35 to 40k into it, by that time I most likely wouldn't want to sell it.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:24 AM   #9
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Deciding between build or remodel


I certainly understand the out in the country thing. I would live there too if I could afford to. Thing is that if you are still working 40 hours a week you just don't have enough spare time to build a house. BUT! Maybe you could buy a used mobile home and stick it on the property and then you are country living and can plan and execute a home erection over the years that it would take. That was my dream as a young man but where I live country land that I could afford was at least 50 miles from my job. Today most Ohio counties are so anti-mobile home this kind of idea wouldn't even be feasible but maybe you got a shot.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:37 AM   #10
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Deciding between build or remodel


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Thanks for the figures. only 12k for 750 ft well? That seems reasonable! That's a hell of a roof! The truss system I planned on was 4/14 and 32 or 34' long. The house depth would be 32-34' also. I assume it would be DIY to roof as long as I had a couple of my contractor buddies working with/along.
"Only" $12K? Based on the depths of other wells around us, we only budgeted about half that much. But drilling a well is always a crap shoot anyway - could've had a 750-ft dry hole.

Yes, it is quite a roof, and it's a cathredal ceiling inside. Had to have a 3.5-ton HVAC unit because of the sheer volume of the house. Our first log home 25 years ago had a 5/12 roof with asphalt shingles. Never did like the way it looked, and swore the next one would be different. My wife designed this one. With Habitat for Humanity, I have experience with metal roofs (the corrugated kind that screw together) but the standing seam style requires a brake and sheet metal skills. Wasn't too keen on working at such a steep angle either - putting down the sheathing was enough for me. I'm not scared of heights, but falling and breaking something at my age would not be pleasant.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:12 AM   #11
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Deciding between build or remodel


I admire you for wanting to tackle such an undertaking.

My 2Łó, do both.

If you really like the land, buy it and do nothing for now.

Get a fixer upper or move in ready. Work to get it the way you want and build equity. Roll this equity into your dream house.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:04 PM   #12
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Deciding between build or remodel


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As you can tell I left out any finish materials other than what it takes to seal a house up.
I think you left out a lot more than just finish materials. Like about ~half~ of the total. If you figure $150/sf, 1300 sf would cost $200k. Let's say you can get your cost down to $100/sf, you're still at $130k, and that's very low do-it-yourself level.

Your window prices are crazy - $3k for a whole house? What about doors? We looked at doors... a nice entry door w sidelights is $2k itself. That's only one door.

I think where you're underestimating is on every given line item, you're only looking at the "bulk" item. Like floor joists - fine - if thos are the dimensions you need, what about the fasteners, the joist hangers, the j-bolts, the saw blades, etc.

Windows? Ok yeah - but what about the flashing, the tape, the screws.

Plumbing $3500 how is that even possible? Two bathroom sinks, toilets, shower/tubs, kitchen sink, dishwasher, disposal plus the plumbing itself and fixtures everywhere you're looking at double that much at least for bottom-of-the-line everything. And the tile? Vents? Ductwork? Flooring? Paint? Caulk?

No mention at all of the kitchen in your list - probly the biggest expense -- Cabinets? Countertop? Appliances? Lighting?

No mention of interior doors - casings - base moldings - carpet - flooring - stairs.

I have this problem when I estimate something. Yeah it's easy to figure for a tiling job the price of the tile and cement backer board - but then you need so many peripheral things you didn't think about when you were anxious to get started.

I just cant imagine building a house for $67k including all the permits, well, septic, and basement. I would budget about double that much.

Edit: I think you missed drywall too, another huge chunk.

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Old 04-26-2013, 01:33 PM   #13
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Deciding between build or remodel


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Originally Posted by SquishyBall View Post
I think you left out a lot more than just finish materials. Like about ~half~ of the total. If you figure $150/sf, 1300 sf would cost $200k. Let's say you can get your cost down to $100/sf, you're still at $130k, and that's very low do-it-yourself level.

Your window prices are crazy - $3k for a whole house? What about doors? We looked at doors... a nice entry door w sidelights is $2k itself. That's only one door.

I think where you're underestimating is on every given line item, you're only looking at the "bulk" item. Like floor joists - fine - if thos are the dimensions you need, what about the fasteners, the joist hangers, the j-bolts, the saw blades, etc.

Windows? Ok yeah - but what about the flashing, the tape, the screws.

Plumbing $3500 how is that even possible? Two bathroom sinks, toilets, shower/tubs, kitchen sink, dishwasher, disposal plus the plumbing itself and fixtures everywhere you're looking at double that much at least for bottom-of-the-line everything. And the tile? Vents? Ductwork? Flooring? Paint? Caulk?

No mention at all of the kitchen in your list - probly the biggest expense -- Cabinets? Countertop? Appliances? Lighting?

No mention of interior doors - casings - base moldings - carpet - flooring - stairs.

I have this problem when I estimate something. Yeah it's easy to figure for a tiling job the price of the tile and cement backer board - but then you need so many peripheral things you didn't think about when you were anxious to get started.

I just cant imagine building a house for $67k including all the permits, well, septic, and basement. I would budget about double that much.

Edit: I think you missed drywall too, another huge chunk.
I'm with the poster above, there is a lot of work that needs to be done on your budget.

I just got done remodeling a 8'x6' bathroom. And with doing all the work ourselves we were just over $3,000.

Vanity and prefabbed granite countertop with faucet and sink = $600
Concrete demo, rework the plumbing, repour = $100
Corner Toilet and installation materials = $220
Shower Pan = $250
Marble Shower Walls = $10 (craigslist)
Custom (this was an smaller shower due to room constraints so no prefabbed enclosure would work) Glass Shower Enclosure (neo angle) = $1,100
Upper Cabinet = $180
Tile, Thinset, Grout = $300
Mirror = $60
Shower Valve = $140
Trim & Paint = $60
Misc. Materials = $100-200

And all of that was just for a 8x6 bathroom and having about $300-400 cut out of the budget due to finding the marble shower panels on craigslist for $10. Also, this was with us doing all the work and it wasn't as if we went all out on the materials. Bathroom remodels are some of the highest cost remodels to do there is a lot of expenses per square foot, just like kitchens.

I would be inflating your budget on building new a good chunk.
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:44 PM   #14
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Come on guys...I said I was leaving out all finish materials and that I just wanted to include the cost of having the place sealed up more or less. I wouldn't be installing duct work, drywall, mud, paint, caulking, trim, tile, carpet, trim, molding, cabinets, cupboards, etc. until I have more equity built up.

3000 for windows is low? I wouldn't be buying fancy ones, nor very many. 9 to 11 of them, standard size. Shucks, I could buy 13 of these or 20 of these.

I know the misc hardware will add up, and the exterior flashing, wrap, trim, etc does cost a pretty penny.

I do not mean to sound arrogant.

3,500 on plumbing is low? Simple sink, toilet, and shower. Water lines to kitchen sink and dish washer, bathroom laundry machine, then exterior faucets. The toilet and sink downstairs would be put in later, tub/shower if it were turned into a full bath.

All kitchen appliances would most likely be bought used and gradually as I am further down the road with the build. No frills counter top is cheap, and cabinets are affordable if you spend time building them. Am I wrong?

A nice entry door with sidelights...2k? Haha, yes, I am aware that THAT kind of door would be. Do you really need one that fancy? Maybe you would like one, but you can live with one of these or these. I guess your post does show the different desires in a build and style of home. I suppose you scoff at the 'puny' dimensions of 32'x32' and how there is NO resale value in that at all. To each their own, but I don't plan on having many frills until much later in life. I think that's part of life...upgrading as you go and afford. However, I also put good faith in a good location of a home no matter the amount of effort it takes. Money on the other hand...can be a gamer changer to me. I'm willing to dump my personal time into it, but I can only work so many hours on the clock.

Once again...just trying to set the hurdle bar height so you can see what I am going on about.

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Old 04-26-2013, 03:52 PM   #15
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I'm with the poster above, there is a lot of work that needs to be done on your budget.

I just got done remodeling a 8'x6' bathroom. And with doing all the work ourselves we were just over $3,000.

Vanity and prefabbed granite countertop with faucet and sink = $600
Concrete demo, rework the plumbing, repour = $100
Corner Toilet and installation materials = $220
Shower Pan = $250
Marble Shower Walls = $10 (craigslist)
Custom (this was an smaller shower due to room constraints so no prefabbed enclosure would work) Glass Shower Enclosure (neo angle) = $1,100
Upper Cabinet = $180
Tile, Thinset, Grout = $300
Mirror = $60
Shower Valve = $140
Trim & Paint = $60
Misc. Materials = $100-200

And all of that was just for a 8x6 bathroom and having about $300-400 cut out of the budget due to finding the marble shower panels on craigslist for $10. Also, this was with us doing all the work and it wasn't as if we went all out on the materials. Bathroom remodels are some of the highest cost remodels to do there is a lot of expenses per square foot, just like kitchens.

I would be inflating your budget on building new a good chunk.
Even though I deemed your materials high end (in my opinion for a beginner) you spent 50 dollars and 84 pennies per square foot. (I changed the shower stall price because it was custom, and didn't include the 300-400 price cut in marble because that isn't necessary either)

Looks very nice, by the way.

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