buy or build?
Here's the situation. Our house is about to go on the market - priced to sell and we want to be prepared to move as soon as we sell. We are moving to a rural area without housing developments. Our first choice is to buy a piece of property and build on it, but there are a couple of reasons why we might buy an existing home. First, we believe we can get more bang for our buck in this market. Second, we're not sure we can afford a new build.
A couple of caveats. There are a limited number of houses on the market on the kind of lot we want. Nothing leaps out as perfect. We can actually afford more that the following budget, but we are trying to keep the cost down so as to avoid a jumbo loan and give us a little more breathing room. We are planning to have 200,000 from our home sale plus a jumbo loan = 619,000 budget. We found a big beautiful lot we love which we may be able to get for approx. 275000. That would leave us 345000 to build.
In order to proceed, we want to find out if we can build the house we want for close to that 345000 number. We are looking at the Field of Dreams Farmhouse 2 as a model with some modifications. 2700 square feet or so. I went through the building cost website recommended, but wasn't sure on some of the building classes so I got anywhere from 350-500000 depending. The exterior is basically a rectangle. The roof is simple. We are not planning any bay windows or bumpouts. We plan on Australian Cypress wood floors finished on site through out with tile only in the bathrooms and mudroom. 9 foot ceilings on the first floor. 8 foot on the second story. No two story spaces. Unfinished full basement. We want to make insulation a priority with possibly the double stud exterior wall. Vinyl siding. Three bathrooms - one with high cost marble tile the others with ceramic tile. No Jacuzzi. Kitchen will have 20 or so feet of base cabs with full extension drawers - probably IKEA. Limited uppers. Large kitchen island. High cost marble countertops. The appliances will be high end - Viking/F&P etc. type quality although maybe we could go cheap and upgrade later. A lot of good quality windows (looking for value without getting anything extra) on the south side with not a lot of windows on the west and north side. Will try to pick standard sizes. Not sure on the heating and cooling systems. Would love Geothermal - there is a pond which may work for the loop, but not sure if it's in budget.
Ways we can save money: with the help of my FIL we renovated our current house room by room. We installed and finished the wood floors, all new electrical and plumbing, installed cabinets, tiled 3 bathrooms, replaced a few windows, drywall, paint, etc. We don't want to do this in our new house! We will do a few things to cut costs, buy our lighting and plumbing fixtures and tile, paint, maybe install the cabinets. Maybe add the garage later? We want built-ins and molding but we could probably do that later.
Sooooo...looking at some of the listings, I can see the cost of a lot and also the cost of a proposed new house design on the lot. Some of these new houses are in the 325-350000 for the number of square feet we want, but I'm sure they are not very custom with limited upgrades. Our realtor tells us that custom houses in the area cost about 200 psf to start. That puts us at 500000 for the build. Should I even bother putting all this information together for a builder to get a quote, or is it going to be too much and I should just look for a completed house? One of the issues with going with a builder is that there are so many variables that are up in the air. The choices between what we want and what will fall into our price range that we can accept are on a range of issues. The builder would end up having to price out many different options. For example, house with geothermal or without, superior walls in basement or not, vinyl or hardyboard siding, x r value insulation or y value, double or single exterior stud walls. I don't want to go through an architect or buy a plan or get a builder involved if the cost of the build will be too much to begin with.