budget $100,000 or less- even possible?

ecora99February 3, 2010

I am desperate to move out of New Jersey and onto my wooded property in southwest Virginia. I would need to get water & electric to my property and with estimates that comes to about $20 K- I want to keep a reasonable loan payment amount over the next thirty yrs- roughly looking to borrow about 100,000- With $80,000 left, is this even possible to build something decent to live in, (other than a hunting shack) on wooded property?

Friends have suggested a yurt- don't know how secure that would be in the middle of the woods- plus have to factor in the fall & winter weather in southwest VA- mtn area and such. I don't know, they seem to be geared more for the warmer climates.

Just looking for ideas. I'm almost ready to live in a tent


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I am no expert, but I think it could be done. There are some very interesting plans for small houses now. If you didn't do a basement, kept it to under 1500 sq. ft. or so and used budget-friendly materials I think you might be able to do it. Talk to some builders in the area and see what they say.

My grandpa grew up in Southwest Va. (Grayson Co.) so I am familiar with the area and understand the appeal. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 9:10PM
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only if you furnish labor

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 9:43PM
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SW VA? Maybe. It's the cheapest part of VA...

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 10:23PM
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You have to look at what size house you really require to survive and be comfortable, and how much work you're able to do yourself. A good calculator for building costs in your area is @ http://www.building-cost.net/CornersType.asp I used it and compared it to my already finished budget and it wasn't too far off. But to be accurate you have to be accurate with your inputs and have a good idea of what you plan to build. I think it's very doable if you supply a large part of the labor and keep it around 1500 sq ft or so. I don't know your family situation but you might want to look at building a home like the folks at countryplans.net Those guys are building them for much less than $100K.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 3:28AM
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There's a website that specializes in "tiny houses".... go here. http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 5:40AM
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My sister in law built a 2 bedroom 2 bath modest home a few years ago for 65k, not incl the land in Tx which may be cheaper than NJ.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 6:03AM
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A modular/prefab home would certainly be doable at this budget. There are all sorts, and these are not "mobile homes", just homes where some of the construction is done off site in a factory to save labor costs. I have attached a link below but you could also google modular homes or kit houses and pull up some more stuff.

Many are not the traditional country cabin, but there are a few more traditional ones (like the Katrina houses).

Here is a link that might be useful: Kit houses

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 7:37AM
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Sure wish I would have thought to post a question like this before I saw (fell in love with) our house plan :-)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 8:26AM
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I think it's very doable- in fact we plan to do the same thing in rural SC. I don't know about 1500 sq ft, though. Ours will be around 1000. With just two of us, it doesn't make sense to have more than that- just more to clean, maintain, and pay taxes on! But if there are 6 of you, or you're used to a much bigger house, it's gonna be tough. At that price, plan to cut a lot of corners, or do a lot of the work yourself.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 3:29PM
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Sure, you can build a simple 30 x 50 rectangle with basic windows for 80K. You just described our garage, which in today's dollars, cost around 80K in material prices. It's 2x6 construction and heated/cooled and has a couple of other upgrades like architectural shingles and "over" insulation. There is no bathroom or kitchen, which is the most expensive spaces to build. You'd have to budget 20-40K more for that. You couldn't cut enough out of the basic structure to save 20K though. You're gonna have to start with a taller budget or smaller home. My first house was a 2/1 post war 30 x 30 bungalow. It was cozy, that's for sure!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 4:05PM
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Yurts can be heated and insulated. So, yes, I think you could build something like that in your area. We have a place here in Asheville that makes and sells yurts. I have a friend who is building one here in town and believe me it snows plenty here (as I look out on the snow falling across my yard....)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 6:39PM
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My sister & I have a longterm goal of building a Farmhouse on some land we inherit. We live on the coast and it will be our vacation escape to a rural setting near the mountains. Our plan is to build it cheaply (like you're planning) and we've looked into using lots of salvage items like doors, cabinets, etc. We've been surprised at how many ways we've thought of/seen to cut costs. With the 'old' Farmhouse look, the old salvage items will be fitting, and will be such fun to live with. Quilts and cozy.

My husband & I once renovated an office building and turned the 4,000 s.f. upstairs into a Loft for us. In my bathroom, there were 2 old commercial sinks hung on the wall. I had my Workman replace them with one double acrylic sink. (long one, 60"?) I had him frame a base stand out of studs, extra tall for me, and there was no vanity or base cabinet. Just lumber legs and sink frame! I stapled a fabric skirt beneath the sink onto the lumber frame, then glued a gimp trim on top of the staples. I made the shower curtain out of the same fabric.

I bought some salvage doors that were a distressed green and had cool patterned glass in them. They'd been in a very old church on storage closets. I had Workman build a closet in the bathroom to fit these doors, and also replaced the entry door with them. I paid $120 for 5 doors. This bath was super-cheap, but highly functional and VERY pretty!

We may repeat the lumber & fabric skirt idea for bathrooms in our Farmhouse. Loved it. I stored cleaning supplies beneath the skirt.

This may be hard to believe, but we bought that 8,000 s.f. commercial building for $73,000 back in 1993. It needed a new roof and heat pump, but most other problems were cosmetic. It was steel and concrete construction, sandwiched between 2 buildings. The building had 2 storefronts/offices on the lower level, and the upstairs was all one space. We had a tenant paying $750/month on a 3 yr lease. We started my husband's law practice in half of the downstairs, and we lived upstairs. Our utilities were super-low because of the insulation of the buildings beside us. We now had NO office rent, NO house payment. We lived that way for 4 years, in 4,000 s.f. (loved it, too). It set us up financially for our future.

We probably put $30,000 more into the building over time. Still, a very good price. We were able to always keep a tenant and always cover the payment.

Right now we're getting ready to build, and getting multiple quotes is getting us really great prices on a lot of things. Everyone needs the work.

I hope some of this gives you some ideas. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 10:50AM
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