Care 2 Share? How Much Did your Home cost to Build?

floddedguttedOctober 30, 2010

How Much Did your Home cost to build?

Did the cost include the lot?

How many Sqft? How many Beedrooms?

What type of home? (example.. ranch brick)

What would you consider the level of your upgrades?

Did you have instant equity when you were done building?

Do you plan on selling within 2 years?

Feel free to add any additional info..


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Haven't got the absolute total but I believe it cost us $600,000 to build.

That price did not include the lot.
We have 3500 sq ft with 3 bedrooms & 3 baths

We built a traditional style with hardie board & brick trim. It is one level with a raised foundation, not a slab.

I would consider the level of our upgrades towards the high end but certainly not in the luxury category.

I laughed when I read the part about equity. It took us 1 1/2 years to build and we actually are about $100,000 upside down. But since we were able to build with almost all cash we kind of expected it.

We do not plan on selling within 2 years.

I personally would not plan to build right now if I was planning to sell within 2 years. Building is too hard a project to just sell. Also we found that almost everything was out of stock and special order. Everybody is out of everything that is not absolutely builder grade and average.

We live in Central California. I will be interested to see the other responses.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 12:15AM
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Thank you!

Beautiful GW'ers Please add the following..

Did you GC yourself or hire a builder?

Where are you located?

When did you build?

Thank you so much! Everyone please join in!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 5:26AM
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Our home cost $300,000 for 1700 square feet, 4 bedroom 3 bath, passive solar design. We have mid-grade options, so acid wash insulated concrete slab downstairs, but no hydronics. This did not include the lot. We have a GC but we pay all bills and collect all lien releases. Our GC does not touch our money. We are building in South Lake Tahoe and we dont intend to sell. This is the home I am going to raise my kids in. From my backdoor there are hundreds of miles of trails in summer and excellent backcountry skiing in winter. I think we are about even on construction costs, but houses are not selling here, so who knows. We built this past summer and should move in in about 3 weeks.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 11:55AM
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We built ten years ago for about $210/sq ft Hired a GC. Cost includes teardown of existing ranch on an acre, appliances, landscaping. We are 30 miles north of Chicago.

My homeowner's insurance says it would cost $302/sq ft to rebuild today. That estimate includes satisfying our town's picky building code and debris removal. (Obviously, does not include the lot.)

House is single level (2900 sq ft HVAC'ed), 9' ceilings, 10/12 roof 28' high, brick and stucco on full (unfinished) basement + crawls; 2 car garage, full-height attic, 3 1/2 baths, screened porch, patio and terrace.

Finish is high, not deluxe: hardwood floors throughout, 3 X 8 doors, 15 French doors, 4" door and window casings, ceiling mouldings, Pella casements, Baldwin hardware, 42" X 8 archtop entry door in archtop surround. Add dormers and finish the attic, which extends over the garage -- you have a 6000 sq ft house -- the size of many in the neighborhood.

We moved in nine years ago this month. The following year the acre next door sold for 25% more than we paid for our teardown. Prices continued to rise along with the boom. Right now we could get a tad more than we have invested, but with a many-years-supply of $million-plus homes for sale in our town now, our value will continue to drop. Our RE assessment has fallen more than 25% over the last two years.

We hope to be here for at least another ten years. I wish we'd built sooner, but I wouldn't be building now. An experienced custom builder who bought a teardown near us during the boom just sold his spec after two years -- for half his list price. He got caught; doubt that he made a dime.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 12:04PM
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Everything's more expensive this time around - we built custom from 2003-2005, then had to tear down after tornado damage in 2009. About 1/2 to 2/3 way through building back from ground up. Last time? Almost exactly $140/sq ft for 4500 sq ft; right now on track for a hair over $155/sq ft.

Some of the variables:

Already own the land, and building a (mostly) single story instead of the two-story we built last time. Have a great GC this time for a fixed cost of $55,000; last time, GC took flat fee of $15,000, then basically checked out on me after his youngest son became seriously ill. I learned a LOT about building a house! Which has served me well, especially when it came to dealing w/homeowner's insurance and proving the value of the home. But it's wonderful having someone else in charge this time!

This house will be be 4,000 sq ft - the abbreviated 2nd floor will hold a large playroom w/entertainment loft, a small full bath, and a lil sitting area at the top of the stairs. All bedrooms are 1st floor. Three of those, and w/the upstairs bath there's a total of 4.5 baths.

We're in southern OK, and since we're just outside of city limits, we don't pay city sales tax on materials and we don't technically have to meet any codes, go through inspections or get any permits. However, I have no doubt we'd be fine if we did - I learned the value of a well-built house (and a concrete walled safe room) in 2009.

Style is kind of ranch/lodge, but going pretty contemporary inside. Mix of brick and stone w/Hardishake siding. Spent money on windows, insulation, framing (great room has 14' cathedral ceiling), and prewiring for every possible computer/video/gaming/etc. need we can imagine.

I'm lucky to have an incredible cabinet guy who I've known for ages, and last time we had so much fun literally designing each room's cabinetry as we went. We're doing the same thing now, but this time we're using maple for EVERYTHING (even panelling the ceiling), whereas we used about 5 varieties of wood in the last house. He uses top-notch hardware, but I can't imagine getting the kind of custom cabinetry we'll have for anywhere near his cost from someone/somewhere else. He'll be about $35-40,000 of overall cost. Maybe a little bit more: I will be doing lots of built-ins in the playroom/loft, and three walls of built-in bookcases in 14x16 Library for moi.

I didn't go overboard on appliances, but I got what I wanted. Spent about $150 per for 30+ doors (just wanted to toss in the kinds of things ppl don't always think about, since they really add up.) Lighting won't be a splurge, putting down just under 1800 sq ft of engineered hardwood, and plan to spend quite a bit more on tile and countertops for all the baths and kitchen. Last time I felt like I scrimped on tile in baths and in kitchen backsplash, and I've always felt like the overall style of the house suffered from it.

Our painter is expensive, but outstanding. He does exterior and interior. I'm not going to let myself get too impatient at the end so I can finish the back porch/entended patio with firepit/all landscaping before we move in. I know ME too well: if I say we'll do it all later, it won't get done and it would be a real shame to neglect that area again. I have a feeling that's the point where I'll start spending money that was set aside to furnish the house, telling myself I'll take care of "really furnishing the house properly" on down the line.

This probably hasn't been terribly helpful, since I haven't given you many hard numbers. Bottom line: I do not want to spent over $750,000 and I'd like to include landscaping and (some) furniture in that number.

We're incredibly fortunate in that we're paying cash; we didn't have a mortgage before the storm, so we're spending about 2/3 insurance money (total restitution policy) and 1/3 our money (obviously we didn't get what we spent the first time back in insurance, plus costs went up and I'm spending more in some areas this time.) I'm sure that not having a bank loan w/a finite limit influences some of my decisions, so I thought it only fair to make that distinction.

Like last time, don't plan to ever sell (knock on wood.) We actually live in the middle of our 400 acre pecan farm, so there'd be more to it than just selling a house! Sorry the pic in link is so tiny, I've got to learn more about using Picasa.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 10:11PM
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Interesting topic and would love to hear more. I'll do my part first.

Timeline and cost. We bought a 3/4 acre lot in the greater Boston area for 520k early 2009. Found a designer who was also our GC. Took him a few months to come up the design and we broke ground in May, 2009. Took him 9 months to complete the project and we moved in early 2010. The total construction cost was another 520k, which included everything but the land (permits, demolition, construction, owner-supplied stuffs and so on.) Wait! it's not everything. Also not included was the interest payment we paid for the construction loan.

Quantity. The house is around 3400 sf (so the construction cost is a little over $150 per sf). The main level is 2500 sf and consists of a great room (L+D+K), all 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, a small study and a laundry/pantry room. The ceiling is 9'. The upper level is 500 sf and serves as a home office. The ceiling is, again, 9'. The lower level has a mechanical room (unfinished) and a mudroom, a playroom, and a full bath. Total finished area is about 400 sf. The ceiling height is 8". The playroom is a walk-out to a 12 by 18 patio.

Quality. I'll say most of our building materials are mid-quality. Hardi sidings, Pella windows, forced-air HVAC, regular bat for insulation, white oak floor throughout except the lower level, which is concrete. We bought some higher-end items on eBay or Craiglist and they are mostly in the kitchen and bathrooms.

We plan to live here for a long time. Do not know whether the house value is higher or lower than our cost and not really care. Overall, we enjoyed the building process.

Thanks for reading.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 10:48PM
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How Much Did your Home cost to build?
$115/sq ft (ish); our homeowner's policy has our cost to replace at $290 sq/ft...although we are disputing that currently.

Did the cost include the lot?
no...lot was a bit over $100K for 2 1/4 acres

How many Sqft? How many Bedrooms?
4500 sq/ft+, 4 bedrooms and office. We were limited to a 4 bedroom b/c of the soil work and drainfield needs.

What type of home? (example.. ranch brick)
Southern cape, all brick

What would you consider the level of your upgrades?

Did you have instant equity when you were done building?
Yes-over $250K

Do you plan on selling within 2 years?

Did you GC yourself or hire a builder?
We used a GC

Where are you located?
Central Virginia

When did you build?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 7:02AM
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Our total cost to build, including appliances, closet organizers and all the other little finishing touches was right at $270,000. Builder has our "official" cost to build at $260,000.

This was for a 3100 sq ft (4200 under roof) 1.5 story 4 bedroom plus office/study, 2.5 bath country style house. Upgrades are nicer than average, but not super high end on most things (laminate and ceramic tile floors, solid surface countertops, cherry cabinets, tiled shower, etc).

We bought the land (14 acres) in 2006 and paid cash ($17,000). I'm not sure how much we spent on improvements: driveway, power, water, sewer.

House with land appraised for $275,000 in August and we borrowed $210,000 on it, so we have quite a bit of equity in it to start. We're working on the fencing and are about to start on the barn (36'x48'), so that should add more value to it if it were to be appraised again. We're planning to die in this house though. LOL

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 12:25PM
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lot not included in above figure.

1,997 sq ft

2 bed w/ loft.

Upper-mid level finishes.

New England. Not too far from Boston.

Moved in July '09...they continued to work around us.

Hired a builder.

We're never moving. Given the number of stone walls that we are putting in (or have unearthed) as part of our landscaping plan, I will never part with this land, ever. Stone walls + trees + tree house for the kids + mountain view + 4 acres of lawn + moose/ bear/ deer/ hawks/ coyotes/ bunnies/ snakes/ frogs/ raven/ wild turkeys= heaven on earth. And I used to be a city girl :)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 7:50PM
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About $540K, not including property. Log House, 2200 sq ft, 2 bed with a loft, square footage doesn't include full basement which is not finished yet. WV panhandle area, upper but not luxury level finish (ceramic tile counter tops/custom cabinets/hardwood/tile throughout). No loan so plenty of equity but doubt we'd get what we paid to build it. We don't plan to move ever once we're there full time so not a real issue for us. Like mdev, views and plenty of critters to watch make this our perfect retirement house.

Here is a link that might be useful: WV House Build Blog

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 7:29AM
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Our addition was built in 2008; two storeys, approx. 1100 square feet and cost about $300k. Obviously this didn't include the land since it was an addition; also we paid for appliances and lighting separately. The cost included gutting the kitchen and 3 bathrooms (in the existing space), adding 2 bathrooms, a MB and a laundry room (in the new space) and replacing the entire roof. The detached garage was done separately for about $30-35K; driveway (concrete) was another approx $9k. (These numbers still make my head spin a bit.)

Pre-build based on our plans, the appraisal estimate came back in the high $900s. Post build, the recession was already starting, and the appraisal came back in the low $900s. We're not really paying too much attention to all that, since we bought the house pre-boom so we have a fair amount of equity; plus we love our neighborhood, schools, and neighbors and have no plans to move until we can't keep up with the house. DH owns his own business so he won't get asked to transfer, as so many of his former (banking business) colleagues have.

FWIW: One thing that seemed to affect cost alot was the roof lines. e.g., our garage is two levels and the second floor is dormered for some of the windows; the front is staggered so it's not straight across. That made it (much) more than going with a plain square box shape. Likewise on the addition, we have one angled corner in the mudroom where the driveway curves near it; my original plan was to also angle the larger, deeper great room next to it and MBedroom above that. Those 2 extra angles made the roof lines more complex, impacted the space and ability to place furniture, and drove up the cost. (We ended up with the angle just on the mudroom and the Mbath above it.)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 12:13PM
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Dixiedoodle, it sounds like you did an amazing job of maximizing your dollars! Can you identify specific areas you saved? Any tips? Did your GC charge a flat fee or a percentage?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 9:20PM
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We did a fixed cost build. All of our building materials were spec'd ahead of time and part of the contract. The only exceptions were allowances for lighting, cabinetry and granite/tile. We did a ton of online and bargain shopping for our allowance items.

My biggest savings were in cabinetry and lighting. My custom cabinets came in almost $40K LESS than the lowest bid that I received for the same design and features through kitchen designers. Our lights (all obtained through online vendors) came in close to $15K LESS than the best price offered by the builder's recommended lighting store. FWIW, I only had 2 lights come damaged and they were both replaced at no cost to fact, the online vendor in one case told me to just keep the damaged one. I ended up giving it to family.

While we received a lot of house for our money, there are definitely things that we would do differently if we ever build again. The first, and most important to us, would be to utilize an architect rather than a designer. And, we would have the architect involved throughout the process.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:29PM
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That's about what it would cost here to build a house like that. Just curious...what makes it sooooo much more expensive up north to build a house/not including land?? It can't be the labor sooo much more exp up there than down here(Charlotte,NC) I mean I 'know' labor is higher in the NE....but to more than double a house cost seems kinda crazy even for up there!!! Are the permits extremely high?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:32PM
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Hi Robin0919, I'm in the Charlotte area. Have you started your build yet? We are hoping to start soon (couple months).

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 2:18AM
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dixie, do you remember the 'good' online vendors that you used, like your lighting vendors? I'd love to have a partial list to research! Someone tried to resurrect an old thread, but it fell off the front page again...

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 12:55PM
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Just to get someone to wield a hammer is $36 an hour here...quickly jumps to around $42 for someone with modest experience. It's just the way it is and all the builders have analogous labor rates.

After the shock wore off, we just accepted it. We have someone here who helps us with odds and ends for $30/ hour, which is by far the lowest I've seen. Landscapers routinely charge $55-$70/ hour which is why we invested in some yard gear. Adult babysitters insist on $15-20/ hour.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 1:58PM
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Total cost to build will be a little under 600K. Our GC fee is 15% of that amount, we are doing a cost-to-build. The lot was a little under 200K (outside of large city, nearby suburb). This is a tear-down lot and new construction build. Total sq ft 3,450 (two-story house, 4 bed/3.5 bath) plus 1,200 sq ft finished basement.

We have no plans to sell anytime soon, but there is always the chance of a move to a new city based on my DH taking a new position/new company, etc. We are buidling as if we will be here for the next 25-30 years.

The only equity I forsee having will be the cash we have put into the build (of course minus any continued downward home prices, lol). We paid for the land in cash as well as all construction costs up until this point, though I believe we/builder will soon be taking the first construction withdrawl shortly (framing begins next week)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 11:21PM
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lryan....I'm not building a house right now.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 7:00PM
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robin0919 it unions up there that are making building a house 3x more than down here??? Can anybody tell me what the trades charge up there to build a house. Like what does framers charge, plumbers, elect, brick masons,rockers, etc for new construction? I'm just trying to get a handle on why it is soooo much more to build up there. As I said earlier, the materials 'can't' be any more up there.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 10:07PM
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Around here, trades drive Lexus, BMW, Mercedes. Clients drive Honda, Toyota and Yugo. lol

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 10:38PM
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Dyno - reminds me of my sister's medical practice who hired a decorator to redo their office. She was my sister's patient. Before she was hired she drove a Honda. The next year, after the project was completed, she was driving a Mercedes ;)!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 11:48AM
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No unions- these are all small builders. Framing crew was making $36-$42/ hour. Plumber based his estimate on $75/ hour. Builder made 10% on materials but billed us straight labor rates. They obviously made more on items like the custom kitchen cabinets, built-in shelves, etc.

Supply and demand, I guess.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 1:45PM
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They charge by the hour??? Around here(I thought everywhere) the framers charge by the s/f of the house. Plumbers charge per hook up. Elec charge by the s/f. Example(in this area) Framers charge on avg $4.25/sf, Elec charge on avg $2.15/sf. Plumbers charge per hook up on avg. of $350,ex in baths you would normally have a shower, 2 sinks, toilet and tub. Five hook ups. $1750 total That includes installing and hooking everything up.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 7:02PM
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I was also charged an hourly rate for labor(between $30 to $60 per hour). I believe this is where my builder made the bulk of his money(padding labor rates). He had a crew of six but he also hired subs.

Since my builder paid his crew directly and billed me for the hours, I'm certain extra money was made here. I found out one of his subs was making $25/hr that I was being billed for $40/hr. I was told the difference was due to workman's comp and other employee related expenses. If I had it to do over again I would try to negotiate any labor rates that I didn't pay directly before signing a contract.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 12:05AM
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My contractor (the broker part of the team) drives a late model mercedes station wagon. We currently live in a relatively high end neighborhood in northern California (in a modest house), and one of the biggest houses in our area is a contractor's home. His electrician lives down the street, also in a house larger than mine! They all drive very nice cars, too. The kicker? DH and I are both in the medical profession.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 12:18PM
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$360,000 to build + $200,000 for 40 acres with 330' lakeshore in MN. The cost to build includes about $30,000 for gravel driveway, $7,500 for underground electricity, well for $6,250 and $10,500 for septic.

4 BR/2.5 bath. 1,450 sq ft main finished, 1,100 2nd level finished, 1,450 basement unfinished, 780 bonus room unfinished. 2-car garage unfinished, 28'x28'=780 sq ft.

Colonial variation with 6 dormers. 9' ceilings throughout including basement. Open floor plan two story great room/kitchen/dining room. Master BR and laundry on Main Floor. Split-faced block, Hardiboard siding. 8/12 pitch with architectural 40-yr shingles.

Upper mid-level finishes. Large porcelain tile, BR-111 Amendoim wood floor, 48" stainless steel double oven stove with custom 48" range hood, maple stair treads and railings with white balusters, maple fireplace hearth surround, custom mudroom lockers, geothermal HVAC including radiant floor in basement plus desuperheater, garage and bathroom tile floors, closed cell sprayfoam insulation, quality vinyl argon-filled casement windows.

Finished building August, 2009. Hopefully plan on never moving.

I was nervous building in a severe market collapse because I didn't know what would happen if our appraisal was less than what it cost to build. Local lender really helped as well as one-time close construction to permanent loan as they had an incentive to get it closed.

I was technically the GC although we had an experienced, quality builder. I did the tile, wood floors, built master shower, painting, basement waterproofing, interior and exterior drain tile, much of radiant tubing and below slab insulation, closet systems, pantry, low voltage wiring including Cat6 and coax to multiple locations in each room, security wiring, music system and speaker wiring, fireplace mantle, hearth and surround, etc. On-site every day after work and many days before work too and every weekend.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 1:49PM
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How Much Did your Home cost to build? $136/sq ft total, excluding the lot (8 acres given to me by my dad)

How many Sqft? How many Bedrooms? 2600 sq/ft, 4 bedroom, 3 bath

What type of home? Single story, hardiplank siding

What would you consider the level of your upgrades? Above average

Did you have instant equity when you were done building? No (unless you include the value of the land that I didn't pay for)

Do you plan on selling within 2 years? No

Did you GC yourself or hire a builder? Used a very good GC

Where are you located? Central Virginia - rural area about 15 miles from Richmond

When did you build? 2009

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 7:30AM
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How Much Did your Home cost to build? $112/sq ft total, excluding the lot. In this part of the country, you get a lot for your money, thank goodness.
How many Sqft? How many Bedrooms? 2750 sq/ft above ground, 895 finished SF in walk-out basement, 5 bedroom, 4.5 baths

What type of home? two story, hardiplank siding, 10 ft ceilings on main, 9 ft on second floor..

What would you consider the level of your upgrades? Above average; upgraded trim everywhere. But getting mid-grade semi-custom cabinets in the kitchen and the baths. They won't look cheapo, just not upper-end. Will have granite tops. Almost all hardwoods on the main level.

Did you have instant equity when you were done building? Yes, we'll have quite a bit of equity in this new house as we are very diligent savers.

Do you plan on selling within 2 years? No -would never build if my time horizon was that short.

Did you GC yourself or hire a builder? Using a very good GC

Where are you located? 45 miles outside Kansas City, in a medium sized city

When did you build? Right now; to finish this Spring

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 5:07PM
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Found this post and loved reading it!

We just had our budget meeting and we were a bit over :( But I think it will be ok. I will come back and update this once we actually finish!

Quote of cost to build: $312,000

Did the cost include the lot? Lot separate- was 135K for 2.5 acres

How many Sqft? How many Bedrooms? 2400 square feet- one story with 350+ bonus room. 3 bedrooms.

What type of home? (example.. ranch brick) One story + small bonus.

What would you consider the level of your upgrades? Entry. We are doing an ikea kitchen, laminate hardwood flooring, appliances on sale and such. Our one spurge is shingle siding!

Did you have instant equity when you were done building? Probably because we paid cash for the land.

Do you plan on selling within 2 years? Nope. Living here for hopefully forever.

We will probably break ground in Nov 2012.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 1:06AM
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