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Schumacher Homes - opinions?

Posted by jaynees (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 22, 11 at 10:58

Many years ago I used to read this forum because my husband and I planned on building upon our move to the Carolinas. However, we ended up buying a house and have been in it for four years. We are now once again entertaining the idea of building a house, and are seriously interested in Schumacher Homes. We toured one of their model homes and love the floorplan (The Sonoma). We think we may be able to start the process of building by Summer 2012.

We will be building in the Charlotte metro area, and I wonder if anyone has experience with the Schumacher offices in the NC/SC area? Or even Schumacher in general? I know there was a thread on here many years ago when we were first looking into building, but I'd love to hear more recent feedback as well as from those who have been in their Schumacher homes for a while now.

Some details: we own 1/2 an acre of land already, and it will require a septic tank system since there is no sewer available. Natural gas is available. The lot is slightly sloped to the back of the property line. We plan on building a crawlspace foundation.

Thanks in advance for any responses!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

I have 2 friends who built Schmacher homes here in Ohio. IMHO, they both turned out OK, and they were built really fast, but they nickel-and-dimed them on everything. The upgrade costs of flooring, fixtures, lights, etc are where I think they make all the money. I remember it was some outrageous cost they add for each different interior paint color.
Before you decide, do yourself a favor and talk to a local custom builder. You may be surprised at what they can offer.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

I know a couple people with Schumacher Homes. I don't know them well enough that I felt comfortable asking how their experience was and the kind of costs that they endured, but I do have to say that the details in those homes were better than a Wayne Home we toured once.

It appears that they offer much more customization than Wayne, K Hovnanian, etc.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

We live just across the river in Belmont. I would NOT use them. I've seen too many houses built by the big track builders for over 20 yrs in this area. Yes, they make them look good and they do pass code.....the code is the absolutely lowest construction you can build something!!. They will use the cheapest material they can get their hands on.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

Schumacher doesn't build tracts...they are a custom home builder for people who want to build a lot on a house. Although their quality can be questionable. It would be interesting if anyone here has any experience with them.


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My parents built with Schumacher Homes 3 years ago and have had numerous problems with the house since then. The air conditioner did not work the first summer. One of their floor joists broke and had to be braced. They had a cold spot by an interior wall. They had an energy audit done and the builder had left the top sill of the wall off with no insulation above. The cold air just ran down the wall. They had ice dams on the roof this year letting me know the insulation was not adequate in that area. This is in Ohio so I am not sure how it would affect you.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

We are also getting ready to build with Schumacher in the Greensboro, NC area. Yes, they nickel & dime you, but even still, they are coming in WAAAAY less than the custom builders in our area. Two different custom builders wanted $150+ per square foot & 1 one of them went on and on about all the places they cut corners and when we toured 2 of the houses they built you could tell. Maybe it's just me, but in this economy for $150 sq ft on a 2300sq ft house in my area, I should have an unfinished basement, a finished bonus room, granite, tile, hardwoods, really nice carpet in bedrooms, nice stainless appliance package, aluminum clad wood windows and by golly I should have Baldwin doorknobs on every door in the house not the $15.00 KMart special the builder was talking about. We already own our lot too, the well is in, the power is run, the lot is cleared, the driveway (all 1,000 feet of it) is in. $150+ is highway robbery. So with Schumacher, we're coming in around $126 sq ft including lots of upgrades + grading & backfill (you have to ask for that-it's not standard by the way). They have also been surprisingly flexible with alot of our wants--like a true custom home builder. Did you know you're not limited to the plans in their plan collection? They will build whatever plan you bring them.

I have googled for reviews on Schumacher, and found that in Ohio, they have had alot of problems. I have not found any similar reviews anywhere else in the country for them. Since they use local subs & have national materials contracts (that's where the low price comes in), it would make sense that one office could have problems but not the other offices scattered around the nation.

Depending on your local office, you may be able to have other vendors do some of the work. Say you want site finished hardwood flooring-Schumacher only does prefinished, so they can give you a credit for the flooring in the areas where you want those hardwoods & you can specify a particular hardwood flooring company for that--you can pay the flooring company out of pocket yourself or have Schumacher put in an allowance specifying who will be doing the work & they will pay the flooring company. Maybe you want Cambria countertops--Schumacher doesn't offer it, so they can again credit you for standard countertops & you can have another company come in and do the countertops. Maybe you don't like the Merillat cabinets they use or you want a glaze--same thing. (Our office recommended Marsh Kitchens in High Point, NC--shockingly great price & furniture quality cabinets--they're a division of Marsh Furniture). Just make sure as Schumacher nickels & dimes you, you nickel & dime them back with those credits--make sure you get every credit you're owed.

On the Sonoma plan-did you tour the house in Greenville, SC? Is it the model home where they have their office? We toured the 'Beverly B' in Greensboro, and were wondering about the Sonoma and where we could tour it. Definitely keep us posted if you find any other reviews in the NC area. Will keep you posted as we move further along as well. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Marsh Kitchens


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

betaiota: My husband and I always planned on doing pre-shopping before we build. We plan on purchasing a lot of those things (faucets, fixtures, lighting, etc.) over the next year and just storing it to be put in the new house. This way we don't need to worry about their pricing AND we'll have stuff we truly want in the house. We are going to do that regardless of who we build with.

Mydreamhome - Yes, we toured the Sonoma in Greenville. We contacted Schumacher last week and have arranged to meet with them in late May to discuss a price out of the home as we'd want it built.

We definitely want to try and get our own vendors where possible. We recently replaced the roof on our existing house and they were AMAZING. Even though it cost a bit more, we know they did a great job, and so we'd like to use them as the roofers when we build.

We do plan on "nickel and diming" Schumacher. I received an email from one person that built with Schumacher in Ohio who said he was quoted one number for free upgrades when he first met with them, then given an additional 50% above that when he agreed to *sign* the contract, and then he scored another 50% above THAT when sitting at the table. And this was during a seller�s market! So, knowing that it�s a buyer�s market right now (and should still be next spring/summer), I�m reasonably confident that we�ll be able to negotiate for a lot of upgrades by the time we sign on the dotted line.

We�re still not 100% sold on Schumacher, but after our meeting with them in May we should know more. Keep the feedback coming, though! Every little bit helps!


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

We just finished building our new home with Schumachers. Nothing really negative to say. They beat all custom builders ~ but ~ you get what you pay for too. If you buy the lost cost standard home with standard features, that's what you get. When you upgrade items, you pay for it, just as you would a customn builder. Can't get granite when you pay for formica! Their upgrades are a little costly but they are in it for a profit, it's a business. Custom builders will charge you for upgrades too. With Schumacher, you know line for line what you are getting before the first dig.

We upgraded alot. We knew this added to price of home and were willing to pay for what we wanted. You expect to get a 3000 sq ft home for $200,000 and have granite, upgraded carpet, hardwood floors, etc.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

nb....are you saying they built you a house for less than $67/sf?? What kind of siding do you have? Where are you in the country?


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

I guess I should have re-read my post...I meant you can't expect to build a 3000/sq ft home for $200,000 with granite, etc. We built for approx. $100/sq. ft with many many upgrades....extra I beams, granite, glazed kitchen cabinets, upgraded carpeting, porcelein tile, 3 oversized car garage, raised hearth fireplace, pocket doors, etc. etc.....

Going with a local custom builder is great but with the larger builders you get more for your buck since they purchase supplies in mass quantities ~ not like a custom builder who maybe will build only 4 or 5 houses per year.

In the end it's a personal decision and each individual needs to weigh the pros and cons of diff. builders.


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Oh~ we are in Ohio and bricked our home. The original plan only had brick front so that was another upgrade.


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The Sonoma starts at $100/sq ft for the standard model and goes up from there (the home is approximately 2400 square feet and the base price for the standard home in our area is $239K and change. We're presuming we can negotiate in this market for quite a few free upgrades and then pay for the rest that we want.


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That makes more since nb.....:)
jaynee...when do you plan on building?


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robin0919: Summer 2012 is what we hope for, but Spring/Summer of 2013 is probably the reality. We have to have every single duck in a row to be able to build, and we're not sure we'll be able to do that by next summer, as much as we'd like it to. We're confident we can sell our house when the time comes, since we're in a sought-after neighborhood in our town, but there are other factors, such as the amount of cash we can have on hand when the time comes as well as getting our land re-assessed to find out the true value (it hasn't been assessed in the four years since we bought it). That land value will be used as our initial collateral on the construction loan, so the valuation will be very important for our home-building budget.

As I said in an earlier post, we'll know more in May once we meet with Schumacher - both whether we want to build with them, and whether the house as we want it is even within our reach.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

So the time has come - my husband and I are heading to Schumacher this weekend to meet with them to get an extensive quote for building the Sonoma floor plan. As the weeks have passed since my OP, we've come up with a huge list of questions covering their building practices, their upgrade practices, their financing practices, as well as potential minor changes we have to the floorplan. I plan on taking a notebook to take copious notes during the meeting.

We've been told we'll take home with us an extensive price quote detailing everything discussed during the meeting. At that point my husband and I will pour over that thing for the next several weeks, until we end up with a house we can agree on, for a price we can afford.

Then we spend the next year getting our current house cleaned up and ready to go on the market, saving as much cash as we can, and continuing to pay down our debt (should be done with this by August/September).

I don't know that we're definitely going with Schumacher to build, but this meeting will absolutely help us decide whether they'll remain in the running or whether we'll need to contact a few custom builders in our area during the next year or so.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

Thought I'd come back with my feedback on our first meeting with Schumacher, for others who might come searching for info.

One thing I loved: the rep did not mind my bajillion questions. And yes, there were about a bajillion. He laughed when he saw my papers in my hand, but he patiently answered every one of them. In many instances he answered them before I got a chance to ask.

Once I was done with all my questions, we moved on to the specifics of the floorplan. And here's where I decided I love Schumacher: I LOVE knowing the exact price we'll pay for anything we want. Want to take out the oversized bathtub? No problem - we'll credit you $2700. Want to skip the five decorative columns throughout the house? You'll save another $1000. How about the fireplace? No? No problem - $3200 taken right off in the blink of an eye.
Love that coffered ceiling? That'll be $4500, please. Want a 4x6 custom-tiled shower with bench? A cool $3700. That 8-foot extension on the great room? $14K and some change. Make it 4-foot and we'll only charge you $7K.

I loved that. Yes, there's that sense of "you get what you pay for," but there's also great satisfaction in spending 3 hours with the rep and walking away with a hard number on what it'll cost for us to build the house we want, and knowing that it can be completed four months after we sign the contract.

We had to cut our meeting short - we got there an hour late because of an accident on the highway, and his next appointment showed up just as we were getting into the nitty-gritty. But we still walked away with some basic numbers, and feel like we have a really good handle on what we'll be able to afford.

And so now my husband and I can move forward with the rest. Continuing the debate over whether or not to buy the lot next to ours. Making sure we have enough cash on hand to get the project started (clearing the lot and grading) when the time comes. Improving our house over the next two years to get it ready for sale.

For now, Schumacher remains on our list of potential builders, but we'll still contact a couple local custom builders sometime between now and next summer. They won't be able to build the Schumacher floorplan we love, but we found a very similar one online that we can always buy for a couple hundred bucks to supply to bidders.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

The prices of things can change dramatically in two years time...


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

nycefarm - sad, but true. I actually have a price quote from 2008 that a former GardenWeb member sent me when I first discovered Schumacher. Prices have gone up even in the past couple years - the 2008 quote he got lists a rinse tub in the laundry room for about $400. The quote we got on Saturday was for $800.

This build hinges on a LOT of things - not just the price to build. It also depends on what we can get for our house, what the land appraises for, and how much cash we have on hand. It's quite possible that none of those four things will be in our favor in 2013 when we're (hopefully) ready to build. I'm prepared for that possibility.

If that becomes the case, we'll reassess and figure out what we can do to make it happen - even if it means NOT building the Sonoma at all.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

Thanks for keeping us posted on your process.

Just a few more thoughts. I still suggest you take the same questions to a few local builders and shop them. You seem to know what you want and even are going to shop for some of the upgrades yourself. Schumacher comes off to me as a convenient option if you DON'T know what you want, or want to limit/narrow down all the endless possibilities that building a house entails. I think it would be unfair to not bring you long list of questions to a local custom builder. If he can't answer them, then that'll make your decision easier.
IDK, I guess Schumacher/Wayne/etc to me is like Outback and Allstate. Excellent at marketing, but that doesn't mean they are better.
For my house- I need to meet the guy whose name is on the side of the truck.


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Jaynees, your postings have been great since I'm considering going with Schumacher here in Ohio. I was wondering what kind of questions should i ask them during my quote since you seemed to be loaded with them. Also, does Schumacher go into great detail with their quote, like all the way down to the smallest door knob?


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

Betaiota: We do plan on approaching a couple local builders about building a similar house. We have identified at least 2 local builders and will be taking a very similar floor plan to them (since Schumacher's plans are proprietary - however, there's another stock plan we've found online which is very close to the Schumacher plan). We'll probably do that at the beginning of next year.

Mullins: This is my list of Schumacher-specific questions that I asked our local rep. I removed the ones that were specific to our land and how Schumacher would approach the build:

1. How do structural modifications to the floor plan effect the cost to build? What if modifications don�t affect the original footprint of the house?
2. What work do we need to do to the lot before you can take over and begin the build?
3. Do you provide assistance in getting electrical, gas, septic and water hooked into the house?
4. What is the average length of the build from signing of the contract to handing over the keys?
5. Are homeowner inspections allowed throughout the building process?
6. How long is your guarantee of workmanship for your homes?
7. What are your policies regarding any problematic issues we find once we�ve moved in?
8. Do we have prior review/approval of the GC/contractors used by Schumacher? Can we make recommendations for any contractors we�d like to use?
9. How soon after we sign a contract are we required to build? For example, what if we sign a contract in December 2011 to lock in our supply rates, but can�t begin the build until March 2012 because it takes that long to clear the land and get it ready for construction? What if it takes even longer because unknown issues arise as the land is prepared for construction?
10. Can we provide our own fixtures (lighting, kitchen sink, faucets, hardware for kitchen cabinets) and appliances for the house?
11. Can you also provide landscaping/driveway installation?
12. Does Schumacher work with any solar power contractors (i.e., solar hot water, geothermal systems, or residential wind turbines)?

As for their pricing, yes, they can give you a detailed quote down to the doorknobs of your choice. Would they do that in an initial meeting? That's doubtful. But he was completely open about pricing of basic things we knew we wanted (such as rinse sinks, coffered ceilings, expanded spaces, no fireplace, shower instead of bath, etc. But we didn't get down to the nitty-gritty of pricing out everything because 1) we ran out of time before his next appointment and 2) there's no sense into going into that kind of detail when we're not building for at least 1 year, probably 2. But if you get to a point where Schumacher is the choice you are going with, then yes, when the time comes, you'll get a VERY detailed quote of everything you select to put in your house.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

i to built with schumacher homes of ravenna ohio it was the worst time of my life good luck you will need it


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

We looked at Schumacher before we decided to GC it ourselves. They do nickel and dime you. Every bedroom does not come with a ceiling light-- cost extra, they are built on 2x4 exterior walls -- we preferred 2x6-- that would cost extra.
The home we had looked at was the Olivia--- priced as the one that is a model was $280k and I hated thier kitchen cabinets and counertops. Would have cost more to change that out. Don't like that they build on block not concrete walls. If there are any Amish near your area--- They build a lot cheaper and better. We had bids for our framing for $40k --Amish framed and dried in for $14k. We just didn't like what was to offer for the price. You only get 1 color for your interior paint. You then have to paint whatever colors you want different. If I'm paying that much to have it built, I shouldn't have to pay someone when it's done to repaint my interior.
Good luck


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

New builder: Are you still happy with your Schumacher home? Have you had any problems?


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

Recent experiences anyone in North Carolina?


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

We have been working with Schumacher for months now trying to get to the point of contract signing. (in NC) We felt they were the best option for our price point. After becoming very frustrated with some things, we ventured out and spoke to another custom builder. Imagine our surprise when that builder came up with a very comparable price but with a much higher basic standard of construction!!! We still have not made a final decision, but will soon. I think a Schumacher home is good if you want a pretty basic house and not many upgrades, but once you start getting into a more high-end home, go talk to a custom builder. I believe Schumacher makes a good amount of money on change orders. They don't really tell you what isn't included (and very little IS included), you have to figure that out on your own or if you figure it out after building has started, you'll pay through the nose. Also, when you 'delete' something, you only get a credit of their wholesale COST for that item - but when you 'add' something, you pay an upgrade that includes profit for them.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

That's the definition of a track house builder!!!!


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

robin is 100% correct, they make their money on volume and upgrades/change orders.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

Well, most tract builders won't build on your lot nor make many changes at all. Schumacher is NOT a tract builder. I've had friends build with Centex - which is a true tract builder - they had a certain number of choices period. Schumacher will customize ANYTHING you want - you just have to pay for it. That said, I don't think their way of doing business with us has been stellar.

TRACT HOMES - “The Real Estate Dictionary” defines tract housing as:
“A dwelling that has a similar style and Floor Plan to those of all other houses in a development. Contrast with Custom Builder.
Example: Pleasant Acres is a Subdivision of tract houses. Each home is a 3-bedroom ranch-style house with the same basic floor plan.”

This post was edited by carra on Fri, Jul 5, 13 at 11:08


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

tomato, tomatoe. They still are a production type builder with barely low end standard finishes and upcharge the crap out of you.


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Same goes for Orleans. They try to portray themselves as custom and "high end" but all of their plans are characterless dull boxes and the base fixtures, finishes, and features are crap.
Take their base price and add about 35% to get a real cost estimate for a house that has any quality to/in it.

This post was edited by FmrQuahog on Fri, Jul 5, 13 at 23:18


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

Kramerkel:

We just had our first meeting with Schumacher in Greensburg, pa, and most complaints that you have listed in your post are the exact opposite of what they told us was standard in their homes: 2x6 exterior walls, concrete poured foundations, as many colors as you want, just pay something like $100 extra for each color... They seemed to have enough options for kitchen cabinets, although I will say that their base cabinets leave much to be desired.

One thing I was surprised by is that they didn't seem to be willing to give credits for things that we wanted to do ourselves, even though we had heard this was possible from some friends who recently used them. Maybe I just have to push the issue if we decide to sign with them.

Also, a little annoyed that they are having their second price increase in as many months.


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RE: Schumacher Homes - opinions?

We almost went with Schumacher (Columbus, OH office) because a friend built with them and has nothing but good things to say. In his experience they were fast, reliable, corrected their mistakes and have been good about following up.

We met with Schumacher twice pricing out the 'Salley' plan. Yes, 2x6 walls and a poured basement are standard but some things you'd expect to be standard (like window trim) aren't!

Just this week a friend was having some electrical work done and the guys doing the work were talking about a Schumacher home that had to have all the electrical/lighting torn out after the fact because the homeowners were having problems with it. It had to all be redone...since this is secondhand information I have no idea if Schumacher or the homeowner footed the bill for this.

They won't give credit for work you want to do yourself but they will leave the materials there, uninstalled. Our thought was to use those materials in the basement.

If we didn't live near Amish/Mennonite communities we probably would've taken our chances with Schumacher. But we're not building our 'dream home.' We actually didn't want to build but couldn't find a home for sale that met our needs so we made a rather spur of the moment decision to buy land and build. Budget and getting in quickly are pretty important to us (me, 4 kids & work-from-home hubby cramped into a rental right now).

But I second the suggestion of using Amish/Mennonite if they're around. Their prices are comparable to Schumacher and their work is high quality. We're using a local Mennonite builder who, thankfully, had a client back out so he's now available to break ground for us next month.

We were also very impressed with Schlabach Homes but they charge 10% extra to build in our county because we're further away. But even with the 10% upcharge Schlabach's prices are excellent.

Here is a link that might be useful: Schlabach Homes


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Hi guys,

I have heard a lot of bad reviews about the Schumacher homes, however, every time i go to look at the homes I love them. I really like the layout of the Heritage B home.

Has anyone ever thought about taking the blueprint of a Schumacher home and contacting a trusted local builder to execute the job? This way avoiding some of the hidden costs and loop holes that I've heard so much about?

If anyone has done this, or is thinking about doing this, or has any input on this topic at all, please let me know. Any information is greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Adam


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How are you going to get a Schumacher Homes plan, they certainly will not sell you one?


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I wasnt planning on getting an exact blueprint, they do have the layout of their homes with some dimensions also.

So, going off this, I would say the way I was thinking about doing it was to draw up a basic blueprint using a computer software and then going (with an external contractor) to look at the home to give them the idea of what I wanted. This way they can see the more intricate details that I was unable to convey in the basic blueprint.

This is just an idea, looking for some advice. I dont know if this is a way of saving money on the project or not. hoefully someone does.

Thanks.


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We did this exact thing with a Schumacher floor plan. Went through the entire process with Schumacher, had a floor plan and price but we were out of their area they were willing to build. So we took a print of the floor plans from their website and went to a local lumber yard that will draw up the blueprints for your build. We eventually tossed those plans after critiques from gardenweb but our new plans are still loosely based off of the Schumacher plan. They are not willingly going to let you take their plans and have someone else build them but we told them if they wouldn't build it, someone would.


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