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Things to look for

Posted by amtrucker22 (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 20, 12 at 16:38

I am in the beginning stages of trying to figure out what type of home we are going to be pursuing next (build or buy existing). I think we prefer to build (semi-custom) rather than buy existing, but have not ruled out either. As I start my research I am trying to get my head wrapped around all the details that come with having a house built. So here is an attempt of mine to get an idea of things to look for when having a house built that could significantly change the budget.

I would love input from you guys/gals on things I am unaware of.

- Lot size/shape/grading/clearing
- septic or city sewer
- Landscaping (including irrigations system)
- Houses with a lot of bump outs = $$

I am not so worried about finishes at this time(wood floors, moulding, lighting).

When I read about a $$/sqft does the sqft also include porches and garage space?

Thanks for the input!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Things to look for

Generally $$ per sq ft is heated space.
-Lot grading and clearing can be expensive depending on your lot.
- Go to the city and check with them to see if it has a sewer connection or will you need a septic tank.
-Typically here in california front landscaping is included but not the rear.
-builders have told me bump outs do cost more so a plain box will be the cheapest option.
I am barely starting the process. We have purchased our lot and are finishing up our plans. Continue to read and ask questions. One of the experts will chime in shortly. Goodluck!

RE: Things to look for

Add in:

* well or city water (wells can have a huge variance in pricing but is an expensive up-front amount)
* utility hook up... some places are free, some you have to pay to trench and bring in the lines (utilities= Electric... gas... cable...)

RE: Things to look for

In most of the country, you can buy existing homes for a lot cheaper than you can build the same home. In some locations, as much as half price of a new build. You have to really really want something non reproducible in order to plan to build in this climate.

RE: Things to look for

Yes we are thinking about buy an existing home, but currently on our existing market there is not a whole lot available in the style we are looking for :(

In our area, the average existing home runs between $70-125 sqft (We live in a low cost area of FL) with new builds only being slightly higher starting out at $75 sqft. That is what led me to the question that I have posted as far as additional cost on top of just the 'build' that we would have shell out when building a new home.

I am surprised to hear when a builder talks $/sqft that he is not including porches and garages. I know in real estate it is heated areas but the $$ has to be made up somewhere when you have a wrap around porch or a 3 car garage.

Thanks for all the comments so far!

RE: Things to look for

Don't forget to check on fees and permits. In some areas, they are very cheap; others- yikes! I read about a man who was building in an historic district of Truckee CA. His permits and fees ran $58,000. No, that's not a typo- fifty-eight THOUSAND dollars! By comparison, our permits in SC were less than $500.

So far, the only surprises were utilities. The water company wanted $1400 just to tap into the main line. I then had to have it run 460 feet underground. The electric was a shock (pun intended) too. Our area is served by two different power companies. The big one, the one I assumed we would have, runs the power underground for free. The other one charges quite a bit- another $1200, IIRC. Also, we had to have the neighbor sign an easement, since the closest pole was on their property, and we needed an easement to come off the pole and under their property over to ours. I'm glad we have nice neighbors!

RE: Things to look for

WOW! 58k for permits and fees. That is really hard to swallow. I don't expect that kind of fees to be added but I will check!

I am hoping that our next property does have underground utilities. I think it cleans up the neighborhoods.

Something we are looking for is a kid friendly neighborhood with sidewalks and street lights. I have found a few lots that are decent size in established neighborhoods but if we put our house on the lot it would be over building for the neighborhood. Man, nothing is simple anymore...

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