Getting started on a new building of a home? Where do I start?


Old 10-26-02, 09:11 PM
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Getting started on a new building of a home? Where do I start?

Hi, all. I am in a very rural area and I want to build my own house.
I don't have the land, I am looking at plans and can modify the plans to my liking. Any suggestions about where, when, how to get started.
John in Harrisonburg, Virginia
Old 10-27-02, 08:30 AM
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I'll just give a preliminary guide to what you are asking so you have an idea as to what you are about to undertake;

1. Determine your TOTAL budget - This would include and not be limited to land costs, water and sewer requirements, engineering and architectual fees, permit costs, labor and material of the home struture and all the fixtures, cabinets, etc. Consult your banker, lawyer or accountant for direction in this endeavor.

2. Land purchase - Consider property location, placement of home, any future developments planned within your area which makes the purchase questionable, how the land is in relationship to style of home desired. Also, there may be restrictions on home size and type. Bear in mind, a land survey will be required, which adds to overall costs - $800 on up is an average cost

3. Blueprints - Be aware that all home plans are not acceptable where you may live and in allot of cases have to be redrawn to meet local codes and regulations - The cost of plans may increase due to incomplete information. In some cases, having a custom home drawn may be cheaper and faster than having plans changed. There would be guarantees that the home is buildable and meets codes within your area. In addition, the designer/architect could guide you through the cost issues and your personal desires, as well as being an advocate for your project. Read the FINE print before purchasing a mail order set.

4. Obtaining bids for all the work that needs to be done, the contractors if you choose a General will include everything that YOU SPECIFY as well as the general items from water and sewer (well and septic system if applicable), excavation,foundation work, framing, doors/windows, plumbing, electrical, roofing, HVAC, siding (materials required), roofing, insulation, drywall,painting,cabinets and countertops,floorin covering,trim - interior and exterior, garage, driveway, sidewalks and landscaping. Basically a detailed project specifications that is the same for all bidders. If you choose to be the General and is allowable by your lending institution, you will contact indivdual subcontractors for each area and setting up the construction schedule, responsible for ensuring that all insurances are carried and that all inspections are done.

5. Selecting the General Contractor, getting referrences, looking at jobs and talking to past clients. Issues should include detailed project specification start and finish dates, change orders - how they will effect costs, penalties for not completing the job on time and getting the contract signed to protect you and the contractor.
All permits are usually obtained by the General Contractor.
Communication is important and you should feel comfortable with the Contractor. Consider everything before you sign anything.

6. When the project is nearing completion, a punch list should be made - these may be small items of repair or touch ups and again this procedure should be mentioned on the contract and a time frame to correct with penalties. No final payment should be made to General Contractor unless all items have been resolved to your satisfaction.

Depending on how this project is financed, there are guidelines that the lending institution will set up regarding payments for stages of the work completed before payments are made to you and the General Contractor. Some financial institutions may not allow you to be the General Contractor, if so they will explain their reasons. Usually the checks are written to both and you endorse this and present check to General. Again, you have control of the project and payments given. ALWAYS RECEIVE LEIN WAIVERS FROM ALL SUBCONTRACTORS AND GENERAL AT TIME OF EACH PAYMENT.

I realize this list is short band I know more cold be said but this provides a good idea as to what is involved.

Hope this helps!
Old 10-27-02, 09:54 AM
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Getting started on a new building of a home? Where do I start?


Congratulations, it is a great step!
The first thing to do: ask for each family member to write a list called "My dream house is...". Discuss with them styles, rooms, spaces, and hobbies. Look at your life style today and try to see it in the next years: planning more children? Do you love to invite friends to a barbecue party? Is your Mom going to live with you? And write all. Then classify each idea as Very Important, More or Less Important or Less Important. With these steps you are ready to start with your Dream Home Design without mistakes.

Buy a "ready to use" home plan can be dangerous if you don't know all you're buying. Some sites offering floorplans, they only sell sets and if you want to modify, you'll need to pay lots of money for the electronic files, so it is easy (and better) start from scratch.

And try always to see the entire project in 3D to avoid surprises.

Let us now if you need more help

Good luck!!!
Old 10-27-02, 02:13 PM
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Doug's summary is excellent. I would add just one thing: once you determine what your total budget is, add a contingency of 3% to 5% for the unknowns that always seem to come up. Examples I've seen over the years: a pocket of bad soil that the soil borings missed; a huge boulder in the excavation; an inadequate budget for appliances, light fixtures, etc; and so on. If you don't use it, great, it's money in your pocket for other things.

Old 11-10-02, 06:59 PM
Real Wood Floor
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3-5% safety net is only something in ones dreams. You should get all the help you can. Getting the realistic costs together is not a simple thing for a first timer. Get all your numbers together and then with help from others think of everything that could possibly go wrong that could cost money. Take that amount and add 20%. You may not need the extra 20%. But you must be able to get your hands on that amount without bankrupting yourself. Just incase your numbers are wrong. I have seen many people think they could build their dream home and end up in bankruptcy being a few thousand dollars short of finishing the house. It's not fun to go through all that you will only to see someone else living at the address that you thought would be yours. It's a great learning experience and the satisfaction at the end is there If you keep your eyes wide open and don't get caught financially. GET ALL THE INFORMATION YOU CAN AND USE IT.

Good Luck, AL
Old 11-12-02, 12:46 AM
Patty Sills
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Smile new home

Hi my husband and I finished our new home in March of this year. It has been so exciting to see the plans I sat down and designed one evening is now our new home. We went over buget by quite a bit because we added a whole lower level ,which gave us a hugh 2 car, plus size garage, a theater room and 1600sq, ft, apartment. It was a great experience and I would design and build our next house too, if we ever left here. This is the second home I designed and we built our home, the new owners of our previous home love it.

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