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Old 05-29-2017, 08:22 PM
2 posts, read 1,534 times
Reputation: 10


We are considering building partially building a house. Our budget, after land will be about $150k.
Can we afford to have the foundation, framing, exterior, roof, plumbing, electrical, a water heater and heating installed? We plan to attempt to do the site cleaning, insulation, dryway, painting, flooring ourselves. We are looking for a 3-4 bedroom house that is around 1000-1200 square foot per level, probably only single floor and unfinished basement (unless two stories are a better idea). Does this sound like a realistic budget? If so, what percentage should we allocate to foundation, framing, etc. Thanks!
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:31 PM
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It's doable, even in Bozeman. Vet your sub-contractors very carefully, I cannot stress this enough, far too many idiots posing as legit contractors.

150K can go a long way if you're willing/capable of performing many of the construction phases that are typically subbed out to contractors.

Good luck in your endeavor.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:52 AM
Location: East Helena, MT
765 posts, read 479,144 times
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In MT, the biggest cost (headache), is going to be the foundation. There are massive rocks hiding all over the state, just below the surface. Unless you are going to rent a ground penetrating radar, you won't know until you break ground. I have a friend that when the contractor started digging his basement, there was a huge boulder under the ground. They couldn't move it with an excavator, in fact the cheapest option between renting a crane and building a pad for it, or blowing it up, was to blast it. It added a good 50k to the cost of his home. This is in no way an everyday occurrence, I just want to bring it up because you need to make sure you have some funds in reserve incase your home site is a boulder pit.

Are you building in an area with city services like sewer and water, or is this going to need a well and septic. Those are the other concerns, as both can be extremely expensive depending on the site.

In MT, it is cheaper to build up, rather than out. I would talk to contractors in the area to get their ideas. I know in Helena, there are tons of split level homes, and homes with a finished basement, first floor, in new construction. I'm, guessing there is a reason for that.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:30 PM
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I do not think so. I think it would be very difficult. You'd need keep simple roof lines, no big porches, decks etc.

Not including site prep or final dirt work & then the landscaping, or bringing water, sewer, utilities----it costs $200 sq ft for new construction with average finishes built from architect drawn plans on a build ready site.

Rough out the numbers.
A 1200 Sq ft house = at min $240,000 to build. General (which you would be) costs 20% of total; so take $48,000 off.
That leaves it at $192,000 house build (labor & materials).
Are you going to do labor (not including materials) totaling $42,000 on top of managing the project as the general contractor--- so you can get total down to 150k? I'm already thinking of the "general contractor" discounts on materials to give you an automatic cushion. Because I have only seen one house built for exactly what the original budget was....they tend to run 15% over.

What about a garage? In MT a garage is desirable.

Also 1200 Sq ft likely means 2 small bedrooms & a modest master.

Good plans, well done foundation/basement, and perfection framers will make it work smoothly. I do not know how difficult it is to get the important first subs (foundation & framers) in Bozeman when you are a one off small house project & not a professional general contractor. Several years ago you could have had your pick, today there is a building frenzy going on again in Gallatin County.
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:34 PM
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This gives me a lot to think about. Thank you for the replies!
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Old 07-10-2017, 02:06 PM
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Reputation: 11
Default Stay out of Bozeman City limits

It should not be a problem if you stay outside of the Bozeman City limits. Bozeman is currently very overpriced for land and housing. It would be even cheaper if you build outside of Gallatin County. Good luck finding a good contractor. The good ones are very busy and in high demand.
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Old 07-23-2017, 05:53 PM
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,329 posts, read 12,158,858 times
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My sister's house is this custom state-of-the-art mad-architect creation (I know, because she was the architect!) built a couple miles below Bozeman Pass. It has two floors, a nearly-full basement, and a secondary 2-story building attached via decks. Anyway, the main parts were finished about 3 years ago and they have somewhere in the $175k range for what they couldn't do themselves, which involved foundation (and some interior concrete), framing, metal roof, windows (GIANT windows), and mixed metal/wood siding, but not the lot prep, well, and septic. They could have saved a bit with individual contractors rather than a big outfit and his several subcontractors, but didn't have time to mess with that. If you built a normal house instead of a fancy lunatic asylum, you could probably do better.

If I'd hit a giant boulder under my proposed foundation, I think I'd have considered how to incorporate it into the house! or worked around it somehow. Main problem would be heaving, if it wasn't below the frost line.
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