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Old 01-20-2015, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Chicago
3,260 posts, read 4,508,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
Any one else have experience with building in the area?
Well, for what it is worth, I had the exact same idea as you do. I can be pretty picky and thought building would be the ideal way to go. I went as far as to meet with some builders and see what they were offering at various price points. Ultimately though, building was not going to save us any money and it would have taken forever (where we'd either be renting or living with relatives, ick). We ended up buying a house that was relatively new (built in 2007, one owner). We love the house we got and we're making it our own over time.

If you are really set on a new house, Greenscape seems to offer the cheapest new homes. We toured several and they look cheap when you're in them, but obviously that doesn't bother many people because they tend to sell quickly.

Greenscape Homes, LLC - About Us

They do offer some level of customization; I heard recent buyers at more than one open house talking about how they moved doorways, added french doors, etc. That kind of thing. Of course if you start with them early in the process you can pick the cabinets/tile/colors.
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:47 AM
 
3,785 posts, read 5,532,335 times
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They look nice from the outside. The pricepoint they reference is about the going rate for newly built singly family homes in nicer dupage areas.
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Old 01-20-2015, 01:26 PM
 
839 posts, read 639,243 times
Reputation: 542
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikitakolata View Post
Well, for what it is worth, I had the exact same idea as you do. I can be pretty picky and thought building would be the ideal way to go. I went as far as to meet with some builders and see what they were offering at various price points. Ultimately though, building was not going to save us any money and it would have taken forever (where we'd either be renting or living with relatives, ick). We ended up buying a house that was relatively new (built in 2007, one owner). We love the house we got and we're making it our own over time.

If you are really set on a new house, Greenscape seems to offer the cheapest new homes. We toured several and they look cheap when you're in them, but obviously that doesn't bother many people because they tend to sell quickly.

Greenscape Homes, LLC - About Us

They do offer some level of customization; I heard recent buyers at more than one open house talking about how they moved doorways, added french doors, etc. That kind of thing. Of course if you start with them early in the process you can pick the cabinets/tile/colors.
Just curious, what price points were discussed when you met with the builders? Is a budget of ~$700k even reasonable? Also, in terms of Greenscape you mention that they looked cheap inside them. What do you mean by that? The level of finishes or the actual craftsmanship itself?
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Old 01-20-2015, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,260 posts, read 4,508,535 times
Reputation: 3991
Quote:
Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
Just curious, what price points were discussed when you met with the builders? Is a budget of ~$700k even reasonable? Also, in terms of Greenscape you mention that they looked cheap inside them. What do you mean by that? The level of finishes or the actual craftsmanship itself?
With Greenscape it was a little of both, the finishes and the craftsmanship. They would use cheap cabinets and throw cheap granite on them, for example. That's great, but it doesn't make the home high end. I don't remember specifically what I didn't like about the craftsmanship, but I guess I just got that "we make these houses as quickly as possible" vibe from the ones we toured. It has been a couple years though so my memory isn't great. I just distinctly remember that my husband and I were both very much underwhelmed after seeing the houses. We toured several of them in different neighborhoods (Naperville, Downers Grove, Elmhurst).

We did meet with one builder who had a lot in Naperville that he said he would build on for $689,000. This was 2 years ago though, in the dead of winter and when the market was worse. The lot was in the downtown area, less than 1/2 a mile to the train. The house he had plans for wasn't what we were looking for and to add what we wanted would have pushed the price up over $800,000. After that conversation we decided to just look at houses that were $800,000 to see if building still seemed like the best way to go. It didn't, at least not for us.

What that builder ended up building went for considerably more than $689,000, by the way:

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Naperville.../home/21737035
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:10 PM
 
839 posts, read 639,243 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikitakolata View Post
With Greenscape it was a little of both, the finishes and the craftsmanship. They would use cheap cabinets and throw cheap granite on them, for example. That's great, but it doesn't make the home high end. I don't remember specifically what I didn't like about the craftsmanship, but I guess I just got that "we make these houses as quickly as possible" vibe from the ones we toured. It has been a couple years though so my memory isn't great. I just distinctly remember that my husband and I were both very much underwhelmed after seeing the houses. We toured several of them in different neighborhoods (Naperville, Downers Grove, Elmhurst).

We did meet with one builder who had a lot in Naperville that he said he would build on for $689,000. This was 2 years ago though, in the dead of winter and when the market was worse. The lot was in the downtown area, less than 1/2 a mile to the train. The house he had plans for wasn't what we were looking for and to add what we wanted would have pushed the price up over $800,000. After that conversation we decided to just look at houses that were $800,000 to see if building still seemed like the best way to go. It didn't, at least not for us.

What that builder ended up building went for considerably more than $689,000, by the way:

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Naperville.../home/21737035
He was initially willing to build THAT house for $689k? That's incredible. Or did he alter his plans after finding a different buyer? That's a great location as well. No surprise it went for $1 mil +
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:33 PM
 
933 posts, read 1,941,891 times
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Let me start by saying my experience is almost 10 years old but I had a custom home built on the North Shore for a little less than $215 p.s.f. The home is 2,200 square feet. I have custom milled solid interior doors, a true clay tile roof, copper gutters, natural cherry custom built kitchen cabinetry, domed barrel ceiling in living room, typical grade oak flooring, granite counters in kitchen and baths (2.5), middle of the road appliances (Kitchenaid, Bosch, Thermador), very good quality Marvin windows (French casement simulated divided light with spacer bars), three sets of Marvin French doors, three sets of seven foot non opening French casement windows, porcelain and natural stone in bathrooms (going half way up all of the walls), 8 inch crown moulding throughout entire house (except barrel ceiling room), 6 inch base moulding. It's typical good quality. Not over the top, but typical for median range of North Shore/west suburbs. This price did not include landscaping or the land itself.
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Old 01-20-2015, 03:23 PM
 
28,384 posts, read 67,954,698 times
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Default A decade is a loooong time ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paige65 View Post
Let me start by saying my experience is almost 10 years old but I had a custom home built on the North Shore for a little less than $215 p.s.f. The home is 2,200 square feet. I have custom milled solid interior doors, a true clay tile roof, copper gutters, natural cherry custom built kitchen cabinetry, domed barrel ceiling in living room, typical grade oak flooring, granite counters in kitchen and baths (2.5), middle of the road appliances (Kitchenaid, Bosch, Thermador), very good quality Marvin windows (French casement simulated divided light with spacer bars), three sets of Marvin French doors, three sets of seven foot non opening French casement windows, porcelain and natural stone in bathrooms (going half way up all of the walls), 8 inch crown moulding throughout entire house (except barrel ceiling room), 6 inch base moulding. It's typical good quality. Not over the top, but typical for median range of North Shore/west suburbs. This price did not include landscaping or the land itself.
Material costs alone have risen DRAMATICALLY, especially for the "higher end" stuff --- honestly I priced out some Marvin windows to replace a few of the older windows in my own home and they have skyrockected in cost, things like copper gutters are literally 10x more than the run of the mill aluminum -- What's the Difference: Gutters - Fine Homebuilding Article

Similarly true clay tiles are an "ultra premium" option that really is off the charts in terms of materials and extra labor for installation -- Cost of a Tile Roof - Estimates and Prices Paid - CostHelper.com

I am amazed that you could keep the construction costs so far below $500K even in 2004...
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Old 01-20-2015, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,260 posts, read 4,508,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
He was initially willing to build THAT house for $689k? That's incredible. Or did he alter his plans after finding a different buyer? That's a great location as well. No surprise it went for $1 mil +
Well no, of course it wasn't the house that actually got built there. The front looked similar but the interior was quite different. It was smaller, fewer bathooms, only 3 bedrooms, no third floor. I don't think the first floor had an office/flex space either. Of course this was more than 2 years ago and I only saw the floor plan that one time.

I am not at all surprised that the builder decided to go with a much more upscale house. Obviously, there is more money to be made that way.
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Old 01-20-2015, 04:02 PM
 
933 posts, read 1,941,891 times
Reputation: 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Material costs alone have risen DRAMATICALLY, especially for the "higher end" stuff --- honestly I priced out some Marvin windows to replace a few of the older windows in my own home and they have skyrockected in cost, things like copper gutters are literally 10x more than the run of the mill aluminum -- What's the Difference: Gutters - Fine Homebuilding Article

Similarly true clay tiles are an "ultra premium" option that really is off the charts in terms of materials and extra labor for installation -- Cost of a Tile Roof - Estimates and Prices Paid - CostHelper.com

I am amazed that you could keep the construction costs so far below $500K even in 2004...
I didn't mean to imply that copper gutters and a clay tile roof are standard features on a home. I was speaking more to the interior finishes, which are good quality but nothing extraordinary, and very typical of what you would see in a North Shore or west suburban home. Also, I did not mean to imply that I knew exactly what it would cost to build in today's environment. That is why I prefaced my comment with the fact that this was done almost 10 years ago. The only thing that I did not use the general contractor for was our clay tile roof. I wanted to go with a company that I was sure knew how to do the roof. I was able to negotiate quite a hefty amount off the original bids that I got by using two competing roofers who were both very experienced in installing the roof I wanted. However, I did factor that cost into my price per square-foot quoted above. I guess I should be happy that this all took place 10 years ago. If you are right that material costs have increased significantly, had we been doing it today, we never would have taken the leap.
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Old 01-20-2015, 04:23 PM
 
839 posts, read 639,243 times
Reputation: 542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paige65 View Post
I didn't mean to imply that copper gutters and a clay tile roof are standard features on a home. I was speaking more to the interior finishes, which are good quality but nothing extraordinary, and very typical of what you would see in a North Shore or west suburban home. Also, I did not mean to imply that I knew exactly what it would cost to build in today's environment. That is why I prefaced my comment with the fact that this was done almost 10 years ago. The only thing that I did not use the general contractor for was our clay tile roof. I wanted to go with a company that I was sure knew how to do the roof. I was able to negotiate quite a hefty amount off the original bids that I got by using two competing roofers who were both very experienced in installing the roof I wanted. However, I did factor that cost into my price per square-foot quoted above. I guess I should be happy that this all took place 10 years ago. If you are right that material costs have increased significantly, had we been doing it today, we never would have taken the leap.
While material costs have risen (though the price of copper has dropped of late), I wonder how much labor costs have truly risen in the past 10 years. Wages have been relatively stagnant since the Great Recession and 2005 was near the peak of new home construction so demand pushed price then too
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