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Old 01-25-2017, 08:42 PM
 
5 posts, read 7,827 times
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Hey all, we are moving from are beautiful custom home in Chicago to the burbs. I'm originally from Darien and prefer the west burbs over north and south for a variety of reasons. My family includes my wife and two young boys (1 and 2 years old).

We've been looking for tear downs and existing lots to build custom. All seem to be popular towns for pro builders so we are competing with them on trying to find a tear down/lot. I'm leaning more towards north Downers but my wife likes Elmhurst. We're both neutral on Clarendon Hills. Neither of us take the train for work so we don't care about closeness to Metra - like most forum posts I read. Here is our budget and pros/cons we came up with:

Budget & custom home info:

Price target $250k or less for lot/tear down. Max price $350k
Custom home budget not including lot cost $400k-600k
Desired size of home - 3200 - 3800 sq ft w/ 3 car garage

Elmhurst:

Pros - Location is great, good schools, many larger homes built in recent years, cool downtown area.

Cons - Small-ish lots due to post WW2 ranches, higher priced homes/lots, no side walks and power lines near street on many roads, downtown area too expensive.

North Downers:

Pros - Location is good - not too far west, good schools, many larger homes built in recent years, "ok" downtown area, larger lots than most other towns.

Cons - not as prestigious, many Ogden businesses are closed or run down, power lines near street and some streets don't have sidewalks.

Clarendon Hills:

Pros - less expensive than Hinsdale, decent downtown, superb high school, location is good.

Cons - Find it kind of boring, never really see people walking around like other towns, high prices sort of, confusing twisty roads and oddly sized lots in some areas.

What's do you think about these suburbs for an experienced, yet novice builder like us? Is finding a lot within our budget a longshot considering the current market?

Last edited by Nikoman; 01-25-2017 at 08:57 PM..
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Old 01-25-2017, 09:17 PM
 
749 posts, read 829,685 times
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There is a 6534 sqft lot in heart of la grange's historic district - recent church tear down freeing up 3 lots. Only 1 left... i would feel safe building here...
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Old 01-25-2017, 10:30 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 76,240,392 times
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Default What are using for your target cost? Seems too low...

Doubtful there are lots that will support a home of 3800sq ft & 3 car garage for $250k or even $350k.

Even more doubtful that a build cost around $200/sq ft is at all feasible.

I like Elmhurst a whole lot, many friends live there. It does vary quite a bit by neighborhood, with the relatively cost / desirability very high nearest College Hill.

Similarly Downers Grove has a wide range of options and three train stops. The fall off in desirability as you move from the core around Main St to Fairview is relatively minor, but it is bigger fall off between Belmont and the the industrial park / 355.

Those are things that make me prefer smaller towns.

The relative "bustle" this time of year is greatly impacted by weather conditions, if you've been around during warmer months you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find -- for a very small town CH has lots going on. The "bustle" at the local Starbucks goes on all day, the adjacent crepe shop is quite fun too -- The Little Creperie, Clarendon Hills

The locally owned Daily Scoop is the kind of place that whole Little Leaque teams pile into after wins or losses.
Shout Out: Maggie Kienzle, last sister at Daily Scoop - The Doings Clarendon Hills

You need not be a train commuter to appreciate a very walkable town, fact is a huge percentage of homes are within walking distance of the outstanding D181 Prospect, Walker & CHMS-- Clarendon Hills Walking Routes - The best walking routes in Clarendon Hills, Illinois


Summer Concert Series | Clarendon Hills IL

Clarendon Hills Park District | Lions Park Pool - Attractions

You could afford an existing home with a three car garage and your total budget would leave room for renovation either minor or more involved -- 223 Woodstock Ave, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 - realtor.com®
128 Woodstock Ave, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 - realtor.com®

Last edited by chet everett; 01-25-2017 at 10:42 PM..
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Old 01-26-2017, 08:46 AM
 
730 posts, read 593,735 times
Reputation: 501
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikoman View Post
Hey all, we are moving from are beautiful custom home in Chicago to the burbs. I'm originally from Darien and prefer the west burbs over north and south for a variety of reasons. My family includes my wife and two young boys (1 and 2 years old).

We've been looking for tear downs and existing lots to build custom. All seem to be popular towns for pro builders so we are competing with them on trying to find a tear down/lot. I'm leaning more towards north Downers but my wife likes Elmhurst. We're both neutral on Clarendon Hills. Neither of us take the train for work so we don't care about closeness to Metra - like most forum posts I read. Here is our budget and pros/cons we came up with:

Budget & custom home info:

Price target $250k or less for lot/tear down. Max price $350k
Custom home budget not including lot cost $400k-600k
Desired size of home - 3200 - 3800 sq ft w/ 3 car garage

Elmhurst:

Pros - Location is great, good schools, many larger homes built in recent years, cool downtown area.

Cons - Small-ish lots due to post WW2 ranches, higher priced homes/lots, no side walks and power lines near street on many roads, downtown area too expensive.

North Downers:

Pros - Location is good - not too far west, good schools, many larger homes built in recent years, "ok" downtown area, larger lots than most other towns.

Cons - not as prestigious, many Ogden businesses are closed or run down, power lines near street and some streets don't have sidewalks.

Clarendon Hills:

Pros - less expensive than Hinsdale, decent downtown, superb high school, location is good.

Cons - Find it kind of boring, never really see people walking around like other towns, high prices sort of, confusing twisty roads and oddly sized lots in some areas.

What's do you think about these suburbs for an experienced, yet novice builder like us? Is finding a lot within our budget a longshot considering the current market?
I can really only speak to Downers North here -

You're most likely to find a lot in Downers North, but they are still hard to come by at that price - I've been seeing perfectly viable homes sell for 350K on 60x220 lots (probably the smallest size you'd want).

As far as Ogden Ave, there is a distinct revitalization plan currently underway not just in Downers, but in Westmont, Lisle, and Hinsdale to bring in new businesses here. It might not occur overnight, but the area is consistently beautifying, so-to-speak.

As far as less prestigious, with the rash of tear-downs that have occurred in the last 5-10 years (and continue to do so), the wealth of students at DG North High will start to come closer to the other burbs you mention, which (I suspect) is the 'prestige' of which you speak.

For all the areas - sidewalks are very commonly only on one side of the street.

Sounds like you want to live in Hinsdale (from what you describe) - but are hoping to find elements of it elsewhere?
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Old 01-26-2017, 11:11 AM
 
4,018 posts, read 2,967,158 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Doubtful there are lots that will support a home of 3800sq ft & 3 car garage for $250k or even $350k.

Even more doubtful that a build cost around $200/sq ft is at all feasible.
Exactly, and his home (not land) budget seems to be at least $200K too low

Quote:
You could afford an existing home with a three car garage and your total budget would leave room for renovation either minor or more involved -- 223 Woodstock Ave, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 - realtor.com®
128 Woodstock Ave, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 - realtor.com®

Yeah, my thoughts too, but someone coming from a custom home in the city and desiring custom again will probably balk at that idea unless they absolutely cannot budge on their top end provided in this thread.
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Old 01-26-2017, 03:07 PM
 
730 posts, read 593,735 times
Reputation: 501
Quote:
Originally Posted by damba View Post
Exactly, and his home (not land) budget seems to be at least $200K too low




Yeah, my thoughts too, but someone coming from a custom home in the city and desiring custom again will probably balk at that idea unless they absolutely cannot budge on their top end provided in this thread.
Yeah - I can't imagine that the margin on a place like this:

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Downers-Gr.../home/18027522

at 1.35 MM is over 30%, which is what the numbers would need to be for the OPs estimate of about 950K all-in (including time holding a note before occupancy, or the full cash outlay).

OP - can you work with a builder who already has a lot, and as a confirmed buyer get a better price?
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Old 01-26-2017, 03:48 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 76,240,392 times
Reputation: 18535
Default But if I am reading the comment correctly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJA29 View Post
Yeah - I can't imagine that the margin on a place like this:

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Downers-Gr.../home/18027522

at 1.35 MM is over 30%, which is what the numbers would need to be for the OPs estimate of about 950K all-in (including time holding a note before occupancy, or the full cash outlay).

OP - can you work with a builder who already has a lot, and as a confirmed buyer get a better price?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikoman View Post
Hey all, we are moving from are beautiful custom home in Chicago to the burbs. ... looking for tear downs and existing lots to build custom. All seem to be popular towns for pro builders so we are competing with them on trying to find a tear down/lot. ...
Budget & custom home info:

Price target $250k or less for lot/tear down. Max price $350k
Custom home budget not including lot cost $400k-600k
Desired size of home - 3200 - 3800 sq ft w/ 3 car garage
... an experienced, yet novice builder like us? Is finding a lot within our budget a longshot considering the current market?
Sounds like the OP wants to try their hand at being a GC, which is not unheard of, but for a variety of reasons, may not be a great strategy. AND it certainly won't make things easy if they do find a home that is even "optioned" with a builder...
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Old 01-26-2017, 08:12 PM
 
730 posts, read 593,735 times
Reputation: 501
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Sounds like the OP wants to try their hand at being a GC, which is not unheard of, but for a variety of reasons, may not be a great strategy. AND it certainly won't make things easy if they do find a home that is even "optioned" with a builder...
Yeah - I agree with you on that. I still think that the budget is just too low for a lot/ tear-down and new construction. Even in Downers, a lot big enough would cost at least 350K, and probably upwards of 400K on a more desired street. The other mentioned 'burbs are likely more expensive. Add in 250 sq/ ft for a 3500 BR house, then we're probably talking about another 800K, before whatever things the village(s) require be done -- new storm-water fixes, water lines, specific landscaping, etc.

My previous point was that similar homes are 1.3MM+ list, so the margins can't be nearly 30-40%, which is where the OP hopes to be.
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Old 01-26-2017, 11:07 PM
 
4,018 posts, read 2,967,158 times
Reputation: 3118
Two words- money pit!
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Old 01-27-2017, 09:05 AM
 
28,461 posts, read 76,240,392 times
Reputation: 18535
Default With the clarification, we are 100% on the same page....

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJA29 View Post
Yeah - I agree with you on that. I still think that the budget is just too low for a lot/ tear-down and new construction. Even in Downers, a lot big enough would cost at least 350K, and probably upwards of 400K on a more desired street. The other mentioned 'burbs are likely more expensive. Add in 250 sq/ ft for a 3500 BR house, then we're probably talking about another 800K, before whatever things the village(s) require be done -- new storm-water fixes, water lines, specific landscaping, etc.

My previous point was that similar homes are 1.3MM+ list, so the margins can't be nearly 30-40%, which is where the OP hopes to be.
If the OP really thinks that custom builders are walking away with $300k on houses in the nicer suburbs they are badly mistaken, margins are much slimmer. There is almost certainly a fatter percentage of profit in things like flipping low end homes in more modest areas. Of course the relative "fun" / sense of accomplishment that builders get from finishing off a high end home with nice finishes and all kinds of wonderful new technology is vastly different than slogging through the bargin-bins of left overs to re-do a more modest home, and the exposure to downside risk of having crews of tradespeople work on three or four smaller homes to deliver the same profit as one much larger project are also big incentives for the more upscale builders...

There is a also a big difference in what sorts of task consume the high end builders "working hours" vs that of somebody who scrambles with several flips -- while one is spending lots of time with clients making decisions about custom tile, various appliance options, and what sorts of outdoor hardscaping is currently "in", the other guy is dealing more directly with workers who tend to all have their own ideas about how efficiently a project can be completed. Having seen / worked with both types of GCs I know that the skillset that the OP would need in either role is not easily mastered -- relationships with suppliers of high end finish materials are notoriously shaky, with delivery schedule always in flux, and to really be an effective "hands-on" GC often means having a unique mix of communication as well as experience to know which tasks conflict with others -- that has become such a special kind of skill that many builders actually add a layer or two of "construction superintendent" to ensure neither speed nor quality are sacrificed.

As RJA also hints, the regulations that various towns impose upon tear downs also work against a "DIY GC" -- experienced builders will be able to rely on how others have dealt with these "demands" much more efficiently than a homeowner. Learning about how to fulfill technical compliance is a big part of what the various professional homebuilders associations work on with their members, this is not something that happens for free...
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