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Old 06-23-2007, 09:12 AM
 
6 posts, read 23,426 times
Reputation: 12

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Hi we are a family of three (with a 6yr old child) that have just put our home on the market here in Suffolk, VA. First off, let me thank Mike from the East for an outstanding job advising and giving out great information on the Colorado Springs area. It has been invaluable! The question that we have is this:

First, we would like to take the money that we have made on our home here in Suffolk, and apply that to a new home out there in CS.

We would like to purchase a home similar to the one that we have here, it is an all brick 2,260 sq ft ranch style home in a fairly upscale all brick neighborhood on .38 acres of land. We are willing to sacrifice the brick for stucco, and also reduce the main floor to around 1800 Sq ft and reduce the lot size down to around ¼ acre. However, we would like to have a full unfinished/finished basement, and be in a good school zone, with a good view (don’t want much do we!!!! ).

Now, from what I see on the realtor sites is that it would cost us a lot more to get into a style of home like the one we just described, in CS. We are therefore thinking about trying to self contract our home, so as to make enough savings to be able build the home that we want.

What we are finding though is that there doesn’t seem to be that many people in CS that have done this, also that there is an issue of finding land in a good school zone. We would like to have around a quarter acre, with access to city water and sewer. We have budgeted about $80,000 Max for this. (This maybe wishful thinking but that is why I am asking the question). We are budgeting around $300,000 total for land and building our home.

So bottom line is this, is there anyone out there that has done this already that could give us some guidance on buying land (hopefully around D20 or D38), and Sub contractors, etc. Or if anyone has a better suggestion we are very open to ideas. We were originally looking at the Meridian Ranch area, but that is a little out in the boonies for us and there are very few trees, plus I heard that it can get pretty windy out there, am I right?

Any help/guidance would be much appreciated.
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Old 06-23-2007, 10:30 AM
 
20,311 posts, read 37,810,444 times
Reputation: 18092
Default Thanks for the kind words....

....I just checked REALTOR.com - Real Estate Listings & Homes For Sale for zip 80920 and find about 30 homes priced btw $200k and $275K with a minimum of 3/2/basement/2500 sq ft. A home of 2500 sq ft for $250k is $100/sq ft, a very good price IMO. Use their advanced search function, I wore it out a few years ago in my home search.

....4-5 of these homes have 0.25 acres or more, several more have 0.20 to 0.24 acres.

....most of these homes have 0.15 - 0.19 acres.

Larger lot sizes mean more lawn, more watering. CO is semi-arid. Do you really want to spend money on watering?

Zip 80920 is my favorite area in NE COL SPGS, has D20 schools, very low crime, all new stuff, great hwy access. Views.
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
649 posts, read 2,649,852 times
Reputation: 179
Hey there- I did a search on land for District 49, 38 and 20. I found 16 pieces of land in your price range or less. They say on an average you can have a custom home built for $135 sq ft. bashep

Last edited by bashep; 06-27-2007 at 08:00 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 06-28-2007, 05:00 PM
 
6 posts, read 23,426 times
Reputation: 12
Default More questions!!!

Mike and Bashep,

Thank you for your posts!
You gave me more ideas where to look.

Mike,
I checked the realtor.com website for zip 80920. As you mentioned, there were quite a lot of houses in that area which were priced under $300,000. But I noticed that even though most of them are over 2,500 square feet, they are 2 story houses or include basement square footage. It means that the main floor is less than 1,300 square feet. Because we like to have most of our living area on the main level ( i.e. Master Bedroom + 1 more Bedroom for our child + Study Room and Dining Room + Kitchen and Living Room) the main floor needs to be at least 1,700-1,800 square feet. The basement would be extra space above and beyond what we need . It seems that we would be hard pressed to find something like this in our price range in a good area.

Another issue we have is the look of the outside of the houses. We like to have a high roof style, not just card fold old style. I searched realtor.com and could not see the type of style that we like under $450-$500,000. That's why we're thinking about being a self contractor and building our own house.

I bought a book called “The Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home” and it says that we can save 25-42 percent compared to a similar home purchased through a real estate agent, and it seemed the only option that we have to be able to build our dream home in Colorado Springs.

$ 80,000 (Max Cost for Land size ¼ or 1/5 size of Lot)
+ $187,000 ($110 Building Cost x 1,700 Sq ft. )
__________________________________________________ __
= $267,000
+ $ 30,000 (Building Cost of 1,700 Sq ft. Basement )
__________________________________________________ ___
= $297,000 (Total Cost of House)

*But it would be the equivalent of a $375,000 - $426,000 home (Based on 25% - 42% Sweat Equity that we earn by contracting our home.

Do you ( or anyone else that reads this), think that we have our numbers right? Or are we way off base?


Bashep,

Thank you so much for taking the time to search for land for us! I have a couple of question for you.
How can I find the land that you found? Are the lots accessible to City Water and Sewer?
I read some posts that said that you must be careful about water rights. I wish I could find land where I don't have to spend lots of extra money to buy water rights. And How much is to buy water right anyway? Is it easy???
You included School District 49. If I remember right, that is near the Meridian Ranch housing area. How windy is that area? Or is it windy everywhere in Colorado??? Are those schools good?

And the building cost of $135 sq ft. is that including the land price??? And Is it based on the being a self-contractor??? It seemed that it is way more expensive than I hoped. I was looking at around $100 sq ft. At least that is the amount we were told by realestate agents out at Meridian Ranch.

I found quite a lot of land under our budget, $80,000 in School District 11. I wonder how that area is and how good the schools are.

I really hope that you (or anyone else that reads this) can answer my questions. I expected more people to respond to this thread, but I guess that there are not many people looking to be their own contractor out there.

Again, thank you so much for to both of you for all your info

datoney
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Cypress, TX
3 posts, read 11,495 times
Reputation: 10
Default Any Luck?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by datoney View Post
Mike and Bashep,

Thank you for your posts!
You gave me more ideas where to look.

Mike,
I checked the realtor.com website for zip 80920. As you mentioned, there were quite a lot of houses in that area which were priced under $300,000. But I noticed that even though most of them are over 2,500 square feet, they are 2 story houses or include basement square footage. It means that the main floor is less than 1,300 square feet. Because we like to have most of our living area on the main level ( i.e. Master Bedroom + 1 more Bedroom for our child + Study Room and Dining Room + Kitchen and Living Room) the main floor needs to be at least 1,700-1,800 square feet. The basement would be extra space above and beyond what we need . It seems that we would be hard pressed to find something like this in our price range in a good area.

Another issue we have is the look of the outside of the houses. We like to have a high roof style, not just card fold old style. I searched realtor.com and could not see the type of style that we like under $450-$500,000. That's why we're thinking about being a self contractor and building our own house.

I bought a book called “The Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home” and it says that we can save 25-42 percent compared to a similar home purchased through a real estate agent, and it seemed the only option that we have to be able to build our dream home in Colorado Springs.

$ 80,000 (Max Cost for Land size ¼ or 1/5 size of Lot)
+ $187,000 ($110 Building Cost x 1,700 Sq ft. )
__________________________________________________ __
= $267,000
+ $ 30,000 (Building Cost of 1,700 Sq ft. Basement )
__________________________________________________ ___
= $297,000 (Total Cost of House)

*But it would be the equivalent of a $375,000 - $426,000 home (Based on 25% - 42% Sweat Equity that we earn by contracting our home.

Do you ( or anyone else that reads this), think that we have our numbers right? Or are we way off base?


Bashep,

Thank you so much for taking the time to search for land for us! I have a couple of question for you.
How can I find the land that you found? Are the lots accessible to City Water and Sewer?
I read some posts that said that you must be careful about water rights. I wish I could find land where I don't have to spend lots of extra money to buy water rights. And How much is to buy water right anyway? Is it easy???
You included School District 49. If I remember right, that is near the Meridian Ranch housing area. How windy is that area? Or is it windy everywhere in Colorado??? Are those schools good?

And the building cost of $135 sq ft. is that including the land price??? And Is it based on the being a self-contractor??? It seemed that it is way more expensive than I hoped. I was looking at around $100 sq ft. At least that is the amount we were told by realestate agents out at Meridian Ranch.

I found quite a lot of land under our budget, $80,000 in School District 11. I wonder how that area is and how good the schools are.

I really hope that you (or anyone else that reads this) can answer my questions. I expected more people to respond to this thread, but I guess that there are not many people looking to be their own contractor out there.

Again, thank you so much for to both of you for all your info

datoney
We just came from CO on a recon mission to check out the areas best to live. We looked at a house in District 11, it was 4 out of 5 stars, but definitely D20 is desirable.

I was wondering if you had any luck building/finding a home out there in your price range! It's insane I came across this because we're looking for the exact same thing. We're coming from Cypress, Texas (a desirable city in the NW Houston area) in a brick house at 2350sf with upgraded interior finish-out on about 5250sf lot (yes, small yards). Houses in our area sell around $60-70/sf. We were looking to move up there so we spent a few days driving around and a whole day with a realtor looking in houses and just about determined that we're going to have to build to get something even close to what we're used to living in. We're okay to sacrifice space, just like you - but the exterior look of the houses in CoSpgs are god-awful in most areas.

So my questions are: Did you build? Did you buy a pre-owned home? How much did everything cost? Do you like it? We need to know how much we should expect to spend and it's awesome that someone else had the same issue!

I hope to hear from you soon!
Kara
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:38 PM
 
841 posts, read 1,249,916 times
Reputation: 603
My frustration with the brand new houses is very similar to what was stated- in many models, if you want more than one to two bedrooms, you need to finish the basement!! It bothers me!

We are currently looking for a home and we are finding the N/W really has the best combination of land sizes and home sizes for us. So many of the houses for sale on the N/E side of town are very tiny lots, with houses right next to each other. We also find that the N/E side of town is simply too far out of the way for my daughter's school, my husband's work, and my son's daycare, and the traffic on Powers is something to avoid.


I would like to advocate a bit for D11. D20 schools are good, but Palmer High School is routinely listed as one of the top schools in Colorado and is in the Newsweek list of best high schools. It offers the IB programme (something I am very familiar with, as my daughter attends the IB Primary Years at Midland ES in D11, and am trained in IB Middle years and Diploma Programme), many AP courses are offered, and as a substitute and as a teacher, a dream job is to work at Palmer High. My daughter will be going to Palmer (her great-grandmother went there, first graduating class of Palmer HS), and likely to North Middle.

There are certainly schools within D11 that are not ideal, but there are very good schools within D11. Many of the school districts in C/S are good, but within the districts are some AWESOME schools! I teach in a HS in D49 and our principal is pretty fantastic, and is instituting some really exciting things in our school. D49 does get a bit more windy as it's more out on the plains. Meridian Ranch has an excellent elementary school, it's an IB school as well.

When you are doing your research, really look at the individual schools, the programs offered, to get a good well rounded look. One thing that may be on your radar is the cultural make-up of the school. I feel my daughter would encounter quite a bit more diversity at a great school like Palmer than another great school like Air Academy. Personal opinion, of course.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Powers/Dublin
215 posts, read 631,168 times
Reputation: 122
I've heard good things too about some D11 schools. Scott elementary is rated one of the highest. (Powers/Dublin area) I also wanted to say, I live in District 49 on a quarter acre lot and my husband hates mowing the lawn. We are in a great neighborhood with close proximity to schools (Ridgeview at Stetson Hills). 80923. We have a home with a finished basement that the builder finished.
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
4,331 posts, read 4,359,501 times
Reputation: 15300
I'll bet that in the current housing depression it is a lot more cost effective to buy an existing house and refurbish it. New carpet, paint, counters, sinks and floors are likely still cheaper than building from new.

Comments?
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:42 PM
 
841 posts, read 1,249,916 times
Reputation: 603
The only thing I've found is that a couple friends are frustrated with the quality (or lack of) of appliances and other various things. They find that they have to replace their appliances within three to four years when building new.

After researching, for us, we find that we'd have way more bang for our buck finding a great home in an existing neighborhood. There are too many neighborhoods, that are brand new, that have empty houses, empty lots, because of the economic situation. Sure, many neighborhoods will have this, but as my real estate agent pointed out, if you want/need to move from a huge development within a couple years, not many people will look at your house- they'll look at an empty lot for their brand new home, much like you did. I personally feel in this economy it's a bit less risky to get a house in an existing neighborhood instead of a brand new home in a new development.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Cypress, TX
3 posts, read 11,495 times
Reputation: 10
Even with kids, I'm less concerned about school district as I am area. There's history in the mountains, as far as where the mines were and then where the gold was processed - there's concerns as far as foundation in the NW at the foot of the mountains where the houses are built over old mines and the soil grade in the SW or West where the Gold was processed. In the NW, we were told, there's mine-insurance that can be purchased and in the event your house or a portion of your house disappears due to an old mine collapsing, you are covered... (?!?!?) And in the SW/West area there are just recommendations against gardening edibles and digging in the dirt for extended periods due to cyanide and other deadly chemical content in the soil that were used to process gold way-long ago.

We originally were looking in the NW area, unconcerned about buying an older house and upgrading it ourselves (since it's what I do for a living), but when we drove around with a native realtor, she informed us of these certain nuances that are not necessarily deal-breakers, but they're good to know.

As someone who has built custom homes and a current resident of a 2007 track-home, I wouldn't even consider buying a track home in Colorado Springs. The quality you get in Texas compared to the quality you get in CS for the same price is insanely different. You practically have to spend more than $200k just to not get a piece of junk.

I, for one, am a believer in pre-foreclosures, foreclosures and short sales - especially in the CS area where the purchasers bought at the height of the economy and are just needing relief. Most of the foreclosures in CS are in fairly decent condition and would only take between $1500-$8500 to repair. At the same time, I believe you could also find a great deal in pre-foreclosed, and foreclosed land. There are acres of land selling for half their original purchase value. You just have to know where to look and what to ask for!

As far as the appearance of the homes goes, this mainly has to do with the people moving here. There are many moving from CA, where a shoddy 800sf home would sell for $350,000, that come and think that what you can get for the money is amazing, so they're easily pleased. On the other hand, some come from Texas, for example, where you can get a 3,000sf home, nicely done, for $165,000-$200,000 - these people are easily disappointed. I think it takes a certain level of motivation and creativity, but it's possible to be 100% satisfied in the CS area.

I'm still interested to know if the original poster purchased a pre-owned or ended up building...
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