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Old 07-28-2017, 12:56 PM
 
5,321 posts, read 2,759,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikenbike View Post
It also occurs to me that the cost per s.f. will be higher the smaller the house because those set costs like septic, electrical lines, water tap, permit fees, etc. will be the same no matter the size of the house yet spread over a smaller square footage. I have another friend who has built a few houses for himself who told me that it doesn't make much financial sense to build a house much less than 1700 s.f. So those psf fees quoted for bigger houses will likely be even larger for a smaller house.
You got it!

Water membership cost is fixed, tap fee is fixed, length of line varies.
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Old 07-28-2017, 01:07 PM
 
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For sake of resale value in years ahead, I'd build at least 2000 sq ft as that's often a parameter people check when searching databases of homes for sale. Going small may limit resale; just a hunch on my part. I admit to being of a different mindset, that more is better -- up to a point. My FIL in WV built his own retirement place and he built it so small that he has no flexibility or elbow room.

I've never done it but it may be worth calling modular home builders to see what are their costs per sq ft as such homes are fast to get in-place and rid you of dealing with many subs to do the work.
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Old 07-28-2017, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Cortez, CO
32 posts, read 24,889 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
For sake of resale value in years ahead, I'd build at least 2000 sq ft as that's often a parameter people check when searching databases of homes for sale. Going small may limit resale; just a hunch on my part. I admit to being of a different mindset, that more is better -- up to a point. My FIL in WV built his own retirement place and he built it so small that he has no flexibility or elbow room.

I've never done it but it may be worth calling modular home builders to see what are their costs per sq ft as such homes are fast to get in-place and rid you of dealing with many subs to do the work.
Yes, certainly bigger is better for resale. But we live in a house just over 1000 s.f. and we love it - easy to clean and maintain, I can crank the heat up in the winter and it barely effects our bill, cheaper to renovate, etc. Our expenses and aggravation level are pretty low. We had a 2200 s.f. house previously and hated dealing with such a big house. We're hoping this is our last move but we thought that about the house we're in now. Just can't deal with the Front Range anymore. Situations change unexpectedly and obviously people out there like their big houses because that's mostly what we're finding. We actually put in an offer on a 3200 s.f. house because the location and land met our picky criteria. It's a complicated story but in the end the people weren't emotionally ready to part with the house. We spent the past 2 months feeling like we'd dodged a bullet so when they came back to us this week ready to sell we decided against it. Would rather put time and money into taking care of a garden and maybe some chickens and goats and playing outside on the trails.
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Old 07-28-2017, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Cortez, CO
32 posts, read 24,889 times
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Maybe I should look into modular homes. I worked on a couple few back in the day and I liked the simplicity of them.
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Old 07-28-2017, 08:13 PM
 
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There are a few tiny house builders in area. I mentioned one or more of them in some recent thread. Might be able to find it thru forum search or google search. I can't vouch for them from personal experience though. There is Durango tiny house meet up group where you might be able to get tips, stories & references.
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Old 07-28-2017, 08:33 PM
 
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The stumbling block with modulars is that it might actually cost more than building on site. We looked into that, too. I didn't find any modular producers nearby. The transportation costs from long distance factories...ouch. Assuming they make something you like. There are photos of beautiful customized modular homes. They're not inexpensive. But they would save time.

You still need the same utilities and site prep with either.
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Old 07-28-2017, 10:54 PM
 
13,294 posts, read 25,467,231 times
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Yes, building smaller is costly, and the fixed costs barely change. The banks might have some trouble with that. Enclosing empty space is a lot cheaper than a careful small build. I am building 800 sq.ft. because that's what I want, and it fits on my long skinny lot. For living, I see it as a 2-bedroom apartment that isn't an apartment. Had to talk the bank into my way of thinking!
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Old 07-29-2017, 03:42 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,199,644 times
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friends built down that way 7 years ago. He's a GC so was able to deal directly with the subs and didn't have a deadline to reach a COO since this was to be a 2nd home. Didn't need to deal with a lender, this was an all out-of-pocket project after he bought the land. From out of the area, he had extreme difficulties with finding subs that would take on the work at every phase; ie, the few in the area either had "enough" work to keep them as busy as they wanted to be or simply didn't show up to do their work as contracted or scheduled. It turned into a "soon, maybe" attitude at every step of the way.

The project dragged on for 3 years for the site work, clearing the land for their driveway ... and it was flat land, just needing trees removed and grading. The subs would only schedule during fair weather months. Nothing exceptionally difficult about the site for access, utilities were available ... at a cost. IIRC, the electric service was $27,000 to reach the building site. Friend was happy that the electric company would accept minimal payments each month for the hook-up to the site, amortized over 30 years. It helped that another neighbor had recently had service run to their site and the main line passed nearby their site so the cost was significantly less.

The original plan was to stick build on site a custom designed energy efficient/solar envelope 1,500 sq ft house (2bd/2ba) and 2-car garage. With all the difficulties getting subs and labor to show up or even take on the project, that plan was abandoned. In the end, they had a modular built to a stock plan they liked and trucked into the site to erect on the foundation over an unfinished basement area. Part of the modular deal was that the manufacturer would send in their own crew to erect/assemble the structure on site. It was just a finished shell and they still had to get subs in to deliver/install the kitchen appliances, hot water heater, and HWBB boiler.

I don't know their final cost on the day of a COO issuance, but it was way north of $300psf not including the land, water, and utilities costs. If they'd needed a local GC to do the project, it would have run significantly more.
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Old 07-29-2017, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Cortez, CO
32 posts, read 24,889 times
Reputation: 75
Wow, thanks all, lots of great info. The scenario described above is exactly my worry - difficulty getting people to do the work and show up on time and running way over budget and schedule. We would be paying cash so no worry of a bank loan but we don't want to run through our retirement funds for a small simple house. I like the idea of reaching out to the Tiny House folks. I don't want a Tiny House but they may be able to point me in the right direction for more info. on building a smaller house. Though it doesn't sound promising, I think we may need to be patient and wait for the right place to come along. But sheesh, the Front Range is grinding on our nerves.
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Old 07-29-2017, 08:05 PM
 
311 posts, read 143,463 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
Yes, building smaller is costly, and the fixed costs barely change. The banks might have some trouble with that. Enclosing empty space is a lot cheaper than a careful small build. I am building 800 sq.ft. because that's what I want, and it fits on my long skinny lot. For living, I see it as a 2-bedroom apartment that isn't an apartment. Had to talk the bank into my way of thinking!
Brightdoglover,

Please check your direct messages -- I am planning on retiring in the western range and also want to build small, like you. Your experience can help me evaluate my options. Thanks.

townshend
westsemitic <at> yahoo / dot / com (personal e-mail address)
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