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Old 08-02-2012, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Salem, OR
13,745 posts, read 31,570,576 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kreebby View Post
This makes much more sense now but what about when land isn't a factor.

For example, these quotes don't include the land. They assume I already own it. The quotes I gave for the friends who built their own also did not include the land.
Since the land wasn't included it is just cost of materials and geology.
In the PNW, hardiplank siding or cedar are the sidings of choice due to the rainy conditions. Someone in the midwest or south can get away with using LP which is much cheaper. The kitchen and bathrooms will really cost a lot and people can splurge or save here. You can spend $200 on a sink or $2,000 on a sink. You'd have to look at the materials list from the builder to really see where the cost differences are.

We also have many sloped lots out here. You have to grade these lots, remove trees, deal with rock, etc. That costs more to build on than a flat plain.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:41 AM
 
96 posts, read 237,835 times
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Thank you all so much for taking the time to explain this to me. I am uninformed it would seem!

I think the tough part with a home is deciding where and where not to go "high quality". To me, when building a home you should put the money in things like insulation, floors, the frame of the house, the windows (in terms of the kind of glass you use), siding, roof, and non-carpet floors at the very least. Things like countertops, fancy appliances, carpet, cabinets and bathroom utilities can be changed later when you have more money and you can do it yourself. I have seen so many houses around the PNW where people/builders went with low to average quality siding and you can see the age of the homes, meanwhile there are others that look brand new (despite being 40+ years old and in the rain). It really does a lot for home value to prevent problems from happening in the first place.

Am I correct in these assumptions? My approach to daily life is to get it right (or as close to "right" as I can afford) the first time rather than going cheap but making gradual upgrades each time and spending a significant amount more in the long run.

A few questions about materials.

How do recycled glass/paper or linoleum countertops compare to things like quartz or granite?
Is there a significant difference in cost between a steel frame and a wood frame?
Lastly, what is the biggest difference between architects like Finne/Rhodes/Vandervort and builders such as Burnstead? What makes the architects so much more expensive?


Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
I have never heard of including land prices in "building-custom-home' and I have built many (all in PNW.)

There are many things to change costs, but the 'contractor' and finish materials are the biggies.

I have built most of mine for under $50/sf and all have been rural VIEW homesites, had wells, septic, LONG driveways = HIGH utility material costs (and ROCK at $1,000 for 22 yrd), basements, and stone fireplaces, and natural wood trim and doors (all very spendy). and LOTS of windows and insulation + earthquake ties and straps and HUGE foundations (we are required to have 4' wide footings !!!). I do quite a bit of the work (NOT SHEETROCK!!) and use 30yr+ warantee materials.

BEWARE - You spend about 50% of your costs (and 70% of time) AFTER sheetrock

I like to utilize much passive solar and creative ventilation / heating.

I REQUIRE all subs to sign a Microsoft PROJECT worksheet that specifies their window of opportunity. If they are LATE they suffer big time.

The secret $$ savings is to collect materials from excess (contractors that miss order or miss measure), and Habitat / Reconstruction, AND Craigslist / free cycle. Build a LARGE shop FIRST, and fill it up with treasures, THEN build / design as you go. Shop Home Depot for miss ordered / damaged goods. I got a 12'x12' Garage door for $121, regularly $782. and a WHOLE kitchen cabinet set that had been pushed off a truck with a forklift.

WINDOWS... good ones will set you back. Get 'excess' from places like Marvin and Anderson. I only wish we could get GREAT windows and plumbing fixtures like they have in Europe. But they are WAY too expensive for USA 'throw-away' houses. You want some good stuff if your house in gonna be in the family for a few centuries (as in much of Europe).

I try to build / remodel / design at least one rural view house / yr, just to stay in practice... Prices are really climbing on materials. I just have to SHOP harder.
If you don't mind my asking, which architect company/firm are you?

I've been in contact with many of them and I have yet to hear a quote for under $200/sqft.
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,011 posts, read 22,519,793 times
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I agree, even if you don't figure in land costs, you still have to figure

Permit costs, which vary a lot from town to town, even in the same market area

Material costs, which can vary from area to area depending on supply and demand. It isn't just about the supply, but also the demand...for example, in my area, no one does tile roofs, so they are more expensive (materials and labor both) than shingles, but in the southwest, everyone does tile roofs, so I would guess it is the less expensive choice.

Labor costs, which also vary with supply and demand. If your area has few roofers, roofing will cost more, and if you have a glut of siders, siding labor will be cheap.

Within the same area, you can also have variation based on

Floor plan, a house with more dead air space is lower $/sqft than a house with more kitchen and bathroom, and less "space". A larger house is lower $/sqft than a smaller house, other things being equal

Finishes, as others have said, you can build a 1500 sqft house for $100k or you can build a 1500 sqft house for $300k

Other smaller things can also drive the price up. If you have a buyer who can't make up their mind, they may incur fees for every time they make a change, which can drive up the price. If you get someone who misses all their deadlines for choices, that can cost more for interest on the loan and possibly fees as well.
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Needham, MA
6,324 posts, read 9,033,141 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocngypz View Post
That's why I used material costs.

Normally, with custom build the lot/land is already owned.

We were design/build. We owned no lots. Our clients had the land and wanted us to design/build their dream homes. Sone already had their plans and wanted us to bid.
In my area, there is far more speculative construction than there is custom building. People don't want to be displaced from their home for 8 months while their new home is being built. Also, many people don't want the financial burden of paying for the construction of a new home while at the same time paying for their current home. For every 1 custom house built this year there were at least 10 spec houses built in this town.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
13,745 posts, read 31,570,576 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePRU View Post
In my area, there is far more speculative construction than there is custom building. People don't want to be displaced from their home for 8 months while their new home is being built. Also, many people don't want the financial burden of paying for the construction of a new home while at the same time paying for their current home. For every 1 custom house built this year there were at least 10 spec houses built in this town.
We have a lot of customized spec homes. That way they get the customization they want without having to carry the loan.
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