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Old 08-11-2019, 09:11 AM
 
9 posts, read 6,450 times
Reputation: 21

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I'm Tennessean born and raised. Trying to get back to the hills...

After looking at a ton of houses in the area, a couple of things stand out.

Newer houses are overpriced.
Older houses are overpriced and while updated, etc. can still have issues.

Most of the above are over-sized as well.

I'm a bachelor and don't really need more than about 900 square feet. I currently live in a newer home that is 2300 sq ft on over six acres of land. Overkill for me. Love the acreage, but Georgians love their taxes and I get whacked on it every year and it will just get worse as time goes by. Ask me how I know.

The new houses that I see seem to average 220 - 450K and are designed for families. I did find one older house in Jonesborough and began the process of purchasing, but was really disappointed by the shortcuts taken in the renovation. That's why we do HIs.

This got me to thinking that I'd be better off buying an acre of land and doing a custom home.

Question: Anyone have experience with this and if so, do you have a builder you can recommend? I do not want a McMansion; I just want a small modest house that I can take care of as I get older. Not sure if builders focus on smaller homes for people who want to escape the American dream. :-)

I'm looking to stay small, but want an energy efficient home with a few bells and whistles (really nice energy efficient windows, environmentally friendly paint, etc.)

Thank you in advance!
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Old 08-11-2019, 05:23 PM
 
29 posts, read 28,269 times
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Marvin Eagan in Gate City, Va. is an honest good guy with a good reputation and capable employees. He can do the job turn key. Eagan Construction
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
31,568 posts, read 25,650,652 times
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In Jonesborough, you might want to speak to Wolfe Development. I don't know if they do custom construction, but they are well-known in that area.

Begley Builders has been doing lower cost (<$200,000 - mostly in Kingsport) building. You might also want to reach out to them.

Agreed about the overpriced properties, but you need to remember that Jonesborough is the nicest small town in the area. Rural areas near there are also well-kept. It's not cheap because it's nice.

I really don't think you're going to get an acre plus a custom home with some extras for anywhere near $220k in Washington County.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:58 AM
 
9 posts, read 6,450 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
I really don't think you're going to get an acre plus a custom home with some extras for anywhere near $220k in Washington County.
Yeah, I have that feeling as well.

The Tri-Cities area overall has been able to avoid some of the cratering in prices that I've seen in my area and elsewhere.

TN overall looks to be in better shape than other markets because it is nice.

Thanks for the info!
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:31 AM
 
7,329 posts, read 8,678,107 times
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The Tri Cities area is nearning the end of a very substantial building boom. Just look at the number of granite shops that have popped up all over the place in the last 18-24 months. Reminds me of 2009/2010 when the bottom fell out--about a year or two later than larger, more urban markets. Granite shops were all over the place back them too. Just one simple anecdote, but watch them flourish...and die.


When that happened, there were a lot of builders available. I built a house in 2010/11 and when I was looking for quotes, one builder said, "Oh, I generally don't build anything less that 6,000 square feet". In Januarys of 2011 that same builder called me, and asked about doing my project. Guess maybe that 6,000 square foot number wasn't a firm level below which they wouldn't rub elbows with us mere mortals.


So, quality builders will become available. For good work expect to pay $150 or more per square foot for decent work and materials. Then you need $30,000 plus for a driveway, water if not on the municipal system, and a septic system. That one acre lot--a decent one--is going to be somewhere between $20,000 and $100,000 "depending". At present all the decent stuff is owned by developers or is not for sale--and in any case, a small piece of good acreage (one acre or so) is not available.


For a name, contact Farrell Gosnell at Cornerstone Design Build Group. He does very good work from small to big. Fair, honest, CLEAN, but not the cheapest around. You get what you pay for. He runs his business like a business, which you will come to appreciate as your project goes along.


Good luck. Costs will generally be in line with or slightly higher (not logical, I know) houses in the secondary market, but you get things built exactly as you like them. No putting up with someone else's problems, or buying a mess just because the price looked "fair".


Good luck. It is an ambitious undertaking but very satisfying when you finish IF you work with good people. If you try to skimp or go with the "trust me" guy, you will be an alcoholic before your house is finished (more than likely by the second builder you hire).
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:28 PM
 
9 posts, read 6,450 times
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Ted Bear, I read your post a couple of times and figured out that you are pretty wise as are the other fine posters here.

I had to move away from TN for work years ago and for the last several, I've been plotting to go home. Now that I'm in the situation to do so... bleh. Here I am. I worked hard, did the thing I was supposed to do, yet life has other plans.

But what you say about the conditions in 2011 and now ring very true with me. I have priced acreage -- very modest sized at that -- in east Tennessee and it's still expensive overall. I saw a new house in Johnson City -- not even complete -- sell for 149K after 3 days on Zillow.

Word of advice to my fellow Tennesseans: a lot of folks are looking to bail from where ever they live because things are grim. I've watched TN land and housing prices play like it's 2006 all over again and it won't last, not even there.

I'm trying to downsize hard and even this is *challenging* because the inventory is being targeted to out-of-state folks who are trying to flee their own little private nightmares.

I could not bear the costs that Ted describes and don't want to. I'm trying to get back to what I need and want instead of what I have. Less is more. My house appreciated very nicely for five years until it collapsed about six weeks ago. People cannot afford the housing in Seattle and now, they can't even afford it in rural areas unless they are bankrolled by family. My equity got ate up.

Peace and blessing to my fellow Tennesseans. It always warms my heart to see the tri-star emblem proudly displayed indoors and out when looking at properties. You live in a blessed land. Protect it.
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Gray, TN
2,172 posts, read 4,246,511 times
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Custom homes cost more than spec homes. Most builders hate to do them and the one's that do can charge a premium.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Jonesborough, TN
708 posts, read 1,369,137 times
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A couple of things here:
- prices in the previous housing bust didnt decrease substantially in this area. Days on market increased, but sellers usually were not distressed and did not need to discount their homes much. New construction did suffer, but developers such as Wolfe in Jonesborough did just fine because they focused on modest homes.
- prices in the past two years have increased more than I ever remember. I think they are far too high. Still, a real problem is lack of inventory, the market would look much better if we had more/better inventory. We have a lot of cookie cutter type houses that buyers today just dont like. For a nice house, they sell quick if not priced crazy.
- building codes in Johnson City are strict, increasing the costs.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:55 PM
 
9 posts, read 6,450 times
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Jchometeam --

Thanks for the response.

East TN is a draw for a lot of folks now trying to leave their home states because of taxation, hyper-regulation, etc.

Most of the overpriced inventory I see now is way above the average salary/wage in the Tri-Cities, so it's targeted towards refugees looking to escape their own states. They are coming in with a higher down payment, but all bets are off as the housing market declines in most of the nation. I have family in San Diego who are unable to sell their nice houses because the market has collapsed there and in other parts of the west coast.

The recent tax cuts are a problem because the deductions for property taxes for expensive states like NY, NJ and CA got whacked by the current administration. I wonder whether builders in TN in general are targeting people fleeing their home states for higher value housing.

If so, it's not a good recipe. We did this already in 2008.

Don't know. Just guessing.
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