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Old 05-19-2020, 08:13 PM
 
6 posts, read 1,619 times
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Looking at

Orinda
Lafayettte
Oakland etc. (the surrounding SF areas with a decent drive or shuttle to silicon valley)

To build on a lot or do a total gut reno.

Budget was 1.5m but not liking the older homes with the lipstick revamp for that price and higher.

What is the cost /sq ft for a 4 bed, 3 bath of decent size? Would you recommend going to a builder that has their own architect and everything or subcontracting the jobs out?

How about doing a gut reno? Or luxury modular/prefab homes - do they hold up well and have good resale value in 5,10 years?

If there are any stories about people who have built new, or done a total gut reno, what licenses they had to get and who they used, it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you all!
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
5,250 posts, read 6,786,237 times
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Good luck with that budget is all I have to say...
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:37 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
85,939 posts, read 79,124,938 times
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Lafayette has a decent drive or shuttle to SV? Are you sure about that? Define "decent".

What people with your interests and budget are doing, is buying nice, big, old homes around San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley/North Oakland, restoring them to their former glory, and then waiting for the neighborhood to gentrify. It's not a neighborhood you'd want to take a family into, but given time, it could become a neighborhood you'd feel ok about raising a family in, eventually. And there's a train that goes from there to San Jose, if that's the part of SV you'll be working in.

But if you're looking in Lafayette and Orinda, I don't think you'd like the area. It's rough. But it's what you can afford, for a renovation.

Not sure why you want to do a total re-do. It would be cheaper just to buy a nice older home that's been well-maintained. But if you want 4 br., you might not be able to get that, within commute distance of wherever it is in SV that you're aiming for.

IDK, you could look in Emeryville. There are some nice Victorians there. You might find a (relative) bargain. I guess it depends on what your definition of "older home" is.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:32 AM
 
6 posts, read 1,619 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Lafayette has a decent drive or shuttle to SV? Are you sure about that? Define "decent".

What people with your interests and budget are doing, is buying nice, big, old homes around San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley/North Oakland, restoring them to their former glory, and then waiting for the neighborhood to gentrify. It's not a neighborhood you'd want to take a family into, but given time, it could become a neighborhood you'd feel ok about raising a family in, eventually. And there's a train that goes from there to San Jose, if that's the part of SV you'll be working in.

But if you're looking in Lafayette and Orinda, I don't think you'd like the area. It's rough. But it's what you can afford, for a renovation.

Not sure why you want to do a total re-do. It would be cheaper just to buy a nice older home that's been well-maintained. But if you want 4 br., you might not be able to get that, within commute distance of wherever it is in SV that you're aiming for.

IDK, you could look in Emeryville. There are some nice Victorians there. You might find a (relative) bargain. I guess it depends on what your definition of "older home" is.

Are Orinda and Lafayette really what you'd call rough -wouldn't they just be suburbany with good schools which is a priority really. From what I've seen it's where you can get lots or old homes that you can totally renovate and astutely meet the 1.5 price point.

This is for a sibling who works with google but now... due to covid... has a setup where they only have to go into the office once a week. So commute isn't the biggest priority otherwise they would continue paying upwards of $4k monthly rent to live in the city... in an apartment.

A stock, cookie cutter home is not wanted for that price. This is generally the "nicer" stuff we are seeing -

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/6...18478190_zpid/

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...18478451_zpid/


but it's still not much for the price and all are over 50 years old. Agents in the area also say bidding wars happen with these homes and they go for well above asking price (of course with COVID, no one can say if that will continue).

So basically, I'm wondering if it's better to just get a lot or a really crappy old home, raze it down and build something for $600k in addition to the lot/old home price of $700-900k. I do know alot of contractors in Texas and have remodeled homes myself but know the North Bay is a different animal.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:37 AM
 
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I am fairly confident I can build new and quality for $250/sq ft in the surrounding areas like Orinda. Maybe even Oakland. The question would be how long the permit process is and if I can use an out of state architect.

Last edited by thyrumps; 05-20-2020 at 12:48 AM..
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:23 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
85,939 posts, read 79,124,938 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thyrumps View Post
Are Orinda and Lafayette really what you'd call rough -wouldn't they just be suburbany with good schools which is a priority really. From what I've seen it's where you can get lots or old homes that you can totally renovate and astutely meet the 1.5 price point.

This is for a sibling who works with google but now... due to covid... has a setup where they only have to go into the office once a week. So commute isn't the biggest priority otherwise they would continue paying upwards of $4k monthly rent to live in the city... in an apartment.

A stock, cookie cutter home is not wanted for that price. This is generally the "nicer" stuff we are seeing -

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/6...18478190_zpid/

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...18478451_zpid/


but it's still not much for the price and all are over 50 years old. Agents in the area also say bidding wars happen with these homes and they go for well above asking price (of course with COVID, no one can say if that will continue).

So basically, I'm wondering if it's better to just get a lot or a really crappy old home, raze it down and build something for $600k in addition to the lot/old home price of $700-900k. I do know alot of contractors in Texas and have remodeled homes myself but know the North Bay is a different animal.
What I meant was, if you're looking in those nice, higher-end 'burbs, you wouldn't like the area around San Pablo Ave. But it sounds like you've found some homes in Lafayette & Orinda that fit the bill: come in low enough in price, that with renovation, they'd meet the 1.5 mil. budget limit? (The links you gave are way outside the budget, and that's even before any renovation.)

OK, then. It sounds like you're set? Another location you could try, that's closer to SV, is Castro Valley. I still don't understand the desire to do a complete renovation, even gutting, of houses that are already very nice, though.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:21 AM
 
6 posts, read 1,619 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
What I meant was, if you're looking in those nice, higher-end 'burbs, you wouldn't like the area around San Pablo Ave. But it sounds like you've found some homes in Lafayette & Orinda that fit the bill: come in low enough in price, that with renovation, they'd meet the 1.5 mil. budget limit? (The links you gave are way outside the budget, and that's even before any renovation.)

OK, then. It sounds like you're set? Another location you could try, that's closer to SV, is Castro Valley. I still don't understand the desire to do a complete renovation, even gutting, of houses that are already very nice, though.
No, the links I sent you were examples of what I think is overpriced but can do for 1.5 or under if I do the due diligence myself. They are nice... just too pricy and on 50+ year homes nonetheless.

I would say prefab homes like zip kit is something I'm very interested in doing on a lot ... would these surrounding communities allow that?
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Richmond, CA
880 posts, read 703,894 times
Reputation: 1081
Some cities are more permissive than others. There are empty lots you can build on here in Richmond, for example, if you are willing to spend the time it takes to meet all the permitting and financing requirements. There are two such projects currently underway near where I live. It is relatively easy to find a design/build or prefab firm that has a Bay Area portfolio (usually leaning towards the high end). In cities like Oakland, it might be easier to go the full gut job route instead. And at the other end of the spectrum are cities like SF, Berkeley, etc. where you will have to buy city staff flowers and tell them how much you love them to get anything done, only to get everything derailed by a nosy neighbor who doesn't like the shade of fuchsia you're using.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:54 AM
 
1,584 posts, read 2,836,752 times
Reputation: 1303
Quote:
Originally Posted by 04kL4nD View Post
Good luck with that budget is all I have to say...
Yeah I’m going with this. In the Bay Area with modern building codes and design review people don’t build spec houses to save money. They build spec houses because they can’t find the house they want and they have MONEY to burn

Also will the Lot purchase and build be paid for with cash? Getting a bank to finance a construction loan for an inexperienced owner builder is going to be very difficult. Expect to have at least 30% down and significant cash reserves. If you default on a house the bank at least has a house. If you default on a build a bank may be stuck with a hole in the ground.

Last edited by ssmaster; 05-21-2020 at 02:03 AM..
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
5,250 posts, read 6,786,237 times
Reputation: 4863
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssmaster View Post
Yeah I’m going with this. In the Bay Area with modern building codes and design review people don’t build spec houses to save money. They build spec houses because they can’t find the house they want and they have MONEY to burn

Also will the Lot purchase and build be paid for with cash? Getting a bank to finance a construction loan for an inexperienced owner builder is going to be very difficult. Expect to have at least 30% down and significant cash reserves. If you default on a house the bank at least has a house. If you default on a build a bank may be stuck with a hole in the ground.
Pretty much my thoughts exactly. Land here is so valuable that people will pay all cash for something that's literally sliding down a cliff. Does the OP realize how difficult it can be to even find a contractor willing to add something that wouldn't seem like a big deal anywhere else (additional bathroom, extended kitchen, etc)?

With that budget, the OP could look into parts of West/East Oakland, Hayward, Richmond, or Vallejo, but LMAO at Lamorinda
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