cheesepep wrote:I appreciate the replies and the tips, but can anyone please tell me the approximate costs for even doing so? Like is it 1.5X, 2X, or 3X the price of a "normal home" in the same neighborhood?
I won't even branch further if the price is too pricey. I'm looking for very general prices here considering the many factors involved.
If you do the work yourself, you might be able to build for $50 a square foot. If you hire the work out, it will probably be doable for $100 - $150 per square foot, in a moderately expensive area, but it depends. Rural Oregon, where I used to live, was closer to the $100 p.s.f. mark. New Hampshire, where I live now, is far more expensive. It's not so much the materials costs, it's the labor. Get 3 bids on a complete set of plans and specifications. The specifications are everything, even if the builder pretends they are not important.
There are a lot of other factors that go into the cost, as well, such as:
-- Blasting costs, if you have to go through granite to build a basement.
-- Site development, such as drilling a well, digging septic, bringing power in, etc.
-- Nuisance fees, like "impact" costs. Get a list of these from planning before making an offer on any lot. Also look at local taxes.
-- "Corner and curve" costs: a simple rectangle is much cheaper than a plan with many corners turned. Anything curved, like a "flicked" roof line, tends to be tragically expensive.
-- Custom anything is very expensive. Design using standard catalog parts is much cheaper.
-- Short spans for joists and rafters will generally be cheaper than longer spans that need more expensive (bigger) lumber.
-- Salvaging old house fixtures, like doors, is not always a bargain unless you do the work yourself. Many carpenters these days don't know how to hang a door that's not part of a "pre-hung" package. The ones that do are expensive.
-- Kitchens and baths will kill your budget every time, but what sells a house is: location, kitchen, baths, closets, garage. It's a tradeoff. The safest thing for resale, in most parts of the country, is a 3-2-2. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 car garage. One bath should be a master bath, accessible only to the master bedroom. The master bedroom should have 2 closets, or a walk-in.
-- Architects are very expensive, and not really necessary for basic plans, in my view. Most professional builders either draw their own plans, hire a "building designer," or use a plan service like Mascord. It's really not that difficult to learn the basics of drafting and design, and do it yourself. It's very difficult to do great design on a budget, however. Simplicity with timeless elegance is extremely
difficult, even for an architect, no matter how large the budget might be.
-- A structural engineer is necessary if you are building on a difficult site, or if the local jurisdiction requires it, or you are planning something unusual. The last time I did this, I drew the plans and had a structural engineer look them over. He approved them and literally copied my details onto his sheets, with the computer doing his structural calculations. Then he put his seal on the thing and away we went. Doing some of his work for him saved me a lot of money.
There are a zillion other issues, but you need to study this stuff thoroughly-- google is your friend and the library has a lot of books on the subject. Good luck.
"Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug." -- Mary Chapin Carpenter