Custom Home Thoughts

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Topic Author
Badger97
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Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:52 pm

Long time lurker, first time poster.

We're considering building a custom home in a suburb of a major midwestern city (Milwaukee).

We bought land about 4 years ago. It is 12 acres. It is a VERY unique property in that it is heavily wooded and inside the village limits so it has full access to utilities and is about 1 mile from downtown, but completely secluded.

We now are considering building a custom home. First, can we build it, and I think the answer is yes. And second, should we build it? That answer is a little harder.

Some financials.
Married, late 40s, early 50s
3 teenage children, one in middle, one in HS, and one about to be Soph in college at state flagship U.
Household income: $430K base pay, with bonuses up to $700-$800K
All retirement assets / investment assets: $4-$5M.
Main home plus land we would build on are worth $925K, with $400K in debt. No other significant debt.

Big pension coming at retirement that is a very nice cushion. $100K today taken at 65, would grow to $195K in 2025 and keep growing if I keep working.

We started working with about a dozen builders and narrowed down to 3. We have done a custom design with all three and they are now quoting it out. The have been to the site. We have toured their model homes and collected references. We have a preferred option that checks all the boxes.

House will be about 4K sq ft above grade and 1K sq ft below grade. We estimate total home cost, once you roll in the land, pool, lot prep/driveway, and landscaping, to be $1.3-$1.4M. Possibly as high as $1.5M.

First question, which seems kind of dumb but I always like a second opinion is, can we afford it? That certainly seems to be yes.

Here's the problem. There have been no homes sold in my town over $1M. Ever, that we can find. There have been some custom builds that we know were over $1M and some homes that we know if they went on the market would be over $1M, but not a single MLS sale in the last 5 years (and probably ever) above $1M. If we were just 1 mile away in another town, we'd be able to find dozens and dozens of $1M+ comps. All the builders talked to said we should be fine. They think the area can handle $1.3-$1.5M with such a unique property and custom build. They also noted some other homes they are building in the same area at $900K+. We consulted with a trusted realtor and she also said it was tough, but she thought it would appraise. We have talked to three different construction loan people, and they all thought that they would be able to comp the nearby town which is literally 1 mile away.

We fully expect to be in the home 10+ years. My wife considers it the "forever" home.

Any advice on building at the very top of the market + would be appreciated.
Last edited by Badger97 on Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.

000
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by 000 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:23 pm

I personally would not do this. You're already wealthy. Putting 1.5M of your wealth in an undiversified illiquid asset is not the path I would take. It doesn't stop with the house. The bigger the house, the higher the cost of furnishing, maintenance, insurance, taxes... it goes on and on.

You say this might be your "forever" home. We make plans and life happens. What happens if you lose your job and move to another State for a new opportunity? Or the area becomes less desirable? Or you get sued? Or you get divorced?

In my area, many new builds seem to take twice as long as they were supposed to.

Cycle
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Cycle » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:37 pm

There is really no such thing as a forever home. Peoples needs change, especially when getting older and I'd worry about keeping social after retirement if I lived out in the boondocks.

I would certainly think there'd be a change to your needs when you are empty nesters.

I'd probably just move to an east side condo after kids are in college, wait for them to have grandkids and then buy another condo wherever grandkids are.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

Topic Author
Badger97
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Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:40 pm

Cycle wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:37 pm
There is really no such thing as a forever home. Peoples needs change, especially when getting older and I'd worry about keeping social after retirement if I lived out in the boondocks.

I would certainly think there'd be a change to your needs when you are empty nesters.

I'd probably just move to an east side condo after kids are in college, wait for them to have grandkids and then buy another condo wherever grandkids are.
I knew I was going to get some flack from the "forever" comment. It's certainly not the forever home. It's the reason I said 10 years as well. We fully expect that once the kids are out of college and settled, we doubt we'd stay here unless they are local. If they are local, it would be an awesome location for the grandkids to visit!

As for tying up the assets, we would actually cash out on this. The expenses go up, but the cash position post-build is actually better than now. We have about $900 in value in our current house and the land now. So, unless we sold the land (which is tempting) we're stepping up about $300-$500K in value.

Appreciate the feedback though. It does give pause.

j9j
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by j9j » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:48 pm

Be prepared for a not optimal sale in 10 years. Otherwise looks fine financially.

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Meaty
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Meaty » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:48 pm

Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:52 pm
Long time lurker, first time poster.

We're considering building a custom home in a suburb of a major midwestern city (Milwaukee).

We bought land about 4 years ago. It is 12 acres. It is a VERY unique property in that it is heavily wooded and inside the village limits so it has full access to utilities and is about 1 mile from downtown, but completely secluded.

We now are considering building a custom home. First, can we build it, and I think the answer is yes. And second, should we build it? That answer is a little harder.

Some financials.
Married, late 40s, early 50s
3 teenage children, one in middle, one in HS, and one about to be Soph in college at state flagship U.
Household income: $430K base pay. Bonuses range from $0 to $1M. Average going forward should be $250-$350 for total household income of $700-$800K avg.
Tax advantaged retirement (401ks, 403bs, Roths, etc.): $1.6M
Deferred Comp: $200K + another $100K yet this year + $1M in company contribution vesting in 5 years from now.
After-tax investments: $2.1M
529s: $270k
Main home has value of $625K and debt of $270K on it.
Land has value of $300K and debt of $125K on it.

Estimated pension payments at ~65: $100K/year now, it will almost double to $195K if I work until 2025, and keep growing if I work longer.

We started working with about a dozen builders and narrowed down to 3. We have done a custom design with all three and they are now quoting it out. The have been to the site. We have toured their model homes and collected references. We have a preferred option that checks all the boxes.

House will be about 4K sq ft above grade and 1K sq ft below grade. 4 car garage with 12' ceiling and roughed-in living quarters above. Salt water pool. House will be 800 feet off the road so driveway and utility costs are higher than average. We have a well on the property already we will use for pool, irrigation, outside hoses, but we'll run city water for the main house. Home build only estimates are coming in around $190 - $220/sq ft. for above grade footage and $80-$100/sq ft for below grade footage. We estimate total home cost, once you roll in the land, pool, lot prep/driveway, and landscaping, to be $1.3-$1.4M. Possibly as high as $1.5M.

First question, which seems kind of dumb but I always like a second opinion is, can we afford it? That certainly seems to be yes.

Here's the problem. There have been no homes sold in my town over $1M. Ever, that we can find. There have been some custom builds that we know were over $1M and some homes that we know if they went on the market would be over $1M, but not a single MLS sale in the last 5 years (and probably ever) above $1M. If we were just 1 mile away in another town, we'd be able to find dozens and dozens of $1M+ comps. All the builders talked to said we should be fine. They think the area can handle $1.3-$1.5M with such a unique property and custom build. They also noted some other homes they are building in the same area at $900K+. We consulted with a trusted realtor and she also said it was tough, but she thought it would appraise. We have talked to three different construction loan people, and they all thought that they would be able to comp the nearby town which is literally 1 mile away.

We fully expect to be in the home 10+ years. My wife considers it the "forever" home.

Any advice on building at the very top of the market + would be appreciated.
I’ll give you a non- BH answer - go for it! You are wealthy, have saved well, and clearly are excited about doing this. 1.5M isn’t astronomical compared to your income. You only go around once...
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

adamthesmythe
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by adamthesmythe » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:49 pm

> All the builders talked to said we should be fine

I THINK your concern is whether you will realize your cost- or a bit more- when you sell.

So one question about that- do you share a school district with the place with the pricier homes?

In general, if you build to your taste you are likely to include things that you value more than prospective buyers. So you start off behind when selling. If the location has issues that puts you further behind. It doesn't mean you won't sell, it's just that you may not sell quickly or as high as you hope.

So- if you really are going to stay in the place it doesn't really matter what it would sell for. Then it only comes down to whether you can comfortably afford the expense. If realizing most or all of your cost in the future- the more unique the property the slower the sale and the more difficult to sell for a good price.

By the way- when evaluating location- many people think about whether they will be surrounded by "people like us" in some sense. (Doesn't necessarily mean..race...but general income level, education, values,...)

Topic Author
Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:51 pm

Meaty wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:48 pm


I’ll give you a non- BH answer - go for it! You are wealthy, have saved well, and clearly are excited about doing this. 1.5M isn’t astronomical compared to your income. You only go around once...
I guess sometimes we post at places like this just to have people tell us this. It's the BH way to get lots of reinforcement, after all. Thanks.

Topic Author
Badger97
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:55 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:49 pm
> All the builders talked to said we should be fine

I THINK your concern is whether you will realize your cost- or a bit more- when you sell.

So one question about that- do you share a school district with the place with the pricier homes?

In general, if you build to your taste you are likely to include things that you value more than prospective buyers. So you start off behind when selling. If the location has issues that puts you further behind. It doesn't mean you won't sell, it's just that you may not sell quickly or as high as you hope.

So- if you really are going to stay in the place it doesn't really matter what it would sell for. Then it only comes down to whether you can comfortably afford the expense. If realizing most or all of your cost in the future- the more unique the property the slower the sale and the more difficult to sell for a good price.

By the way- when evaluating location- many people think about whether they will be surrounded by "people like us" in some sense. (Doesn't necessarily mean..race...but general income level, education, values,...)

I don't need to make money on it when we sell. If we held for 10 years and could sell for what we bought, I'd be fine. But I don't want to be sitting on a loss of hundreds of thousands either.

One of the build requirements is that we want timeless design. Now, I know that isn't really possible, but we are trying to avoid the most trendy and modern things while investing in things that are easier to change later. Crazy tile in the powder room, for example, while more neutral in the master bath. It's easy to change a powder room. One of the builders kept showing us some of their work that was either ultra-modern or very upscale like a massive curved staircase with 20 foot ceilings and all real stone work on that wall. We just walked out of there and didn't bother with them. They weren't listening to us.

000
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by 000 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:57 pm

Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:55 pm
I don't need to make money on it when we sell. If we held for 10 years and could sell for what we bought, I'd be fine. But I don't want to be sitting on a loss of hundreds of thousands either.
To my knowledge, in a Milwaukee suburb, $600,000 buys a very nice house. I think the pool of potential buyers for a 1.5M country house will be limited and you may have to take a loss of hundreds of thousands to sell it, especially if the timing is inopportune.

senex
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by senex » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:00 pm

Financially you'll be fine. In a bad case, say you need to sell for 500-700k below your cost in a few years, the loss is only 10% of your net worth.

It's good to have a plan for when the house goes over budget (custom always does). Also, by the time it's done, you probably only have 3 people living there, soon to be 2. That's a lot of square feet for 2-3 people, and a lot maintenance time/cost.

If it were me, I'd stall a couple years then start a really nice 2k sqft empty nester home.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:01 pm

Notes:
1. Builders and realtors you talk to that quote numbers have no basis for it beyond courting your dollars and business.

Why?
As your instincts have already brought up, there are no comps that high in your area or surrounding areas. You are building a white elephant. Should you want to sell, you will have to wait for the "special person" that just has to have it.

Fore example: A Microsoft executive built a home in a development up the road from me. Custom homes on large acreage (from 20 to 100 acres). He built a 8 plus million dollar home in an area where the highest was about 1.5 mil. Post his divorce, It was on the market off and on for many many years and prices listed went from 8 mil to 3 mil. It was finally "let go" for 1.4 million with all contents included: sports cars, furniture, furnishings, expensive telescope systems in the observatory buildings, wine in the wine seller.

2. However, as it is to be your "forever home", curb value does not matter. What matters is that DW get's her dream home and all is well now and through senior golden retirement years when you will reap the rewards of your home.
If you can afford it, build what you want.

3. It will cost at least 50% more than you think. The more custom, the higher the margin of error, upwards.

Fore example: My sister just completed a 4 mil. home in Hawaii on top of a mountain ridge in an exclusive area.
Lot size: 15,000 s.f.
Lot price: 1 mil.
Custom Home build price: 3 mil.
At the beginning, she was targeting a budget of under 2 mil.

4. Do consider buying an "as built" home for sale in the area you want because you will be getting a lot for you dollar vs building new.

5. If you're going to do it, do it early or soon while you can enjoy the property and get up and down the stairs. Don't wait.

j :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Normchad
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Normchad » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:02 pm

Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:51 pm
Meaty wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:48 pm


I’ll give you a non- BH answer - go for it! You are wealthy, have saved well, and clearly are excited about doing this. 1.5M isn’t astronomical compared to your income. You only go around once...
I guess sometimes we post at places like this just to have people tell us this. It's the BH way to get lots of reinforcement, after all. Thanks.
I agree with this sentiment. It is your money after all, and all other things are well in hand. If you loved it for 10 years, and lost even 500K on it, so what? That's not a life changing amount of money *for you*.

My normal rule of thumb is 3x salary. This whole thing for you is just a little bit over 1x salary. AND you have your other accounts well in order, and a swell pension on the way. You are living in Fat City.

Topic Author
Badger97
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Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:05 pm

000 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:57 pm
Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:55 pm
I don't need to make money on it when we sell. If we held for 10 years and could sell for what we bought, I'd be fine. But I don't want to be sitting on a loss of hundreds of thousands either.
To my knowledge, in a Milwaukee suburb, $600,000 buys a very nice house. I think the pool of potential buyers for a 1.5M country house will be limited and you may have to take a loss of hundreds of thousands to sell it, especially if the timing is inopportune.
You can absolutely buy a very nice house for $600K in the Milwaukee suburbs and that's a great point.

You cannot buy much in the way of new construction for under $200 sq ft in the milwaukee suburbs right now. I toured many new spec homes in Hartland, Pewaukee, and Menomonee Falls. And most in the $600K range were about 2,600-2,800 sq ft. We saw one by a builder in Mequon that was 3,400 sq ft and they are asking $950K. Another in Hartland that was about 3,800 sq ft and they were just over $1M. These include the lots, prep and utilities.

We even saw some in Menomonee Falls and Germantown, usually considered lower end, that are selling above $250/sq ft for what I would call "modest upscale" homes by Beilinski builders, who is notoriously a terrible tract builder. Mabye it's timing, but if we could buy an existing home in the market we would. Most of the stuff is either $200+ sq/ft new construction (which we can build for) or it is 10-20 years old and needs a lot of updating. We found a great all-brick 4k sq ft home in our area on 17 acres. It had a beautiful pool and a 4 car garage. It sold for $950K with an asking price of $1.2M. (Something fishy here). But, it was nearly 20 years old and would have taken at least $250K to bring it up to current. And unlike our 12 acres, about 10 of their 17 acres was in a wetland and you can't even ride a golf car on wetland, let alone build on it or create a trail.
Last edited by Badger97 on Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

marcopolo
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by marcopolo » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:06 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:01 pm
Notes:
1. Builders and realtors you talk to that quote numbers have no basis for it beyond courting your dollars and business.

Why?
As your instincts have already brought up, there are no comps that high in your area or surrounding areas. You are building a white elephant. Should you want to sell, you will have to wait for the "special person" that just has to have it.

Fore example: A Microsoft executive built a home in a development up the road from me. Custom homes on large acreage (from 20 to 100 acres). He built a 8 plus million dollar home in an area where the highest was about 1.5 mil. Post his divorce, It was on the market off and on for many many years and prices listed went from 8 mil to 3 mil. It was finally "let go" for 1.4 million with all contents included: sports cars, furniture, furnishings, expensive telescope systems in the observatory buildings, wine in the wine seller.

2. However, as it is to be your "forever home", curb value does not matter. What matters is that DW get's her dream home and all is well now and through senior golden retirement years when you will reap the rewards of your home.
If you can afford it, build what you want.

3. It will cost at least 50% more than you think. The more custom, the higher the margin of error, upwards.

Fore example: My sister just completed a 4 mil. home in Hawaii on top of a mountain ridge in an exclusive area.
Lot size: 15,000 s.f.
Lot price: 1 mil.
Custom Home build price: 3 mil.
At the beginning, she was targeting a budget of under 2 mil.

4. Do consider buying an "as built" home for sale in the area you want because you will be getting a lot for you dollar vs building new.

j :D
Spot on advice.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

EFF_fan81
Posts: 403
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by EFF_fan81 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:09 pm

I don't have that much patience for these types of posts.

"I'm rich, can I make a financially suboptimal decision and still be OK?"

Of course you can. You know this already. Build the home if you want it badly enough, expect you may lose money.

Topic Author
Badger97
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:12 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:01 pm
Notes:
1. Builders and realtors you talk to that quote numbers have no basis for it beyond courting your dollars and business.

Why?
As your instincts have already brought up, there are no comps that high in your area or surrounding areas. You are building a white elephant. Should you want to sell, you will have to wait for the "special person" that just has to have it.

Fore example: A Microsoft executive built a home in a development up the road from me. Custom homes on large acreage (from 20 to 100 acres). He built a 8 plus million dollar home in an area where the highest was about 1.5 mil. Post his divorce, It was on the market off and on for many many years and prices listed went from 8 mil to 3 mil. It was finally "let go" for 1.4 million with all contents included: sports cars, furniture, furnishings, expensive telescope systems in the observatory buildings, wine in the wine seller.

2. However, as it is to be your "forever home", curb value does not matter. What matters is that DW get's her dream home and all is well now and through senior golden retirement years when you will reap the rewards of your home.
If you can afford it, build what you want.

3. It will cost at least 50% more than you think. The more custom, the higher the margin of error, upwards.

Fore example: My sister just completed a 4 mil. home in Hawaii on top of a mountain ridge in an exclusive area.
Lot size: 15,000 s.f.
Lot price: 1 mil.
Custom Home build price: 3 mil.
At the beginning, she was targeting a budget of under 2 mil.

4. Do consider buying an "as built" home for sale in the area you want because you will be getting a lot for you dollar vs building new.

j :D
All very good advice. Thanks.

I don't think I'm building at 5X the top of the market though. It might be at 30%+ the top of the market :)

I'll keep track of where we are. I fully expect to go over budget. We actually have plans drawn up with 3 builders and they have started the quoting process with their subs. We'll see what happens why my wife goes to pick out cabinets!

That said, last year we redid our master bathroom. We had a budget of $45K. We came in at just over $46K I think. We went over about $600 on the countertop (which is 14 feet long) and a few hundred on wiring for a couple additional outlets. Not bad.

000
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by 000 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:14 pm

Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:12 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:01 pm
Notes:
1. Builders and realtors you talk to that quote numbers have no basis for it beyond courting your dollars and business.

Why?
As your instincts have already brought up, there are no comps that high in your area or surrounding areas. You are building a white elephant. Should you want to sell, you will have to wait for the "special person" that just has to have it.

Fore example: A Microsoft executive built a home in a development up the road from me. Custom homes on large acreage (from 20 to 100 acres). He built a 8 plus million dollar home in an area where the highest was about 1.5 mil. Post his divorce, It was on the market off and on for many many years and prices listed went from 8 mil to 3 mil. It was finally "let go" for 1.4 million with all contents included: sports cars, furniture, furnishings, expensive telescope systems in the observatory buildings, wine in the wine seller.

2. However, as it is to be your "forever home", curb value does not matter. What matters is that DW get's her dream home and all is well now and through senior golden retirement years when you will reap the rewards of your home.
If you can afford it, build what you want.

3. It will cost at least 50% more than you think. The more custom, the higher the margin of error, upwards.

Fore example: My sister just completed a 4 mil. home in Hawaii on top of a mountain ridge in an exclusive area.
Lot size: 15,000 s.f.
Lot price: 1 mil.
Custom Home build price: 3 mil.
At the beginning, she was targeting a budget of under 2 mil.

4. Do consider buying an "as built" home for sale in the area you want because you will be getting a lot for you dollar vs building new.

j :D
All very good advice. Thanks.

I don't think I'm building at 5X the top of the market though. It might be at 30%+ the top of the market :)

I'll keep track of where we are. I fully expect to go over budget. We actually have plans drawn up with 3 builders and they have started the quoting process with their subs. We'll see what happens why my wife goes to pick out cabinets!

That said, last year we redid our master bathroom. We had a budget of $45K. We came in at just over $46K I think. We went over about $600 on the countertop (which is 14 feet long) and a few hundred on wiring for a couple additional outlets. Not bad.
Please come back in the future and let us know how the construction went!

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Kenkat
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Kenkat » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:19 pm

Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:05 pm
We found a great all-brick 4k sq ft home in our area on 17 acres. It had a beautiful pool and a 4 car garage. It sold for $950K with an asking price of $1.2M. (Something fishy here). But, it was nearly 20 years old and would have taken at least $250K to bring it up to current.
This could be the home you are considering building in 20 years when you go to sell. There’s nothing probably fishy here - the homeowner probably had $1.2M in the home and finally had to accept the reality that it wasn’t worth that to someone else and sold it for $950k. I think that’s the risk here - you don’t “break even” after 10+ years if you sell. That might be ok - if you enjoy the home for many years, it’s probably not that big a deal. But if that would bother you when it’s time to sell, then maybe you should take a different course.

stan1
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by stan1 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:35 pm

You may not want to do this for other reasons, but might the land be subdivided and become potentially more valuable? If that process would take years to get approval in your town getting it done would add value to the land. You might even want to subdivide it so you can build a smaller house for yourselves once your kids are out.

marcopolo
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by marcopolo » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:44 pm

Kenkat wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:19 pm
Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:05 pm
We found a great all-brick 4k sq ft home in our area on 17 acres. It had a beautiful pool and a 4 car garage. It sold for $950K with an asking price of $1.2M. (Something fishy here). But, it was nearly 20 years old and would have taken at least $250K to bring it up to current.
This could be the home you are considering building in 20 years when you go to sell. There’s nothing probably fishy here - the homeowner probably had $1.2M in the home and finally had to accept the reality that it wasn’t worth that to someone else and sold it for $950k. I think that’s the risk here - you don’t “break even” after 10+ years if you sell. That might be ok - if you enjoy the home for many years, it’s probably not that big a deal. But if that would bother you when it’s time to sell, then maybe you should take a different course.
I agree with this.
When we recently built a similarly priced custom home, we definitely added some things that were specific to our wants. Buyers down the road may not put similar value on such things. We mentally discount the value of our home by 15-20% relative to what we paid all-in (land plus build).

Such an approach would have little impact to OP overall finances. If having a home like this is of such value to the OP, it seems money well spent. If not, finding an existing home probably makes more sense.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:58 pm

stan1 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:35 pm
You may not want to do this for other reasons, but might the land be subdivided and become potentially more valuable? If that process would take years to get approval in your town getting it done would add value to the land. You might even want to subdivide it so you can build a smaller house for yourselves once your kids are out.
That’s a great point. The land has already gone from the $180k we paid to be valued at about $300k now in just 4 years. There aren’t many pieces of land like this. However, there is 5 acres that is on the lowest level of conservation easement. Meaning we could strip it today and build, but that may change in the future. It’s a 100+ year old maple forest. (Well, mini forest).

We plan to put the house in such a spot that if we decide to subdivide later, we could. There is also 10 acres behind the property we are trying to buy as it is landlocked. It is 100% forested.

Is it a better financial decision to keep the land and then sell it as is some day? Probably. Would we really like to live on the land and enjoy the space today? Yep.

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Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:00 pm

Kenkat wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:19 pm
Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:05 pm
We found a great all-brick 4k sq ft home in our area on 17 acres. It had a beautiful pool and a 4 car garage. It sold for $950K with an asking price of $1.2M. (Something fishy here). But, it was nearly 20 years old and would have taken at least $250K to bring it up to current.
This could be the home you are considering building in 20 years when you go to sell. There’s nothing probably fishy here - the homeowner probably had $1.2M in the home and finally had to accept the reality that it wasn’t worth that to someone else and sold it for $950k. I think that’s the risk here - you don’t “break even” after 10+ years if you sell. That might be ok - if you enjoy the home for many years, it’s probably not that big a deal. But if that would bother you when it’s time to sell, then maybe you should take a different course.
Great point and that’s certainly the risk.

We know the current owners paid $850 for it just a few years ago and it was originally built and appraised for $750 back in 2005 or 2006 though.


Some of this is selfishly looking for validation, I know, yet some is wondering if anyone could scare me just enough! Well, scare my wife and kids just enough :)

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by eagleeyes » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:13 pm

I do worry that you are building a white elephant.

But it’s possible you are just ahead of your time! All those rough and tough neighborhoods right outside Chicago have become the hot suburbs where people pays millions to live.

Will you have an architect build plans for you? Or already done? Since your shopping bids with contractors, I would imagine you have already figured out the specifications for the house.

If not, perhaps I might make a suggestion. We are planning on having an online company called advanced home/house design build blueprints for us and even spec out the house, with tile, appliances, trim etc, with the idea of giving the contractor as much detail as possible to make an educated bid.

Controlling costs is nice. You don’t want to feel like you got taken to the cleaners.

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by barnaclebob » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:21 pm

Build the house. You can easily afford it.

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by willthrill81 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:24 pm

Cycle wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:37 pm
There is really no such thing as a forever home.
With relatively few exceptions, I agree. When people mean 'custom home', they usually mean 'McMansion'. Few people in their 80s or older are capable of living in such a home.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:35 pm

eagleeyes wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:13 pm
I do worry that you are building a white elephant.

But it’s possible you are just ahead of your time! All those rough and tough neighborhoods right outside Chicago have become the hot suburbs where people pays millions to live.

Will you have an architect build plans for you? Or already done? Since your shopping bids with contractors, I would imagine you have already figured out the specifications for the house.

If not, perhaps I might make a suggestion. We are planning on having an online company called advanced home/house design build blueprints for us and even spec out the house, with tile, appliances, trim etc, with the idea of giving the contractor as much detail as possible to make an educated bid.

Controlling costs is nice. You don’t want to feel like you got taken to the cleaners.


We started down the path of getting a design and having it spec’d. Almost everyone we talked to said it was not a good idea because architects often misunderstand what goes into building and don’t know the cost saving opportunities. We found two online design we really liked but merged them together and then started modifying.

So, what we did is go to three different design build firms. We, my wife mostly, sat with all three of them multiple times and designed three different houses with three builders. Now, through progression of meetings, the house plans now look nearly identical. Crazy, huh? :). Anyway, we were able to take the cost saving or design ideas from all three and merge them. We were very upfront with all three builders that we were doing this.

My wife also did preliminary work on all the finishes so that when they bid, they aren’t bidding the cheap stuff only to upcharge later. We’ve bought two unfinished semi-custom specs before, so we know how that works. All three have had site managers out to our lot. All three have contacted subs about site prep, utilities, etc. I have also given them a spec sheet of our minimum expectations for things like basement walls, window quality (Marvin essential or equivalent), HVAC (Carrier performance or equivalent), siding, flooring, roofing, etc. When we met with one of the builders they were blown away that we had all the information we had. They said they often take months to get to where we are with a client. Also, I had already contacted the city on utilities and we’ll resources on the wells on the property and gotten independent quotes for the driveway. They know we are supplying our own appliances and all plumbing fixtures (I have a connection for discounts) and will be handling our own contracting for pool and landscaping separate.

All three have told us “this is the easiest custom build we’ve ever done.”

So, In short, they are going to now all bid this with 90% information ready. We expect them to be +/- 5% of each other. We’ll see. The one we pick will be more based on how well they did in the process, how well they listened to us on our design, and how much constructive feedback they gave to us.

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by eagleeyes » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:49 pm

This is fantastic information. I just sent you a PM.

I am super impressed with your process. Will actually have to pass along to my wife because this is something we are interested in doing.

She is in process of building/designing the house from a set of plans we liked. When I mean she, i mean she, because my input is apparently not helpful!! Anyway, she is drawing the home out on some home design software platform so we have a good idea of what The plan will look like. We will then probably engage an architect likely online, then once we have plans we will engage builders. We hope to have the homes specced out just like you did, but not certain if we can get to your level of specificity as we haven’t ever done this before.

Honestly, I think you should pull the trigger and do it. You have laid a good foundation, are educated about the process, and have realistic expectations.

Keep us posted about your house. Would love to hear about your process and how it goes.

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by shess » Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:01 am

Personally, if I had a large property, I would consider splitting my efforts between the house itself and outbuildings.

For instance, our current home is ~2800sqft, and with two teenagers (one college, one HS), it's full, but nowhere near tight. In part this is because we have some rooms with very high ceilings that interconnect the common rooms on each floor. So if I were building a custom home, I'd probably carry some of that along, so the house might be bigger in volume, but I'd probably not go much past 3000 sqft in actual floor space. Honestly, your suggestion of 4000sqft + 1000sqft kinda terrifies me, make sure you get a Roomba!

Which is not to say that I wouldn't like to have a few hundred square feet more for a woodshop/bikeshop area, and/or a little pottery studio, and/or a little gym area, etc. But I'd consider building a more commercial barn/garage type area, which I could subdivide internally. I think as a separate building we could make materially different decisions about it, because it's not an extension of the house. It doesn't have to be an eyesore - but it also probably doesn't have to be pretty, either. Or you could just kit it out as a cottage for utility use but which could be converted to MIL quarters or even rented out if you're no longer using the space.

Of course, I've lived in northern California for almost as long as I lived in the upper midwest at this point, so it could be that I've entirely forgotten the pain of outbuildings.

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Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:45 am

shess wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:01 am
Personally, if I had a large property, I would consider splitting my efforts between the house itself and outbuildings.

For instance, our current home is ~2800sqft, and with two teenagers (one college, one HS), it's full, but nowhere near tight. In part this is because we have some rooms with very high ceilings that interconnect the common rooms on each floor. So if I were building a custom home, I'd probably carry some of that along, so the house might be bigger in volume, but I'd probably not go much past 3000 sqft in actual floor space. Honestly, your suggestion of 4000sqft + 1000sqft kinda terrifies me, make sure you get a Roomba!

Which is not to say that I wouldn't like to have a few hundred square feet more for a woodshop/bikeshop area, and/or a little pottery studio, and/or a little gym area, etc. But I'd consider building a more commercial barn/garage type area, which I could subdivide internally. I think as a separate building we could make materially different decisions about it, because it's not an extension of the house. It doesn't have to be an eyesore - but it also probably doesn't have to be pretty, either. Or you could just kit it out as a cottage for utility use but which could be converted to MIL quarters or even rented out if you're no longer using the space.

Of course, I've lived in northern California for almost as long as I lived in the upper midwest at this point, so it could be that I've entirely forgotten the pain of outbuildings.
We’re looking at a design that is just under 3000 sq FR on main floor. We are working to bring that down and it will likely be closer to 2,850. We will not have vaulted ceilings as we are tired of that. Then the upstairs, which is 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, is about 1,200, but likely will come in closer to 1,000. Most of our current sewing are now under 4K aw ft above grade. Then we’ll finish just part of the basement with a bedroom/office, bathroom and then large rectangular family room. Pretty common in Wisconsin and doesn’t count in your sq feet for tax purposes here. Our current home is 5,450 sq ft.

We already have a 30x50 pole building on the property and would likely improve that as well as build another smaller building. We have a large dog (100+ lbs) and plan to have some small animals including chickens and goats. My wife grew up on a dairy farm.

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by eucalyptus » Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:32 am

My advice goes to the construction process. We have done a fair amount of it. It doesn't which builder you use.

Mistakes will be made. As will changes.

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by kj10 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:31 am

Badger97 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:45 am

We already have a 30x50 pole building on the property and would likely improve that as well as build another small We have a large dog (100+ lbs) and plan to have some small animals including chickens and goats. My wife grew up on a dairy farm.
I’m with the others that have said go for it. 12 acres of maple forest sounds gorgeous - you don’t find beautiful pieces of land in large cities all that often. It will also probably be very nice for your spouse to enjoy all the benefits of living on beautiful land without the labor and endless chores of twice a day milking if she grew up on a dairy farm.

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by kj10 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:32 am

Badger97 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:45 am

We already have a 30x50 pole building on the property and would likely improve that as well as build another small We have a large dog (100+ lbs) and plan to have some small animals including chickens and goats. My wife grew up on a dairy farm.
I’m with the others that have said go for it. 12 acres of maple forest sounds gorgeous - you don’t find beautiful pieces of land in large cities all that often. It will also probably be very nice for your spouse to enjoy all the benefits of living on beautiful land without the labor and endless chores of twice a day milking if she grew up on a dairy farm.

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Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:56 am

kj10 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:32 am
Badger97 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:45 am

We already have a 30x50 pole building on the property and would likely improve that as well as build another small We have a large dog (100+ lbs) and plan to have some small animals including chickens and goats. My wife grew up on a dairy farm.
I’m with the others that have said go for it. 12 acres of maple forest sounds gorgeous - you don’t find beautiful pieces of land in large cities all that often. It will also probably be very nice for your spouse to enjoy all the benefits of living on beautiful land without the labor and endless chores of twice a day milking if she grew up on a dairy farm.

She did. With 5 boys and 5 girls, the boys milked and the girls cooked/cleaned. Very traditional Midwest Catholic dairy farm family.

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by livesoft » Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:13 pm

I don't have any problems with you building this home and living there. It will eventually become the ol' Badger97 estate and perhaps you (or your heirs) will sell off some of the land around it.

As for custom home designs, I wanted to add the following which I always note when people are talking about buying a home:
livesoft wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:34 pm
I wrote about it previously:
livesoft wrote:A list from a previous thread ….
http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 24#p818024
livesoft wrote:When we started looking to buy, we went to library and checked out the books. It was pretty straightforward. I would not buy a book unless it was in the $1 rack at the used book store.

And the idea of "evaluating windows" is kind of silly. Here's my criteria when I was looking for a home.

1. On a cul-de-sac near the end, but not at the end and not at the beginning.
2. Good schools.
3. Within 3 miles of my office.
4. Short walk from a water features like a pond or lake.
5. No tile countertops.
6. No bathroom doors visible from a seated position in any public room like den, kitchen, living room, game room, study, etc.
7. 4 bedrooms, at least 3 bathrooms.
8. Brick exterior, not stucco, not wood.
9. No major street within 2 blocks. (i.e. Interior cul-de-sac).
10. No chance of flooding, so must be on a ridge or high ground with good drainage even during a hurricane.

Surprisingly, these criteria eliminate about 98% of homes, so if the realtor is doing their job, you won't have to look at more than 1 or 2 homes. Notice that except for the countertop thing, there is nothing special about windows, insulation, appliances, etc. Those are small things that you can change. You can't change location and add a large pond or good schools where none exist.
In addition, (some are redundant):

11. Not on a corner (same as #1).
12. If street has street lights, at the street light (free security lighting).
13. 3 ways out of the neighborhood (in case fallen trees block the roads).
14. Cannot hear any highway noise nor noise of major traffic arteries.
15. Nice walking possibilities for the dog; nice running/biking loops in several directions for you.
16. Consider site plan: Deciduous trees on south side to shield from sun in summer, open views on north side.
17. No nuisances (no electric wires, power lines. No visible water towers, cell phone towers, billboards, sewage treatment plants.)
18. Walk to schools (see #2).
19. Walk/bike to nearby grocery store, restaurants, drugstores, doctors, dentists (but not so close that one gets any noise or traffic in the neighborhood).
20. Home is offset from next door homes, so that windows do not face neighbors' windows, patios do not directly face neighors' patios.

And I agree with awval999, price-per-sq-ft is a good criteria, but once narrowed to a neighborhood the list I presented might help.
I'll add two more criteria from recent bogleheads threads:

N1. Water heaters should be located very near (such as above) critical bathroom showers and kitchens, so that one does not have to wait for hot water. Two heaters are better than one for redundancy.

N2. Washer/dryer in the laundry room should be located conveniently on the same floor as the master bedroom, but not so close as to allow noise in the bedroom. A good location is between the kitchen or mud room and the dining room. That way the dining room can be used for dumping/folding clothes from the dryer. Of course, one of the hot water heaters should be above the laundry room.
If you tell your buyer's agent not to show you any house that doesn't meet the specific location requirements, that'll speed things up and they won't waste your time. I only looked inside 2 homes in the course of 5 months. The first one I was tricked by my spouse; the second one we bought.
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Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:20 pm

^^^ Love that list!

And also, no way would you ever find a house that fit all those things in my area. Wow.

One big issue with this property is that there is a water tower adjacent to it. You can't see it from where the house will sit because of the trees blocking the view, but if you go to the far back of the property and look north, it's very hard to miss.

Everyone has said "you'll have great water pressure!"

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by livesoft » Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:30 pm

Badger97 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:20 pm
One big issue with this property is that there is a water tower adjacent to it. You can't see it from where the house will sit because of the trees blocking the view, but if you go to the far back of the property and look north, it's very hard to miss.

Everyone has said "you'll have great water pressure!"
There is a water tower within a mile of my home, but it is not visible from anywhere on our property. It still creates a problem at our home: The nearest cell tower is exactly on the opposite side of the water tower and its signal is essentially blocked by the water tower. We have terrible cell phone reception because our phones must connect to a much further away cell tower, so we got our provider to give us a free microcell that we connect to our internet.

One more thing: Consult the noise map available from the US DOT.gov, too, and make sure home location is in a current and future lowest noise setting.
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by ray.james » Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:47 pm

Livesoft, we bought a house that meets most of your criteria.

I will say, washer dryer on ground is preferable( carrying clothes is a pain but that is just once a week chore. More important, water heater on ground floor/garage/outside the home. Water damages/leaks are pain to deal with.

Our house has a single plumbing line across 2 floors that 3 bathrooms feed into immediately. Kitchen line exits outside immediately to meet this line. Ideal :D
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by livesoft » Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:51 pm

ray.james wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:47 pm
I will say, washer dryer on ground is preferable( ...
And so is master bedroom on ground floor. :)
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by marcopolo » Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:55 pm

livesoft wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:13 pm
I don't have any problems with you building this home and living there. It will eventually become the ol' Badger97 estate and perhaps you (or your heirs) will sell off some of the land around it.

As for custom home designs, I wanted to add the following which I always note when people are talking about buying a home:
livesoft wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:34 pm
I wrote about it previously:
livesoft wrote:A list from a previous thread ….
http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 24#p818024
livesoft wrote:When we started looking to buy, we went to library and checked out the books. It was pretty straightforward. I would not buy a book unless it was in the $1 rack at the used book store.

And the idea of "evaluating windows" is kind of silly. Here's my criteria when I was looking for a home.

1. On a cul-de-sac near the end, but not at the end and not at the beginning.
2. Good schools.
3. Within 3 miles of my office.
4. Short walk from a water features like a pond or lake.
5. No tile countertops.
6. No bathroom doors visible from a seated position in any public room like den, kitchen, living room, game room, study, etc.
7. 4 bedrooms, at least 3 bathrooms.
8. Brick exterior, not stucco, not wood.
9. No major street within 2 blocks. (i.e. Interior cul-de-sac).
10. No chance of flooding, so must be on a ridge or high ground with good drainage even during a hurricane.

Surprisingly, these criteria eliminate about 98% of homes, so if the realtor is doing their job, you won't have to look at more than 1 or 2 homes. Notice that except for the countertop thing, there is nothing special about windows, insulation, appliances, etc. Those are small things that you can change. You can't change location and add a large pond or good schools where none exist.
In addition, (some are redundant):

11. Not on a corner (same as #1).
12. If street has street lights, at the street light (free security lighting).
13. 3 ways out of the neighborhood (in case fallen trees block the roads).
14. Cannot hear any highway noise nor noise of major traffic arteries.
15. Nice walking possibilities for the dog; nice running/biking loops in several directions for you.
16. Consider site plan: Deciduous trees on south side to shield from sun in summer, open views on north side.
17. No nuisances (no electric wires, power lines. No visible water towers, cell phone towers, billboards, sewage treatment plants.)
18. Walk to schools (see #2).
19. Walk/bike to nearby grocery store, restaurants, drugstores, doctors, dentists (but not so close that one gets any noise or traffic in the neighborhood).
20. Home is offset from next door homes, so that windows do not face neighbors' windows, patios do not directly face neighors' patios.

And I agree with awval999, price-per-sq-ft is a good criteria, but once narrowed to a neighborhood the list I presented might help.
I'll add two more criteria from recent bogleheads threads:

N1. Water heaters should be located very near (such as above) critical bathroom showers and kitchens, so that one does not have to wait for hot water. Two heaters are better than one for redundancy.

N2. Washer/dryer in the laundry room should be located conveniently on the same floor as the master bedroom, but not so close as to allow noise in the bedroom. A good location is between the kitchen or mud room and the dining room. That way the dining room can be used for dumping/folding clothes from the dryer. Of course, one of the hot water heaters should be above the laundry room.
If you tell your buyer's agent not to show you any house that doesn't meet the specific location requirements, that'll speed things up and they won't waste your time. I only looked inside 2 homes in the course of 5 months. The first one I was tricked by my spouse; the second one we bought.

One of these are not like the other:
#5 no tile counter tops

All your other criteria seem things that are quite difficult, if not impossible to change, so makes sense to have them as criteria. This is so easy to change, I would not put it in same category.

As to your addendum,
Hot water heater location can be pretty easily resolved with circulation pump, but agree proper placement is preferable.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by livesoft » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:03 pm

marcopolo wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:55 pm
One of these are not like the other:
#5 no tile counter tops
Indeed, as noted by the "except"
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Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:25 pm

ray.james wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:47 pm
Livesoft, we bought a house that meets most of your criteria.

I will say, washer dryer on ground is preferable( carrying clothes is a pain but that is just once a week chore. More important, water heater on ground floor/garage/outside the home. Water damages/leaks are pain to deal with.

Our house has a single plumbing line across 2 floors that 3 bathrooms feed into immediately. Kitchen line exits outside immediately to meet this line. Ideal :D
Our design has master on main and laundry on main. Water heater(s) in the basement makes it close to the master bath, but not to the upstairs baths. But then, those are for the kids...so....

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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by stan1 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:33 pm

Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:35 pm

So, what we did is go to three different design build firms. We, my wife mostly, sat with all three of them multiple times and designed three different houses with three builders. Now, through progression of meetings, the house plans now look nearly identical. Crazy, huh? :). Anyway, we were able to take the cost saving or design ideas from all three and merge them. We were very upfront with all three builders that we were doing this.
Are you paying each of them a design fee or are they all doing this work on their dime?

No way in my location you'd get anywhere near this far without a design fee that would be applied to the project if you choose them.

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Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:09 pm

stan1 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:33 pm
Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:35 pm

So, what we did is go to three different design build firms. We, my wife mostly, sat with all three of them multiple times and designed three different houses with three builders. Now, through progression of meetings, the house plans now look nearly identical. Crazy, huh? :). Anyway, we were able to take the cost saving or design ideas from all three and merge them. We were very upfront with all three builders that we were doing this.
Are you paying each of them a design fee or are they all doing this work on their dime?

No way in my location you'd get anywhere near this far without a design fee that would be applied to the project if you choose them.
All on their dime. And it’s standard practice here apparently. We did have one that wanted essentially $15k to get this far. We dropped him. They aren’t certified drawings, but they are pretty far along.

Topic Author
Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:08 pm

Sat down with one of our three builders and walked through an actual detailed quote tonight. 4463 sq ft above grade and 900 below. 5 bed, 5.5 bath. Including lot prep came in at $1.136M. Add driveway ($30k), pool ($50k) and land ($300k) and at $1.52M.

We would reduce sq footage by at least 300-500 sq ft on upper floors saving $100k+. Some of the allowances they stated are pretty high like custom cabinets at $55k and appliances at $30k. Flooring was around $8.50 sq ft for material and counters were quoted at $70 sq foot material cost on all surfaces (even laundry room). First floor ceilings were quoted at 12’ and we would like drop them to 10’. Interior doors at $9k for 8’ stained solid wood. We already told them to drop that to painted MDF and only 8’ on first floor. That dropped $6K right there. DW was actually the one driving to get it to sun $1M. So proud of her!

We get two more quotes this week and then will downselect and decide.

eagleeyes
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by eagleeyes » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:46 pm

am I to understand that the property cost 300k for 12 acres? Or is that the price of clearing the land to get ready for use, grading, etc?

Topic Author
Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:08 pm

eagleeyes wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:46 pm
am I to understand that the property cost 300k for 12 acres? Or is that the price of clearing the land to get ready for use, grading, etc?

We paid $180k for it 4 years ago. Estimated appraised value now is $250-$300k.

Area where house is proposed to be built is already clear. Driveway already exists but needs to be upgraded and paved and utilities need to be run up to 800 feet off the road.

000
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by 000 » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:31 am

Badger97 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:08 pm
Sat down with one of our three builders and walked through an actual detailed quote tonight. 4463 sq ft above grade and 900 below. 5 bed, 5.5 bath. Including lot prep came in at $1.136M. Add driveway ($30k), pool ($50k) and land ($300k) and at $1.52M.

We would reduce sq footage by at least 300-500 sq ft on upper floors saving $100k+. Some of the allowances they stated are pretty high like custom cabinets at $55k and appliances at $30k. Flooring was around $8.50 sq ft for material and counters were quoted at $70 sq foot material cost on all surfaces (even laundry room). First floor ceilings were quoted at 12’ and we would like drop them to 10’. Interior doors at $9k for 8’ stained solid wood. We already told them to drop that to painted MDF and only 8’ on first floor. That dropped $6K right there. DW was actually the one driving to get it to sun $1M. So proud of her!

We get two more quotes this week and then will downselect and decide.
I wonder how much of bargain you can drive down considering the current economic situation. OTOH, maybe in your area many people are building million dollar homes.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Mr. Rumples » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:12 am

Badger97 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:20 pm
^^^ Love that list!

And also, no way would you ever find a house that fit all those things in my area. Wow.

One big issue with this property is that there is a water tower adjacent to it. You can't see it from where the house will sit because of the trees blocking the view, but if you go to the far back of the property and look north, it's very hard to miss.

Everyone has said "you'll have great water pressure!"
Be sure to understand the easements and rights of way. The water towers here have catch basins. If not maintained, and if there is an overflow issue, which way will the water flow? I was trying to find the article about when it happened here a few years back, but couldn't, but did find one about an problem in LA. I don't know if it is a rare occurrence or not.

Topic Author
Badger97
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:32 am

Mr. Rumples wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:12 am
Badger97 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:20 pm
^^^ Love that list!

And also, no way would you ever find a house that fit all those things in my area. Wow.

One big issue with this property is that there is a water tower adjacent to it. You can't see it from where the house will sit because of the trees blocking the view, but if you go to the far back of the property and look north, it's very hard to miss.

Everyone has said "you'll have great water pressure!"
Be sure to understand the easements and rights of way. The water towers here have catch basins. If not maintained, and if there is an overflow issue, which way will the water flow? I was trying to find the article about when it happened here a few years back, but couldn't, but did find one about an problem in LA. I don't know if it is a rare occurrence or not.
Good point.

Water tower would be 750 feet from our house and not likely to see water make it to the house as there is a lower area between the two and a much lower area that it would travel towards.

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