Custom Home Thoughts

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Topic Author
Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:01 am

000 wrote:
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.
Just got quote too. $1.129M from a second builder. Some differences about the quote and when I redo some adjustments for adds/deducts and slight sq foot difference:

Builder 1: $1.071M
Builder 2: $1.135M

Third builder hasn't given us a complete breakdown, but top level numbers put them at $1.08M.

So, not much spread (about 5-7%). Second builder put in a lot higher end flooring/counters which I didn't fully adjust. Not much difference so seems market is staying competitive.

eagleeyes
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by eagleeyes » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:16 pm

Certainly good to see the builders are in the same ballpark. How will you decide which one to go with?

Also, with your design build firms, are you working with designers or architects?

123
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by 123 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:39 pm

By the time it's done and ready to move in (say 2 years) you will be on the verge of downsizing with the kids near leaving the nest.

Of course if you and your spouse haven't been good parents the kids won't leave and may even add to the household with spouses, grandkids, etc. If that happens a "compound" may very will be needed.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

Regattamom
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Regattamom » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:14 pm

123 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:39 pm
By the time it's done and ready to move in (say 2 years) you will be on the verge of downsizing with the kids near leaving the nest.

Of course if you and your spouse haven't been good parents the kids won't leave and may even add to the household with spouses, grandkids, etc. If that happens a "compound" may very will be needed.
In many cultures, multigenerational living IS the norm. It has nothing to do with good or bad parenting.

Bobby206
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Bobby206 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:21 pm

Everything I have ever read and/or heard says building will cost way more than expected. I thus would expect to spend at least 25% more than you budget. Also, be sure you get estimates on the outdoor work as that can be really expensive. I don't know what the costs are in your area to build but $1.5m for a 4k sq foot house sounds cheap compared to the west coast.

As long as you have control on your overall spending I think this is fine. Enjoy it for 10 years and then worry about selling. Life is too short....

Good luck!

fundseeker
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by fundseeker » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:37 pm

Be very careful with your money. 16 people just like you planning to build their dream home fell victim to trusting their custom home builder with too much money up front. Victims often never get their money back, and they even get sued afterwards by subcontractors and suppliers that never got paid. Details are in the link below.

https://www.al.com/news/birmingham/2019 ... s-say.html

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goodenyou
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by goodenyou » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:41 pm

I am moving out of a 5000++sq ft house that we have been in for 20 years. It is way above average cost for our area. It needs some work as it is 20 years old. We raised 3 kids in it. Pool, expensive landscaping, expensive appliances. The works. I can’t get out of it fast enough. I will be taking a $150-200k loss on it. I really don’t care because I don’t want to repair or maintain it anymore. I cannot wait to downsize to a one story house that we can age in place. Point being: your needs will change and your house will be a money pit for many years to come. If you can stomach a loss for the pleasure of living in a nice house, go for it. Just don’t believe that it is an investment unless things change dramatically in your area.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" | Do you know how to make a rain dance work? Dance until it rains.

MileKing
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by MileKing » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:55 pm

Badger97 wrote:
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?
Driveway already exists but needs to be upgraded and paved and utilities need to be run up to 800 feet off the road.
I'm assuming that the utility cost is not part of the quote you received. You can estimate about $30/ft per utility. So $25k for electric, $25k for natural gas (if applicable), and $25k for cable/internet. $5k additional if you need a transformer. Some utilities will cover part of the connection cost, but typically no more than $3-5k. Totally dependent on your utility provider.

MostWonderfulTime
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by MostWonderfulTime » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:23 am

What an exciting opportunity for you and your family! I'll chime in here with a slightly different opinion. If I were building a $1M dream home, I would absolutely engage an architect who specializes in high-end residential construction. Their expertise in design, massing, flow and function, siting, window proportions and layouts to capture views is just not the same as what you will get with a builder. Perhaps you could engage such a firm to review and improve the builder's plans? If you are at all interested in the impact of good design on your quality of life and enjoyment of the house, it will be money well spent. If you are looking for cost-savings, the design-build approach might suit you best.

SQRT
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by SQRT » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:43 am

You can easily afford this. I wouldn’t be too worried about getting your money out of it later. Houses are mostly for living in not an investment. Your pension in retirement will mostly cover your future expenses. Salary is quite high and will allow for more savings in future. You only live once.

I am facing a similar decision. Want to rebuild our lake house. Significant upgrade that will likely cost well in excess of future market value. But it will be spectacular. Hired nationally known architect who specializes in “cottages”. Will cost several millions. That doesn’t bother me as I think we will get our enjoyment out of it and certainly have no plans to sell.

finite_difference
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by finite_difference » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:05 pm

Badger97 wrote:
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.
If it’s a forever home, the sell price doesn’t matter.

If it’s not a forever home, then I wouldn’t count on making money on it. You’d be lucky to break even. Sounds like you should estimate the sell price at about $1m, and if you get more, that’s great.

Generally speaking, I don’t think custom / dream homes are good investments. You’re not building it to make money, you’re building it to live in.

I do take issue with the idea that there is really no such thing as a forever home. I know multiple families that have lived in their homes for 40+ years. Together with extended family, we’ve owned a home for over 100 years.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

GmanJeff
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by GmanJeff » Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:47 pm

As you know, a pool in the Milwaukee area will be able to be used for a relatively limited period during the year unless you build it indoors. It will also likely be seen as a liability by most future potential buyers, and may get little use once all three of your children leave home in a few years. You might consider instead, if you have not already planned for it, to incorporate a 3 or 4 or even 5-car garage where you can have indoor parking for kids' cars in the future and/or a fair weather car for yourself, and where you can store your snowthrower and lawn tractor.

School system reputation matters greatly for resale purposes and generally corresponds with the tax base of the community.

Consider incorporating a elevator, which would be invaluable should anyone in the family ever develop mobility problems, and which is a feature expected in many upscale homes in some areas.

You can avoid speculating about how the house will turn out, what it will cost in the end, and how it will likely retain value if you instead purchase an existing home in Mequon, Brookfield, or another suburb with many established communities in your price range. Building from scratch may or may not result in you ending up with something closer to your ideal, but necessarily is also much riskier than buying a house which has already been built.
Last edited by GmanJeff on Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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goodenyou
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by goodenyou » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:04 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.
J
The dirt appreciates in value. The structure depreciates and breaks down. In rural areas or low density bucolic areas, there is an oversupply of dirt.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" | Do you know how to make a rain dance work? Dance until it rains.

Topic Author
Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:11 am

MileKing wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:55 pm
Badger97 wrote:
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?
Driveway already exists but needs to be upgraded and paved and utilities need to be run up to 800 feet off the road.
I'm assuming that the utility cost is not part of the quote you received. You can estimate about $30/ft per utility. So $25k for electric, $25k for natural gas (if applicable), and $25k for cable/internet. $5k additional if you need a transformer. Some utilities will cover part of the connection cost, but typically no more than $3-5k. Totally dependent on your utility provider.
Not sure where you get your numbers.

Gas already quote at $6500. They charge just $9.10 a foot after 100 feet. Electric is under $10K. Cable they’ve told me no charge up to 500 feet and can bury with the electric line and reduce total cost.

Topic Author
Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:14 am

GmanJeff wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:47 pm
As you know, a pool in the Milwaukee area will be able to be used for a relatively limited period during the year unless you build it indoors. It will also likely be seen as a liability by most future potential buyers, and may get little use once all three of your children leave home in a few years. You might consider instead, if you have not already planned for it, to incorporate a 3 or 4 or even 5-car garage where you can have indoor parking for kids' cars in the future and/or a fair weather car for yourself, and where you can store your snowthrower and lawn tractor.

School system reputation matters greatly for resale purposes and generally corresponds with the tax base of the community.

Consider incorporating a elevator, which would be invaluable should anyone in the family ever develop mobility problems, and which is a feature expected in many upscale homes in some areas.

You can avoid speculating about how the house will turn out, what it will cost in the end, and how it will likely retain value if you instead purchase an existing home in Mequon, Brookfield, or another suburb with many established communities in your price range. Building from scratch may or may not result in you ending up with something closer to your ideal, but necessarily is also much riskier than buying a house which has already been built.

Thank you. The house already ha design for. 4 car garage as well as there is another 30x50 building on the property.

While buying in those other markets you said makes sense, I don’t live in those markets and my kids don’t go to school in those markets. So that is out.

Topic Author
Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:56 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.
I thought I'd take some data here, as this is clearly true (the $600K comment).

In my county there are 13 $1M+ houses for sale and 15 homes sold in the last 12 months.

In the next county, which is the local market I referenced as being comparable but a mile away, the numbers are 28 active and 26 sold.

Appraiser at bank I am working with says they can maybe pull one or two from neighboring city/county, but rest must be in current city/county. These only include MLS listings and not new builds. They will have access to new builds.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by JoeRetire » Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:39 pm

Badger97 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:52 pm
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.
Unless you are both confident that you will live in this home until you die, then don't build the most expensive home in your town.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.

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sperry8
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by sperry8 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:46 pm

Badger97 wrote:
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.
Even if you do it - and 10 years later are on a loss (via sale) of a few hundred thousand, it won't change your retirement at all. Go for it. Not everything is meant to be a financial win. Life must be lived and enjoyed while one is healthy and alive. Responsibly of course. But counting the pennies when one has achieved your level is no way to live. In fact just today, some people in their 40s died young due to Covid. They had been saving waiting for their 70s to spend. Live, responsibly, for today. Enjoy your family, your land, and your new home. $1.5mm today is fine - and if in 10 years it's worth $1.3mm, you'll be fine.
BH contest results: 2019: #233 of 645 | 18: #150 of 493 | 17: #516 of 647 | 16: #121 of 610 | 15: #18 of 552 | 14: #225 of 503 | 13: #383 of 433 | 12: #366 of 410 | 11: #113 of 369 | 10: #53 of 282

marcopolo
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by marcopolo » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:10 pm

sperry8 wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:46 pm
Badger97 wrote:
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.
Even if you do it - and 10 years later are on a loss (via sale) of a few hundred thousand, it won't change your retirement at all. Go for it. Not everything is meant to be a financial win. Life must be lived and enjoyed while one is healthy and alive. Responsibly of course. But counting the pennies when one has achieved your level is no way to live. In fact just today, some people in their 40s died young due to Covid. They had been saving waiting for their 70s to spend. Live, responsibly, for today. Enjoy your family, your land, and your new home. $1.5mm today is fine - and if in 10 years it's worth $1.3mm, you'll be fine.
Good advice right there.

You seem to have done your homework and have a good handle on the process.

Good luck with the build, enjoy the process.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

ballons
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by ballons » Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:47 pm

123 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:39 pm
By the time it's done and ready to move in (say 2 years) you will be on the verge of downsizing with the kids near leaving the nest.

Of course if you and your spouse haven't been good parents the kids won't leave and may even add to the household with spouses, grandkids, etc. If that happens a "compound" may very will be needed.
The "good parents" whose children and grandkids don't visit and they don't understand why. The "good parents" that get sent to a nursing home who of course still don't understand why no one visits.

000
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by 000 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:49 pm

123 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:39 pm
may even add to the household with spouses, grandkids, etc. If that happens a "compound" may very will be needed.
Sounds like they have the space for it!

Such a living arrangement is very common in different times and geographies. It's only recently in the West that it has fallen out of favor.

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Watty
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Watty » Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:02 pm

Just a few things to add to your checklist.

1) Check on how much it will cost to insure it. It was just a modest house but I know someone that bought an A Frame in the woods that was up a curvy gravel road. It turned out that the curves were so sharp that a firetruck would not be able to get up the road so he had trouble getting insurance for it. I never heard what he ended up doing. There may be some things that you can design into the house which will reduce the cost of the insurance. Also check with your emergency services about how to give them an address to find the place if you ever need an ambulance.

2) Don't underestimate how much it will cost to maintain the landscaping and forest. Deer may be a problem with any fancy landscaping. When people come to give bids for your landscaping and see your house you will get their "mansion" price. Sort of like taking an expensive Mercedes in for minor service.

3) There may be things like cell phone towers and microwave towers that are on that water tower. Look into if these can cause interference with your electronics.

4) When placing the house and roads on the land try to do it in a way that would work if the land is subdivided someday. You may not ever want to do that but it may make the property more salable some day. It is not impossible that you might want to have building sites available for your kids to build on some day so also consider that.

5) If they have to take some maple trees out to clear the building site and road then look into how much the trees are worth as lumber, it could be a lot. You may want to arrange to have some of the wood saved for you to use for furniture or other uses inside the house. It would likely not be cost effective but something like a large dining room table or carved fireplace mantle that is made from wood that was harvested there could be neat to have.

6) Milwaukee is not an ideal location for a pool because of the weather and there will be lots of leaves to fall into the pool. You might consider ways to design it so that you could have a longer swimming season and less problems with the pool. You may want to reconsider having a pool. A huge hot tub or indoor lap pool might be more practical.

Topic Author
Badger97
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Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:41 pm

Watty wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:02 pm
Just a few things to add to your checklist.

1) Check on how much it will cost to insure it. It was just a modest house but I know someone that bought an A Frame in the woods that was up a curvy gravel road. It turned out that the curves were so sharp that a firetruck would not be able to get up the road so he had trouble getting insurance for it. I never heard what he ended up doing. There may be some things that you can design into the house which will reduce the cost of the insurance. Also check with your emergency services about how to give them an address to find the place if you ever need an ambulance.

2) Don't underestimate how much it will cost to maintain the landscaping and forest. Deer may be a problem with any fancy landscaping. When people come to give bids for your landscaping and see your house you will get their "mansion" price. Sort of like taking an expensive Mercedes in for minor service.

3) There may be things like cell phone towers and microwave towers that are on that water tower. Look into if these can cause interference with your electronics.

4) When placing the house and roads on the land try to do it in a way that would work if the land is subdivided someday. You may not ever want to do that but it may make the property more salable some day. It is not impossible that you might want to have building sites available for your kids to build on some day so also consider that.

5) If they have to take some maple trees out to clear the building site and road then look into how much the trees are worth as lumber, it could be a lot. You may want to arrange to have some of the wood saved for you to use for furniture or other uses inside the house. It would likely not be cost effective but something like a large dining room table or carved fireplace mantle that is made from wood that was harvested there could be neat to have.

6) Milwaukee is not an ideal location for a pool because of the weather and there will be lots of leaves to fall into the pool. You might consider ways to design it so that you could have a longer swimming season and less problems with the pool. You may want to reconsider having a pool. A huge hot tub or indoor lap pool might be more practical.

What a great list! Thank you. Fortunately, we've been working on some of them already.

1) Insurance. The lot is already insured so we did put in a call to understand upping it. The good news is that there is actually a fire hydrant at the edge of the property. While it's 750 feet from the house, it's well within the limits to get credit for having that access.

2) We have already decided that landscaping will be minimal. We will finish a section of the front of the house but the back will be prairie and the woods are something I like to maintain, although it's a lot of work. I have a skid steer, a utility vehicle, and all the tools. I have a 60" ZTR that I already mow on the property with, etc.

3) There are no cell towers on the water tower. There is 5G coming to the area, but those towers are tiny relative to current towers.

4) We have considered this and had the builders help define a spot that, while probably not perfect, doesn't prohibit from adding a few additional lots in the future if we wanted to. The main forested area is already designated as the lowest level of conservation easement. There is nothing prohibiting us legally from raizing it today (we have no plans to!) but that could change in the future.

5) We anticipate that no trees will have be removed. We are building far back on the lot in an area that used to be a 4 acre pasture. There is already a driveway and we had one site manager out who said we needed to take some limbs up, but didn't think we had any trees in the way on the driveway, for the concrete truck, truss crane, or for turnaround. We had an arborist out last week. He told us that our 5 acres of woods may be the last old growth forest left in the area. He said most of the tress are 100 years old. They are huge. The good thing is there is a lot of new growth coming in under it. We have at least 100 small maple trees that are 1-2" in diameter but because they are searching for the sun they are 15-20' tall. Very cool.

6) We plan to design the pool very simply knowing that the window of use is small. It will be rectangle and single depth and the lowest-cost option. It is also in the area that is a pasture today and there isn't a tree within 200 feet of it. Full sun from sunup to sundown to maximize temperature and no trees!

Topic Author
Badger97
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:41 pm

sperry8 wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:46 pm
Badger97 wrote:
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.
Even if you do it - and 10 years later are on a loss (via sale) of a few hundred thousand, it won't change your retirement at all. Go for it. Not everything is meant to be a financial win. Life must be lived and enjoyed while one is healthy and alive. Responsibly of course. But counting the pennies when one has achieved your level is no way to live. In fact just today, some people in their 40s died young due to Covid. They had been saving waiting for their 70s to spend. Live, responsibly, for today. Enjoy your family, your land, and your new home. $1.5mm today is fine - and if in 10 years it's worth $1.3mm, you'll be fine.
Not gonna lie, selfishly I was looking for this answer. You must know my wife :)

Topic Author
Badger97
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:46 pm

123 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:39 pm
By the time it's done and ready to move in (say 2 years) you will be on the verge of downsizing with the kids near leaving the nest.

Of course if you and your spouse haven't been good parents the kids won't leave and may even add to the household with spouses, grandkids, etc. If that happens a "compound" may very will be needed.
Great comment. We look at it a little longer term though. By the time the last kid moves out, which could be 10-12 including college time, we expect that the oldest will be having kids. We want a very nice place for the family to visit. Big, with room and amenities (like a pool, and miniature cows!). We see it as a bit more valuable when the kids leave and bring their families back. There is nothing worse than trying to visit my in-laws in their very practical home (for them) that simply doesn't fit another 5 people showing up.

Of course, in 5 years I also want to own a home in the mountains that is actually our eventual retirement....I may have to work longer than planned.

neverpanic
Posts: 269
Joined: Sun May 10, 2020 12:26 am

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by neverpanic » Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:13 pm

You've done great in life. Even IF it was mostly luck, you have worked hard and been very smart to get where you are financially.

It's entirely possible that the dream homestead replete with summer, holiday, and weekend visits from the kids and grandkids may never materialize, but if you don't build the dream, then it will never come to life.

Build the house. Build the home. Live the dream. You've earned the right to at least give it a shot.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.

SQRT
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:44 am

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by SQRT » Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:11 am

Badger97 wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:46 pm
123 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:39 pm
By the time it's done and ready to move in (say 2 years) you will be on the verge of downsizing with the kids near leaving the nest.

Of course if you and your spouse haven't been good parents the kids won't leave and may even add to the household with spouses, grandkids, etc. If that happens a "compound" may very will be needed.
Great comment. We look at it a little longer term though. By the time the last kid moves out, which could be 10-12 including college time, we expect that the oldest will be having kids. We want a very nice place for the family to visit. Big, with room and amenities (like a pool, and miniature cows!). We see it as a bit more valuable when the kids leave and bring their families back. There is nothing worse than trying to visit my in-laws in their very practical home (for them) that simply doesn't fit another 5 people showing up.

Of course, in 5 years I also want to own a home in the mountains that is actually our eventual retirement....I may have to work longer than planned.
Interesting. When I retired almost 14 years ago we retired to the Mountains. Bought a house in Canmore (near Banff) in the Canadian Rockies. One of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. Learned to ski and mountain bike. Made a whole new set of friends. A fabulous decision.

Topic Author
Badger97
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:57 am

SQRT wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:11 am
Badger97 wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:46 pm
123 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:39 pm
By the time it's done and ready to move in (say 2 years) you will be on the verge of downsizing with the kids near leaving the nest.

Of course if you and your spouse haven't been good parents the kids won't leave and may even add to the household with spouses, grandkids, etc. If that happens a "compound" may very will be needed.
Great comment. We look at it a little longer term though. By the time the last kid moves out, which could be 10-12 including college time, we expect that the oldest will be having kids. We want a very nice place for the family to visit. Big, with room and amenities (like a pool, and miniature cows!). We see it as a bit more valuable when the kids leave and bring their families back. There is nothing worse than trying to visit my in-laws in their very practical home (for them) that simply doesn't fit another 5 people showing up.

Of course, in 5 years I also want to own a home in the mountains that is actually our eventual retirement....I may have to work longer than planned.
Interesting. When I retired almost 14 years ago we retired to the Mountains. Bought a house in Canmore (near Banff) in the Canadian Rockies. One of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. Learned to ski and mountain bike. Made a whole new set of friends. A fabulous decision.
Tell me more! We're hoping the market in Jackson Hole or Park City tanks so we can pick up a property cheaper, but alas it doesn't seem to be slowing down.

There are some mountain areas of Colorado we like. Haven't looked very hard at Oregon or Washington, but I understand there are some really attractive areas there. Hiking is high on my list.

SQRT
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:44 am

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by SQRT » Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:31 am

Badger97 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:57 am
SQRT wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:11 am
Badger97 wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:46 pm


Of course, in 5 years I also want to own a home in the mountains that is actually our eventual retirement....I may have to work longer than planned.
Interesting. When I retired almost 14 years ago we retired to the Mountains. Bought a house in Canmore (near Banff) in the Canadian Rockies. One of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. Learned to ski and mountain bike. Made a whole new set of friends. A fabulous decision.
Tell me more! We're hoping the market in Jackson Hole or Park City tanks so we can pick up a property cheaper, but alas it doesn't seem to be slowing down.

There are some mountain areas of Colorado we like. Haven't looked very hard at Oregon or Washington, but I understand there are some really attractive areas there. Hiking is high on my list.
Not that familiar with US locations. Have visited northern Idaho and thought that was lovely but not as mountainous as Canmore/Banff. Fabulous lakes though.

Some American friends who live in Colorado and have visited us in Canmore, said “ the mountains around Canmore are “sharper” and more beautiful than those in Colorado”. Maybe they were just being polite? Canmore has about 16,000 residents, 4,000 are “weekenders” mostly from Calgary. A really nice town. Hiking in Banff national park is certainly world class as it would be in Colorado. Winters turned out to be pretty long, so got a snowbird place in Arizona as well. Nice places are expensive wherever you go.
Last edited by SQRT on Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

huskerfan1414
Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:51 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by huskerfan1414 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:22 am

It's your money and you should do what you want--you've earned that.

But you are looking for some "scare" posts, so I'll try to give you some.

I am friends with many people who build homes and some guys who do a lot of work in the suburbs of a major midwestern city and they laugh at what people are building then almost immediately trying to sell. So I'll throw some thoughts at you that jumped out at me right away.

1) Why are you building such a big elaborate home? 4 thousand sqft is a lot of space. Here's the truth for 80% of families your size: much of that space will never be used, even with your kids in the home. Once your kids leave in a few years, then you really, really won't be using that space. It will sit empty. Now, you might be perfectly ok with this. But others wouldn't be. It can actually be easier to feel bored and lonely in a bigger house than a smaller house, which you wouldn't think would be true, but it is.

2) Why do you want a pool? Might sound like a silly question, but they are a maintenance hassle and, again, past the first year they are rarely used. Now, this might not be true for you, for all I know you used to be an Olympic swimmer and in that case I get it. But in a northern city that's too cold to swim 8 months out of the year, it might make more sense to do your swimming while travelling on vacations and instead get the hot tub if you really need something. Less cost and less maintenance and hassle. More likely to use.

I guess what the overall point of my post is this: Build the house, but build a nice $600-700k house instead of a $1.5 million home. Build it exactly the way you want it, and try to have easy entrance and main level travel for your senior years in case you do end up staying.
2500 above and 1500 below is plenty of space for your family and will be enough when you have grandkids, too.

And as a bonus, if you ever do want to sell it, you'll be able to do so and would probably make money instead of lose money. Build in such a way that it can be expanded upon if you or someone else really wanted to.

Good luck and enjoy no matter what you decide. :beer
The more I learn, the dumber I feel.

Ryzen
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:00 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Ryzen » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:21 am

I will offer a different opinion than most Bogleheads on a pool. They don't need to be maintenance headaches. Read up at troublefreepool.com they have a great forums and tutorials. You should never need to go into a pool store or hire maintenance unless you want to for convenience if you keep up with the (very simple) regime they teach over there. My parents take care of their pool using that method and the water is always unbelievably crystal clear and the only cost to maintain the pool each year is the cost of bleach + electric for the pump + natural gas for the heater + good test kit refills and then maybe some borax or baking soda to adjust the PH and Alkalinity. They've been doing it this way for almost 10 years now so don't be afraid of adding bleach directly to the pool - it's just chlorine (same exact as the pellets and pucks sold at pool stores) but without any additives and at a much lower cost, and it is diluted to parts-per-million so it doesn't bleach out liners or bathing suits like many are afraid of when they first read about it.

Pools can be dangerous and the swim season is short in northern climates, but they don't need to be money pits. May make it harder to sell the house down the road though since pools have bad reputations.

Topic Author
Badger97
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:52 pm

huskerfan1414 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:22 am
It's your money and you should do what you want--you've earned that.

But you are looking for some "scare" posts, so I'll try to give you some.

I am friends with many people who build homes and some guys who do a lot of work in the suburbs of a major midwestern city and they laugh at what people are building then almost immediately trying to sell. So I'll throw some thoughts at you that jumped out at me right away.

1) Why are you building such a big elaborate home? 4 thousand sqft is a lot of space. Here's the truth for 80% of families your size: much of that space will never be used, even with your kids in the home. Once your kids leave in a few years, then you really, really won't be using that space. It will sit empty. Now, you might be perfectly ok with this. But others wouldn't be. It can actually be easier to feel bored and lonely in a bigger house than a smaller house, which you wouldn't think would be true, but it is.

2) Why do you want a pool? Might sound like a silly question, but they are a maintenance hassle and, again, past the first year they are rarely used. Now, this might not be true for you, for all I know you used to be an Olympic swimmer and in that case I get it. But in a northern city that's too cold to swim 8 months out of the year, it might make more sense to do your swimming while travelling on vacations and instead get the hot tub if you really need something. Less cost and less maintenance and hassle. More likely to use.

I guess what the overall point of my post is this: Build the house, but build a nice $600-700k house instead of a $1.5 million home. Build it exactly the way you want it, and try to have easy entrance and main level travel for your senior years in case you do end up staying.
2500 above and 1500 below is plenty of space for your family and will be enough when you have grandkids, too.

And as a bonus, if you ever do want to sell it, you'll be able to do so and would probably make money instead of lose money. Build in such a way that it can be expanded upon if you or someone else really wanted to.

Good luck and enjoy no matter what you decide. :beer
Thanks for the input. I like the scares!

1 - this house we are building is actually smaller than our current house and we don't feel that the house is not used. It's full all the time. We like that. Also, understand that a very large part of the cost is the lot and lot improvements. The lot and lot improvements are about $450K. So, I could shrink the house down, but the build cost on the house is only about $213 /sq ft for just the house. Even if I take 2000 sq ft out of it, i still have a $1M house when all is done. I realize $1M and $1.5M are vastly different numbers, but when you get into those numbers around here, I'm not sure I'd want to build a 2,500 sq ft house that is $1M+.

2 - wife wants a pool. Kids want a pool. Yes, I was a collegiate swimmer :) I'd love to swim when traveling on vacations, but the truth is we've already cancelled two vacations this year and are about to cancel a third. That's an emotional response at this point in time, but a valid one.

Topic Author
Badger97
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:54 pm

Ryzen wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:21 am
I will offer a different opinion than most Bogleheads on a pool. They don't need to be maintenance headaches. Read up at troublefreepool.com they have a great forums and tutorials. You should never need to go into a pool store or hire maintenance unless you want to for convenience if you keep up with the (very simple) regime they teach over there. My parents take care of their pool using that method and the water is always unbelievably crystal clear and the only cost to maintain the pool each year is the cost of bleach + electric for the pump + natural gas for the heater + good test kit refills and then maybe some borax or baking soda to adjust the PH and Alkalinity. They've been doing it this way for almost 10 years now so don't be afraid of adding bleach directly to the pool - it's just chlorine (same exact as the pellets and pucks sold at pool stores) but without any additives and at a much lower cost, and it is diluted to parts-per-million so it doesn't bleach out liners or bathing suits like many are afraid of when they first read about it.

Pools can be dangerous and the swim season is short in northern climates, but they don't need to be money pits. May make it harder to sell the house down the road though since pools have bad reputations.
Good feedback. We plan to put in the most basic pool we can to keep costs down. Rectangular, single depth, not too big. There will be no trees within 200 feet of the pool and it will have full sun all day to keep maintenance down on both accounts.

000
Posts: 589
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:04 am

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by 000 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:56 pm

Badger97 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:54 pm
Ryzen wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:21 am
I will offer a different opinion than most Bogleheads on a pool. They don't need to be maintenance headaches. Read up at troublefreepool.com they have a great forums and tutorials. You should never need to go into a pool store or hire maintenance unless you want to for convenience if you keep up with the (very simple) regime they teach over there. My parents take care of their pool using that method and the water is always unbelievably crystal clear and the only cost to maintain the pool each year is the cost of bleach + electric for the pump + natural gas for the heater + good test kit refills and then maybe some borax or baking soda to adjust the PH and Alkalinity. They've been doing it this way for almost 10 years now so don't be afraid of adding bleach directly to the pool - it's just chlorine (same exact as the pellets and pucks sold at pool stores) but without any additives and at a much lower cost, and it is diluted to parts-per-million so it doesn't bleach out liners or bathing suits like many are afraid of when they first read about it.

Pools can be dangerous and the swim season is short in northern climates, but they don't need to be money pits. May make it harder to sell the house down the road though since pools have bad reputations.
Good feedback. We plan to put in the most basic pool we can to keep costs down. Rectangular, single depth, not too big. There will be no trees within 200 feet of the pool and it will have full sun all day to keep maintenance down on both accounts.
Out of curiosity, have you looked into cost differential to make it an indoor pool?

Thanks

Topic Author
Badger97
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm

Re: Custom Home Thoughts

Post by Badger97 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:58 am

000 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:56 pm
Badger97 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:54 pm
Ryzen wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:21 am
I will offer a different opinion than most Bogleheads on a pool. They don't need to be maintenance headaches. Read up at troublefreepool.com they have a great forums and tutorials. You should never need to go into a pool store or hire maintenance unless you want to for convenience if you keep up with the (very simple) regime they teach over there. My parents take care of their pool using that method and the water is always unbelievably crystal clear and the only cost to maintain the pool each year is the cost of bleach + electric for the pump + natural gas for the heater + good test kit refills and then maybe some borax or baking soda to adjust the PH and Alkalinity. They've been doing it this way for almost 10 years now so don't be afraid of adding bleach directly to the pool - it's just chlorine (same exact as the pellets and pucks sold at pool stores) but without any additives and at a much lower cost, and it is diluted to parts-per-million so it doesn't bleach out liners or bathing suits like many are afraid of when they first read about it.

Pools can be dangerous and the swim season is short in northern climates, but they don't need to be money pits. May make it harder to sell the house down the road though since pools have bad reputations.
Good feedback. We plan to put in the most basic pool we can to keep costs down. Rectangular, single depth, not too big. There will be no trees within 200 feet of the pool and it will have full sun all day to keep maintenance down on both accounts.
Out of curiosity, have you looked into cost differential to make it an indoor pool?

Thanks
Could look into it, but honestly, we would hate that. Pools are meant to be enjoyed outside!

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