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Michelle in East Petersburg , PA's Journal Entries


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Posted by Michelle in East Petersburg , PA on 3/1/2017 9:37:17 AM

Yesterday, I finished reading the Owner-Builder book and I've been updating my notes and questions file with everything I can think of. Our floor plan is pretty set and I'd really like to have every detail planned so that the process of designing and getting an accurate price is as smooth as possible. 


With the little building knowledge I have, I must say, I am nervous at the prospect of undertaking a project of this size, however I have always wanted to build a house and I've been craving the knowledge and hands on experience prior to this opportunity to build fell into our lap.

A little background might be necessary here. We plan to buy into my husband's family farm. There is a structure on the farm that is now acting as a 2-unit apartment. It was built in the 70s and has quite a few issues (in my non-professional opinion). There are two options we are working with. 

1. Remodel the current structure. (This is not ideal in my opinion, I'd like to build a house that will stand the test of time and I really do not think the current structure would, not to mention, it would need copious amounts of money to rehab when starting fresh may cost the same amount.)

2. Complete demolition and rebuild with a new foundation, slab or crawl space, exterior walls, etc.

I just reached out to a friend who was a GC at one time and is now an engineer. I am chomping at the bit to hear back from him as he has loads of knowledge and knows me well enough to be realistic with me. 

I am trying to wait until I hear his insight before talking to designers, however I have started to research options in my area. A lot of them are designer/builders, but one is just a designer and works by the hour, they might just be the winner but I'm trying to find at least three that I can interview and get answers from.

I'm trying my best to be patient, as I know this process is going to be long (and grueling at times). I am hoping that my excitement and enthusiam continues throughout the process though. There is plenty of time, I think. It is now March 1, 2017 and we would like to be complete and ready to move in by the end of the August 2018. So we have about 1 year prior to the start of building. If it's possible to have it started in the fall and completed in March, that would be fine too. My daughter will start kindergarten in the fall of this year, so we want her to finish her school year prior to move in. Luckily, like I said, we have a flexible timeline we're working with and we won't need to rely on a bank for financing. I'm really hoping we can do our 2,275 sq ft build with a budget of $150,000. That's $65 per finished sq foot and seems doable since this isn't going to be a high-end home. I guess we'll see!

Photos

This is a photo of the current apartment that is standing where the house would be (either renovated or demo'd)


Posted by Colleen on 8/29/2017

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8/29/2017
Hello! I'm In the Pittsburgh area and am looking for property now for our dream home. Your luck to be so close to the Amish! There are a few around here but from what I hear they are pretty pricey since they are the only ones around. I'll be following your progress. Can't wait to see which way you decide to build. I think I'm with you, a total demo and start new! Then you know what is in the house from the bottom up no surprises in the future! 
Posted by Michelle in East Petersburg , PA on 8/30/2017

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8/30/2017
Hi Colleen!! I've been moving forward with my progress, guess I should write another blog post! We did decide to tear down and start over and sadly, I haven't had a gc quote it bc it would take too long and the one I wanted to get a quote from wanted to charge $75/hr to do the quote. 

There's another blog that I've been reading that's helped me A TO ! and if you google 'The Farmers Wife' it should come up. 

What I have found so far is that the only people wincing at my contracting my own home are family and friends. Everyone I've been quoting so far has been so helpful. It's refreshing and I know we'll get some good people to work with us. We are probably going to use an Amishman for framing for sure. Figuring out the rest currently. I want to start mid-Oct so I'm trucking along as fast as I can to get it wrapped and roof by mid-Dec!

Best wishes in your property search!!
Michelle

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