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$150/SqFt in N. Cali? $50K 4 h20/sewer?


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Leron's Forum Posts: 2

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By Leron in Oakland, CA on 1/25/2007


Hi all.  1/25/2007, Oakland CA (San Francisco area)

I just purchased my first piece of real estate with a duplex on it.  The lot is zoned for a triplex, so I'm renovating the duplex and building an additional single unit in the back, filling out the 3 units allowable by zoning code.

Since this is my first real-estate purchase and I have no construction experience; and since I will be selling 2 of the 3 units as condos, I thought that I should use a contractor so as not to be held personally liable by the future owners for the quality of my construction as an owner-builder.  So I called around to a few GCs.  Ballpark prices over the phone ranged from $250-$350/square foot (construction only: labor + materials).  Then I called another guy and he told me he could do the job for about $150 per square foot.  I met him at the site and, with just a simple description of the house (no plans yet), he confirmed a price of $140-$150/sq ft.  This price does not include misc fees, permits, or site work.

I met 2 of his clients and they seemed happy with his work.  I checked his GC license and he has no complaints with 11 years as a GC.  He's registered as having no employees.

Questions:
1)  Is this price even possible in the San Francisco area, or will I find myself way over budget?  He seems trust-worthy, but...?

2)  The 3rd house unit is behind the main duplex at the back of the lot.  Water and Sewer lateral lines will need to travel about 125 feet from the front line of the property.  He told me that the total cost for excavation, pipes, hookup, backfill, street repair, etc could be  an additional $30,000 to $50,000.  This seems WAY excessive to me.  Is this excessive for water/sewer line construction?

3) Any other comments would be welcome.

Thanks,
Leron

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By David in San Francisco, CA on 4/11/2007


I think you get what you pay for. $150/sf sounds like you will get cheap cheap cheap materials and workmanship. Think about it, he has profit in that bid as well. I am building on the pennisula and hoping to get in around $200/sf. I would get hard bids on paper.
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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 4/12/2007


Your labor and other non-material costs must be outrageous. I can build a quality structure with better than average subs for $90/sf here in Tucson.

If the contractor is listed as not having employees either the state is not up-to-date or he is doing the same thing we talk about here. He's giving you a number based on what he can get subs to do the job for, only he is adding a profit and overhead cost before you get to hear the price.

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By Homewithaview in Mountain View, CA on 6/3/2007


Leron,

Your situation is different from mine, but I CAN tell you that when we called town hall to inquire re. connecting to sewer (we currently have septic), the engineer quoted me a cost of about $45,000.   I think the breakdown was $28,000 in fees, and the rest for the physical work needed for hooking up to the sewer mains.  Good luck!

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