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By Chris in Stockton, CA on 3/19/2007


Hello! I haven't received my OB book yet but we are planning on doing an OB home in Tracy. My parents (my dad did it really) has owner-built in the past (he owner-built his current home in Tracy back in 1996. My family will be living with my parents while our home is being worked on which will actually be only a few hundred feet away from the jobsite since we will be building on my parents 10 acre parcel. Though we haven't done much other than some "pre-planning" we are trying to get a rough idea of how much home we can afford. Has anyone in Northern CA recently owner built? How much did you end up paying? I hope we can get around $125 - $150 sq. ft or less!
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By Chris in Stockton, CA on 3/19/2007


I got a little worried today when I started hearing from people that I would be paying at east $175 for an owner-build. I did talk to seomeone from another website that is a "network" with local franchises. They claim they have current owner-builders in the area who are as low as $85 sq. ft with the typical in the area going around $100 to $125 sq. ft. Hope I'm in that range!

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By Ron in Modesto, CA on 6/1/2007


Hey Chris, I am just in the beginning stages of a project.  I have just purchased the land and am in the planning and book reading.  :)    

If you would like to swap info, just let me know.   I am a raw beginner at this.  I am getting quotes for things like water well, septic, grade work. 

Good Luck

Ron


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By Robert in Encinitas, CA on 9/13/2007


Hi Chris,

The only way I could see an owner-builder project costing $175 per square foot was if there were excessive land development costs, or you were selecting the best of the best materials.  Typically, it runs between $100-$130 per square foot (assuming good, not custom materials).

A series of factors that can drive the cost up or down are:

1)  Excessive land development

2)  Excessive costs associated with bringing utilities to the site

3)  Complicated home plans

4)  How much or how little work you would do on the project

5)  If you are building with a GC or Project Manager


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By Chris in Stockton, CA on 9/13/2007


My build plans are on hold for a while. Need to save up some $$$. Anyway, I just want to confirm when building costs are being mentioned is that including cost of the land? I'm assuming not. So I'm guessing if I'm looking into buying some acreage which will probably cost me around $250K-$500K. I still need to also consider the cost of building the home which will be around $100-$130 per sq. ft.

So if I'm looking at building 3,000 sq. ft on some land that will cost me $300K, the actual cost to build will be $300K-$390K plus $300K for the land. Thus, final price would be $600K-$690K.

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By Robert in Encinitas, CA on 9/13/2007


Hi Chris,

Most of the time, people do not account for land costs when talking about square foot costs - but it does figure into the equation, especially if you are financing the project.

Let's say you are building a 3,000 square foot home as an owner-builder (no GC or Project Manager fee involved) for $120 per square foot.  You are looking at $360,000 for the cost of labor and materials to build just the home itself.

This does not include fees from the city, such as permit fees, school fees, utility connection fees from the power company, etc.  Let's assume the lot you pick has power less than 100 feet away and you are using well water.  You are probably looking at around $15,000 for city, fire dept., power and school fees.  Now, the cost to build is up to $375,000.

Next, factor in the land costs of $300,000.  The cost-to-build is at $675,000.  The final factor involved are financing fees.  A lender will charge closing costs, add an interest reserve, and make you include a contingency fund in your budget.  All these factors vary according to lender and budget amount, but I'd add $50,000 to the budget to account for these items.

That would place your budget at $725,000.  If you can find some great bids, a lender with lower fees, or a piece of land cheaper than $300,000 than you can obviously get this number lower.  But I'd look at worse case scenario of $725,000. 


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By Chris in Stockton, CA on 9/13/2007


Thanks for the info.
I think our plan is to purchase the land outright and then look at financing the build.
How will this effect finding a lender?
Also since I don't really have time restraints, is it feasible to build as money is available?
I was considering maybe after the land is purchased, save up enough funds to build a shell and then just build as the money is available...

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By Robert in Encinitas, CA on 9/14/2007


You could definitely purchase the land outright first.  Just remember, if there is any sort of balance left on the land, a construction lender will pay that off so they are in first lien position.  But if you are going to pay $300,000 cash for the lot, than the problem is removed.

If you own your land free and clear, you would look more attractive to lenders since you have $300,000 equity into the project already.

If you were to fund the entire project with your own cash, you could build it as fast or slow as you like.  If it was me, I'd rather do it all in a 10-12 month process instead of over 3-4 years.

If you are financing the construction, a lender will require you finish it in a certain amount of time.  Typically, they offer 12, 15 and 18 month loans.


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