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By Netie in Salt Lake City, UT on 9/11/2004


Your house is typically your biggest investment.

I know you mean investment vehicle/business. But most people don't realize that when they "buy up" every 6-9 years, they are investing in themselves and are probably going to be in the positive each time.

We are in the planning stages but we will build the SAME house THREE times to own it free and clear. Just like a contractor! Also, to maximize profit and give us a breather, we want to time a new house build every two years.

The first time you do anything it is scary, and there is a definite learning curve! However, the second time and third, etc. is still work, but it gets easier, and you've made it a business that pays you and only you!


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By Chad in Nampa, ID on 7/11/2005


I have thought of doing the same, building three identical homes and be pretty much free and clear on the last. I am sure I will make minor changes along the way to make it what I want at the end. Great idea.
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By Netie in Salt Lake City, UT on 7/11/2005


Good luck to the both of us! A couple of months ago we had to stop planning - can't start the build this fall like we wanted - we'll have to wait for spring.

Hubby doesn't want to build the identical house for each build - says it'd get boring. I want the same one because there'd be few surprises, and thus more profit. Only time will tell.

Are you planning to build the same house? Explore different floor plans?


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By Chad in Nampa, ID on 7/12/2005


I am thinking about building the same house with each build, but adding extras each time. We will upgrade things we like, and maybe add some square footage, but if we like the plan we will stick with the basic floor plan and just add to it. We will probably begin building in the spring as well. I need to wait to see what happens with a possible career move, which would take me across the state. Either way, we will build. It just depends on where, so that is holding up the ground-buying process.
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By Drue in Henderson, NV on 7/12/2005


I have had it put in the contract with my architect that I can build the same home again that has initially been my ideas, with any adjustments that I feel are necessary in the future (learning from mistakes and experience) as many times that I please. I think that I will follow this through; it is very easy to change the design by simply moving windows, doors and garages without sacrificing the integrality of a design. I personally view this as trying to create my perfect home. I very much agree with the concept of this post.


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By Netie in Salt Lake City, UT on 7/13/2005


Good point - remember to obtain rights to your blueprints.

I've got a guy who'll do CAD drawings of my modified stock plan for $500 - but I'll have to pay an engineer $1,000 to certify the design.

The total cost is still way less than buying the design from an architect. He's in a different state - so we're not certain we'll go that route.

I planned on avoiding capital gains by adding just enough on each build to increase the value by $10,000. I first thought, "just increase the land value", but you don't save 20%-30% on land value alone.

My "increase" ideas: Porches/balcony, deeper/larger garage, finish a part/all of the basement, add central vac, radiant heat, finish above garage bonus room... 

Were y'alls ideas similar?


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By Jim in Austin, TX on 7/16/2005


Drue,

You should consider getting your own CAD drawing package like Chief Architect.

Regardless of how many design changes you do or ideas you submit towards the design of your plans, those plans belong to the architect. He/she would be a fool to allow you to build this house three times without getting compensation for each build. Especially with changes. If the changes you make affect the structure, then he will have to recertify the plans. Or risk his reputation and his business should your changes cause problems.

More than likely, he will charge you a minimal fee for each set, with changes, since the initial design has already been done. Otherwise, why is he in business? For profit, of course.

Chief Architect has the capability of producing your plans to local code and you keep the design and rights to the design.

If I designed a home for someone, regardless of their input on the project, it is my design and my rights to that design stay with me. For each home that is built using that design, I expect compensation.

If you build the home without compensating me or without my permission, then you are in copyright violation. If it's not in writing, it doesn't exist. Protect yourself and get it in writing that you have multiple build rights with changes.

My two cents...

Jim


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By John in Erie, CO on 7/16/2005


Jim makes a good point - make sure you know who owns the plans.

I paid a designer to get my plans into a buildable state, but still had to hire an engineer to get the structurals, and train my CAD person on my building techniques.

I made darn sure I owned the plans, rights, and everything else we did. I had spent 200 hours doing solar design, HVAC loads, mechanical routing, and supplied my "designer" with .dxf files before we even met.

Just be clear who owns what when you work with a designer, or better yet, as Jim points out, get a CAD package and do your own. I've been an AutoCAD guy for a long time, but wasn't familiar with construction when I started; I wish I had done my own drawings, because most designers I've worked with are slow and missed deadlines.

Depending on the designer, it might cost more to "own" your plans; some will care, some won't.
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By Drue in Henderson, NV on 7/16/2005


Thanks for the advice guys, but I also have it in the contract that the plans belong to me and can also have any architect of my choice in the future change them to my requirements. Now take into consideration that I drew the initial plans, and that they still cost $28,000 ($6 PER SQ. FT.)

Expensive? Yes, but this guy is special, I had seen his work and was blown away by the detailed touches, and he has gone way beyond what you would expect (which is why I splashed on this part of the build), he put these plans through my residential community, has done the civil and structural work, and given me a large gloss 3-D color rendering that is so realistic that I have to persuade people that the house actually does not exist yet. 

He turned a basic design into a design that has had the high-end Realtors that I have shown it to (for their input and appraisals based on where the land is, and the house plans and design) and their estimates are 30% to 40% higher than I expected (and I had high hopes) based on what I showed them from my first designs.

Lesson here is "one step back two steps forward". He also had great ideas on how to save money on the design, although I guess he would have to at those rates, ha!


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By W in Reno, NV on 8/11/2005


I agree! We would like to build again soon after we're done with this house (our first O-B) just so we can 'do it right' the second time around. Now we know the ropes, which lender to avoid and we know we would do better doing it ourselves than having the 'help' we paid dearly for this time around (part of lender requirement, unfortunately) who has cost us so much time and money it is beyond calculation (not to mention frustration and heartache).

We have found subs that are worth their weight in platinum, and conversely realized that some other subs, while cheaper on paper, actually end up costing more to use due to their foot-dragging and not getting jobs done in a timely manner, while our construction loan interest is spinning higher on a daily basis. We now know the problems to anticipate, look out for, and how to head them off, or at least deal with them with alacrity.

Our experience all adds up to time saved on a subsequent construction project, which means less construction loan interest, quicker C of O, bargains and money saved; which translates to money in our pocket. Even with our project as it stands, we are most likely going to be sitting on a quarter million dollars. Not bad for our time we've put in! And I imagine subsequent projects would be even easier money!


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 8/21/2005


Here's my two cents as a designer.

By the time you get ready to build that second home the plans will need to be revised to current codes. Many jurisdictions are implementing new codes with every cycle, which is three years. And if they are switching to IRC most of the older stuff has changed dramatically, code wise, not building wise.

As far as reusing plans, I'd want some compensation for multiple usage.

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