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Elliott's Forum Posts: 7

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By Elliott in East Wenatchee, WA on 10/27/2008


I think that the premise of building owner-builder houses and then flipping up, is over.  There might be some niche markets where the strategy might work but I think the flipping days are over. While we live in one of the markets that is doing very well, we will not be adding things that would only be to increase equity.

In many markets it may be that the drop in  housing prices makes it better to buy existing stock vs. building new. 

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By Grant in Blacksburg, VA on 10/28/2008


You, of course, know the old saying, "There is always room at the top."  Generally implying that there are always jobs in any field, for the most talented.

The real estate market is similar.  A well-priced home, that is well built stands out and ALWAYS has buyers.  The days of building and flipping cheaply built McMansions for obscene profits may very well be over.  But the OBB plan is still sound.  Just spend the energy and effort to build an "exceptional" house.  You will still be building in equity that will enable you to sell the house for a good profit.  Invest these profits into another house, sell it, etc., etc.

The well-priced, exceptional houses will find buyers in almost any market.  There is still room at the top.  You can still "O-B; sell; O-B; sell; O-B" into a dream house that is paid for.  The plan is still sound.


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By Avram in Raleigh, NC on 10/29/2008


If you want a standard house, then yes it may be "easier" to buy an existing house, (and possibly cheaper) but one of the big premises of the book and the site is that most houses are built cheaply. For a modest premium (a few percent on the final price) you can upgrade from the cheapest materials to the best. 

Yes, home prices are falling, have been falling for a while and will most likely continue to fall - (it has been this way for almost two years - and no one knows where the bottom is; reference the  S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. (If you were in a bubble market, or one affected by hard economic shifts, it's not pretty; but most places in the country are not that bad.)

The price on constructed houses are falling, but additionally the prices on everything to construct a house are falling too. Another "premise" of owner-building is cutting out middlemen - as long as builders make money on a house - you can too.

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By David in Greenville, SC on 5/10/2009


Elliott, if there is a way to profit, somebody out there will find it! So, don't ever think that some viable wealth-building process, especially one as solid and proven as owner-building is lost to history. As one of the other posters replied, builders are still making money on the houses they sell so there is room for us to do the same! Are they selling as many homes right now? No. Are they making as much profit on each sell right now. In general that answer is no also. But "not as much profit" is not the same as no profit.

Also, one thing to remember that I haven't seen posted much here is that the profit margin on spec homes is typically significantly more than on true custom builds. I keep seeing the figure of twenty percent thrown around in relation to how much an O-B could save versus having a GC build for them. And that seems to be true. However, if you select your site properly and build keeping the sensibilities of the neighborhood in mind then you could realize a profit similar to what a GC building a spec home would in the same area. From the county records I have seen over the past few years versus sales prices, it seems GC's were racking up 30 to 40 percent margins on spec homes in many cases! Of course, we all want better for ourselves than a builders spec would offer so O-B's tend to eat this profit potential with upgrades and very personalized designs. I understand! However, if you're looking to climb the property ladder and end up with a paid-for dream home then it would be wise to build and profit like the GC's do until your profits give you the freedom to go all out. Banks, builders, appraisers be darned!


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By jps in Indianapolis, AL on 6/7/2018


Hmmm..........nice to know about it.
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