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Trying to figure out a budget


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Patti's Forum Posts: 12

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By Patti in Salisbury, NC on 4/3/2000


How do I break down my budget? This is my next big step any tips would be great. Thanks.
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By Laurie in Elk River, MN on 4/5/2000


What do you mean by breaking down your budget? The great part about owner building is that you get to see how much every part of the project costs. After you get all bids in you can then decide what is most important to you. For instance on our first house we really wanted a screened in porch, but it wasn't in our budget so we decided to do all the painting and staining so we could have the screen porch. This time around we wanted a fireplace in the bedroom, but it isn't in our budget and it is a luxury so we are giving it up. When a general bids on it they give you a figure for the whole house. This makes it much more difficult to prioritize and budget what you want. Check out the windows also, we had several different brands priced with a large swing in the bid. Marvin integrity (same window, less options) vs. Marvin has a significant savings.
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By Patti in Salisbury, NC on 4/6/2000


We have a bottom dollar we do not want to go over. Should I just buy the houseplans we want and make it fit our bottom dollar. We plan to do painting and a few other things ourselves to save off of the cost per sf. The plans we are looking at are 2500sf 2 story house. I think this could stretch our bottom dollar. It is scary being our first house to build, but I've read so many great stories that make me think we can do it. Our neighbor to be is also an owner-builder he said the same things about the windows they ranged from $12K-$30K. All tips are greatly appreciated. I will be asking you many questions! Thanks.
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By Laurie in Elk River, MN on 4/6/2000


It is really a guessing game until you get all the bids back in. It isn't until then that you can sit down and prioritize. The house I am currently building has come in quite higher than I expected. It has been 8 years since the last house I owner-built. Prices have gone up significantly since then. I started out guessing how much each sub would be and many came in higher. At that point, we made decisions to either eliminate certain features, (I lost the three-way fireplace in my bedroom), or do the work ourselves. We will be painting, staining, stonework, installing wood floors, and maybe some tiling. If the budget would have come in differently I would have contracted these out, but it is a give and take when building a home. Unfortunately, you really do not know until all the bids come in, you kind of hold your breath and wait. Worst case scenario is that you find it is way above your budget, have plans redrawn or adjusted to fit your budget and have people re-bid. I found all of this kind of fun, but maybe I am crazy. By the way, we just got our appraisal back for the loan and it is $150K more then we are spending. You can do it! I am happy to chat with you and walk you through it.


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By Patti in Salisbury, NC on 4/11/2000


That is great I think I am going to go for it! You people have done a great job! I have a feeling we are going to be doing many things ourselves also. We enjoy it. As soon as I get the plans in hand and start getting bids, I will have a lot more questions for you. Could you tell me what the going price per sq. ft. in your area and then how much you ended up paying this time per sf or the percentage you saved? Thanks, talk to you soon.


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By Laurie in Elk River, MN on 4/16/2000


When I went to the parade of homes, the going rate was about $110-120 per sf. We are building for about $77 per sf. I was expecting to pay about $87 per sf, but got that down by a lot due to the do it yourself projects. The appraisal would break down to $140 per sf. Good luck!


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By Matt in Scottsdale, AZ on 9/15/2002


Where are you located?
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By Thomas in Toledo, OH on 10/18/2002


I have a house design that I like, but I am not sure if it is in my price range. Can anyone recommend a resource that I can use to find good unit prices?


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By Jim in Austin, TX on 10/20/2002


Thomas, A good overall source for finding material and labor costs is using a RS MEANS catalog available in bookstores or library www.rsmeans.com. They seemed to have cornered the market for cost comparison guides. The guide has city cost adjustment factors and is based on last year?s figures for labor and materials. They are also available in CD format if you choose. Here are a couple of internet links for construction cost estimating sites: www.construction-cost.com and www.bidshop.org.

The second site has several links to free estimating demo sites that may fit your needs. I downloaded one from www.eolnow.com that is a full version with limited report printing capabilities. Since I only need it for one house, this should suffice.

The second site has several links to free estimating demo sites that may fit your needs. I downloaded one from www.eolnow.com that is a full version with limited report printing capabilities. Since I only need it for one house, this should suffice. You can also take your plans to a local lumberyard and have them do a take-off for materials. Some charge for this service so you need to ask around first. Once you get the materials quote though, you can use RS means or a budget program to calculate labor costs. If you want to check your calculations, get a local sub to bid your plans and have them breakout the bid for labor and materials. This should give you a good start for your budget.

It?s important to remember to have chosen windows, doors, cabinets, and everything else for your house prior to building. The idea is to have the total cost of your project fit within your pre-determined budget. That cannot be done, unless EVERYTHING has been chosen and budgeted for.

It?s important to remember to have chosen windows, doors, cabinets, and everything else for your house prior to building. The idea is to have the total cost of your project fit within your pre-determined budget. That cannot be done, unless EVERYTHING has been chosen and budgeted for. I plan on adding 10% myself for that "oops" factor so I am not caught off-guard. Now if we could just settle on a design, I could stop paying rent!

Hope this leads you in the right direction. - Jim


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By Jeffrey in Vail, AZ on 10/21/2002


The site www.building-cost.net seems to give a reasonable ballpark number. It is too simple to be exact, but I think it was good for a budgetary number.


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By Thomas in Toledo, OH on 10/23/2002


Thanks for the help. I purchased the RS Means book, and it surprisingly good.
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By Marcia in Brandywine, MD on 1/19/2006


Patti,

 

I need some help is there a good bank you recommend to purchase the land and get the financing for the construction. I want to purchase the land asap. It is already perced.   I need to get the applications submitted meanwhile.


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By Lori in Reno, NV on 1/19/2006


Marcia,

You may want to contact Patti via personal message, since her posts are almost 6 years old. Have you tried the owner builder connection? Just click on the link above chose your state and you can contact other owner builder's in your area. It is a great networking tool.

Lori

 


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