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Armando's Forum Posts: 21

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By Armando in Oviedo, FL on 7/20/2006


Anyone familiar with BuildMax?
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By Lisa in Groveland, FL on 7/22/2006


Armando,

We spoke with them a year ago.  They are a great idea if you don't have the "slush fund" needed to pay and get reimbursed by the bank in draws as they advance the money (We were awaiting our house to be sold then.).  That said, if you have that "Slush fund", I believe they get most loans through IndyMac and you pay x amount for them doing that.  In our case it would have been $8,000. 

They do advise you the order of things but recommended using servicemagic.com for subs.  They also took all the details of our house and cost it per job.  I'll attach those figures although remember this was a year ago.  As per the O-B Book, remember the book says that the subs are then passing on the cost of advertising with servicemagic onto you so not the cheapest way to go. The only architect to get back to us from servicemagic was extremely high end multi million dollar projects and so they could have helped us if we paid them the equivalent of $30,000. And that was last year!!

Let me know what you decide and the best of luck.

Lisa.

 


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By Armando in Oviedo, FL on 7/23/2006


Lisa:

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer us.  I also thought about using U-built it but have heard a lot of negative things about them.  My concern, as an O-B is that this is my first project and I have never built before.  I am actually building a house for my wife's grandmother and she can't afford to go through a G-C.

How was Buildmax when it came to their consulting services?  The reason I ask is because Indymac Bank,  requires that I hire a site manager to basically keep me on tract, scheduling, etc.  The person should be a GC or someone with a minimum of 2 years in construction management. Said person services as a consultant, ensuring the home is completed in compliance with plans and specifications, health and safety standards, building codes and other requirements.  They also make sure your project is completed in a prescribed period of time and within budget.  I am not sure what the cost of this will run.  Is this part of what Buildmax does?  Thanks...

Armando & Kim

(352) 682-8117



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By Lisa in Groveland, FL on 7/23/2006


Dear Armando and Kim,

If you use Buildmax then you will not require Indymac's "Site manager".  We have a friend, who if we go with Indymac is happy on paper at least act as our site manager. A commercial contractor. (It's a lot cheaper than the $8000 BuildMax would have charged)  Our friend wants to make loads of visits to the site, that said 4 or 5 will suffice. 

It'll take several days, but read the Orlando thread with over 287 responses on it, not only will you learn a lot, but I think it is the best thread going so far.  Cara and Jason have a site manager and are paying her $1200, (they are with IndyMac) just someone they met in the industry, who has taken an interest, but in reality this is your project and you must take responsibility.  They have no real responsibility, but are great advisor's.  We are renting where there is a lot of building is going on and have gotten friendly with the a local GC of Mercedes Homes etc,.  If we did not have a friend, we would have asked this guy, it's easy money and there is a big curiosity factor too.  We will probably hire a Private county registered inspector, they apparently run at $1500 for 10 visits, another thing on my to do list, but the important thing is they are liable if something goes wrong (e.g. the roof falls off, a worthwhile insurance) if they have missed something.  UBuildit locks you into a contract which makes you sign away your rights and you cannot hold them liable.  I have not inquired but maybe the private inspector will be sufficient for IndyMac.  One of the threads suggested Harbor Federal apparently they come in a percent cheaper than Indy Mac, so don't assume you can only go with IndyMac.  I've yet to look into Harbor Federal myself, so let us know how you go.  If you are looking at various construction loans do it all within a month and it'll count as only one on your credit score, this is why we are getting all of our bids in first and then hit the banks.

Remember "Site manager" is a just title, it's how you interpret it and sell it to the bank after finding out exactly the minimum requirements.  If it makes you feel any better this is our first time building too and I could be talking complete BS, but reading up is power- I recommend the book "Contracting Your Home" it says: "Remember fear is a natural response to the uncertain and the unknown.  A goal of this book is to replace uncertainty with clear, concise knowledge to remove those cloudy uncertainties", it goes on and on but remember you are just managing, each subcontractor is the expert in their field and you have to let them do their jobs, it does not mean you can't have a look, use you common sense and then get it checked by a second expert (your inspector) who is liable should they get it wrong!!!

Yes I'm nervous as hell, but I know that if I do the work now it'll get easier and hopefully the next time we do this, not only will we have experience behind us it'll be a lot easier. Another book is Owner Building for Dummies, very good on financial advice, as well as the Owner Builder book.  Go to resources above and download gallery and get the sample schedule- doctor it to fit yourself and it's given me a gist of the flow required.

Many of us are doing this for the first time, but grit your teeth, smile, bring on the bravado and go talking to people on sites, they are usually so shocked to see a civilian, maybe it's the automatic response but everyone been really nice to us so far!

Good Luck,

Lisa.


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By Armando in Oviedo, FL on 7/23/2006


Many thanks Lisa for the great advice and comforting words.  It won't be easy but at the end it should represent big savings. 

Are you building in Gainesville?  Please provide me with the name and number of your site manager, if he covers the Gainesville area, in the event we go with Indymac.

Many


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By Lisa in Groveland, FL on 7/23/2006


Really sorry but we are near Clermont, west of Orlando.  Plus our friend is doing this as a one off as we are friends, and he lives near Davenport, where we are renting. 

Don't let that stop you, though.  Get out to sites, speak to people at building suppliers, you just need someone who ideally lives locally who wants to make some easy money.  I know it sounds hard when you're starting, but once we started looking and just being friendly and talking to people most people have been amazingly helpful.  Have some cards made up, we used Vista print, they'll cost less than $10 for 250.  Design them but don't order, wait a few days, they wonder why you haven't and e-mail discounts.  Hand these cards to everyone and say you're looking for a site manager, even if they cannot help the chances are they know someone who may be interested.  Then build up a rapport with these people, don't hand any money over and tell them that you will not until you've broken ground and then only pay 100% once you have your certificate of occupancy.  Get them to sign a lien waiver.

Let us know how it's going.

Lisa


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By Armando in Oviedo, FL on 7/23/2006


Thanks again Lisa for the great advice.  It sounds like you are on the right track.

Best regards,


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By geoffrey in thomasville, GA on 7/25/2006


Armando,
 
I looked at BuildMax and Ubuildit but when the site supervisor routed I owned my land free and clear so I did not need to use 100% financing. Our land was counted as equity in the deal and my site supervisor was a development manager at a local college.

BuildMax and Ubuildit will allow you get 100% LTC financing at Indymac Bank.

Site supervisor will allow only 95% LTC financing at IndyMac Bank.

Our loan officer was Jeff Hite at IndyMac Bank (770-613-5851)

Good luck,

G

 

 


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By Armando in Oviedo, FL on 7/25/2006


Geoffrey:

Thanks for your input.  I will most likely go with Indymac Bank and look for a site supervisor.  It will be cheaper than the 2.75% x  loan amount Buildmax is charging.


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By Baine on 12/5/2006


I have 4 comments to make.

1. Do whatever you can to stay away from BuildMax, there are posts all over this site about them including dozens of complaints and bad experiences of all kinds. They seem in nearly every last way to be a bad deal, do your homework and don't just listen to the salesman at BuildMax. (or any salesman for that matter)

2. In regards to slush funds needs: If you don't have a 'needed' slush fund, which I have yet to see there be actually needed by a lender, you can draw a cash advance on a credit card of get a personal loan or equity line to supply this and voilà. You will not need to go to a shark like BuildMax as a result. If you can get approved for Indymac's very strict lending guidelines then you will have NO PROBLEM getting another credit card you can put this on, or an equity line, without it affecting your credit one iota. Since Indymacs minimum fico is 680 and full doc, you will have NO ISSUE getting a little bit of extra credit. Even if you have stated income and have a 600 fico, you will be able to get lines of credit and credit cards to help with this, but if you have a full doc 680 like indymac requires, you will get all the credit you need as you are A paper.

3. Using a company like BuildMax completely goes against the very spirit of owner building. How so you say? Well the WHOLE POINT of doing it yourself and O-Bing is to CUT OUT the middlemen like a GC and keep the difference yourself. The WHOLE POINT is to cut out as many middlemen as possible along the way and do as much yourself as you can or find a BETTER, CHEAPER way to achieve the same thing and put that money in your pocket or your house.

The SAME GOES for BuildMax. There are so many alternatives to them its ridiculous. It therefore makes no sense whatsoever to pay $8000-$15,000 or possibly even more to a company like BuildMax for nothing. The reason I say nothing is whenever you can get the same or better service for less, then that company is providing no value whatsoever.

Don't be too lazy to look around, in fact I, and others have posted on the BuildMax forum hear many ways to save money vs using BuildMax and get a far better deal. Don't give away your hot tub money to BuildMax because you don't want to spend the extra 2-3 hours it takes to set yourself up. Even if it took you an extra 20 hours, which it doesn't, but hypothetically if it did, then at $8,000 savings that would be $400 an hour in pay to you. If anyone here earns more than $400 an hour, they wouldn't even be on this site, so don't waste your money handing it to gougemax. 

Hire a local GC or inspector as a consultant to walk you step by step through the process. They charge WAY less than BuildMax, will be on site, and will do everything and way more for you than BuildMax ever could. The draw schedules COME FROM THE LENDER, NOT from BuildMax like they would have you believe. They try to make out like this is some fantastic service they provide but every lender has their own, and no matter what schedule you show them, they will go by their own draw schedule guidelines anyway.

4. As for Indymac, just ask them what you need to provide them in order to get the extra 5% that they would give you if you went to BuildMax, listen to their answer, DO IT and you will have the same 100%. They don't care if it comes from BuildMax or from the other source, it's THE SAME. To think a huge company like Indymac is shackled to this tiny BuildMax company is pure fanaticism of the worst kind.

Indymac has NO restriction to only provided BuildMax customers with 100% financing and from what I have seen, this is a COMPLETE and utter falsehood in every way. IN FACT right on the Indymac website at indymac.com you can see their exact lending guidelines and criteria, that's right, AT 100%. NOT at only 95% like BuildMax would have you believe. Again, IN FACT the only place I have heard of anyone saying Indymac is only 95% is from either a BuildMax rep, or from a customer of BuildMax or someone who got this falsehood from BuildMax. Don't let BuildMax snowball you.

Build on.


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By David in Ocoee, FL on 12/5/2006


Baine,

I am with you on that thought. What you are saying about owner-building as opposed to Buildmax or U-Build-it or build-a-burger or build-whatever is basically what I had posted a few weeks ago.

However, one of the owner-builders made a good point in basically stating that you gotta' do what you gotta' do some times. If you don't know a shear wall from a stem wall or  tie beam from a ridge beam, it is my opinion that you should consider one of these companies if you insist on participating in the building process.

My personal opinion is that you should stear completely clear of these ripoff companies (also my opinion) and buy a home from a developer if you don't know how to build a house. To try and learn the building process while you are owner-building a house is setting yourself up for immense frustration and huge cost overruns. I am not saying that you should not owner-build. I am saying that you should not even think about starting the process until and unless you are familiar with the building process. That takes a lot of time and study and posting on this site. No one is going to save 30-40% on the cost of their home without a great deal of research.

And now a word about the folks who started this forum; Jason and Cara. We have not heard from them in some time now. I don't know if they are just extremely busy or perhaps disenchanted with some of the changes that have taken place on this site or something else. For instance, the list of folks that are currently on line is all mixed up now. I liked it the way it was before. This forum got all chopped up in a way that does not make much sense. In any case, I think that if we all tell Jason and Cara how much we value their insight and research, they will keep posting. We can only hope.


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By Zeek in Jacksonville, FL on 12/5/2006


David,

Although I see the point you are making I must disagree with your statement: “If you don't know a shear wall from a stem wall or tie beam from a ridge beam, it is my opinion that you should consider one of these companies if you insist on participating in the building process.”

Like you have pointed out in many of your previous posting, research and education is the key. I started the process only knowing what I read in the owner-builders book and not much else about construction. I’ve since read 3 other books and taken a class in construction at my local community college and spend hundreds of hours (More than the 1000 recommended by the book) researching over the web and I am on course to complete my house in less than 6 months (maybe less than 5) and have had very little (< 10%) cost over run. It is true that I am not getting the 20-30% I was hoping but the quality of the material I am using is much higher that what I would have gotten from a builder.

 


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By Lisa in Groveland, FL on 12/5/2006


Baine,

Are you ok?  Maybe it's my mood, but you sound kind of angry?  Mostly I agreed with your points, but please know, no one (I think, and my brain is pretty addled at the mo) has said IndyMac is joined at the hip with BuildMax,  in fact I think they are one of the larger lenders to OB's generally.  (Home Depot amongst others recommend them or is that opening a can of worms?) Going with many companies (as per IndyMacs website UBuildIt, BuildMax, American Standard Building Systems, Home Builders Network, Cagnor Homes, Owner Builder Finance, National Home Building Consultants) can aid an applicant getting 100%.  But sadly not all of us can get that 100%, so had our house not sold we would most likely be going with BuildMax.  Yes we have U.S. credit cards but oh my goodness unless you have had them years the sums were miniscule for credit, I mean  for the first 2 years it was $750.00!!!

We are ok now, hence I can shop around,but not last year when we were waiting for our house in the UK to sell.  Plus we and many others have factors such as being Self-Employed and an Immigrant and numerous other things that we were, and are penalised on.  Having NO (can you hear the DAH, DAh, DAH music) credit can be worse than having bad credit.  I have spoken with lots of potential lenders and am still researching, but must go with one soon.  We do not allow checks on our credit  until we have decided whom we are going with and being "dodgy foreigners" we have to be careful even though on paper our credit is good, (I know this because I check annually, print it out and it shuts those mortgage  "sales" persons from insisting on checking.)  it has to stay that way with a limited history.  Our credit is exemplary in the UK but this counts for nothing, so much for technology?!?!

I must disagree with David too, yes of course you have to do ALOT, and oh my goodness what alot of homework there is, but that goes for life generally if doing something new.  We are fortunate to have made many friends and acquaintenances though this and time and time I am hearing the same story from people current and ex clients disallusioned with Ubuildit, they (Ubuildit) are not the only ones, just the first and probably biggest in our area.  Mostly there are a few personal gripes, however the one thing standing head and shoulders above the rest is that these clients feel they would have done the same amount of work with or without UBuildit and they are not worth their fee and the lack of liability.  I know that the owner of the local branch is now monitoring this site, lets hope he is paying attention and addressing the issues, for the better our friends.  I also know many, many UBuildit clients follow this site and are grateful but never post anything because they are tied up with them, and knowing the individuals involved I can understand why.  I am very pleased we did not go with UBuildit as I feel we are getting along just fine, some hiccups yes but I have learnt a lot.  I would urge on the positive, you CAN do this.  If you are committed enough to go to UBuildit you are committed enough to do this, as that's what you'll end up doing anyway!  Yes you do need a modicum of intelligence and you need to be able to read, understand and retain and be organised, so any Monkeys being a homosapian is a requirement, that said you'd probably get a mortgage ahead of us 3 years ago.  Sorry that was meant to be funny. 

Lastly, the more of US (as in OB's) there are, the more "WE" as a body have to be recognised and taken seriously.  Whether you get through this with a company such as OwnerbuilderNetwork (alot cheaper than Ubuildit) or BuildMax or anyone ultimately remember you can only truly rely on one person to get the job done and thats you.  At the bottom of my financial breakdown I have the fees listed I would have paid UBuildit $39504, OwnerBuilderNetwork $17469, BuildMax $8000, although it would be more for B.Max as costs have gone up now and it was % of the loan.  I am sure I will make mistakes but if I make one for less than $17469 then I feel I will have come out okay from this.  Plus very much wiser.

David made a couple of very good points a short while ago, basically pick and choose your battles.  Peace of mind has a value, as does your time.  Spent your time wisely, make the calls and look for things that can save money, this week I slashed our driveway costs by half, that said someone else tried to bid me double on what my other bids were for framing, slab, stucco, etc., in these cases my mulltiple bids and research paid off, that said a day looking for Porta Loos in order to save $1 a month for 6 months probably not worth the effort, time and calls charges.

Must go sleep, off to Stock Building Supply tomorrow and dash and get a birthday present for my very tolerant husband.  Plus need to beat a few subs up before breakfast who will not relinquish our plans

Lisa.


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By David in Ocoee, FL on 12/6/2006


Well, I see now that I am outvoted! Such is life.  Looks like there are more resources out there for the novice owner-builder than what I realised .  I guess I was looking at it from the inside out.

In any event, you can count on the great folks on this forum for answers. Please continue posting your comments and questions. On a side note, if you don't like some of the changes that have been made to this website, please do not hesitate to send an email to Mark Smith (top left corner). I can tell you from personal experience that he appreciates your input. He may not go with your suggestion, but at least it is worth a try.

Keep up the good posting.


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