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Angie's Forum Posts: 20

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By Angie in London, OH on 7/7/2004


We were trying to be an "owner-builder" but couldn't get a bank on board. We found out about UbuildIt and are in the process of starting. Thru their representative (consultant) we were able to find a bank that will finace an owner-builder. We are having our walls built by Wausau and shipped down. The walls, roof and placement of windows are very firm. Ubuildit calls it the "A-pack." There are only a couple of things that have choices (bathtubs, siding, window types). I'm having a hard time getting a good answer as to what the cost and choice are. Are any of you familiar with the process. Thanks!
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By John in Port Republic, MD on 7/8/2004


I had the same problems as you have with lending and I found IndyMac Bank. The have a separate HCL- Home Construction Lending Unit. Call them!!! 800-220-4985 Ask for troy Rushing At ext 4963. Tell him I sent you. He will have a package to you in a day or two, even quicker by email. I have the package if you need me to email it to you.
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By Angie in London, OH on 7/9/2004


Thanks John. I wish we'd asked sooner but we now have a loan because of UbuildIt's relationship with a bank. I was more curious if anyone had gone thru the UbuildIt process. A consultant gets quotes for you and because they have relationships with subs a better price might be obtained. They have the walls built by Wausau and shipped down for a (hopefully) better price. We are free to get our own quotes and choose the one that makes sense for us. That part is pretty straight forward but when you get into the details it's been difficult for me to understand what other things I can get (lights, fixtures, flooring).
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By Kari in Colbert, WA on 7/12/2004


Hi - we met with a Ubuildit consultant and from what I gather you have any choice you want. Your package situation might be different but our Ubuildit guy explained the process and basically you make the choices on all finishes and subs etc.. They go through an extensive planning and budget phase so that you know a good ballpark building budget and, in fact, that is their best contributed value. The do such high volume with IndieMac they have loan officers working just on Ubuildit loans. We decided not to go with them because we figured we could save their $13,000 consulant fee and do it ourselves since we have some experience and there are a few local banks that are friendly toward OB's - but they do a good job keeping OB's on budget.
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By Angie in London, OH on 7/12/2004


We couldn't find a local bank to work with us. Basically we would need to front more money than we have. So, Ubuildit helped us in the process. The bank will pay Wausau directly. For sure we are having them do the framing and the windows. The roofing price is good and if I can live with one of their siding, I will order it. It was a fair quote and they do it in a week. They call it the a-pack. Then there is the b-pack and I'm not sure how much or any of what they will provide I want to get. What I really wanted to know is if anyone has chosen the products that Wausau can provide. From what I understand, it should be at a discount since they buy in bulk. I just feel like it's a little unclear about what is available and at what price. Of course, if they provides something I could live with at a good price I will chose it. Thanks for the post.
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By Mirek in Barrington, IL on 7/14/2004


I just found out UBuildIt and am in the process of listening to their sales pitch. Has anyone actualy completed a project with them? Is their "flat fee" actually flat? What are the pros and cons of working with them? Thank you.
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By Elena in Phoenix, AZ on 7/20/2004


HI, Can you please share with us the name of those banks who are friendly to "Owner Builders"? Do they offer loans on a national basis or just in your state? Thanks Elena Martinovici www.sonoranhomes.net
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By Angie in London, OH on 7/20/2004


Ours is not flat. It is 8% of what was quoted to take to the bank. We had to pay $2500 to get the ball rolling but it comes out of the final fee. We are still negotiating the fact that it comes off of the bank quote. We wonder what drives them to get low quotes if their fee is a percentage. The nice thing about UbuildIt (we hope) is that Wausau will build the walls at their plant and truck them down with workers to install it. Once your ducks are in a row, getting the house under roof is quick.
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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 7/21/2004


National Bank of AZ and Indy Mac are both O-B friendly.
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By Mirek on 7/21/2004


I just attended the UBuildIt seminar last night and I am not convinced. Here are the issues: 1/ They want 7-10% of the cost depending on my involvement - that's $30K! 2/ "I am in control", but the subs bidding on my project submit their bids to the consultant; I can see the bids in their office only (cannot take them home) - so it is impossible to really compare them to my own bids. 3/ "I am in control", but the consultant will decide how many bids to get. Usually it will be 2, but he may chose to go with just one if "the sub is known to always give a fair price". 4/ "It is practicly impossible to get a loan without UbuildIt" Additional turn-offs: 1/ they are new to the area - no references. 2/ They recommend working with Harris Bank "because they always bank with them" -- Oh, really? I thought they were new... 3/ And last but not least: This comment during presentation made me laugh: "some of you here may be educated enough to understand what I am saying" I am still planning on taking advantage of the free consultation session they offer. I hope to learn a few things.
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By Jerome in Durham, NC on 7/26/2004


We are using UBuildIt for our house and so far it has been a very positive experience. We're still in the early parts of Phase 1 (the planning phase) so I can't yet speak to how helpful/not-helpful they are during construction. Thus far I've enjoyed all of the meetings we've had with our consultant. He's been very upfront about UBuildIt's fees ($2000 for Phase I and then 7% of construction costs for Phase II) and very helpful in our budgeting process. After dealing with a couple of builders, this has been a dream. I'm definitely going to put in my time to find subs to compete with UBuildIt's recommended subs though. More competition can only help, right?
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By Angie in London, OH on 7/26/2004


That's good to hear. I'm just a little disappointed in what they offer as far as finish choices. Our plans are on their way to Wausau and I'm hoping they are there today. Are you going to use Wausau for the framing? We are using our own plans because our lot is skinny and on water. We couldn't find a plan that they offered that met all the criteria. Wausau's website has links to all kinds of suppliers but in reality they only offer a couple of things from each link at a "good" price.
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By Dale in Troy, OH on 7/26/2004


Has anyone use Buildmax.com? if you have any insights I would apprieciate it. thanks
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By Jerome in Durham, NC on 7/27/2004


I'm not familiar with Wausau at all. The UBuildIt franchise that I'm working with doesn't seem to have an affiliation with them. I forgot to chime in on one other point before. UBuildIt provided us with a list of banking contacts that were amenable to owner-builders and that was very very helpful to us. We're using one of those banking contacts for our construction loan.
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By Angie in London, OH on 7/27/2004


We are excited about Wausau. They build your walls (with windows) and trusses and truck them down with their own framers. It's supposed to take a week to get the house under roof. That gives us more time to do the things we want to do ourselves. Our basement walls are also being trucked in will be put up in a day. I guess I didn't realize that the Wausau part was not a UbuildIt standard.
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By Leon in Austin, TX on 8/16/2004


Thought I would update this thread with my meeting with Glenn Davis owner of Ubuildit in Austin, Tx. Price was variable based on amount of site visits he would make. From 5-8% with 2000 up front maybe because the franchise has only been open for a year. He seemed like a good resource to have for the area. He also is owner of a custom builder company called Lantana. I am planning on building a 300k home with costs of about 200k in materials and subs. So that would be 10k at 5% to Ubuildit which is a lot but seems worth it for the 24 hour help line and contact to his subs. Some of the later expection visits are finish out related like sheetrock and plumbing which I can do. I am most worrried about structural issues that I am unsure of. The framing and concrete. Also have found out I am liable for 10 years warranty on the house in texas anyway to subsuquent buyers for structural stuff which would include mold issues which is a bid deal here in austin. Glenn claims in texas the loan requires a builder of record and they must be a contractor in the business. There is no licensing in texas yet. That person on the loan document is the person liable for 10 years. I had a friend whose builder used the blow on insulation and supposedly did not wait for it to dry completely before sheetrocking. The house has mold all over and the builder is forced into buying it back. I think I will avoid that stuff even though I long for a low energy cost house. I think every ubuildit franchise is going to be slightly different since it is really the guy who has bought it that makes it unique. Probably the region also with different building techniques. The lumber company he had discounts with was hope lumber. No mention of the wasua place. They do have a sytem though of step by step week by week tool you use. I have yet to decide completely on it yet but I think the 10-12k would be worth it to me.
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By Angie in London, OH on 8/16/2004


Hi Leon, We decided to go with Ubuildit for similar reasons. Additionally, we could not get a loan to cover the up front costs to get us under roof. We qualify for more than (we hope) we need. But, our draws would be much later than when the money was needed to get us under roof. We just got permission to place our house on our lot after marking it off. Like you, our Ubuildit agent is also a builder. We live in a developement with "good ol' boys" on the building committee and I just listed her company as the builder. We got grief with what we are doing even with that. So, she does have good advice and relationships with subs. She is getting 2 quotes for everything and we are getting our own. It's good to have a reference point. Our house is on a sloping lot that faces a lake. We are using Superior Walls as the basement which is a neat system that will make our walkout very usable. After the excavation, the walls are placed in 1 day (about 1400 sq. ft.) The walls are poured at the factory with holes for wiring and studs. The price for 9 ft & 10 ft walls are the same (not really sure why). And, our "builder" is also associated with Wausau. From what she has said they will deal with a builder but not an individual. They build your walls, floors and trusses and truck them in and set them in about a week. I cannot state that it is good - until next month. Maybe your ubildit person could get them to quote. They take your plans and plot them out. And they have relationships with other companies. I believe they only do 2x6 walls. I really explored their website and am pushing her to get us costs for things that are not usually what they provide. They have certain things from companies but not all things. For example, they provide Alcoa siding - just a certain level. I want shakes and Alcoa has that and they are quoting it. We think that both the basement & framing are state of the art but also think it will give us more freedom to do the plumbing, wiring and flooring without making this a 2 year ordeal. OK, I could go on more but would love to hear what you decide to do.
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By Stacey in Greenacres, WA on 8/31/2004


Hi Kari, We are going to build a home in Greenacres WA and I was hoping could talk. We are in the process of buying our land and won't be breaking ground until next spring probably, as we haven't started planning yet. How far into the process are you?
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By Kari in Colbert, WA on 9/4/2004


We are just getting our utilities in on the property. Hope to break ground either in late November or wait till February due to the weather. Reasearching ICF's due to high lumber cost's. Found a great loan person at American West Bank - they do a lot of owner-builder loans. Progressing well so far...
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By Kevin in West Chester, OH on 1/7/2005


I am in Phase 1 of using Ubuildit.. this is where they have helped with a lot assessment, given us guidelines as to size of house that will fit on the lot, and also have helped in doing the preliminary budget work. Overall, I haven't been all that thrilled. One of my big problems with the process, is that the 'fee' they charge for Phase 2 is based on THEIR quotes and estimates. I plan to do a lot of work myself, and have gotten some good deals at Building Supply Auctions (Peak Auctions and Paranzino Brothers Auctions)... but he says his fee is based on 'If someone else does the work and purchased materials at market based pricing'. SO, if I am doing $30,000 worth of Labor work... I have to pay Ubuildit 7% (or $2,100) just because I use them as a contact. The other part I don't like, is they are very 'restrained' in data they share in Phase 1.. I assume so you will sign up for Phase 2. They say 'here's a ball park budget'... but, you have no idea what is being used to build up to that number. I have also been disappointed with the ability of my Ubuildit representative to give me better ideas on cost... he'll say "that will cost more'... but won't even ball park... are we talking $1,000 or $10,000 more? Net, at this point, if I can get financing, and build a little more confidence, I am leaning towards NOT using Ubuildit for Phase 2. Just my thoughts and probably very dependent on the specific franchise


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By Anthony in Lebanon, OH on 1/11/2005


I looked at BuildMax when I was looking at UBuildIt last summer.  They shouldn't even be compared to UBuildIt at all... yeah, they help owner-builders a little, but nowhere near to the degree of UBuildIt.  Basically if all you want is financing and no other useful help, call BuildMax.

--tony


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By Anthony in Lebanon, OH on 1/11/2005


UBuildIt fixed my cost. They quoted me 6-9% to use as a GUIDELINE to determine their fee. I ended up with $21K on a $300K house BEFORE WE STARTED CONSTRUCTION.  The $21K was supposedly based on MY INDIVIDUAL NEEDS (difficulty of house/site, distance, my experience, etc.) I used the UBuildIt by King's Island and they were great. Every builder I talked to wanted $345K to $395K to build LESS! My house initially (construction loan) appraised at $450K.  That's $150K equity using UBuildIt.

My consultant was very friendly (we'll probably stay friends after my house is finished), very knowledgeable, and thoroughly answered every question I ever had.  I did some work myself (saving money on the overall cost of the house) but I probably was a bigger pain in the neck to my consultant because of that.  I definitely used more "24/7 phone service" when I was doing something myself.  So to say you're unhappy that he wants to charge you for work you do yourself is bad logic--he's still going to help you get it done right.  It's kind of like insurance... you pay for it and hope you don't need it, but you certainly want it to be there when you do!  Could I have done my house without UBuildIt--yes, of course.  I'm doubtful I could have done it as smoothly or as cheaply.

The best part about them is their subcontractors. Subs work better when they know there is another job coming up. I used my own electrician (my bid was $1,000 less than UBuildIt's) and it was a nightmare. After I failed my electrical inspection two times (even though my consultant caught the mistakes ahead of time) I had a heck of a time getting my electrician back because he was already working on another house. All of the UBuildIt guys did their jobs well and responded to my needs. 

If you don't use them for phase 2, good luck!  Personally, I couldn't have done it as well without them---certainly not saving the money I did.  As far as details go, I didn't get a detailed cost estimate with individual line items until the end of phase 1.  I had a "ballpark" done before I had plans or specs, so "details" wouldn't have made much sense anyway.  My ballpark actually came in higher than my final numbers, but I was still close to what I needed.
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By Anthony in Lebanon, OH on 1/11/2005


By the way, I got a letter from my UBuildIt guy in December saying that at the first of the year they were going to change how they quoted their fees.  it's still a FIXED fee, but when quoting you, they will base it on square footage instead of percentage. Therefore, they have no gray areas about whether they are your advocate or not. Obviously, with a percentage basis on quotes THEY provide, there is no concrete incentive to get better deals (other than the fact that you could still choose another option).

So, kevin, you should see if your UBuildIt guy will modify your contract to be based on something other than %.  Heck, come right out and just give him a solid number.  for example,"...Can you do a full-service phase 2 for me for $15,000" instead of trying to negotiate a square footage or % fee.


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By Anthony in Lebanon, OH on 1/11/2005


This is off topic, but goes along with a previous message. I used Superior pre-cast foundation walls.  Probably one of the best things I did.
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By Kevin in West Chester, OH on 1/11/2005


I agree with your thoughts on charging the Fee on the work we do ourselves... I told my wife the same thing "well, if we have problems, we'll be able to call Ubuildit...so, we may actually create more work for Ubuildit than if we just used a Sub".   In terms of the Fixed dollar vs % basis... I'll definitely think about that one, that could be a good option.   I am definitely leary to 'go it alone', but definitely want to feel I am getting good value from the process.    Thanks for your thoughts!
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By Richard in Oceanside, CA on 2/6/2005


UBuild it and other companies, such as BuildMax and Ibuild all do about the same thing.  They help you to set up a game plan for acting as your own General Contractor.  This usually involves setting up a budget, getting financing, selecting plans and subs etc.  I personally do not think they are needed even by the most novice of builders.  I am a distributor for a Canadian panelization company and we  offer esentially the same services as part of your home package.  I think that what most people are after is the feeling of security that comes with having someone in your corner.    Average savings over "stick" built with same quality is 35% and does not include substantial time savings.

Cheers

Richard F. Sherman II


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By Richard in Oceanside, CA on 2/6/2005


UBuild it and other companies, such as BuildMax and Ibuild all do about the same thing.  They help you to set up a game plan for acting as your own General Contractor.  This usually involves setting up a budget, getting financing, selecting plans and subs etc.  I personally do not think they are needed even by the most novice of builders.  I am a distributor for a Canadian panelization company and we  offer esentially the same services as part of your home package.  I think that what most people are after is the feeling of security that comes with having someone in your corner.    Average savings over "stick" built with same quality is 35% and does not include substantial time savings.

Cheers

Richard F. Sherman II


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