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Faye in Marseilles, IL's Interview Answers

Previous Owner-Builder for Faye in Marseilles, IL at OwnerBuilderBook.com - Build Your Own Home

Have you owner-built more than once?
 Four times
 
Do you own a truck?
 Yes
 
Was your project a new house or a remodel and addition?
 New house
 
What's the population of the community where you built?
 <50,000
 
How much did you save on the trades you did yourself?
 $190,000 - $210,000
 
How many finished levels in your most recent owner-built house?
 One
 
What type of construction?
 Conventional framing
 
House style?
 Conventional
 
How much did you save altogether vs. appraised or street value?
 >50%
 
How many hours did you spend as a couple, counting planning and construction?
 > 1,000 hrs.
 
Were you working when you owner-built?
 Only husband working
 
Who took primary responsibility in your family for the work?
 Wife primary
 
What trades did you do yourself?
 Excavation, swimming pool, geothermal radiant heat, plumbing, insulation, drywall, stained floors, drywall, paint, cabinets, counters, trim, stonework and landscaping.
 
How long did your self-work trades take?
 >1,000 hours
 
How many bids did you get for each subcontracted trade, on average?
 Three
 
Did you get bids from generals?
 No
 
Have you had it appraised?
 Yes
 
Was yours a starter, step-up, custom, or dream home?
 Dream home
 
What's the difference in your mind between a starter, step-up, custom, or dream home?
 
Starter is first home.
Step-up is when you can afford slightly bigger than starter.
Custom is very nice home.
Dream home is what you could have if $ is not an issue.
 
Did you get materials separate from labor on any of the trades?
 100%
 
What were special features in your house?
 
Indoor swimming pool.
Geothermal radiant heat.
Very large walk in closets throughout.
Gourmet kitchen.
Three fireplaces.
Large patios on exterior.
Spacious rooms.
High ceilings.
Central vacuum.
 
Super bargains you got?
 Windows, appliances, cabinets, tile, and fixtures.
 
Ways to save money?
 DIY geothermal , labor management , bargain shopping
 
What are the qualifications to be a good O-B?
 
Be willing and able to do tons of research.
Be able to make quick decisions and be willing to compromise.
Be ready to roll up your sleeves and work.
Know what you want and what you can live without.
Negotiation skills.
 
Did you have contract problems?
 One
 
Did you get liened by anybody?
 No liens
 
What percentage of O-B's do you think get liened?
 5% - 10%
 
How much time did it take to construct?
 More than ten months
 
How many trades were involved on your job?
 5 - 10
 
What time of year did you start?
 Jan-Feb
 
Any reason you chose that time of year to start?
 My husband was laid off at the time.
 
What do you consider the rules of good work?
 Planning and organization . Focus and understanding scope of work . Clean up after yourself! Know when you are over your head and ask for help.
 
What were your most important tools?
 Air compressor, drill, miter saw and table saw .
 
What anguish or fear of loss did you go through? What was your worst fear during the project?
 No fear.
 
What help did you want but couldn't get?
 None.
 
What do you consider the most desirable features in a custom home?
 Space.
 
What features in your house save operating costs?
 Geothermal radiant heat and tankless pool heater
 
What features add the most value to your home - rate them.
 
Square footage - 1
Geo heat - 2
Radiant heat - 3
 
What owner-builder laws exist where you live?
 None.
 
Did you get a construction loan without a contractor?
 Yes
 
Do you have a step-up strategy?
 No
 
What do you do for a living?
 Currently just ob'ing my home.
 
How much combined time did you spend planning?
 300 - 400 hours
 
Are you organized?
 Pretty organized
 
What suggestions do you have for O-B's to get organized?
 Utilize your computer and keep paperwork in files.
 
Are you a good shopper?
 Super shopper
 
What suggestions do you have on finding good prices?
 Google.
 
Were there any schedule items that took you a lot longer or shorter than you thought they would?
 Siding.
 
Did you use a designer, architect, stock plan?
 Designed My Own
 
What are the three best things you did?
 Research, auctions, cabinet shopping.
 
The three worst things that you did?
 Hired Superior Walls to do foundation. Hired septic installer.
 
What is a good way to get discounts on lumber?
 Negotiate with local lumberyards.
 
What is a good way to get discounts on cabinets?
 Kraftmaid outlet Lordstown Ohio.
 
Any problems with the inspector? Items that caused you to fail an inspection?
 No.
 
Where did you get good help and advice?
 Online.
 
What did you find to be the top five biggest expenses in the budget? How much, and how to cut back?
 HVAC - diy'ed it.
Lumber and framing - shopped around.
Cabinets - kraftmaid outlet.
 
Did you find a wide range in the prices you were bid for different things? What are some examples?
 Geothermal radiant heat - bid $80k cost $22k.
 
How big was your punch list? How much time did it take you to finish it out?
 Three-and-a-half years but i didn't have a set schedule and was not in a hurry.
 
Did you get a bad surprise on property taxes?
 No - I expected the tax assessment I got
 
Were utility costs in the new house a surprise?
 About what I expected
 
They say that a marriage that survives building a house will survive anything. Any comments?
 True.
 
Was there anything you traded for materials or services?
 A tractor and a Lincoln navigator.
 
Did you have any problems getting your building permit?
 No problems as an owner-builder
 
How did you find good subcontractors? Any suggestions?
 Asked around for recommendations.
 
What was the average price quoted you to build your design? Highest price?
 Never got total cost bid
 
Did you use some type of written agreement when hiring subcontractors?
 Yes.
 
Did you hire anybody from out of town?
 Four trades
 
Did you buy any materials from out of town?
 > five trades
 
Were there features in your home that you implemented for free or cheap because of planning?
 Stonework, cabinets, geothermal radiant heat.
 
Were there aspects of your home that were improved because of your owner-builder involvement?
 Most everything.
 
Did you incorporate anything in your design to facilitate a hobby?
 Indoor swimming pool, gourmet kitchen.
 
Did you design anything special for a pet?
 Doggie shower in garage.
 
Were you ever lied to by a contractor? Examples?
 Superior walls - about everything.
 
What are some of the discouraging comments you have heard from others about acting as your own contractor?
 Just that O-B's don't have the experience to build a home properly.
 
What is the worst treatment you ever got from a contractor?
 Tried to jack up the price after a verbal agreement
 
Did you have any embarassing moments building?
 No.
 
Did you make some mistakes? Examples?
 no
 
Did you run into any outrageous construction pricing?
 Geothermal radiant heat bid was four times what the actual cost was.
 
Were there little luxuries you were able to implement at little or no cost?
 
- Vaulted ceilings
- Recirculating hot water
- Dual dishwashers
- Stained concrete floors
 
What were the biggest construction bargains you found, and how did you find them?
 
Cabinets - online
Windows - online
 
What was your most valuable planning/preparation activity?
 Attending building materials auctions.
 
Beside yourself, who in your family got involved in this project?
 Dad, brothers, kids.
 
How did you find other owner-builders to network with?
 Online search.
 
What websites did you find helpful when you built?
 This one and gardenweb.
 
Do you know of people wasting a lot of money when they built? Explain.
 
See it all the time on TV.
My brother and sister-in-law.
 
How many bathrooms did you include in your owner-built house?
 2-3
 
Did you take pictures of the job when you owner-built?
 Many pictures
 
What was the average monthly cost of maintenance in the home you left to occupy your new home?
 $100 - $200
 
What did you choose for wall insulation?
 Fiberglass batts
 
How much more activity was there at end of project than in the middle?
 10% more
 
How much calendar time from when you first did some written planning to groundbreaking?
 Two to two and a half years
 
How many tools do you own?
 $4,000 - $5,000
 
Did you incorporate active solar panels (PV) into your home?
 No
 
How many houses have you built, remodeled or added on to as an owner-builder?
 Three
 
How much combined time did you take off work when you built?
 More than eight weeks
 
What were the impact fees for you to build?
 <$10,000
 
Did you use a contracting consultant or an owner-builder program?
 No
 
Apples to apples, what utility savings did you get in your new house vs. old?
 10%-15%
 
How many trades did you do yourself?
 >8
 
Are you a coupon shopper?
 30% - 40%
 
What is the R-value of your walls?
 R-19
 
Was your project urban or rural?
 In the country
 
Do you have experience using spreadsheets for budgeting or scheduling?
 Never used a spreadsheet
 
How many days when only a single sub was on site?
 More than 50 days
 
How many times are you planning to do this?
 Two
 

Future Owner-Builder for Faye in Marseilles, IL at OwnerBuilderBook.com - Build Your Own Home

How many air conditioning units will you include in your owner-built house?
 None
 
How many tools do you own?
 $4,000 - $5,000
 
How many children do you have?
 Three
 
If stick-built, will you use 2x4 or 2x6 framing?
 2x4
 
How much construction industry experience will you have before you owner-build?
 6-7
 
Do you own a truck?
 Yes
 
How many bedrooms are you planning on?
 Three
 
What's the population of the community where you will build?
 <50,000
 
Do you have experience using spreadsheets for budgeting or scheduling?
 Never used a spreadsheet
 
What is the average General Contractor estimate to build your plans?
 >$300 s.f.
 
Do you plan to use any personal friends as subs?
 Three
 
Are you organized?
 Pretty organized
 
What time of year will you start?
 November-December
 
Will you be working when you owner-build?
 Only husband working
 
How many covered vehicle spaces will you provide in your owner-built house?
 Three
 
What type of construction are you planning?
 Conventional
 
How much calendar time will there be from when you first did some written planning to groundbreaking?
 Two to two and a half years
 
How much do you plan to save altogether vs. appraised value?
 >50%
 
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