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posted
My husband and I are planning to build our own home soon and we were wondering which would be the best way to go. We are currently selling our townhome and will be living in an RV on our inlaw's land until we get our house built- so time contraints are not an issue here. We know we want to customize our own home and will be doing most of the work ourselves and with my father in-law who has experience building homes. I know that you need permits and so forth but we're stuck on either to buy land and build a home up from scratch or but land with an old house and either renovate it or knock it down to the foundation and rebuild it from there. I heard that if you use an exhisting foundation, then only a renovating permit will be necessary versus getting a new home construction permit- which is typically more expensive and detailed. So we'd appreciate any input on which we should choose based on the costs, difficulty, and potential complications. Thanks!
 
Posts: 6 | Registered: May 06, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Kelly, Welcome to the Real Estate Boards! Smile

If you are willing to either build from "scratch" or renovate, I think I would concentrate on the location itself. What specific real estate meets your wants and desires the most? And, by that, I mean EVERYTHING about location ~ country or city living, subdivision, roads, schools, amenities or lack thereof, trees, neighborhood, noise, surrounding use of property and over-all ambiance of where you would like to live???

In a way, you are fortunate to be able to choose WHERE you would like best to live without having to "settle" for either an existing home to renovate or build new on bare land since you are open to both! Good luck and post back! Cool
 
Posts: 6487 | Registered: Jan 01, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Grapefruit
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I totally agree with everything IR says! It is a great position to be in!

If you are thinking about cost, I think you get more for your money if you can find an existing house that can be changed to suit your needs. Of course, it will not be brand new. If there is a nice house in a super location/setting you would already have landscaping, sidewalks, driveway, possibly some upgrades, etc. These are things that can really add up and have no impact on the house itself.

But, if you need to tear the old house down and start over, it might not make a difference. There are times, however, when you can get an old house on a great property....knowing from the outset that it must be razed.

Find your ideal location, and go from there.

Have fun in the process!
 
Posts: 3031 | Location: central PA | Registered: Jan 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the imput! We have a general location in we want to live in, which is a little country town- my husband's hometown and where most of his family lives. Of course we'd make sure to pick the perfect location- which idealy would be in on a hill overlooking the mountains of PA, but of course that may be pricey. Which is why we wanted to broaded our search to include old homes to possibly renovate. I personally would like the history and charm of renovating an old home, but of course that also comes with potential upkeep costs and my husband jokingly mentioned the possibility of ghosts! However, building our own home from scratch, I feel, would be a longer process and with our 1-yr old son, I don't want to wait too long to move in! Does anyone have experience renovating an old home- and what problems did you face? Will the exhisting foundation pass code? Do you even need to meet code when renovating?? Thanks!
 
Posts: 6 | Registered: May 06, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sorry for all the typos!
 
Posts: 6 | Registered: May 06, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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One question I would ask is what the water table is like where any existing home sits. Reusing a foundation is a possibility, but building from the very bottom up gives you the best chance of doing whatever is necessary to get a dry foundation/basement. The footprint of the old home may also not fit your ideas of the home you have in mind, and may be even more expensive to alter than working from scratch.

And have you considered the existing septic as well as water/well system (if not on public septic/water)?
Up to code and area building, insulation, wiring and plumbing can be a real plus when starting from the ground up. A newly constructed home also may offer HO insurance discounts.
 
Posts: 9429 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Sparky
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I suspect any foundation from a house worthy of being torn down will be inadequate for a new home. The only time it makes sense IMHO to tear down and build on an existing homesite is when the location has something going for it that you can't get in raw land. These things could include: golf course lot, lake or other water front lot, mountain lot. You have to take into account the cost of the house and land, the cost of demolition and the cost of the new house. If you have to pay a price for the house that is similar to the neighboring houses you will be hard pressed to get enough for the new house to include the cost of the house you destroy. If you have unlimited money no big deal, if you're borrowing money to build the bank will have a say. They won't loan you $250K to build a $200K house.

Out in the country with land it gets a little easier, I know growing up in central PA and living in NC these days that once you get outside of town limits you can have a $500K house with a mobile home just down the road. In subdivisions homes tend to cluster around the same relative value, within 25-40% of each other in price.

I doubt your building permit costs would be different for a tear down reno versus a new house. I've seen that in California but never in NC or PA. In California you had to leave a certain percentage of the home standing in the process of doing your complete reno or it was considered a new build not a reno.


General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

 
Posts: 6856 | Location: Cary, North Carolina | Registered: Sep 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's something to evaluate. First though, what do you mean water table?

That was a concern of mine, if the foundation would be dry and reusable because we will have a finished basement. The footprint of the exhisting home would definitely be looked at before buying the property.

We will be having well water and septic on site, which I though if there was an exhisting one- it would save us $ from drilling a new well and putting in a new septic.

I didn't think aout HO insurance, that's a valid concern... Thanks!

If anyone else can offer more input, I'd appreciate it!
 
Posts: 6 | Registered: May 06, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, no we do not have unlimited money, and yes we will be borrowing from the bank. We well, however do MOST of the work ourselves- to include everything EXCEPT the Escavating (if needed), foundation (if needed) and drilling/running utilities (if needed). One benefit I was thinking of when opting for a Reno was that we wouldn't need to pay a general contractor if we do everything ourselves. My father in-law if built his own house from scratch, so he knows what he's doing- and also made sure the craftsmanship was better than the standard builder-grade materials.

I haven't done much research, but I did once read that some banks offer a loan which is intended to provide more money to renovate what is necessary - I think it is associated with the Rural Housing Development. I was banking on this type of financing for a Reno. But again, we still need to research it and talk to a loan officer.

I will double check our township, but I'm pretty sure since my father in-law built his house himself, that it's allowed- it's quite common here.

Thanks!
 
Posts: 6 | Registered: May 06, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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I think talking to a loan officer in your area is the best beginning.
Sometimes loans for novice builders (not licensed building contractors) are not even possible without a good portion of down payment and substantial collateral. Best to know these things up front, as well as what will be approved in the area you want to build.

Having your F in L smart about things is good. If the loan is an issue it may still turn out to be wiser and more feasible to hire a contractor, and work with them to possibly allow you to do part of the labor/finish work where possible, to save money?

btw:Water table that I mentioned is any ground water issues like natural springs or how high the underground water can rise with spring rains/wet weather. Many older homes were built on hills for this reason (as well as to catch breezes before AC was the norm). An old septic and well can sometimes be ok, but many times are not sufficient for a larger home, so possibly not a lot of money saved there.

I would plan on investing a lot of time and some money on researching a lot of issues, to avoid costly mistakes and fixes down the line.
 
Posts: 9429 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Grapefruit
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I work in code enforcement in our town and our CE Officer is willing to offer advice to people looking to buy a property. Check to see if yours will do the same.

Renovating an old home or tearing it down and starting over are very different. A sturdy old house may just need updates to kitchens/baths and new paint and flooring. In that case it is much easier to control your costs.

Before buying any house you are going to need an inspection which will address foundation, electrical, plumbing issues.

Find your location, see if there are any houses that suit you, and if not , look for land. Our first house was on 14 acres, with a spring and septic. We lived there for 8 years and had two kids within 14 months. We now have lived here on 2 in-town acres with public water and sewer for 26 years. I was extremely glad to move!!!! But we are all different!
 
Posts: 3031 | Location: central PA | Registered: Jan 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by KellyZimmerman:
We will be having well water and septic on site, which I though if there was an exhisting one- it would save us $ from drilling a new well and putting in a new septic.


I wouldn't make that assumption. Code requirements change over time and the well and septic will probably need to be inspected as a part of the permitting process. They may not pass current requirements so you may have to replace them.

This is something you should look into before actually buying to verify up front. Knowing what you are getting into is half the battle (You could include those in an inspection contingency if you make an offer...)
 
Posts: 46 | Location: United States | Registered: Apr 27, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks all for the input! I think we will first start by talking to a loan officer in our area. I tried calling our current mortage provider (Wells fargo) but they referred me to meet with someone locally to discuss any USDA Rural housing loans which requires little- no down payment on a reno or new construction home.

After we establish what we can afford/get, we will decide on what we should do.

I am taking into account all your advise on the condition on an existing well/ septic, and of course that will be contingent on the inspection of the home if we find one we love and make an offer.

Again, thank you all for your advise!!
 
Posts: 6 | Registered: May 06, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Sparky
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Kelly,
You asked about water table. A high water table means a basement is a bad idea. In most of Florida if you dig a hole 1 foot deep you'll soon have a hole one foot deep full of water. Trying to put a basement in this situation will mean a constant expense of running a sump pump to keep the basement from becoming a swimming pool.

How high your water table is will depend on the topography of your lot. If you're building within 100 feet of a lake you can be fairly certain that your water table will be at or around the water level of the lake.


General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

 
Posts: 6856 | Location: Cary, North Carolina | Registered: Sep 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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