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      03-17-2021, 09:52 AM   #1
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Buying Property and Building Your Own Home - Tips, Tricks, Advice

Hey Gang, my wife and I are in the process of buying property and having a house built. I figured I'd start a thread for tips, tricks, advice, commiserating, etc.

Here's my situation: Want to move out of Seattle and into an outlying town that better manages crime and other social issues. Tired of the drugs, the theft, the homelessness, and the ambivalence of the city of Seattle. Also, we currently live off a busy street and it's noisy.

We are totally new to this whole process and are learning a ton. We've found a nice little 1/2 acre wooded parcel in a neighboring town, put an offer in, and are 30 days into our 45 day feasibility study period. For those who are new to this too, the feasibility period is a negotiated timeframe that starts when your offer on the vacant land is accepted and ends with your closing date. 45 to 60 days is common. This is your time to research anything and everything with respect to whether it's feasible to do what you want with the land. You put down earnest money, just like a home purchase and honestly you can walk away and get that money back for just about any reason, just like a home purchase.

In order to determine feasibility, you need to assemble a "team" and be ready to spend some $$$. Not a ton, but not insignificant either. We will be into this about $7k when all is said and done. The good news is that those expenses are all things you must do in order to build so its only wasted cost if you walk from the land deal.

We have a real estate agent, an architect, a builder, a project manager, and through the architect and project manager have brought in a surveyor, an arborist, and a structural engineer to answer some key feasibility questions. The architect is really the key here. They are the ones who hold your hand and lead you through collecting all the right info. A skilled real estate agent is also a god-send in these deals.

At this point, 2 weeks from closing, we have a survey of the property and an arborist report that maps all significant trees. The project planner validated that there's no wetlands, no streams, no environmental issues, etc. The architect used the survey and arborist report to create a site plan that shows the city where we want to put the house, what trees need to come down, etc. At this point the "house" is literally just a rectangle in the center of the lot. We dont need actual house plans at this stage. The site map shows where utilities will run, where they will tie into the street, where the driveway goes, etc. All of this has been submitted to the city planning office and we are awaiting their feedback. The site plan has also been submitted to the builder to run some estimates on driveway and utility costs.

Question for anyone who has done this: We will have probably a year between the purchase of the land and actually breaking ground as we work through permitting, house plans, etc. During that year, we have an empty lot sitting there that we own and are liable for. What sort of insurance should we think about carrying?

Last edited by DETRoadster; 03-17-2021 at 02:35 PM..
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      03-17-2021, 10:18 AM   #2
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right now its just land, nothing is build.
you should contact your insurance agent.
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      03-17-2021, 10:20 AM   #3
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Congrats - we built our first house nearly thirty years ago. Sounds like you have a solid game plan. I would just add some general observations: (1) it will likely wind up more expensive than you imagine, (2) patience and flexibility with trades is a must, (3) there are SO MANY decisions to be made throughout the process, (4) get all your changes in before framing begins, (5) visit the site often and tour it with the GC. The old Russian proverb "trust but verify" applies here, (6) underground utilities to the house are really nice.
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      03-17-2021, 11:23 AM   #4
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Curious if any findings during the feasibility period result in potential further negotiation for the plot? Really interested in this thread's development as you'd probably guess from some of my previous posts. Always something that I want to do, just can't pull the trigger!
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      03-17-2021, 11:52 AM   #5
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We are entering the location search stage of a retirement barndominium construction in South Carolina (or vicinity). I found an interesting 5 acre lot in a recreational lake area for a reasonable price, that is free-standing and not part of a development. However, the deed restrictions and list of approved construction methods/materials read like an HOA covenant! Thou shalt not plant a vegetable garden, park a race car trailer (or RV) anywhere on the property, put up a satellite dish or weather station, etc. Ironically, this and surrounding lands are all zoned agricultural!

Anyway, I'll be following along to see what we have in store for us.....
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      03-17-2021, 12:09 PM   #6
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I am surprised you expect it to take a year from the purchase (hasn't happened yet) and breaking ground. You're possibly 2 years away from living in it?

As for insurance on a vacant lot is should be minimal and call your insurance agent. Virtually everything your standard homeowners covers is the home and your possessions. Not seeing much liability risk or a cost associated with vacant land/ This will be the small problem.

For a house I am completely renovating (next door to my house) I do have to have special insurance for a home that isn't livable/occupied (about 2.5 times the cost of my house), assuming this would apply to your house after construction starts and until you can occupy it. Statefarm told me I needed to get it but they also didn't offer it.
Many skip on this insurance but if the place burns down the insurance company has a way to not pay.
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      03-17-2021, 01:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyalpine90 View Post
right now its just land, nothing is build.
you should contact your insurance agent.
Yep, that's on my to-do list!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonk! View Post
Congrats - we built our first house nearly thirty years ago. Sounds like you have a solid game plan. I would just add some general observations: (1) it will likely wind up more expensive than you imagine, (2) patience and flexibility with trades is a must, (3) there are SO MANY decisions to be made throughout the process, (4) get all your changes in before framing begins, (5) visit the site often and tour it with the GC. The old Russian proverb "trust but verify" applies here, (6) underground utilities to the house are really nice.
Thanks!

1) Learning that quickly! The construction loan will come with an automatic 5% buffer for overages but we can elect to bump that up, which we will.

2) This is why we are looking for a large, reputable, builder who serves as our single point of contact and accountability. They will manage all the various trades. Costs a little more but well worth the expense in my mind. That way if the tile guy, the drywall guy, and the painter all go AWOL 1/2 way through the job or do a shitty job, I've got one person to yell at and withold payment from.

3) Yes! I'm looking forward to it. My wife and I are eager to get into the finite details or selecting wall switch covers, base molding, cabinet knobs, outlet locations, etc. We are both detail junkies and eager for this part of the process.

4) Rock solid advice there. Thank you! Change orders after framing are exponentially more expensive I can imagine.

5) We are actually toying with the idea of a "tiny house" on the lot so we can live there and keep tabs. LOL. Just kidding...Sort of...Thankfully the lot is 10 minutes from our current house and on my wife's way home from work. So yeah, we will be there multiple times per week for the duration and at critical points.

6) Yep. Everything will be buried. Looks like we can do most if it with trenching, thus avoiding the high costs of directional drilling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
Curious if any findings during the feasibility period result in potential further negotiation for the plot? Really interested in this thread's development as you'd probably guess from some of my previous posts. Always something that I want to do, just can't pull the trigger!
I'll keep ya posted! But yeah, this is similar to putting an offer in on the house, then revising that offer after inspection. Feasibility is like a long, drawn out, 45 day inspection period. We put one offer in with full intention to drop that offer before closing. We know from feasibility that the existing 12' wide driveway that serves an existing house on the lot next door will have to be widened to 18' as it will now serve 2 houses. That widening will require significant excavation into a hillside and about 50 linear feet of retaining wall (hence the structural engineer involvement). Our architect is working with the builder now to get costs for all that. We will come back to the seller just before closing and ask for concessions on the sale price because of this. it's all part of the strategy. You put in a "reasonable" offer to get the seller to accept. Then you go through 45 days of feasibility and come back for concessions. Our seller has had the property on the market for 7 months and had 2 other offers fall through during feasibility. She just wants the land sold and gone. She's not paid her 2020 taxes on it yet. we are in a good spot tp come in with an estimate for 300 feet of driveway widening and 50 feet of retaining wall and say "you lower the price by x or we walk and you start this whole process all over again with someone else." Unlike houses in Seattle, land is sloooooow to move so you can play those games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
We are entering the location search stage of a retirement barndominium construction in South Carolina (or vicinity). I found an interesting 5 acre lot in a recreational lake area for a reasonable price, that is free-standing and not part of a development. However, the deed restrictions and list of approved construction methods/materials read like an HOA covenant! Thou shalt not plant a vegetable garden, park a race car trailer (or RV) anywhere on the property, put up a satellite dish or weather station, etc. Ironically, this and surrounding lands are all zoned agricultural!

Anyway, I'll be following along to see what we have in store for us.....
Zoning is everything, man, and in some communities those restrictions are killers. The town we are buying in is notoriously prickly about tree removal, minimum tree canopy, and maximum impervious coverage percentage. The city planning office was super helpful in sending us PDFs that are written in common English and read like FAQs to educate people like us on what's allowed and what isnt. The other key is to have an architect who is familiar with those local municipalities, knows the restrictions, and know the people in the planning office well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David70 View Post
I am surprised you expect it to take a year from the purchase (hasn't happened yet) and breaking ground. You're possibly 2 years away from living in it?

As for insurance on a vacant lot is should be minimal and call your insurance agent. Virtually everything your standard homeowners covers is the home and your possessions. Not seeing much liability risk or a cost associated with vacant land/ This will be the small problem.

For a house I am completely renovating (next door to my house) I do have to have special insurance for a home that isn't livable/occupied (about 2.5 times the cost of my house), assuming this would apply to your house after construction starts and until you can occupy it. Statefarm told me I needed to get it but they also didn't offer it.
Many skip on this insurance but if the place burns down the insurance company has a way to not pay.
The city we are buying in is notoriously slooooow. But admittedly, 3 to 4 months of that time is eaten up doing the house plans with the architect, then having those plans signed off on by the engineer. We cant even start the permit application with the city till those plans are dialed. So, call it 3 months architect, 1 month engineering, then 6 months permitting and approvals.

Thanks for the insurance tip. My fear is that Joe Neighbor's dipshit kid is running around the lot, trips, falls, instant quadriplegic and I'm skewered in court because I didnt have "No Trespassing" signs clearly posted or something stupid like that.
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      03-17-2021, 01:31 PM   #8
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any floor plans, or design sketches?
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      03-17-2021, 01:36 PM   #9
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I build homes and it seems you're off to an expensive start. Hiring an arborist? Seriously? Does the city require that?
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      03-17-2021, 02:10 PM   #10
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Check into your state level property tax provisions. In some areas, they offer a tax advantage for clearing a % of your trees for fire mitigation, year over year. Near where I live, you must have 40 acres and clear 10% and they come by for an audit to validate.
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      03-17-2021, 02:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyalpine90 View Post
any floor plans, or design sketches?
No, not yet but I'll definitely post them up once I have some!

Quote:
Originally Posted by turboawd View Post
I build homes and it seems you're off to an expensive start. Hiring an arborist? Seriously? Does the city require that?
Ah I was hoping an industry insider would chime in! Welcome! Man, if you have any tips for finding, vetting, working with a quality builder I'm all ears. We have an A+ builder now but as you know, this early on it's not like contracts are signed or deposits placed. Ultimately we aren't sure we can afford thee guys. They do really high end work, but damn do you pay for it. We really want to work with them and have spoken with a number of people who have used or are currently using them that sing their praises. My wife has a patient who retired from construction project management recently. When she mentioned the builder's name to him is said "Oh, shit, THOSE guys? Yeah, you'll have no problems. They are top shelf."

as for the arborist, I agree, comically early in the process right. But this particular city is renowned for being bat shit crazy protective of trees. So much so that if you have even a single tree that's deemed "exceptional" due to age, size, placement, or species, you have to go through a whole convoluted permitting process to be able to remove it. There are stories about the city stopping permits dead in their tracks over a single tree and requiring it to be delicately dug up and moved, or not allowing it to be taken down at all, thus killing the permit to build. This driveway we need to widen is lined by trees so some will have to go. If the city arborist said "Oh, that's a rare Asian Fir" or some shit and we cant remove it, we could be stuck in a court battle with the city to get permission to widen the driveway so that they will then grant permission to build the house. All for 1 stinkin' tree. That's why we engaged the arborist so early. Thankfully none of the trees meet the definition of "exceptional' though 1 is very very close based on diameter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TKDbilly View Post
Check into your state level property tax provisions. In some areas, they offer a tax advantage for clearing a % of your trees for fire mitigation, year over year. Near where I live, you must have 40 acres and clear 10% and they come by for an audit to validate.
Not in this city! They save every tree at all costs.
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      03-17-2021, 02:47 PM   #12
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Topic of the Day: How to pay for all this?

Term of the Day: Soft Costs

For anyone planning to buy land and build there's 3 major financial hurdles to contend with:

Land Purchase, Construction Costs, Soft Costs. Let's discuss each.

Land Purchase: OK, so you gotta buy the property first. You can get a loan for this but the rates are terrible and most banks wont deal with them. You can pay cash of course. Or, you can do what we did and dip into a HELOC on our current home to fund the land purchase. Our current mortgage is at 4.5% and the HELOC is at 5%. So immediately after the land purchase we will re-fi and roll them both into a new 30 year at a low rate. the key is to get your monthly payment as low as possible on all debts as the amount the bank will loan you for construction is a very simple monthly debt to monthly income ratio.

Construction Loan: These are "Hard costs." We are working with our bank on this. Lots of banks do them and they each have their own twist on things. The key for us was to begin working with the bank early, during feasibility, to see how much they could loan us in 2 scenarios. 1) we stay in the current house while the new house is built, then sell the current house. 2) we sell the current house to free up debt and rent for a year while we build.

Soft Costs: There's a period that's after you buy the land and before you begin construction where you have to work with your architect on the plans. You have permit fees, land surveys, taxes, assessments, and more. These all fall outside the direct construction and are considered "soft" costs. They can easily add up to 7, 8, even 10% of the overall budget and much of it falls outside the construction loan and must be paid before construction begins. if you are considering building, it's worth a long hard look at soft costs and if/how you can afford them!
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      03-17-2021, 03:01 PM   #13
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Damn... this thread makes me want to build even less.
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      03-17-2021, 04:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamingat30fps View Post
Damn... this thread makes me want to build even less.
Yeah, me too. My wife and I have been looking for a more rural property and/or land to build on for the past 1.5 years. I think it's ultimately easier and cheaper to buy something with a home that might "kinda work" and you just gut it and make it your own rather than just building new.

We've researched building a home and most builders/design-build companies are only interested in building larger, more extravagant homes. We want a simple, yet very modern 2,000-2,200 sq ft ranch with lots of outside living space. It's damn near impossible to find firms willing to build that and when you do, they're booked and you might get what you want built in a few years. It's also way easier to build in a non-incorporated area.

As the OP mentioned, utilities for a new property are a huge obstacle and cost. Costs to get utilities to the site and/or make the site self-sufficient (solar, septic, well) require as sorts of permits, designs, and costs.

The biggest frustration for me through this process is my wife. She has a very simplistic view of the process and is very much "a dive in and see what happens" type. I simply can't do that because I need some level of confirmation that what we want to do/build is feasible. She thinks I'm dragging my feet and intentionally delaying things.

Also, it is an utter sh!t time to be buying a home, at least in my area (Kansas City). A few weeks back we put in an offer on a sweet log cabin style home on 3.5 acres. It was listed at $430K. The county appraised value was $299k. Because the inventory is so slim, we reluctantly put in an offer for $440K which gave me serious heartburn given the appraised value, especially since I knew I'd be spending another $70K to update it and build a shop building for me. Our realtor asked if we could do better because 8 other parties had put in offers. We offered another $10K and she flat out said that it won't work. She didn't know the "number" but knew it was more than $450K. That house sold the next day for $500K. REDICULOUS. At that point, my wife and I said F-it, we'll wait until later in the year to start looking again when inventory frees up.
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      03-17-2021, 06:21 PM   #15
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Congrats! I definitely agree w/ the trust but verify advice given here. I'm in ky 2nd "built for me" home and made sure to self-tour often. I caught a lot of things the site mgr should have. The construction mgr was actually glad/happy.

My thoughts (may or may not be applicable in your area):

1. One thing I always suggest is to take pix if EVERYTHING throughout the process. If nothing else, pre-drywall (& insulation). That way to have record of where everything and anything is run in the walls. I use my pix for reference all the time (eg LV wiring, load bearing studs, fire block, PVC, etc...

2. Something else useful is to have empty conduit run from the breaker box/electrical panel to the attic. It makes pulling wire for future DIY projects a LOT easier. I have a 2" dia pipe run from my basement breaker box to a large junction box in the attic. I also have a separate PVC raceway run from the basement to the attic (for LV stuff).

3. Determine if you want an Ethernet fabric throughout your home. Plan it out as best you can and run the Cat6A or Cat7 during construction.

4. Home theater? In-wall speaker wiring!

5. Wiring for home security stuffs (sensors, alarm, camera)? It's easiest to add it during construction (IMHO). I'm not a fan of WiFi for these things since WiFi more of a convenience thing. It is too easy to mess with.

6. If radon is a thing in your area (and mitigation isn't required by code), check out radon levels and put in a passive reduction system w/ an active option (or just go active) if needed.
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      03-17-2021, 06:22 PM   #16
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      03-17-2021, 07:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bosstones View Post
Congrats! I definitely agree w/ the trust but verify advice given here. I'm in ky 2nd "built for me" home and made sure to self-tour often. I caught a lot of things the site mgr should have. The construction mgr was actually glad/happy.

My thoughts (may or may not be applicable in your area):

1. One thing I always suggest is to take pix if EVERYTHING throughout the process. If nothing else, pre-drywall (& insulation). That way to have record of where everything and anything is run in the walls. I use my pix for reference all the time (eg LV wiring, load bearing studs, fire block, PVC, etc...

2. Something else useful is to have empty conduit run from the breaker box/electrical panel to the attic. It makes pulling wire for future DIY projects a LOT easier. I have a 2" dia pipe run from my basement breaker box to a large junction box in the attic. I also have a separate PVC raceway run from the basement to the attic (for LV stuff).

3. Determine if you want an Ethernet fabric throughout your home. Plan it out as best you can and run the Cat6A or Cat7 during construction.

4. Home theater? In-wall speaker wiring!

5. Wiring for home security stuffs (sensors, alarm, camera)? It's easiest to add it during construction (IMHO). I'm not a fan of WiFi for these things since WiFi more of a convenience thing. It is too easy to mess with.

6. If radon is a thing in your area (and mitigation isn't required by code), check out radon levels and put in a passive reduction system w/ an active option (or just go active) if needed.
Solid advice there! Thank you! Love the photos and the conduit to the attic idea. I'm a DIY'er for sure so I'll certainly be finding the need to add circuits, outlets, etc in the future. Knowing where everything is behind the walls is key. Definitely planning on having reserve room in the panel for new circuits but I would not have thought to put a chase up to the attic. I like it!
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      03-17-2021, 07:02 PM   #18
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Include a secret room; my only advice.
LOL. It's been discussed. I'll definitely have a home office since I work from home now. Would be fun to put it behind a pivoting bookcase all Scooby-Doo style!
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      03-17-2021, 07:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XutvJet View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamingat30fps View Post
Damn... this thread makes me want to build even less.
Yeah, me too. My wife and I have been looking for a more rural property and/or land to build on for the past 1.5 years. I think it's ultimately easier and cheaper to buy something with a home that might "kinda work" and you just gut it and make it your own rather than just building new.

We've researched building a home and most builders/design-build companies are only interested in building larger, more extravagant homes. We want a simple, yet very modern 2,000-2,200 sq ft ranch with lots of outside living space. It's damn near impossible to find firms willing to build that and when you do, they're booked and you might get what you want built in a few years. It's also way easier to build in a non-incorporated area.

As the OP mentioned, utilities for a new property are a huge obstacle and cost. Costs to get utilities to the site and/or make the site self-sufficient (solar, septic, well) require as sorts of permits, designs, and costs.

The biggest frustration for me through this process is my wife. She has a very simplistic view of the process and is very much "a dive in and see what happens" type. I simply can't do that because I need some level of confirmation that what we want to do/build is feasible. She thinks I'm dragging my feet and intentionally delaying things.

Also, it is an utter sh!t time to be buying a home, at least in my area (Kansas City). A few weeks back we put in an offer on a sweet log cabin style home on 3.5 acres. It was listed at $430K. The county appraised value was $299k. Because the inventory is so slim, we reluctantly put in an offer for $440K which gave me serious heartburn given the appraised value, especially since I knew I'd be spending another $70K to update it and build a shop building for me. Our realtor asked if we could do better because 8 other parties had put in offers. We offered another $10K and she flat out said that it won't work. She didn't know the "number" but knew it was more than $450K. That house sold the next day for $500K. REDICULOUS. At that point, my wife and I said F-it, we'll wait until later in the year to start looking again when inventory frees up.
We are in the same boat. Want a very modern but modest size house. You end up with bank problems if you aren't careful as you can "Over build." IOW your cost per sqft is too high. As our builder explained to us the cost to make a 100 sqft bedroom with small closet is virtually the same as a 200sqft with walk in closet. Maybe 20% cost increase for double the sqft. Same with a bathroom. They all get a toilet, sink, vanity, shower. Going bigger is just added floor space which is comparatively cheap.

We had been thinking 1800sqft but are probably going to push it to 2200 while keeping it 3 bed 2 bath. Need to pump up the sqft so that the cost per sqft actually goes down. It's all a game.
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      03-17-2021, 07:11 PM   #20
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Damn... this thread makes me want to build even less.
It's incredibly rewarding. Moving in at the end is indescribable.
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      03-17-2021, 08:19 PM   #21
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Zoning is everything, man, and in some communities those restrictions are killers. The town we are buying in is notoriously prickly about tree removal, minimum tree canopy, and maximum impervious coverage percentage.
My first choice of lot is in an unincorporated part of a county, and is zoned agricultural where even a mobile home is acceptable. It is in a recreational/weekend home type area, near (but not on) a 20-mile long motorboat lake, and not in a subdivision or HOA. Despite the rural-ish area, it has gigabit fiber Internet, municipal water, and 100% underground utilities. No sewer, but I wouldn't expect it. Interstate highway access only 5 minutes away, but the nearest department store is 30-45 minutes away and there's a moderately-sized supermarket about 12 miles away. The area used to have a huge Wal-Mart, but they took their ball and went home because the customer traffic wasn't enough to support it. In other words, a perfect retirement location with low cost-of-living and the ability to telecommute during the retirement transition...if it wasn't for the deed restrictions!

I just re-read the restrictions/covenants that the real estate agent provided me a few weeks ago...and they aren't too bad on second pass. Other than the usual antenna tower restriction that has annoyed my family for generations, the only thing that would change my barndominium plans is that they do not specifically list steel as an acceptable material for the outside walls on either the house or out-buildings. It is fine for the roof, though. I may be able to work around this with a facade or something.

We closed on our HELOC in January, and I can pull out enough money to build a no-frills barndominium with facilities enough for a weekend getaway with a CO. My ideal retirement plan is to sell our house in upstate NY (less than 4 years on the mortgage), use that to pay off the HELOC, and use the remainder to finish the interior build-out with zero mortgage in our perfect retirement garage with a bedroom attached.

On the topic of trees, the town where I live now has restrictions where nobody can cut trees after March 31st every year. There is some sort of rare migratory bat passing through, and they don't want anything disturbing the trees until they leave late in the fall. The town is also blocked by law from mowing the grass in one of their parks, because some rare bird nests there on the ground.....
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      03-18-2021, 08:34 AM   #22
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My first choice of lot is in an unincorporated part of a county, and is zoned agricultural where even a mobile home is acceptable. It is in a recreational/weekend home type area, near (but not on) a 20-mile long motorboat lake, and not in a subdivision or HOA. Despite the rural-ish area, it has gigabit fiber Internet, municipal water, and 100% underground utilities. No sewer, but I wouldn't expect it. Interstate highway access only 5 minutes away, but the nearest department store is 30-45 minutes away and there's a moderately-sized supermarket about 12 miles away. The area used to have a huge Wal-Mart, but they took their ball and went home because the customer traffic wasn't enough to support it. In other words, a perfect retirement location with low cost-of-living and the ability to telecommute during the retirement transition...if it wasn't for the deed restrictions!

I just re-read the restrictions/covenants that the real estate agent provided me a few weeks ago...and they aren't too bad on second pass. Other than the usual antenna tower restriction that has annoyed my family for generations, the only thing that would change my barndominium plans is that they do not specifically list steel as an acceptable material for the outside walls on either the house or out-buildings. It is fine for the roof, though. I may be able to work around this with a facade or something.

We closed on our HELOC in January, and I can pull out enough money to build a no-frills barndominium with facilities enough for a weekend getaway with a CO. My ideal retirement plan is to sell our house in upstate NY (less than 4 years on the mortgage), use that to pay off the HELOC, and use the remainder to finish the interior build-out with zero mortgage in our perfect retirement garage with a bedroom attached.

On the topic of trees, the town where I live now has restrictions where nobody can cut trees after March 31st every year. There is some sort of rare migratory bat passing through, and they don't want anything disturbing the trees until they leave late in the fall. The town is also blocked by law from mowing the grass in one of their parks, because some rare bird nests there on the ground.....
Good luck with the plans! If you make moves on that property, keep us posted on the adventure, the process, etc. That 20 minutes to civilization would be a killer for me. I swear, every project I do takes at least 35 trips to the hardware store, so close access is a must.
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