Pretty excited about first home build but have so many questions!

Discussion in 'Real Estate' started by BlaineAtk, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. BlaineAtk

    BlaineAtk Beach Comber

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    I have been living around SRB and Destin for about a third of my life and purchased a few lots and sold them. Now I finally have one that I want to keep and build on hopefully in the very near future (End of the year or start of new year). I have been renting in the area for a long time and trying to find the right spot for me to finally settle out in and I guess this is it. I thought my buddy, who is also a local realtor, was going to kill me with all of the running around we did for the past while trying to find just the right thing Haha.

    Anyway, this will be my first house that i have had built and I have so many ideas of things that I want in a home. Some are completely unrealistic due to me not wanting to spend a magnificent amount of money, some just don't go well with the rest of my ideas due to wanting little pieces of local styles. Too much going on in my mind! Everything is so exciting to me about the planning of this and getting something that I want instead of buying something that I only like the majority of. My property being located right across the street from the bay, I am wanting to build elevated so that I have decent bay views if possible and also having under house parking and storage. I don't need anything really big (1200-1500sq/ft) as I am gone the majority of the time due to working on ships offshore and the fact that when I am home I am rarely in the house. I am always outside enjoying the local scenery and beaches, kayaking, fishing, diving, spearfishing, blah blah blah. I mainly use a house as a place to eat and sleep lol.

    Basically the reason for posting this is:

    1) I would like to hear some tips and advice from people who have been through this process before to help streamline it, keep it fairly simple, and not blow through budgets as I don't want to be that guy who has way more than he anticipated.

    2) I really like the elevated look on bay style houses and would like to know if anyone has any ideas that I may be overlooking as far as styling? I want an elevated house with porches, possibly having the aesthetic supports on the underside of them to be similar to the watercolor styling or something like that... Any other ideas people may have that I could consider are greatly appreciated!

    3) I am supposed to be meeting with an architect when I get home from this trip on the ship to discuss some options. Is there anything I should have ready to help him with his job that I can have upfront (My time home is precious to me so Im not a fan of running around wasting time doing things that I could have done while I was out here.). I assume that architecture work is a creative skill or an art so I feel that I should give them a decent amount of creative freedom. Does that sound right?

    4)What should I look for in a builder? How many should I get bids from? What if the bids have large varying prices? Is a bid a final cost or an estimation? Where do I find some of the local builders?

    5) Anything else that one of you home builders may have to add in that I may overlook as a first timer in this game.

    Thanks in advance if you made it through this lengthy post and still managed a response! haha:clap:
     
  2. Zebraspots

    Zebraspots Beach Fanatic

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    Best advice I can give is to be realistic about costs and listen when people tell you how much it costs per square foot around here.
     
  3. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    1) If you have to work with the ACOE and FDEP for anything, kiss your hopes of streamlining goodbye. For us, the time from lot purchase to CO was 5 years.

    2) Our house is 9' up on pilings with a large screened porch. We love it. We didn't have a choice about the elevation due to the location of our lot, but regardless, if you live around water, I think it's a good idea to elevate.

    3) Your architect should work with you to design the house you want at the price you want. Zebraspots is right. Be realistic, but you do have some wiggle room -- like switching out those 10K granite countertops for some $50 Ikea specials. Your structure will be expensive due to building codes, but it also depends on the design somewhat.

    4) Builders... What we did was find our architect first, then we got a list of builders from him. Part of the architectural contract should include provisions for your home being built as designed, and as such, the architect should play a major role in interacting with the builder throughout the construction process.

    5) We had to build our home remotely. I would have liked to be around for the entire process, but that wasn't possible.

    Good luck! You're in for quite a ride!
     
  4. WMW

    WMW Beach Comber

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    Hi, we built last year in SRB. Our home incorporates indoor-outdoor living within 1500+ sq ft. Might want to begin thinking about where you want to spend your money. For us it was in the indoor-outdoor living and construction techniques behind the walls that you cannot see but save lots of money in the long run (annual insurance and power bill).

    I first visited an insurance agent and reviewed discounts; Hip roof, Insulated Concrete form (ICF) walls, secondary water resistant barrier ("peel and stick" roof underlayment & closed cell foam insulation), impact glass, etc.. some of this is standard construction for code but make sure you clearly have it in plans if you want it for bidding.

    Next for interior we spent the money in open kitchen-dining-porch as you will spend a lot of time in these areas. All other areas of home we tried to save money by purchasing bath vanities from HD with granite vanity tops from Surplus Warehouse, guest bath has a fiberglass tub/shower insert (oh tip: foam the interior base of tub to feel solid), cabinets and kitchen granite from Lowes, tile "in stock" from Sellers tile, etc... Consider spending on some pocket doors as your are building a smaller home and space is critical. Make sure that your architect appreciates utilizing space for smaller homes. A good series is link "The Not So Big House". A smaller home can feel like a larger home without all the costs, but you need an architect/draftsman that is knowledgeable. Also, realize time is money with the architect.

    Bids: Make sure plans are detailed and additional notes are very clear. You need to ensure that all the builders are on the same page and will be providing an apples to apples comparison. Especially if you are going fixed price vs cost plus/fixed fee. For example, if fixed price is decided, one builder might bid using cheaper windows, provide you with low allowances for fixtures and cabinets, etc... Make sure all allowances provided will cover fixture costs. In terms of agreement, I like fixed cost.

    Once you decide on the builder, be very specific what your expectations are and have this all in writing. Have your spec. sheet very detailed. Review the contract, usually provided by the builder, very carefully. I am not a fan of lawyers but you might want to consider spending $ here for a consultation to review contract. It is very important to have everything in writing and signed.

    Also during construction if in town, keep a close eye on the process by dropping by daily in the afternoon. I could go on at length but this hits the highlights. Hope this helps.

    Oh just want to add: if you need financing for primary residence construction perm. loan, Eglin Federal Credit Union has the lowest fees, great rates, and very easy to work with. They have relaxed their membership rules almost everyone can be a member.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  5. BlaineAtk

    BlaineAtk Beach Comber

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    Thanks guys! All of this is very helpful and much appreciated!

    I love the idea of pocket doors, I have considered them previously but someone told me they can be a pain of they ever come off track?

    I also feel like making a taller wall height could make the house feel bigger than it is. The kitchen and bathrooms are the important areas to me that I would like to spend a little on to make enjoyable. Outside living is a decent part as well, I would like an area below that I can have a rinse down station and boat area.

    I've seen cost per sqft in the area be all over the place around here. I'm hoping they aren't too ridiculous like they were in the boom of building around here. I am local so I should be able to visit the site often when I'm actually home.

    Once again, thanks for all the replies!
     
  6. WMW

    WMW Beach Comber

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    For a smaller home, 10 ft ceilings in some of the areas of the home are a must to get a larger feel, with 10 ft ceilings you can also get a transom window over the operating windows which is nice!

    For S-Walton, construction is going gangbusters and likewise supply and demand economics occur.
     
  7. SkinShark

    SkinShark Beach Lover

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    Following. I am in your same boat. Looking for around the same thing. I've done lots of research on "finishes"...and have some great ideas to use inexpensive finishes in replace of high end finishes.

    Keep us updated on what you find. Please feel free to PM me if you have a negative experience with anyone.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  8. Zebraspots

    Zebraspots Beach Fanatic

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    There is a big difference between having 8 foot high ceilings and 9 foot high ceilings. Don't think you get the same bang for your buck going from a 9 foot to a 10 foot ceiling.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  9. Lori D

    Lori D Beach Comber

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    Great post! We are in the same boat: bought a canal-front lot last year and now trying to figure out how and what to build on it. We live in Germany so we are really handicapped when it comes to gathering information.

    We'd like something quite small (less than 1000 sq ft) with an emphasis on outside dining, relaxing and boating, and we want it built for low cooling/heating, maintenance and insurance costs. A friend of ours who lives in the area had also mentioned that a hip roof and ICF walls were good and we would like to go with those if possible.

    Can anyone suggest an architect and builder who are good with small and energy-efficient projects?
     
  10. spaglioni

    spaglioni Beach Lover

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    Just finishing an expansion/remodel on our home off of 30-A. Here are some suggestions: Windows and doors! Impact resistant to meet new codes. Cost a lot but the reduction in insurance and energy efficiency is big. Turned all the doors to "swing out" to improve efficiency of the interior space. Trust me it works! Foam insulation in attic. Open-cell variety. Alł I can say is....amazing. Finally when doing a slider door go with a 6.0. My only mistake was putting in a 5.0 door which is a bit narrow.
     
  11. Jackalope

    Jackalope Beach Lover

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    Hip roof, 2x6 or cmu exterior walls (ICF may be worth looking in to), spray insulation (do your homework), hurricane glass, standing seam metal roof (proper installation is the key), make sure not to have trees to close to your house (especially sand pines), screened in outdoor living space so you don't get tore up by yellow flies, ceilings higher than 8', don't skimp on things inside the walls (may elaborate later) and durable siding are a few things to consider. To be continued..... maybe.
     
  12. TinaAufdenkamp

    TinaAufdenkamp Beach Crab

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    I am new to the area...recently moved from Ohio. We bought our lot in SRB. Four days before our departure in October he (58 yrs old) had a debilitating stroke. Our house was sold so I lived in our RV in my sisters driveway thru the winter. I just got down here a couple months ago to get arrangements made for him and am living in the RV with electric only...awaiting the water and sewer hookups. He came last month and is in a rehab facility. We were going to built our house as we had the money as there are no build out times in our subdivision. Because of all this our savings is gone, 401K gone...had just enough thankfully to pay the impact fees for the water and sewer. Being that our RV is a fifth wheel he can not reside in it nor is he able to be cared for by me alone as yet and now I must try to build a handicapped accessible small house. I am putting this on here in case anyone comes across building materials that are leftovers from new construction homes or materials no longer wanted from remodels. My son-in-law has graciously offered to do the build since he is a contractor. Another son-in-law, my daughter and I have been working to clear the property. I don't want to take anything that may have otherwise been donated to the ReStore. So things that may be given to me I also plan to donate to the ReStore items I no longer will need since we will be downsizing. I have a storage unit full from selling our house. That way the giving goes full circle. It has been suggested to me to do a GoFundMe account but I do not feel comfortable accepting money nor feel deserving as there are others in much greater need. I will do this from leftovers, recycled and repurposed items. Thank you for reading this. Many blessings to you!
     
  13. Jackalope

    Jackalope Beach Lover

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    I don't know if I should go on but, in continuation, wire for cat5 or even cat6. Does anyone use #14 wire anymore? I hope not, but that's just me. Buy the highest SEER a/c you can stand. The Mitsubishi mini splits are worth taking a look at. Celing fans everywhere, no white fixtures outside (maintenance nightmare). BTW, from what I'm told, light kits for said fans are "out". FYI, all water heater tanks are made by the same company but go tankless, gas, instant heat if you can. I personaly don't like PEX for water supply lines but a lot of people don't have an issue with it. Delta single handle fixtures are the easiest to repair and the parts are readily available. Braided stainless steel supply lines on everything.Granite looks nice but don't prepare raw food on it, its very pourus. Stainless appliances take more effort to keep them looking nice and dent easier but Ive heard they are a must have. Say no to soft pine floors. The first pair of high heals that walks across it will explain why. Carpet and sand dont go well together.As you grow older, an elevated house isn't as appealing. Account for more storage than you think you'll need. Tin Christmas trees may come back in style. TMI? This is the stuff that makes life easier. Native vegatation for landscaping. Not because I'm green, I'm practical and I have better ways to spend my time than trying to make things thrive out of their element. 3 BR 2 Bath minimum if you want to make it more resellable. Are you finding my input useful or is it verbal vomit?I've been working in related industries since before I could legally drive so I have all this crap stored in my DNA. Sorry if I'm rambling. Hopefully, you'll find a decent builder. I, in general, would recommend a small one with a good rep over a high production "semi custom" one. The later of, which we have an abundance of. My post has gone on too long and is meandering...... With that, good luck!
     
  14. BlaineAtk

    BlaineAtk Beach Comber

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    Jackalope,

    Very very informative and helpful! I appreciate the info and the time you took to write that up.

    I'm thinking concrete counter tops, I just like the idea.

    As far as gardening, I'll let nature take care of that.

    Metal roof is a must.
     
  15. Lori D

    Lori D Beach Comber

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    Much appreciated, jackalope! Very helpful!
     

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