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Build Your Own Dream House!

So you're thinking about building your own house, are you? Well, you've come to the right place! It's a lot of fun (hard work and eventually fun!) to build your own home and it will save you thousands of dollars. we saved over a Hundred Grand by doing it ourselves - that's pretty significant cash!). If you happen to live in a Large City, like Los Angeles, or anywhere that Real Estate Values are 'close-to-insane', you could potentially save millions of dollars. Interested, you say?? Read on, My Friend, Read on...!

Here's a little list of things you'll need to know:

How to Get Money: You'll need lots of money! Don't stop reading! There are ways of getting financial support in order to build a house . It certainly helps if you have a stack of cash in the bank. I'd say at least $20,000. - $100,000. to have as a back up - there are a surprising number of things that seem to come out of nowhere that require a quick injection of cash. The amount you will need to 'get in the ground' is, of course, dependent on the style and size of your home.

Also, if you already own a home, you'll be familiar with the territory and may have a fair bit of equity, which you can use to leverage other cash. Contact your Bank to get an Appraisal of your current home and see how much you can qualify for a Line of Credit.

We'll look at Mortgages, Builder's Loans, Personal Loans and Line of Credit options. Often, it'll be a big 'ol combination of all of the money you can get your hands on in order to pull this off! Remember, this is not the same as buying a house already built, hiring a builder to build it, or buying a 'previously enjoyed' house. You'll be completely responsible for every aspect of the building process.

To get the money to Build Your House, the Banks send out Appraisers to determine how much of your house has been completed before they will release the Draw Money -- remember the Appraiser Scene in The Sopranos?? Well, that's one of our favorite scenes -- Dwight laughed so hard he nearly fell out of his seat! If you're not a Sopranos fan, the Appraiser gets into 'some trouble' with the Mob, if you know what I mean! ha,ha,ha!

I'm sure there are some good Appraisers out there, who actually know that when the Roof is done, the Subfloor is already in place... d'uh! But even if you have the weeniest appraiser known to mankind, you still have to be really nice and just be prepared with your own cash to continue on with the job. We had to carry the whole project right past the Lock-Up Stage, when the banks usually release the First Draw after the Subfloor is done.

Thank Goodness we had sold our other house first, so that Equity Cash was in the Bank, because that would have been a terrible situation otherwise. So now I would advise having at least $100,000. on hand before you start your own build, just in case. The amount is variant on the size of your house, of course, and we always build big, so do the math and come up with how much you will actually need to get yourself all the way to Lock up, and have that money available before you start.

How Long Will It Take To Build A House? Typically, it can take from 4-5 months if a Big Builder is Building a relatively Small Home, and up to 2 years (I know - that seems crazy, but it can be true, so be prepared if you're building a mansion! ha,ha!) for a very large Custom Home.

In general, if you're Building Your Own House, add a couple of extra months from any estimate for ease in your life, otherwise, your expected time-frame will be too tight and it won't be pretty!

A Larger Home, especially a Custom Home, will usually take between 6 to 12 months. Sometimes you will run into permitting delays, you can't get any Trades (if you live in an area with extreme growth or NO growth...!). Our house took Seven full months for the actual Build, but then you need to add another 6 weeks for the Permits to come through at the beginning. Also, we bought the Land a good 2 years before we actually started to build on it (when you build it yourself, you usually have to pay for the Land in Full before you can start the Dig...). I took a fair chunk of time to design the right house for this Lot, then had it professionally drawn.

We were in no hurry, because we wanted to be sure our other house was Sold before we 'Broke Ground', so we would never have to worry about carrying two mortgages (yikes!). Our House Sale went through in February and we broke ground on March 4th. Good timing, no?? We went ahead and got the Permits ready when the other house was Conditionally Sold.

Keep in mind that if you're hiring a Builder (Buying a Home through a Big Builder), and it's one of their 'stock houses' (meaning that the've built many, many houses in the same identical style...), that the Building Time will be much shorter than if you built on your own. Once you've built a house, it's much easier to build the same thing (or even a slight variation of that same home) again, because now you know the 'trouble spots', and changes that could be made to simplify the project.

When we are ready to Build again, I think we'll sell this house first, buy a smaller place that's 'an easy re-sale' in Town, buy a new Lot, then start another Build. It's important to look at every side before you even begin to get started, so you don't create chaos in your life. The further ahead you can plan, the better off you'll be.

In case you're wondering, 'an easy re-sale' is a house that is gorgeous but not too big and not too expensive. Big and Expensive happens to be my favorite kind of house, but not for a quick sale... and it needs to be in a really good location, preferably close to Schools and Shopping so it will appeal to young families. Also, I always choose a house with 3 Bedrooms on the same floor (Main Floor of a Bungalow or 2nd Storey of a 2 Storey home), because that's the easiest house to sell to a young mother. And by 'young', I mean any mother with kids at home that she still needs to wake up in the morning! ha,ha!

And, if you're really intuitive, this is already a plan I want to put into action, so I just have to convince Dwight that it's time to put this house on the market, since it can easily take a year to sell a really big house...sometimes they just fly off the market, but I want to be prepared! Let me know if you're interested in our gorgeous home! We'll miss it terribly, but I can always build another, right??

Hire a Builder: If the thought of having a few hundred Grand just sitting in a bank somewhere makes you feel faint, you should definitely consider Hiring a Builder. Quite often they will carry you through to the end of the Build with $20,000. down. Some really big builders will let you get in with much less - sometimes as little as $500. down. Good to really check around to see what you can get that's in your price range.

Always keep in mind that the more Custom your house is, the more you will have to pay up-front and again at the end. Makes sense, but sometimes that's forgotten.

Hire a Project Manager: I don't know how you would Build a house on your own if you were both working in a Nine-to-Five job -- I'm thinking it would be next to impossible. I don't know how many times Dwight had to leave what he was working on to come out to the house to deal with one problem or another. And if he wasn't available, or it was one of my areas, I would come out. Since Dwight is a General Contractor (as well as a Heating & Air Conditioning Specialist), he was able to correct any problems to prevent delays rather than having to bring in all sorts of other people.

Hiring a Project Manager for your Build is less expensive in the long run (as opposed to a regular Builder), but you will have to have your money in order first, as you would if you were building all by yourself. You can always start out on your own, and bring in someone when and if you need them, too. Find a General Contractor before you get started who would agree to those terms so you don't find yourself stuck at a crucial stage (and, yes, they're all crucial stages!).

How to Find Land This is key, since it can often be difficult to find land in the city that does not belong exclusively to a Developer or Builder, which means that if you buy their land, you have to hire their Builders to build your house. What you want to look out for is a B.Y.O.B. Lot (this does not mean 'Bring Your Own Booze' to the work site!). This means Bring Your Own Builder. That's you! It also means that you could contract the building out to an Independent Builder, who might build for significantly less than a big name builder.

Check the Internet, your local real estate papers, bargain papers (there's usually one in every city -- the one in Calgary is the Bargain Finder ), newspapers, etc., to see if you can find a B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Builder) Lot or a good Builder. It's always a good idea to check out local Builders, first, in case they can build what you want for basically the same a what it would cost you to build on your own. If the difference is less than $50,000, it's probably better to buy through a Builder, whether Independent or a 'Big Name' company. You may be able to do part of the work, provided your skill level is adequate, which will knock the price back even further. Everything is food for thought when you're looking at an investment in your time and money of this magnitude. You're less likely to 'get in too deep' cash-wise, too.

You can always hire someone else this time around, then really watch to see how it works and try it yourself on the next house! You'll make a pile of money, either way, especially if you buy in an area with some positive growth potential! Remember, Real Estate rarely goes down in value, so it's a good investment. You'll have a nice place to live and when you sell it down the road, you'll make a bigger profit than most people make in the Stock Market. Plus, if the tax laws permit it, you won't have to pay taxes on the money you make from the spread (how much you paid for your house and how much it sells for). There's generally a time frame involved in this, so check with your accountant to get the low down for your area.

How to Design Your Home: The land you buy will determine what you can build, for the most part. If you're in the city, the neighborhood will be pre-planned, and the Developer you bought the lot from will let you know what's allowed. Many new neighborhoods are 'Front-car Garage' houses. Some will allow for a detached garage, or a garage attached at the back. Make sure you're comfortable with the restrictions that come with the lot before you buy it. If your lot is smaller (as most in-town lots are!), you'll probably have a basic shape that you can start with (say, a long rectangle, or a square box) - check out show homes for ideas (of course, you can not copy someone else's house, but you can gather ideas for features you like to see what you want to incorporate into your own house.

Once you've got the basic shape in mind, sit down with some graph paper and start playing around with what you want in the house. Three bedrooms on the main floor, four bathrooms (because you really love prunes!), large island in kitchen - you get the idea. The other thing that I highly recommend is the Internet (surprise, surprise!). There's a ton of information out there, and there is an incredible selection of house plans on the Net. They're way cheaper than having an Architect draw your own designs, and they will often accommodate them to suit your needs (small fee involved, but worth it if you really, really need a sauna off the Master!). The general cost of having your own House Plans drawn up is anywhere from $2,500.00 and up, depending on the house and the Architect. Perhaps you'd even like to build a Walk-Out Bungalow like ours!

Extra Costs of the Land: This applies primarily to buying an acreage, since you'll need to add about $25,000 into your budget to get the services in, but it's good to make sure that there are no hidden costs or amenities that you're required to pay for your lot. We really scored and found an acreage in an Estate Area that already has the services to the lot line -- WooHoo! That's a huge savings! (I'll put that money towards the development of the Garden Room!)

Every so often you may come across a Beautiful Piece of Land and the Developer will carry the price of the Land with a small Down-payment until you're finished the entire Build and your Mortgage Money has actually come through, then you pay the Developer for the Land at the end. This is very, very rare. More often than not, you may be able to hold the Lot with a Down-payment until you are ready to Build, but you will have to Pay for the Land in its' entirety before you can go and even get the Permits to Build. I know, I know ... it's a Big Money Game, but it can be done if you're really determined. All money-related info is much better to know in advance than to discover it later and lose your shirt... you want to make money on a build, not lose it, right?!

After Thought: Well, we're done the house, now, and Money was the most difficult part of the job. When you are building on your own, you actually seem to need a 3:1 ratio of Cash to Home. What that basically means is that if you want to borrow $100,000., your new home should be worth $300,000.

We were amazed at how little the Appraiser actually knew about the Building Process. We were also shocked at the tiny increments of cash that we got from the Bank. It was not done the way that you're generally told it will happen -- in three main sections -- Subfloor, Lock-Up and Completion.

We were given 10% here, and 5% there... it was a long and arduous process, and one we will try our best to avoid in any future Build. We'll set up a large Line of Credit based on the Equity of our House and go as far as we can before we attempt to get another Builder's Loan.

This is not to say that Builder's Loans are never good -- not by a long shot. They can be the difference between being able to Build the House or Not, so definitely pursue that avenue if you need to... you might get lucky and find a really great Appraiser who does know the building process.... they must be out there!

The other very difficult part of the Build was with the First Finishing Carpenter. We found him through a reliable source and followed through the regular way. Everything looked like it was going to go smoothly until he started fighting with me about how the Kitchen Island was to be built. He did his best to pit Dwight and I against one another -- I would give him the Drawing of how the Island was to be built and he would go to Dwight to say it had to be changed. (Little women don't know 'nothin' about buildin'... ugh! What a yuck!)

Every time I drove up to the new house and saw his truck I would feel physically ill -- not a good sign!

I can't tell you how many fights this caused... Finally, I said to Dwight that we needed to band together against this guy and stop letting him waste time (hours and hours at $45.00/hour...) by pitting us against one another. Dwight agreed and we went back in with a united stand. Much better.

Even after that, this guy couldn't stay on track with the work that had to be done before we could move in, so after I found another carpenter (no matter how annoying or slow someone can be, always wait 'til you have a replacement before you make any serious changes...I think that might go for some marriages, too! ha, ha!), I came into the house, nothing had been done, and I fired him. He stayed to finish out the day, and Dwight said he had never seen this carpenter work so hard! Now, that's funny!

It's incredible, really, how something in a relatively short time period of your life can cause so much upset -- this part was very difficult to get through, but we got through it and now it makes for a good story!

Our new Carpenter, Trevor Campbell, came in and saved the day... he fixed all of the other guy's many mistakes and finished everything that needed to be done before we could move into the house. AND, he never fights with us! It's a miracle! Trevor is a breeze to work with, so we can get the work done quickly and easily -- perfect! We would recommend Trevor to anyone planning any type of Carpentry Work for their home.

As an aside, this is generally good advice for any building project -- or anything else that is a huge thing in your lives -- stick together as a unit to get the job done. Any item can be compromised on -- there is never any one item that should cause so much grief that the whole job comes to a halt. Better to resolve to like it (or not look at it!) than to waste time and money (and potentially your relationship...) fighting over any aspect of the job.

This is not to say that you shouldn't try to persuade your partner in the right direction if you know they are headed down the wrong path, but do it gently like you're steering a car around a tight bend -- go slowly and carefully so you don't run the whole thing off into the ditch!

The most important thing is to Keep the Job Going and Get the Job Done. Then Hire a Mover and Move on in -- and hopefully, Up!


Buying or refinancing? The mortgage rate frenzy is back

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As mortgage rates plunge, millions more homeowners can benefit from refinancing  CNBC

There are now about 5.9 million borrowers who could see their rates drop by at least 75 basis points by refinancing their mortgages.

Refinance rates decline for Thursday

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Mortgage rates are low as of this writing, really low, but can they go lower? Lower rates would be great for borrowers and yes, that could happen.

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Multiple benchmark refinance rates ticked downward today. Average rates nationwide for 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed refinances both trended down.

Latest 2019-2021 Predictions: Home Sales & Prices, Mortgage Rates & Loan Volume  Yahoo Finance

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Interest rates are down, so is it time to refinance?  WTOP

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When Mortgage Refinancing Makes Sense  Seeking Alpha

There are many misconceptions about what happens with refinancing a mortgage and the effect on interest payments. The important factors are rate, time and ...

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Mortgage rates decrease for Thursday

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Mortgage refinance candidates swelled by 2 million in May  National Mortgage News

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Refinance rates tick lower for Thursday

Several closely watched refinance rates sunk lower today. If you're in the market for a home loan, see what that means for you.

Mortgage Investors' Refinance Concerns Rise With Rate Rally  Bloomberg

Mortgage prepayment speeds may rise with the strong U.S. rate rally, and that may be cause for alarm for mortgage investors.

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Mortgage rates hold at two-year lows, giving borrowers another shot at the action  MarketWatch

Rates for home loans held steady and declined as financial markets bore the brunt of geopolitical upheaval and concerns about lower growth.

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Mortgage rates move down for Wednesday

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Mortgage Closing Rate Rises to Highest Level in at Least 16 Months  Mortgageorb

Despite falling mortgage rates, the refinance share of total mortgage volume fell to 32% of all loans in May, down from 35% in April and down from 38% in May ...

U.S. mortgage rates continue three-week hold  Dayton Business Journal

U.S. mortgage rates held form this week and remain near their two-year low point, according to Freddie Mac.

The Costco Membership Benefits You're Not Taking Advantage Of  SheKnows

From travel and car deals to mortgage loans and more, here are the Costco membership benefits you likely never knew were available to you.

Freddie Mac announces fixer-upper mortgage | 2019-06-19  HousingWire

Freddie Mac is launching a new mortgage product that allows borrowers to buy a fixer-upper and finance the renovation all with one loan. Existing homeowners ...

New Freddie Mac Mortgage Combines Purchase and Reno Loans  National Mortgage Professional Magazine

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Debt-Saddled Millennials Are Rushing Into Home Ownership—And It's Costing Them  Fortune

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Freddie Mac Launches New Home Renovation Program  Mortgageorb

Freddie Mac has launched a new home renovation loan program that allows home buyers to also finance the cost of renovations with a single-close mortgage.

Mortgage market update 6-21  Atlanta Agent magazine

... from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, which was perhaps unsurprising considering the earlier report's record-high levels.

Mortgages for Seniors: Everything You Need to Know  U.S News & World Report Money

If you're retired and applying for a home loan, you're more likely to submit information about your pension and your 401(K) than a W-2.

Blackstone refinancing shopping-center loan debt via $230M CMBS  Asset Securitization Report

Blackstone's real estate affiliate and property management firm SITE Centers Corp. acquired the 12 centers across seven states in 2014.

'Now Is The Time To Refinance': Low Mortgage Rates Cause Surge In Refinancing  Forbes

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Guaranteed Rate Rolls Out VA Renovation Loans  Yahoo Finance

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With mortgage rates at 2-year lows, here’s how to decide whether to refinance your home loan  MarketWatch

More people are pursuing refinances as mortgage rates have dropped.

Roostify teams up with HSBC Bank USA  Fintech Futures

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Refinance mortgage rate ticks higher for Monday

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Mortgage refinance boom goes bust as rates shift higher  CNBC

A turnaround in interest rates turned borrowers back on their heels last week, deflating a quick boom in refinance demand.

Attorney Mayo Talks Law - Real Estate Closing Without an Attorney  Cape Cod Today

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Refinance mortgage rate advances for Saturday

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Serving an Untapped Borrower Community  Mortgageorb

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BFS completes refinance facility for self-build  Mortgage Introducer

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Mortgage rates are low. Here's how to figure out if you should refinance  NBC News

Low mortgage rates have many people thinking about buying a new home or refinancing their current mortgage.

5 Signs It's Time To Refinance Your Mortgage  Forbes

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Refinance mortgage rates mixed for Monday

Refinance rates were mixed today. If you haven't locked a refi yet, see how your future mortgage payments could be affected.

Refinance mortgage rate dips for Saturday

Refinance rates were mixed, but one key rate declined. See what that means for you if you're in the market for a home loan.

Statewide Survey Finds Public Sides With Gov. Evers on Education Issues  One Wisconsin Now

Key findings include a majority of voters trust Gov. Evers and Democrats versus Republicans on education issues.

Refinance mortgage rates mixed for Thursday

Multiple benchmark refinance rates were flat today. If you're in the market for a mortgage, see how your payments might be affected.

Refinance mortgage rate drops for Friday

Refinance rates were mixed, but one key rate ticked downward. If you're shopping for a refi, see how your future mortgage payments could be affected.

Refinance mortgage rate slides for Wednesday

Refinance rates were mixed, but one key rate declined. If you're in the market for a mortgage, see what that means for you.

What to consider before determining whether to refinance your mortgage  Washington Post

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Refinance mortgage rates mixed for Saturday

Refinance rates were mixed today. See what that means for you if you're in the market for a mortgage.

Existing Home Sales Rebound in May: Top 4 Housing Picks  Yahoo Finance

The housing space looks attractive as existing home sales improve from the last two months.

Refinance Your Mortgage Quickly: Prequalify in Just 3 Minutes  Credible News

Let us do the heavy lifting for you. Compare rates from multiple lenders with no impact to your credit score. Refinance your mortgage with peace of mind.

Refinance mortgage rate drops for Tuesday

Refinance rates were mixed, but one key rate trended down. If you're shopping for a refi, see how that could affect you.

Refinance mortgage rate slides for Friday

Refinance rates were mixed, but one key rate sunk lower. See what that means for your chances of scoring a killer refi rate.

Mortgage refinance checklist: what you need to refinance your home | Mortgage Rates, Mortgage News and Strategy  The Mortgage Reports

This handy mortgage refinance checklist tells you what you need to do before refinancing. Get your paperwork in order and know your refinance goals to speed ...

Refinance mortgage rate ratchets higher for Tuesday

Refinance rates were mixed, but one key rate climbed higher. See what that means for you if you're in the market for a home loan.

Did you refinance your home mortgage last year? You can still qualify for often-overlooked deductions  MarketWatch

f you refinanced your home mortgage last year, you may be in line for some often-overlooked tax deductions on your yet-to-be-filed 2018 Form 1040.

Mortgage refinance applications hit 18-year low  CNBC

Mortgage refinance applications hit an 18-year low. With no major move in interest rates and continued weakness in home affordability, there was not a lot of ...

Refinance mortgage rate eases for Monday

Refinance rates were mixed, but one key rate slid lower. See what that means for you if you're in the market for a home loan.

Refinance mortgage rate ticks higher for Saturday

Refinance rates were mixed, but one key rate increased. If you're shopping for a mortgage, see how your payments might be affected.

Refinance mortgage rate moves higher for Wednesday

Refinance rates were mixed, but one key rate were higher. See what that means for you if you're in the market for a mortgage.

Mortgage application increase led by higher refinance volume  National Mortgage News

Mortgage applications increased last week but unlike the prior period, it was driven by refinance volume as interest rates fell to a one-year low, according to the ...

Refinance rates tick lower for Monday

Several closely watched refinance rates dropped today. If you're shopping for a home loan, see what that means for you.

Refinance mortgage rate moves lower for Wednesday

Refinance rates were mixed, but one key rate fell. The average for a 30-year fixed-rate refinance trended down, but the average rate on a 15-year fixed refinance ...

Rising mortgage rates again reduce refinance application volume  National Mortgage News

Higher interest rates cut refinance mortgage application volume and reduced overall activity even as the purchase index reached a nine-year high, according to ...

Mortgage rates trend down for Wednesday

Multiple key mortgage rates receded today. If you haven't locked yet, see how your future mortgage payments could be affected.

Refinance rates move higher for Wednesday

Multiple key refinance rates notched higher today. See what that means for your refinance.

What homebuyers and refinancers should know about timing mortgage rate movements

It's important to remember that you have options when it comes to your mortgage and trying to predict interest rate movements. The options, however, get more ...

Freddie Mac Enhanced Relief Refinance (FMERR) 2019 guidelines, rates, and benefits | Mortgage Rates, Mortgage News and Strategy  The Mortgage Reports

The Freddie Mac Relief Refinance Program (FMERR) allows homeowners to refinance with little or no home equity. Home value dropped since you purchased?

Refinance rates rise for Friday

Multiple closely watched refinance rates notched higher today. See what that means for you if you're in the market for a home loan.

Freddie Mac intros CHOICERenovation loan to fund renovations and fixer-uppers - RealtyBizNews: Real Estate News  RealtyBizNews

Freddie Mac has just announced a new mortgage offering aimed at those looking to finance fixer-uppers. The offering is also available to existing homeowners.

Foreclosure Listing Provider Earns Highest Rating from  STL.News

OVERLAND PARK, KS (STL.News) – recently gave a best-in-class 5 star rating to Auction, a leader among websites that help ...

Malibu Boats, Bed Bath, Disney, Verizon and Home Depot highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day  Nasdaq

For Immediate Release Chicago, IL - June 24, 2019 - Zacks Equity Research Malibu Boats MBUU as the Bull of the Day, 3D Systems DDD as the Bear of.

Refinance mortgage rates mixed for Tuesday

Refinance rates were mixed today. If you're in the market for a refi, see how that could affect you.

Still haven’t refinanced your mortgage? You still have an opportunity to save big

Mortgage rates seem to be the only thing that's affordable in today's low-inventory, high-priced housing market. This is good news for both homebuyers and ...

Refinance rates rise for Thursday

Multiple closely watched refinance rates trended upward today. If you're in the market for a refi, see how your future mortgage payments could be affected.

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