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Community and Q&A

Build a new home or remodel old?

CTSNicholas | Posted in General Questions on

Here is a spreadsheet that I have created trying to break the costs down.

Those figures are ones that I know will be similar situations for each house. As you can tell I left out any finish materials other than what it takes to seal a house up.

I’m not necessarily asking if my figures seem realistic, but I am open to opinions.

I’d like to know what areas I have missed, and then a whole hearted opinion on the options of building my own house, or buying the fixer-upper and reworking a few things. It’s a heck of a lot of work to renovate down to the walls, work on settled basement foundation, run new wire…insulation…flooring…etc. It’s also a lot of work to build a modest house.

I live where there are chances of tornadoes so I do not want to build a house that would not be capable of keeping me safe. This means either a basement, or some suggestion on building that sustains to mother nature’s wind. I was thinking maybe a metal building may have better chance.

In addition to the building new home idea, I was considering building an all metal building in hopes to save on exterior costs. I’d like to use day lighting (sky lights) and have the long side of the house facing south. Problem is the front entrance on the land location means the front door NEEDS to be on the west, and this makes it so the house rooms are divided in half more or less due to the front door and hallway.

Suggestions? It’d be a lot of work to build but a lot of work to remodel too.

I’d like to have a 2 bedroom place, with an office on the main floor. Initial plans were to have an open basement with 1 room in the back closed off (like a coldroom that was the 28′ wide house dimension that could be converted to bedroom, or two, if I married and had a kid). Then upstairs (main floor) would have my bedroom, office, great room, kitchen, and bathroom w/ laundry options. This was on a 28×32 house footprint I designed, but had some problems with. I like kitchens and living rooms that are all one with a bar stool set at the counter as the main table and possibly dining space to the side for holiday events. (just a small space for a bit larger family)

Another concept I was open to was building small and telling friends and family that I build small now and can always add on later. I have realized that this plan has flaws because when adding on, you remove a wall and disrupt floor space. This would be hard to do unless it was an add on to the living room or bedroom. Bathrooms and kitchens have plumbing, and staircases are no fun to move. It also means no basement under that portion and more foundation work at a pricier cost than getting it all done at once.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    This isn't a question that can be answered on a Web forum.

    We have no way of knowing whether your estimates are realistic or absurd.

    We don't know your skills and experience.

    We haven't had a chance to inspect the fixer-upper.

    The best way to know how much it costs to build a house is to build one, all the time writing down what you spend to get the work done.

    If this is your first major project, there is only one rule: it will take twice as long, and cost twice as much, as you think.

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