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View Poll Results: Houses: Did you build or did you buy used
Lifelong renter 3 2.63%
Built once, never again 21 18.42%
Built more than once 16 14.04%
Always bought used 53 46.49%
Never built, but would consider it 12 10.53%
Other 9 7.89%
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House Survey- Did you build or buy used?
Old 03-06-2008, 08:16 AM   #1
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House Survey- Did you build or buy used?

In my case I built twice (condo first time and dream home the second time). If you built, care to share your builder (big company or custom builder)?

We used Fisher homes for condo and Dixon for our dream home.

thx
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:21 AM   #2
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Owner built, custom, architect-designed plan for this one. I was GC and hired a great local custom builder for the major stuff (masons, rough framing, roofing, drywall, and a bit of the finish carpentry). Did the rest ourselves--11 month project.

Last one was a 1942 beach cottage that we renovated over the course of 10 years.
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:21 AM   #3
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I didn't really "build" my first home (a small condo in San Jose), but it was a vacant unit recently built which was never occupied. I had nothing to do with the building of it. The three homes we've owned since have all been "used" -- built in 1966, 1967 and 1944 (in that order of ownership).
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:27 AM   #4
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I voted "built once, never again". That might imply having a house built was a bad experience, but that wasn't the case in our situation. We bought a few acres outside the city, designed a house to fit our needs in retirement (single story, no steps inside, wide doors and hallways, etc.), and had it built by a custom homebuilder 6 years before I retired. Prior to this we'd always purchased an existing home.
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:49 AM   #5
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bought used at very low price during high interest rates (1984)

wanted to build log cabin ranch, but cost and budget never came together...still a dream...
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:57 AM   #6
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We bought an existing home that had a new roof and new siding. Everything from the carpets to the light fixtures were 20 or more years old, though. The house was solid as a rock and the home inspection checked out very well. We have slowly renovated it ourselves and have enjoyed most of it. We're about half way there.

Our next house will likely be another existing home. However, eventually we want to build our own.
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Old 03-06-2008, 09:01 AM   #7
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Bought used twice, built once but never again. Builder was in a development, lots of customization/options available although I wouldn't call it custom-built. It is our dream home but the hassles with construction delays and only average quality mean we'll never go through that again.

We ended up staying with FIL for a month waiting for the house to be finished. Wife didn't appreciate the joke that "Well, we're unemployed and homeless".
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Old 03-06-2008, 09:16 AM   #8
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Bought a used house (first house) 30 years ago; still here. Have no idea what the next living arrangement will be.
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:02 AM   #9
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Does the term "used house" strike anyone else as a little odd? I understand "used car," "used washing machine," etc, but these are all things that are designed to have a relatively limited service life---and to be eventually "used up." "Used house" sounds strange, like "used portrait."

Probably just another reflection of our culture. Houses as commodities.
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:03 AM   #10
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Does the term "used house" strike anyone else as a little odd? I understand "used car," "used washing machine," etc, but these are all things that are designed to have a relatively limited service life---and to be eventually "used up." "Used house" sounds strange, like "used portrait."
Maybe we need to say "pre-owned" instead. All the hoidy-toidy used car dealerships do that now anyway...
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Does the term "used house" strike anyone else as a little odd? I understand "used car," "used washing machine," etc, but these are all things that are designed to have a relatively limited service life---and to be eventually "used up." "Used house" sounds strange, like "used portrait."
Probably just another reflection of our culture. Houses as commodities.
I'd much rather buy used. I've bought all of the above that way so that someone else can take care of the depreciation for me-- although I'd probably draw the line at "used underwear".

A nice thing about buying used is that the home has a few years to reveal unstable land, construction defects, or other "seemed like a good idea at the time" problems. Sure, proper supervision during the building process could avoid that too, but I'm not a soil engineer or a code expert and I'd have no idea how to check up on everyone else during constructon.

Used can also mean "incredible bargain". Our "dream house" was bought from a trust whose owners had died 3-5 years before the sale. (I even checked their causes of death to make sure it wasn't related to the property). All of the survivors just wanted out-- the teenage beneficiaries wanted what was left of the equity, the trustee wanted out of that job, and the neighborhood wanted the whole extended-family tribe outta there. (It also turned out that the police and DEA wanted a couple of the parolees residents too.) We wouldn't have been able to afford the house when it was new, we wouldn't have been able to afford it if it had been a more typical resale, and we certainly couldn't afford to buy it now.
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:36 AM   #12
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The idea of building has its allure, I suppose because one could theoretically get exactly what one wants.

I think I prefer to purchase a "used home" that maybe just needs a few tweaks to be what I want. With a used home, I get to see exactly what I am going to get. Often the prior owners have added amenities that might not have occurred to me. Also, there might be less mystery about what will occur as the house settles if it has already been there 50 years.

I enjoy living in a house with its own history. Often they feel more comfortable to me, spiritually. OK, that probably sounded like Shirley MacLaine, but it is what it is.
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:37 AM   #13
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I live in a town with old housing stock and not much area available to build. I don't think of used houses, I think of time periods. Our current place was built in 1903. Our first house was also built in 1903. A good portion of the local housing stock was built between 1890 and 1910 when our area was going through big lumber booms. We had an 1890s beach house we sold and after a few years someone came along and tore it down and put up a fancy shmancy house.

So, you have people who buy "Victorians" or "Craftsman" or "20s Duluth venacular" or "midcentury bungalows" or if really new, "60s ranch." People don't buy based so much on age, but on quality and style and neighborhood.
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:43 AM   #14
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Where's the option for "Built new, plan to do it again?"
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:43 AM   #15
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Bought existing builder spec townhouse. Ryland.

Plan to build the next one for an extended stay. We've followed the work of a few architects for quite a while and will probably approach one of them. The one I have in mind works out of Duluth but seems like she'd be willing to at least come to wherever the land is to help site the house and plan everything.
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:46 AM   #16
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Bought our DC house "used" and built our weekend place. Satisfied with both but hope to never build or buy again.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:10 AM   #17
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So, you have people who buy "Victorians" or "Craftsman" or "20s Duluth venacular" or "midcentury bungalows" or if really new, "60s ranch."
This is my case -- I bought a 20's craftsman because I wanted the detail and graciousness you can't get with a new house nowadays -- at least not for the price.

Coved ceilings, original oak trim, plaster work, art-tile fireplace, built-in china cabinets, big rooms, wood floors, vintage tile... and construction that cause workmen to comment, every time they see the foundation or the floor joists in the basement, that "they just don't build 'em like this anymore."

Of course, the complete absence of insulation was an issue, and a couple of other things needed updating... but I'm happy with the package and think I got value for money relative to some of the cracker-boxes they're putting up these days.

So, bought "used" and would do so again.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:13 AM   #18
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Coved ceilings, original oak trim, plaster work, art-tile fireplace, built-in china cabinets, big rooms, wood floors, vintage tile... and construction that cause workmen to comment, every time they see the foundation or the floor joists in the basement, that "they just don't build 'em like this anymore."
**DROOL!!!** Oh gosh, that sounds just absolutely gorgeous to me. I wish they built houses like that now.
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Old 03-06-2008, 01:48 PM   #19
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Built once (by a company that's since closed it's doors), still living in it.
They basically were a GC type of builder.

Would do it again. If I acted as the GC.
Although I'd definitely add some architectural character to the next house (if/when we do it).
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Old 03-06-2008, 01:55 PM   #20
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Built once. I chose the 'built once - will never build again'.
Like others, this is not due to a bad experience, but because this is our dream home and we never expect to move. IF we were to move we would definately built again.

Builder was TJB Homes, lots of custom stuff went in. Lots of environmental aspects weren't quite available yet with non-custom builders. The builder really got into it and did a bunch of research as did we.

IF we were to need a new home, I would use TJB Homes again, no question about it.
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