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Maybe not FIRE? I want to build things
Old 04-29-2021, 10:28 PM   #1
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Maybe not FIRE? I want to build things

Any builders here? I have been in the tech industry since 95. Looking at sometime in 2022 to FIRE. We have plenty saved to not NEED to work, but I really want to learn how to build a house. In the US, we can sell a house every two years and not have to pay any cap gains in the first 500K in profit. I'm wondering about building some spec houses and living in them for 2 years. I know it kinda sorta sounds like a job. I have just always been fascinated with building things and love learning. At 53 I may be too old to swing a hammer all day, but even Jimmy Carter built homes for habitat for humanity into his 80s and 90s.

Any builders here?
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Old 04-30-2021, 12:08 AM   #2
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My wife and I built our own house back in 2004. However, we built it as our forever home and have no intention of selling it:

2003 - Building Our Own House

I would be more inclined to do house flipping. We've done numerous remodeling projects at my in-laws house, and revamped my mom's house to sell after she had a stroke. Unfortunately, even the most run down dump of a house in our area still sells for at least $200K. We don't have that kind of cash sitting around and at this stage in life we don't want to take on any debt.

I'm 57 now and don't know that I have the energy to work on major projects like that full time anyway. I have enough DIY projects right here at home to keep me busy the rest of my life. So, we just watch a lot of building and flipper shows and dream...
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Old 04-30-2021, 09:14 AM   #3
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Dang... I'm 58 and doing a major remodel on my own... It will be our forever home... well thats the plan. We did basically everything at our old place in 1993... unfinished modular... they just put the 2 half's together...
With building supply prices at the moment... I would be more inclined to just flip things.
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Old 04-30-2021, 09:59 AM   #4
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I consider myself a builder not by trade but had about three years experience on a 3 man crew that built homes from digging the hole, concert, stick building and cabinets and all the finish work. I had enough education to do it on my own. I helped build about 12 homes through the years.

I built my home from ground up and built my cabin, numerous garages and smaller work shops. My home from start to finish it took 4 months. I worked every minute I had on it. I worked full time also, so work on it till dark and before work all weekends and took all my vacation to get it done. I did all wiring but didn't do plumbing or heating. I'm still in that same home today.

If you could find a contractor to work for or a mentor that can help you get going, it would be very beneficial. Code can be obtained through your local area.

I wish I would have bought an air nail gun, it would of saved a lot of work and man power.

I wish many times I would of built 3 or 4 homes and sold them just like what you have in mind.

I would go for it and learn as you go, and the second one will be a breeze.
Good luck, keep us posted.
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Old 04-30-2021, 10:21 AM   #5
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Flipping is the game around us. Have two going up the lane. I like doing things with my hands (Iím a retired engineer and learned the trade from my Dad who was a Contractor), but that flipping business is not my thing. The quality of work that Iíve seen is pretty low and guys are working long hours with multiple crews to turn the homes around quickly.

Just completed a major reno on our family home since retiring last May. Kitchen, baths, roof, paint, HVAC, flooring, etc. Did most of the work myself and at my own pace. Just the two of us now and itís a much larger home than we need.

We have a rental in the same area. Someday when the renters move out will need to decide if we renovate the rental and move over there. Wouldnít mind doing the renovation work over there and then moving. So much easier when the home is vacant and thereís less time pressure. Itís a one story, slightly smaller AND has plenty of acreage and access for an RV and as big a shop as I want!
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Old 04-30-2021, 10:22 AM   #6
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We hired a builder to raze our old house and build a new one on our existing lot in 2019. Northern Virginia. Glad we did too, because about 4 months after we moved in, my 3 kids and I were all "working" from home. Nice to have space for everyone to take care of their own business and not be on top of each other.

When looking at a spec home, my advice is to spend more time picking a design that works for you, and requires minimal (hopefully ZERO) changes to meet your needs. Every change adds costs. Other thing to do is make sure you understand the site work and the costs involved. If I lived a couple of blocks further away, I'd be in a different county, and the site costs would have been about $15k more.
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Old 04-30-2021, 11:00 AM   #7
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If you are planning to do everything you have to be up on all the building codes, permit requirements etc. You can’t just build the house then try to sell it in 2 years with out all the necessary permits in place and clearances from the local government. You could work as the GC and hire all the contractors but then you wouldn’t be seeing as much profit. Essentially you are wanting to go to being a home builder with no experience. Probably not a reasonable endeavor unless you can learn everything in a very short amount of time. Good luck!
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Old 04-30-2021, 02:43 PM   #8
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We did a major renovation of our forever home spread out on weekends and evenings for over 2 years. Down to stud and ripped everything out including electrical and plumbing. We did everything but drywalls (hang, tape, mud and texture), roof, cabinets, and counter top. If I ever do it again, which I very well may, I would do it full-time and from grounds up. We wasted a lot of time ripping things and adjusting things for crooked walls, and frames, and floor, and..... Always build a new house, square and level, from grounds up. Although I would never build it with an intention of selling it. I wouldn't enjoy building for an eventual profit. I would however build for habitat for humanity which is on my bucket list. But to each of their own.
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Old 04-30-2021, 02:47 PM   #9
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If you are planning to do everything you have to be up on all the building codes, permit requirements etc. You canít just build the house then try to sell it in 2 years with out all the necessary permits in place and clearances from the local government. You could work as the GC and hire all the contractors but then you wouldnít be seeing as much profit. Essentially you are wanting to go to being a home builder with no experience. Probably not a reasonable endeavor unless you can learn everything in a very short amount of time. Good luck!
Building a code compliant house doing most work yourself is very much doable but you need a good helper and lots of patience, skills and time. I can find the code violations in new houses now. In fact, most new houses I see have a lot of code violations. Sometimes it make me wonder if an inspector even showed up on site. Building a house is not for a faint of heart.
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:10 AM   #10
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My wife and I are building our own house. I think if we were paying ourselves and wanted to make a profit on selling the house, our wages would need to be somewhere around $0.25 an hour. We literally could make more money picking up aluminum cans on the road.

Part of it is not having the connections in the industry for cheaper materials, part of it is working a lot slower than the big crews (they don't have to tarp stuff for example because they finish before the rains soak everything too much) but a large portion right now is just the crazy high cost of building materials.

I would suggest waiting until you can buy pressed together cardboard, otherwise known as OSB for something less than the cost of a new Tesla.
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:29 AM   #11
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I built my own house and it took over 2 years to do one. Do you really want to do that every 2 years and be forever working on them before you finish it and enjoy it before starting another one? I wouldn't.
I would suggest if you really have a burning desire to it just do one with a intention of it being your permanent home and see how it goes.
Not only that but if you have never done it there will be a big learning curve and you will make mistakes.

I really enjoyed the design part as much or more than the building and if I were to ever do it again(highly doubtful) I would hire a lot more out and do the design and some finish work but that is just me.
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:39 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SeanPizzle View Post
Any builders here? I have been in the tech industry since 95. Looking at sometime in 2022 to FIRE. We have plenty saved to not NEED to work, but I really want to learn how to build a house. In the US, we can sell a house every two years and not have to pay any cap gains in the first 500K in profit. I'm wondering about building some spec houses and living in them for 2 years. I know it kinda sorta sounds like a job. I have just always been fascinated with building things and love learning. At 53 I may be too old to swing a hammer all day, but even Jimmy Carter built homes for habitat for humanity into his 80s and 90s.

Any builders here?
First of all, what construction or contracting experience do you have? Have you built a house before? If you've never built anything before building a house is probably a huge mistake.

I don't think Jimmy Carter is a home builder. Someone else draws up the plan, sources the material, and schedules the labour. He just shows up and does a task that is assigned to him, although of course due to his status he probably gets to pick and choose what jobs he'll do.
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Old 05-02-2021, 09:02 AM   #13
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I’ve been involved in commercial construction for years as an owner’s rep. As others have said, you may want to start with remodeling an existing house to see how that goes. Flip it and if you still have the bug to build one hopefully you could find a contractor who you could work for or with for the first one. There are so many tricks that will help you that only an experienced person will know.

If you really want to build on your own, have a complete set of plans drawn and spend all the time needed to fully understand them. After that talk to as many building suppliers as possible to get help getting everything you’ll need and a budget for the material. Right now is a very expensive time for materials so putting that part off for a while to see if prices come down may make sense. Good luck.
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Old 05-02-2021, 10:04 AM   #14
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My home from start to finish it took 4 months. I worked every minute I had on it. I worked full time also, so work on it till dark and before work all weekends and took all my vacation to get it done. I did all wiring but didn't do plumbing or heating. I'm still in that same home today.
Wow, 4 months is impressive! We took about 22 months working 4-6 hours per day to build our house. I worked on my business in the mornings, worked on the house in the afternoons, then my wife would help an hour or two when she got home from work. We didn't hire out anything on the house, did all the excavation, foundation, construction, plumbing, electrical, sheetrock, painting, built our own cabinets, etc.

I really enjoyed building, but at 57 I don't know that I could build a house again. Even much smaller projects wear me out now. I still do everything, it just takes me a bit longer.

I still think it would be fun to build a small cabin somewhere. Unfortunately, land prices are too expensive around here, and there's no one area I want to keep going back to justify buying land.
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Old 05-02-2021, 10:19 AM   #15
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We plan on building the last house and shop, but not for flipping. I'll do everything I can/want to do, from footings to framing to plumbing to wiring.
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Old 05-02-2021, 11:01 AM   #16
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We are doing every single part of our house, I even dug the foundations using my little excavator.

Four months? lol. I could *maybe* build a 20x30 foot *Box* in 4 months, sitting on concrete tube footings or something.

We are a year into our build and are just now getting to putting tile on the roof.
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Old 05-02-2021, 12:42 PM   #17
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We demolished our seasonal lakefront camp in late 2010 and rebuilt a year-round lakefront home. I did the design and played GC. As I recall the only real work that we did was painting inside and installing the closet shelving and pullouts in the base kitchen cabinets.

A few year later we gave away our one car garage and had a two car garage with an attic loft built. I finished off the attic loft with a half bath and did all of that myself except I hired out the mudding if the drywall ceilings and walls... that is too much work for me... but DW is very good at it.

Flipping is more w*rk than I'm interested in... after all, I'm retired.
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Old 05-02-2021, 06:26 PM   #18
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Thanks all for the replies. In 2014 I built a 26x36 garage with apartment on top. I was a owner/GC and had a friend with a lot of experience help along the way. I learned a lot about the process and wanted to do the next step in actually building a full house.
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Old 05-02-2021, 06:37 PM   #19
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In any venture you have to have the will and drive. I beleive you do and I beleive you will be able to do the job.
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Old 05-02-2021, 06:50 PM   #20
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Wow, 4 months is impressive! We took about 22 months working 4-6 hours per day to build our house. I worked on my business in the mornings, worked on the house in the afternoons, then my wife would help an hour or two when she got home from work. We didn't hire out anything on the house, did all the excavation, foundation, construction, plumbing, electrical, sheetrock, painting, built our own cabinets, etc.

I really enjoyed building, but at 57 I don't know that I could build a house again. Even much smaller projects wear me out now. I still do everything, it just takes me a bit longer.

I still think it would be fun to build a small cabin somewhere. Unfortunately, land prices are too expensive around here, and there's no one area I want to keep going back to justify buying land.
Yes, I worked pretty much non stop and I will say, I had some great friends that helped me when I needed help, like setting rafter and things like that. Both my dad and FIL did a lot of the work during the day. I had one guy that wanted to learn how to build and he was there for every step of the way. He then built a home and I helped him some but not as he helped me.

The bank I took the loan with wasn't sure if they wanted to give me a construction loan. They did take a chance on me as the GC and I proved my word and ability was genuine. They would come check on my progress and was totally impressed with my workmanship etc.. The president of the bank when I finished said, if every one was like me banking would be simple. Inspectors came for every stage of the construction project and passed every code. Electrical was inspected a few time also as I went through the progression on wiring it also.

I hope the story I told doesn't sound like I'm bragging or patting myself on the back. That is not my intension but I wanted to express that if you have the want and will it can be done. You can beat the naysayers. I'm very competitive person and will do what ever it takes.
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