Barbara, Home Buyer in Carolina Beach, NC

Thinking I would like to build instead of buy a house. How do I estimate how much that would cost?

Asked by Barbara, Carolina Beach, NC Tue Nov 25, 2008

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Barrett Powe…, , Cary, NC
Wed Nov 26, 2008
There is not enough space or time on Trulia to answer this question correctly. Too many factors are at play. Like, have you ever had a home built before, do you have a plan, do you have a builder in mind, a location in mind.

Let me instead offer a couple of websites to start your research. I might also suggest going to your local Library or Barnes & Noble and purchase a book on the subject if your REALLY interested.

Or here is a good site with a cost estimating calculator.

In Short:
1) Find your lot (based on the style and house price you want to (can) spend)
2) Find you plan and purchase it. Or...
3) Find an architect to design your house
4) Interview builders based on referrences etc. and have them bid on job (lowest bid may not be lowest cost of ownership)
5) Review contract of selected builder with your attorney.
6) Have house built
7) Enjoy house.
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Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Wed Nov 26, 2008

Our recommendation is for you to seriously consider both new construction and resale homes. There are many resale homes that can be purchased at substantial savings that can not be matched but today's builders. If you havent looked at resales, it mght be advisable to do so.

We are NOT trying to convince to to move in either direction, only to be the best informed buyer possible. This can only occur when you have equipped yourself with as much current and accurate information as you can. You will then be able to make the decision that is best for you.

Find an agent that can identify these opportunities and provide you with helpful information. This same individual will also be able to support you interests in new construction, helping you find the best value, when working with a builder. Most builders welcome agents bringing them customers. The right agent will have the skills and information to protect your best interests.

Knowledge is informed before making your decision.

Kind regards,
The "Eckler Team"
Michael saunders & Company
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Stanton Homes, , Raleigh, NC
Wed Nov 26, 2008
There are still construction to permanent programs available which require a 10% down payment, through major banks like Suntrust and BB&T. If you have a few floor plans you're considering, send them to some builders for initial cost estimates. Some builders will work with plans from nearly any architect or from online catalogs like or Others will only work from the plans in their own libraries - so it helps to know what is appealing to you.

You should be provided with a fairly full bid - which should also include costs of water or sewer, lot clearing and preparation, permits and fees, and driveway. If you have a specific area (or lot) in mind, let the builder know and request information specific to that area. Otherwise, you'll be starting with a more general quote that could change based on the actual location and topography of the land you purchase.
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Larry Story, Agent, Greensboro, NC
Tue Nov 25, 2008
Emily has the right answers. You really need to pick your land, your builder, then your bank. Determine where you want to build and if it is not in a development then you need to see what the land will perk for as far as the well and septic system for the size of the home you want to build. Of course presently at the beach I know you can get some really, really good deals on lots in some new communities.

Knowing what kind of home you want to build is next. You can pick a builder and then pick from his plans that he already builds and then just customize the inside and some features outside or you can go completely custom and design you own with the help of an architect. That is of course more expensive. Definitely check the references of the builder, call the Better Business Bureau, and even you local Builder's Association.

Of course last but, not least the lender. A bank you can rely on and trust. You want a solid institution and some one that is willing to lend you the money. I have had really good dealings with Wells Fargo of late and been pleasently surprised with their results.

Hope this helps,
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Emily Arzate, , Greensboro, NC
Tue Nov 25, 2008
Hi Barbara,

Do you already know the general contractor that you would like to build your house? If not, it would be a good idea to interview a few different ones. You could look up their information with the local Association of Builders, ask how long they've had their license, how many houses they build per year, and if they have any references or past clients that you could call. It is of utmost importance to choose contractors by their reputation, not by their price! Also, make sure you know their warranty policy. They are required by the state to provide at least a one-year warranty.

Normally builders want to make about 20-25% of the total cost of construction. If you already have a floorplan, the builder could give you a general idea of what it would cost per sq ft to build, then add his fee onto that, plus the cost of the lot. What you could do is get the estimate from the builder and compare that with what similar houses in the same area are selling for, and decide that way which route would be best.

One other thing to think about is financing. Banks have tightened the guildelines across the board, but they have really tightened up in respect to new construction loans. I believe that most all construction loans now require 20% down plus an excellent credit score. The builder also has to be approved by the lender. It would be worth your while to talk to a morgage broker about your options an expectations before you go much further.

Hope this helped! Good luck!

Emily Arzate
Keller Williams Realty of Greensboro
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