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      03-17-2021, 10:52 AM   #1
DETRoadster
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Buying Property and Building Your Own Home - Tips, Tricks, Advice

UPDATE - Going to keep a running tab of expenses in case anyone cares. Thought it would be useful for folks considering a custom build to see where the $$$ and time goes.

Feasibility Study (Pre-Land Purchase) - Months 0 through 3
- Architect: $3,600
- Arborist Report: $3,000
- Site survey with topographical contours: $5,850
- City response to project specific questions (yes they charge for this!): $300
- Total for feasibility study: $12,750

Land Purchase - Month 3
- Your price will vary based on what you buy: $XXX,XXX

House Plan Creation - Months 4 - Current
- Architect: $68,500 fixed bid. Billed in equal monthly installments
- Arborist report for tree management during construction: $580
- Geotechnical Survey: $2,500
- Structural Engineering: $9,400
- Civil Engineering - $3,600


Hey Gang, my wife and I are in the process of buying property and having a house built. I figured I'd start a thread for tips, tricks, advice, commiserating, etc.

Here's my situation: Want to move out of Seattle and into an outlying town that better manages crime and other social issues. Tired of the drugs, the theft, the homelessness, and the ambivalence of the city of Seattle. Also, we currently live off a busy street and it's noisy.

We are totally new to this whole process and are learning a ton. We've found a nice little 1/2 acre wooded parcel in a neighboring town, put an offer in, and are 30 days into our 45 day feasibility study period. For those who are new to this too, the feasibility period is a negotiated timeframe that starts when your offer on the vacant land is accepted and ends with your closing date. 45 to 60 days is common. This is your time to research anything and everything with respect to whether it's feasible to do what you want with the land. You put down earnest money, just like a home purchase and honestly you can walk away and get that money back for just about any reason, just like a home purchase.

In order to determine feasibility, you need to assemble a "team" and be ready to spend some $$$. Not a ton, but not insignificant either. We will be into this about $7k when all is said and done. The good news is that those expenses are all things you must do in order to build so its only wasted cost if you walk from the land deal.

We have a real estate agent, an architect, a builder, a project manager, and through the architect and project manager have brought in a surveyor, an arborist, and a structural engineer to answer some key feasibility questions. The architect is really the key here. They are the ones who hold your hand and lead you through collecting all the right info. A skilled real estate agent is also a god-send in these deals.

At this point, 2 weeks from closing, we have a survey of the property and an arborist report that maps all significant trees. The project planner validated that there's no wetlands, no streams, no environmental issues, etc. The architect used the survey and arborist report to create a site plan that shows the city where we want to put the house, what trees need to come down, etc. At this point the "house" is literally just a rectangle in the center of the lot. We dont need actual house plans at this stage. The site map shows where utilities will run, where they will tie into the street, where the driveway goes, etc. All of this has been submitted to the city planning office and we are awaiting their feedback. The site plan has also been submitted to the builder to run some estimates on driveway and utility costs.

Question for anyone who has done this: We will have probably a year between the purchase of the land and actually breaking ground as we work through permitting, house plans, etc. During that year, we have an empty lot sitting there that we own and are liable for. What sort of insurance should we think about carrying?

Last edited by DETRoadster; 12-08-2021 at 07:42 PM..
Appreciate 6