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      03-24-2021, 03:13 PM   #45
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Well gang, update time. Our feasibility study period ends this Friday with closing on Monday. We had one final zoom meeting with our "team" today (architect, project manager, builder, real estate agent) and reviewed all of the documentation we've assembled thus far. Bottom line, the property is viable and we can build on it what we want. We've mitigated as much risk as possible and have a good grasp on the costs to develop the land. With those costs in mind, went back to the seller to renegotiate our offer, dropping it by $75,000. We provided supporting documentation to back that number up including confirmation from the city, in writing, that the driveway will need to be widened to 18', confirmation from the fire marshal that the house will need a fire suppression system as it's more than 300' from the nearest hydrant, and a bid from our builder to do the driveway work which involved a large retaining wall and removal of several 100+' tall trees. Also wrapped up in all of this is the city re-assesed the property at the sellers request and dropped the value of it significantly. So we rolled all these points up into a packet that justifies our price drop. We feel good about the new offer and are now just waiting to see if she goes for it. Fingers crossed!

Interesting side note, the letter from the fire marshal indicated that we are too far from the nearest hydrant, thus requiring the suppression system AND they will expect us to pay to upgrade the 2 nearest hydrants (the ones we wont use because we are too far away) with quick connect/disconnect valves. Apparently there's no money in the city budget for these upgrades so every time someone applies to build a new house in the area, the fire department demands the owners upgrade a few hydrants. It's a total shake-down. I hate it, but I also strangely kinda respect it.
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      03-24-2021, 04:34 PM   #46
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Kind of off topic but not really. For those with experience building. What would be your guesstimate of cost to create an RV site on your land (assuming zoning allows it etc). Basically a 10'x40' concrete pad, sewer connection which would go into a septic system, drill well for water and spigot at the concrete pad and power with a 50amp connection on a pedestal at the pad.
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      03-24-2021, 08:25 PM   #47
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We provided supporting documentation to back that number up including confirmation from the city, in writing, that the driveway will need to be widened to 18', confirmation from the fire marshal that the house will need a fire suppression system as it's more than 300' from the nearest hydrant, and a bid from our builder to do the driveway work which involved a large retaining wall and removal of several 100+' tall trees. Also wrapped up in all of this is the city re-assesed the property at the sellers request and dropped the value of it significantly.
All this for a 1/2-acre lot? You've got to be kidding me!

We finished building our house about two-years ago. We bought 6-acres about 34-years ago intending to build and never had the the time. When we had enough time we didn't have enough money. Kept promising the kids until they were grown and gone. Finding a contractor who was not totally unreasonable on pricing took two-years once we made the decision to just get it done. Our driveway was put in 30-years ago and I actually had to petition the state to get an opening wide enough for truck traffic not to damage the culvert pipe. The drive is 1/4-mile long. We're had to complete our well and also had to do a septic study prior to getting a building permit. Took about a year to build our 2,400 sq-ft, two-story 3-bed/2-bath house on a full basement with 2-car attached garage, bonus rooms over the garage, and another over master bedroom. Clearing of trees for septic also opened our view to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the only requirement from the county in sighting the house the well had to be a certain distance from our neighbor's septic and our house had to be a certain distance from a creek that was part of the local reservoir's watershed.

I was the designer, putting my architecture degree to use 40-years later. My contractor did the CAD for truss estimate and construction drawings, structural micro-lams, etc, and built everything else pretty much by hand.

We're 10-minutes from a major university but in the country. It sounds to me like you need to move further into the country if this is the set of hoops you have to jump through to "develop" a half-acre lot! Wow, I guess I have to consider myself very lucky and we are finally enjoying the home of our dreams.
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      03-24-2021, 08:42 PM   #48
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Yea I was scared to ask how much a 1/2 acre site outside the city was that they offered $75K less.
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      03-24-2021, 10:42 PM   #49
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All this for a 1/2-acre lot? You've got to be kidding me!...It sounds to me like you need to move further into the country if this is the set of hoops you have to jump through to "develop" a half-acre lot!
If we were retired, sure. But we arent. My wife owns a small business and is in a 10 year commercial lease with 5 yers left on the personal guarantee. My job, while 100% at home for the last year, is going to eventually require me back in the office so we have to consider proximity of the house to our work. Getting "further out in the country" means significantly more time commuting. I'm not willing to make that trade-off.
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      03-24-2021, 10:44 PM   #50
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Yea I was scared to ask how much a 1/2 acre site outside the city was that they offered $75K less.
Yeah you probably dont want to know. Cheaper than 1/2 an acre in the Bay Area, Boston, or NYC.
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      03-24-2021, 10:58 PM   #51
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Yeah you probably dont want to know. Cheaper than 1/2 an acre in the Bay Area, Boston, or NYC.
I guess, I'm from DC area so I get it, even there I can go 30 minutes out and get 1/2 acre for $200K. We are looking at 5 acres 30 minutes outside Richmond VA, and $125K is enough.
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      03-24-2021, 11:02 PM   #52
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Yea I was scared to ask how much a 1/2 acre site outside the city was that they offered $75K less.
Just the $75k is more than we would want to spend on 5+ acres
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      03-24-2021, 11:11 PM   #53
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Yeah you probably dont want to know. Cheaper than 1/2 an acre in the Bay Area, Boston, or NYC.
LOL. Give it time.
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      03-24-2021, 11:47 PM   #54
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LOL. Give it time.
Here you go. $1.5M for a 2,000 sqft empty lot. LOL

https://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Franci...home/174563325
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      03-25-2021, 12:20 AM   #55
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Yep, that's crazy. I'm telling you though, Seattle has gotten ridiculously expensive over the years and will continue to do so.
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      03-25-2021, 07:33 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by DETRoadster View Post
If we were retired, sure. But we arent. My wife owns a small business and is in a 10 year commercial lease with 5 yers left on the personal guarantee. My job, while 100% at home for the last year, is going to eventually require me back in the office so we have to consider proximity of the house to our work. Getting "further out in the country" means significantly more time commuting. I'm not willing to make that trade-off.
When you said you were tired of living in the city I just figured you were moving far enough away to go "country". Obviously urban sprawl being what it is, you've only made it to the 'Burbs!

Happy to be in one of the wealthiest counties in our state, proximate to the finest university in the state, and still with what I will from here forward call affordable land and housing! Thanks for the comparison. Now I know why we're growing so fast—and fighting to keep those West Coasters away!!
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      03-25-2021, 08:32 AM   #57
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Yep, that's crazy. I'm telling you though, Seattle has gotten ridiculously expensive over the years and will continue to do so.
A tide raises all ships, right? We'd be F'd an unable to do this if it wasnt for our existing home increasing in value by nearly 250% since we bought it 10 years ago.

My wife keeps a dozen or so houses saved to her favorites on Redfin so we can watch how the final sale price aligns with the asking price. There's one in particular that we were kinda kicking ourselves for not making an offer on. Beautiful 1960 mid century modern on a killer lot. Great location. Mostly updated but the floor plan was kinda wacky with no actual "master" bedroom or bath. Just 1 room that was slightly larger than the others and no attached bath. My wife didnt like the kitchen re-do. No garage. Basement could have been converted to a shop but was totally finished so kinda sad to rip out perfectly good carpet and stuff just to stuff in a woodworking shop. Lots of room to build a detached garage and shop though. So it was like "Yeah, we COULD make this work but we'd need to dump a few hundred grand into it to make it work for us long term." It was listed for just over $1M. It sold for $1.5M! $500k over asking! WTF. Thats was when we thought "screw this, we will build."

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When you said you were tired of living in the city I just figured you were moving far enough away to go "country". Obviously urban sprawl being what it is, you've only made it to the 'Burbs!
We want it ALL! We want to be on a quiet lot, surrounded by trees, but still want a neighborhood where we can walk the dogs and meet people. We want amenities close by but we dont want to deal with the BS in Seattle. It's honestly Seattle in particular and its asinine politics and inability to enforce the laws re drugs and other illegal activities. Our favorite park is totally overrun with tents and is no longer safe. We are just waiting for the motorhomes to show up on our street and want to GTFO before that happens. You go 1 town over, to literally any city outside Seattle, and there's an immediate improvement.
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      03-25-2021, 08:53 AM   #58
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When you said you were tired of living in the city I just figured you were moving far enough away to go "country". Obviously urban sprawl being what it is, you've only made it to the 'Burbs!

Happy to be in one of the wealthiest counties in our state, proximate to the finest university in the state, and still with what I will from here forward call affordable land and housing! Thanks for the comparison. Now I know why we're growing so fast—and fighting to keep those West Coasters away!!
We may be neighbors soon again lol. And its not as affordable as it was 10 years ago, still a great town but no longer "sleepy" as we got there in 2003.
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      03-25-2021, 09:29 AM   #59
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      03-25-2021, 10:46 AM   #60
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I wish you luck with your own build, a custom home is a dream of ours (one day). I just read an article on the current lumber shortage and prices are up as high as 188% compared to 2019. I wonder if your builder has taken that into consideration?
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      03-25-2021, 01:00 PM   #61
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I wish you luck with your own build, a custom home is a dream of ours (one day). I just read an article on the current lumber shortage and prices are up as high as 188% compared to 2019. I wonder if your builder has taken that into consideration?
They have, yes. And the costs are staggering. Everything is more expensive. Thanks COVID.

We won't realistically be building for another year so hopefully the pandemic and sky high materials costs are in the rear view mirror by then.
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      03-25-2021, 07:23 PM   #62
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We may be neighbors soon again lol. And its not as affordable as it was 10 years ago, still a great town but no longer "sleepy" as we got there in 2003.
We've lived on the same road for over 36-years. We built our new house just across the street (and 1/4-mile back off the road) from the house in which we raised our kids—and still own. Everyone thinks lumber prices are at their peak when they start a construction project, but they seldom go down. Nearly three-years ago our 2x4s came from Austria and our 2x6s from Sweden. Nicest looking lumber I've seen in years!

An honest general contractor was the most important part of our project. We built the house for a bit over half of the first estimates we were getting from prominent homebuilders in the area.
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      03-26-2021, 05:24 PM   #63
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Few other minor things I wish we had in this house - insulation between floors for sound proofing, insulation in all bathroom walls (for the same thing!!) and locate the main plumbing stack between the first and second floors where is can't be heard when in use.
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      03-26-2021, 08:38 PM   #64
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Few other minor things I wish we had in this house - insulation between floors for sound proofing, insulation in all bathroom walls (for the same thing!!) and locate the main plumbing stack between the first and second floors where is can't be heard when in use.
My first house was from the 1930s and had undergone many questionable and no-doubt unpermitted upgrades. Whomever added the 2nd story ran the waste pipe for the bathroom through the coat closet in the livingroom down below. It ran straight down through the closet then did a 90 degree turn to horizontal in the crawlspace just below the closet floor. When sitting on the livingroom sofa if someone flushed a big turd upstairs you could hear it hit bottom in the elbow down below the closet floor. My roommate used to yell "Bombs away" before flushing if he knew I was in the livingroom.

Last edited by DETRoadster; 03-26-2021 at 10:40 PM..
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      03-29-2021, 08:16 AM   #65
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Few other minor things I wish we had in this house - insulation between floors for sound proofing, insulation in all bathroom walls (for the same thing!!) and locate the main plumbing stack between the first and second floors where is can't be heard when in use.
Agree. As said above I am finishing renovation next door and while it will be rental I did the same with the sound insulation. Also did it for some walls between bedrooms where there wasn't a closet between them, or where there wasn't 2 bathrooms back to back (tile walls are pretty good at soundproofing). When you read the specs on Rockwool sound compared to fiberglass there isn't a huge difference (still better) and there are endless debates and videos on Youtube but with labor essentially the same (for me was DIY), and the cost is only slightly more went with Rockwool.

While a rental it was just too simple and cheap not to add the sound insulation and no matter what wear and tear the place takes over time I figure these items will be hard to damage or wear out. With the plumbing stack, it does come down a wall that I thought you would be able to hear it so that call is heavy insulated, then vinyl sound mat. Toilets are going in now so haven't been able to tell how well I did yet.

I'm sure all the sound insulation was less than $1k (DIY). Ceiling of 1st and 2nd floor, wall between 2 bedrooms, 1/2 bath on 1st floor, some around one of the other bathrooms.
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      04-02-2021, 09:50 PM   #66
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Good news, gang. We reached a deal with the seller for a reduced sale price given the amount of $$$ required to widen the driveway and run utilities. We signed papers today and close on Wednesday! Time to call the architect and move into the next phase of the project.
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