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keithan_rogers

Just got Home Construction Quote - Sanity Check needed

Keithan Rogers
5 years ago

Just got our quote from the builder - who is carrying our contract. Necessary details:

1/2 acre lot, in town but on top of a hill with only 3 other lots - killer view, fair price.

3,300 sq. ft house, 3 bed, 3 bath, custom commercial 2nd kitchen, huge office, 1,000 sq ft. garage.


Just looking for a sanity check on these figures. I think they are very reasonable, but our final target budget is 650k so we're hoping we will have room to mess around with things. We aren't going to plan on going any higher than that even if we can - if we get more net from our current home sale we'll just use it to lower our mortgage.


Can I get a sanity check on these numbers? Market is Eastern Washington State btw - this is a semi decent comp - COMP


Here is the price breakdown we got:

445k base home

112k land

18k Excise tax/closing cost

23k Realtor fees

17k Construction loan fees

Total 618k


Allowances:

3.50/sq. ft. tile in bathrooms

22.00/sq yd carpet in bedrooms

4.50 sq/ft laminate/hardwood in rest of house

2,600 Lighting

15.00/sq. ft backsplash

3,850 Appliances

10k cabinets

2,500 front yard



Comments (107)

  • NYCish
    5 years ago
    All I see is Red Flag City. Run away

    Also Viking does not, I repeat, not equal wolf. In no way shape or form. If you’d like to realllllly get to know your local service/repair guy, by all means, go with Viking. He or she will be out to your place so many times over 5 years you will fund his kids college education.
  • User
    5 years ago
    "I built a great house"

    cpartist, keep telling yourself that lie. anyone who has seen that disaster of a floor plan knows that there is no way it's a great house.

    have you found a way to not trap your spouse in the master bedroom whenever you are doing laundry?
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  • Sara
    5 years ago
    I will reassure you that we’ve been able to get pendants we love from a local lighting shop-for about 20% of the price quoted. Up thread. We spent about $1300 for 3 bathroom sconces, three island pendants, a larger light over kitchen sink, and two bedside swing arm. It’s definitely possible! And while we splurged on a Bluestar range, our Bosch DW is $700 and Frigidaire is $1300.

    But I will also agree that the allowances do seem low-and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in our remodel it’s that everything will cost more than you expect.
  • Keithan Rogers
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    We aren't doing wolf or viking - but they are similar prices and offer similar features. Whether one or the other is better isn't really a concern of mine because the likes of GE or samsung are plenty for us.


    I appreciate the constructive feedback :) Lots of these are pretty personal preferences though - or possibly the sorts of things that build an award winning house. We're not concerned with that - we've lived in lots of places and know exactly what we want.


    1-2 rooms deep is not an option on our lot - we need certain spaces to be certain sizes and if we were to make it 1 or 2 deep we'd have a house that was 200+ feet long. Doesn't work on a 150x150 lot very well. Same reason we aren't doing an external garage.


    I've never seen a house that didn't have a visible garage where I live. It's a rural area - filled with ruralites. We love garages, the more the better. Hiding the garage sounds like a city thing and is certainly personal preference. Million dollar homes here have more garage space than house space...


    Island is 5x10 - why would you use a corner to prep? Corner counter space is about as useless as it gets to me - its where you stick the coffee pot. The corner pantry may not be a great plan - but it will be easy to exclude if we want - or even to extend it into the garage.


    We wont need to walk around anything to get to our master - that nook space is 12 feet wide and even if you cant beeline to the room...not a big deal.


    Sink to fridge is an odd nitpick - but again its not something we are bothered by - its far more of a pain in the ass to not be able to open your fridge all the way and stand in front of it.


    We have a corner fireplace now. It's fine. It's easier to decorate around for us - because its an additional focal point. Our badass theater system and the homemade furniture its part of is far more of a focal point. An additional reason for the corner is we will be having a mason come and do a real fireplace - having it on an external wall makes far more sense and corners aren't useful spaces.


    You're right about the bedroom stuff - not really any way around that, but we don't entertain after kids go to sleep at our house. If that ever becomes important to us (it wont) we can use the office or outside to do it.


    The mudroom is 8 feet wide. Plenty of room for 4 people to move around. We don't march like ants through our doors.


    The spousal stuff is also not an issue. We have the same sleep schedule and I use a CPAP - a toilet flushing isnt a bother.


    -----------------


    The top of the house is facing north-northwest. We do not want sunrise or sunset to be beaming into our windows - we will get just enough natural light as is - the ceiling is vaulted very high. We may add windows but the largest issue is when its over 100 degrees outside we don't want extra sun heating the house up.


    As far as bathrooms go - I'm not sure if its clear but we will have cabinets in the bathrooms - I don't know what you would need a linen closet in them all for - plenty of space in 5 or 6 feet of cabinet to store anything you'd actually need. A towel can be used for a week, you don't need 20 towels and months of TP in your bathroom. We're pretty minimalist apparently.


    I don't care if my kids hear plumbing noises or get locked out accidentally. I grew up eating top ramen and spinach and got my ass whipped every day - if hearing plumbing noises is a bother I've done a great job with my kids :)


    There is some empty space in the entry - we rotated that bathroom out of the entry to eat some of the space. A dining room is an option, but we'll more than likely do some cool entry furniture - we have this super old tiffany's alabaster chandelier we may drop above a table there or something just for looks. I'm sure there are things we could change to improve efficiency somehow - but we also have looked at something like 300 houses, talked to most builders, gone through several floorplans, and my wife and I blindly edited the current floorplan and we basically made the same edits without eachother knowing - so I'd say we're pretty solid as far as what we personally want.


    On storage - this may be one of my concerns - but the garage is massive, and we will have attic spaces above the garage and bedrooms - if we somehow run out of storage we'll use those. But our garage is 35ft deep - there is a lot of room for storage - especially of the overhead variety.


    -------------------


    Gallore2112 - Finally a normal person! A 1,500 dollar fridge is high end to me lol. If you had asked me as a kid if I'd be making six figures and building a house worth over a half a million I would have told you all about the gang I was trying to join or the things I had stolen or whatever. I like nice things, but I'm heavily tempered by a sense of what I actually need. Not a darn thing in my fridge needs to be sub zero, and I could buy a new 1k fridge every decade and still not spend as much o.0


    I talked to my wife and mentioned the lighting to her and she was like, "are we not going to home depot" - I love that woman :D

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    And these are regularly featured on an AIA tour of homes.

    Of course some architects graduate at the top of their class and understand good design and others graduate near the bottom.


    I don’t think it’s as simple as your check list. For example, I intentionally have one very large exterior wall without windows. First floor = garage and kitchen (where I need the space for cabinets). No view except for an ugly wood fence that the neighbor put up.

    Second floor: Home theater (screen on that wall) and game room where I need that wall space for pinball machines (windows would interfere). Floor to ceiling window wall (22ft x 10ft) with view of the very wooded backyard in kitchen and game room.

    And obviously your house was designed with you, your family and your lot in mind. Big difference than just plopping rooms in like a tetris game.

    Like you, I do have some things that defy my own comments but I made sure they work for me and for my DH. For example, I do have windows on two walls in my bedroom except the windows over the bed don't open. They are my stained glass windows.

    DH's study has windows on 3 walls and the two walls with windows that open are east/west, which as we know is the worst orientation! (Luckily he likes to keep his shades down all day and prefers keeping the room dark. That would drive me nuts. LOL)

    The OP’s design has features that some think are awful (jack/jill) but others (me for example) really like (I’ve had one for almost 20 years and it’s a great concept for many reasons). To just say “that’s terrible” as if there was no thought behind that is weak.

    Notice I didn't say that. I said I don't like them and explained why but I also mentioned how it's a personal decision. Maybe reread what I wrote. :)

    In general, this forum is fairly predictable and often vicious when discussing floorplans (I wouldn’t ask for floorplan reviews here). Also aloof, as a fridge for $1500 is considered the ghetto low end I guess...

    No one said a $1500 fridge is low end. Why are you putting words in people's mouths?

    And as for floor plans as I mentioned in another thread, I'd rather people tell me what they see and then i can make an informed decision and decide whether I agree with the posters or not. Because I actually listened to those who posted on my threads, and didn't get my tail feathers ruffled, my house is wonderful to live in and flows beautifully.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    The best of luck in your new build. :)

  • Lisa G
    5 years ago
    I live in Spokane so I can probably relate a bit more than some of the others.

    Your allowances are low for some things...appliances will probably cost you extra since a mainstream fridge (Samsung, LG, Kitchenaid) alone is about $2k minimum. Flooring budget is fine for a higher end laminate if labor doesn't need to be factored in. Whichever carpet you choose, definitely upgrade to a nicer quality pad. I feel like the tile budget is really low unless you're buying Home Depot type tile but you can definitely make the budget work if need be. Front yard landscaping allowance is just so iffy depending on what you want. We have a smaller lot (1/4 acre) and backyard sprinkler install was about $1600 (front was already done) and that was one of the cheaper bids we got. If you're adding concrete curbing, rock, plants, sod, etc it will blow your allowance out of the water. If you are willing to do some of the work yourself I'd focus on using the allowance for sprinklers & hydroseed or sod and do the rest yourself.
    Keithan Rogers thanked Lisa G
  • Lisa G
    5 years ago
    As for the floorplan, my personal concerns about it are the centralized bathroom being in a non-discreet area...sounds. Also, the top right bedroom is going to be able to hear the TV on or talking in the family room so it's not ideal for a kid's room to share that wall. I also hate J&J bathrooms because they have to remember to lock and unlock two doors every time (but I understand you like them). The master bedroom entry is weird to have it directly open to the breakfast nook. It needs some sort of alcove/turned entry to create some separation. You don't want to be staring directly into your bedroom while eating.
    Keithan Rogers thanked Lisa G
  • bry911
    5 years ago

    I suggest you take a couple of weeks away from your plan, it really helped me. Personally, it just seems off to me. I see a lot of wasted space, but am struggling to read dimensions and labels, so I don't want to say for sure that they are wasted.

    Specifically the square dancing space between the bath and the bedroom caught my eye, as well as the long hallway to one bedroom.

    I agree that your garage is going to dominate the house and question the appeal of this.

    I really am not trying to be rude, but when searching for a way to express my concern I keep coming back to the time I packed a dozen odd sized books into one standard sized moving box. It worked, the books got moved but there was no denying the inefficiency.

  • David Cary
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Home building forums are not filled with people that buy the cheapest fridge from Home Depot or even really middle of the road. Building a custom home is a luxury that perhaps the top 10% of income levels can indulge in.

    Rural areas can be different of course but still isn't the value option.

    Have you figured out what the comp fridge is? It isn't $1000.

    My last $1300 fridge lasted 5 years. No one expects a decade anymore with modern base appliances. My Subzeros are used every day - and every day I appreciate the quality. My wife is super cheap also ... except for the Subs. She is culinary trained and worked as a chef for many years.

    I would argue that the floor plan is pretty terrible. I am gently saying this is a bit of "you don't know what you don't know". The human creature (and most mammals) crave light from the sun in a deep and emotional way.

    We can debate Jack and Jill baths (we have one) but the desire for sunlight is universal.

    We sometimes debate front load garages but the vast majority of design focused opinions is that they are the easy way out. But hey - I live in the city. I totally get the snow thing so I won't fret about that. But designers will always tell you to minimize it. The average person appreciates the minimizing but most don't even realize it. They will find the house cozy, homey, cute ... and not realize it is because there isn't a huge garage door out front.

    I think the view wall is terrible. If the view is so spectacular then have some windows with no obstructions. We built an ocean front house for $250k. The LR is about 20 feet long and has a 14 foot wide by 8 foot tall window area (3 fixed windows with transoms). The couch faces it. The attached kitchen/dining has another 8 feet wide of window.

    It sounds like you are in an extreme climate and you want to build tall ceilings? To get more light? From the North?

    There is no debate or elitism - that great room area lacks natural sunlight.

    Lastly, people do things regionally that are pretty terrible but that doesn't make it ideal - like apparently Dallas toilets ... and most other things about Dallas homes. Think outside your regional box - this is the largest purchase that you will ever make. Ignoring forum advice because you don't agree would be a close minded thing to do.

  • millworkman
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    "We're not concerned with that - we've lived in lots of places and know exactly what we want."


    No offense but are you looking for advice or confirmation that your entire plan is all that and a bag of chips? I agree with bry911, step back for a couple of weeks and try and look at it then with a fresh set of eyes.

  • Jennifer Koe
    5 years ago

    Floor, lighting, appliance and cabinet allowances seem very low to me.

  • User
    5 years ago
    keithan,

    please do not respond to this thread any longer I beg you. you are happy with your house.

    what you don't know being new is that there is a handful of people on this board that spend a great amount of time here. sometimes it gets slow and the best way for to drum up activity is to bash a floorplan and just keep in going, whether or not the feedback was requested.

    so if you don't want this to continue, just don't respond.
  • Nidnay
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Here’s what I don’t understand.....you titled your thread “Just got Home Construction Quote - Sanity Check needed”. You posted the builders list of certain items with his quote of what these items would cost, and I believe that just about every response indicated his quote seemed very low. Maybe we all misunderstood what you meant by the fact that you wanted a sanity check, because you then proceeded to explain why his quote was accurate and how we were basically all wrong. Why did you even post your concerns?? It seems that your mind was already made up before you even posted here as indicated by the fact that whatever was suggested to you has been rejected outright (even the suggestions from individuals with very moderate tastes and prices seem to have been dismissed....I’m not talking about $2600 pendants here). The link you posted with photos as an example of the types of finishes you were looking for seems incongruous with the quote from your builder (although I wasn’t able to view all photos because there was a required sign in to view them all).

    So....I truly don’t understand why you would post your concerns if virtually nothing anyone says is seriously considered or has any meaning to you?


    I am not talking about your floor plan BTW and whether or not it’s good or bad...this is just concerning the request in your original post regarding construction/build costs.

  • Kate E
    5 years ago
    I personally think the allowances are too low unless you want super basic, builder basic fixtures, finishes, etc. we just finished our 1600 sq ft ranch in the Midwest - we did not choose ANYTHING high end- and our costs are higher than those allowances.

    A few examples - we bought all our own light fixtures (4 ceiling fans, multiple pendant lights, several flush mounts, etc.) We didn’t buy anything fancy (everything we bought was mid price range from menards or Home Depot, we shopped sales, etc. we spent at least $1500 in just light fixtures, maybe closer to 2k. Then we had a $2500 electrical buyup to add a few extra recessed lights, additional outlets and switches, and USB ports in two master bedroom outsells. Nothing fancy, no dimmers or fancy switch plates.

    Flooring - we have laminate throughout entire main floor - again middle of the road (we love them, BTW), and the cost to cover the entire first floor minus 2 bathrooms was around 7k.

    Appliances -we got a side by side Maytag fridge, electric range, microwave, range hood, and washer/dryer- top load, not the fancy ones - and WITH our 10% discount it was 5k.

    I’d sit down before you go any further and select ALL your finishes, fixtures, cabinets, etc. get exact figures - they will still change a bit but you’ll ensure you’re in the right ballpark.
  • Kate E
    5 years ago
    Also -the $2500 for front yard, what does that include? We just got a quote for our quarter acre lot to do the following: seed front, sides, back yard (our backyard is very small after our patio goes in, with our heavily wooded lot), basic mulch and boxwood style bushes on the front with edging, and one or two arborvitae, roughly 4-5 ft tall. The quote was $3000-$3500. And our jaws dropped it was so low! Where we used to live, closer to Chicago, we spend 6k on just the bushes, trees, edging- yard was already in. (Granted then we did river rock and now we’re switching to mulch- so that was probably a big part of the price drop!)
  • bry911
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    please do not respond to this thread any longer I beg you. you are happy with your house.
    This is simply bad advice, much better advice is to carefully consider the critiques you are getting here, whether or not you make changes.

    what you don't know being new is that there is a handful of people on this board that spend a great amount of time here. sometimes it gets slow and the best way for to drum up activity is to bash a floorplan and just keep in going, whether or not the feedback was requested.

    Every forum develops a role or character, this forum's character is to critique plans and celebrate built homes. There might be several of us, myself included, who like a good argument now and then, but don't discount the value of the feedback. This board will give you things to consider and may result in improvements if you take the time to consider them.

    D E is also rather new here, and mistakenly believes he or she is the first person to battle the status quo. In reality, there is always a D E here, and it always goes the same way, they get upset about the feedback they got and decide to champion the innocent from the evils of criticism, most are even planning to owner build, and then half way through construction they disappear, some few eventually come back having been converted to the dark side... ask me how I know.

  • wiscokid
    5 years ago

    bry911 - the term you're looking for is "white knight", saving all the poor damsels in distress from the evils of mean internet strangers.


    Look, OP, you asked for feedback, you got feedback. Too bad it wasn't the kind you were looking for. And, yes, those allowances are low. It is literally the business model of builders everywhere - suck 'em in with low allowances, then upgrade, cha-ching, upgrade, cha-ching, upgrade, cha-ching. Next thing you know, you're $25k over just to get in the door. Be realistic and honest with yourself and your spouse, lord knows your builder won't be.


    The "aw shucks, we don't need none of that fancy stuff" thing may be true, but, at the end of the day, you're spending a huge chunk of time and money to build a home, why not take a breath and make sure the floor plan best suits your needs? A couple of tweaks here and there up front will be worth it in the long run. There are a ton of pros (and enthusiastic and knowledgeable amateurs, who I think are the real gems here) who can help you ask the right questions of yourself, your spouse, and your builder. For free.

  • chicagoans
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Agree with others that this estimate looks low (very.) I'd ask for some specifics on brands. For example, ask what window brand he uses and make sure that's in the contract -- cheap windows will cost you more in the long run as they aren't as energy efficient as good windows.

  • shead
    5 years ago

    I wish I knew how to tag someone because bry911's last paragraph needs to make ARG's list for the year!!!

    But on that note, I think some of DE's latest comments must have been eaten by the cookie monster. I wish I'd gotten to read them so the later replies make sense.

  • shead
    5 years ago

    To the OP, the allowances look incredibly low but the overall price isn't too far off from what 3300 sf would cost in my rural area of KY. I'm just concerned that the allowance part is what is going to bite you in the end. I spent $2500 on modest, low end light fixtures 15 years ago on a new build (2600 sf). That was Home Depot builder basic with recessed lights. It all adds up more quickly than you realize.

    I don't seen any allowances for plumbing fixtures. Is that included in the base price? Will you be doing any tile showers?

    Do yourself a huge favor and go browsing and look at appliances. Visit a showroom and determine IF you really want builder basic slide in ranges or if you want something a little nicer. Maybe double ovens even. In our last project, DH and I went to look at appliances thinking we'd go very basic. We ended up spending $7K on a double oven, 36" gas rangetop, and warming drawer. Our fridge and dishwasher were another $2500-$3000. So, easily $10K on appliances and those were middle of the road KA rangetop and warming drawer, Bosch DW, Samsung refrigerator, and Electrolux Icon double oven. We LOVED those things. I've never felt a need for a SZ fridge, either, but some do. YOU and your wife just need to decide what's most important to you.

    Good luck!

  • User
    5 years ago



  • chicagoans
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Where are the killer views, and does the plan take full advantage of those? Is the elevation pleasing to you from every angle?

    Have you laid out furniture, to scale, and determined if the room placement and sizes will work for you? (e.g., dining room, breakfast nook and entry to master, etc.) What do you plan for the space just above the entrance, to the right of the powder room?

    Do you have kids (or plan to), and if so do you have a mudroom adequately sized for sports gear, backpacks, shoes, jackets, etc? If you have a pet (or plan to) is there a place for pet dishes, or to let them in/out without going through the garage? Have you planned your route through the house for common activities such as bringing in groceries, coming in from doing yard work (with mucky shoes), doing laundry (carrying to/from bedrooms), bringing food to/from an outdoor grill, kids coming in from playing outside and needing to use the restroom, etc.

    Please know that this is not to bash your plan, just some things to think about as you consider a major investment of money and time. If you've considered all this and determined that the plan works, I'm glad for you.

  • Caroline Hamilton
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My husband and I have built homes and bought, renovated and flipped numerous homes over the years. Some of our flip homes only require basic appliances due to their price range and still your appliance package is laughbly low. I certainly would not put entry level appliances in a $650k house. Not to mention the specs for an entry level fridge will probably not match up with your space. The comp house you showed has $15K of appliances easily. And btw we have both Viking and SZ in our personal kitchen and in no way are they comparable.

  • User
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    The biggest problem with the design is it's a "plop" house. It really isn't designed with the site or the family in mind. A great view should be framed like a work of art. This--mostly ignores that concept.


    A great home approach and entry is like a meeting at a party. The host leads you to a group or a person with which you have something in common, references those things, and leaves you to get to know each other. This approach doesn't leave you knowing where the party host is located at all. Instead you first see the sumo wrestler at the buffet table, with no one else in sight. You're left feeling unwelcomed, and having to awkwardly make your way through and barge into groups, hoping that you're finding some kindred spirits.

    Garages are not pretty things. Getting a side load garage on acreage should be among the top priorities of any custom build. In fact, most of the nicer neighborhoods have covenants requiring that for a reason. It elevates the look of any home to not to have to see the big sumo wrestler as the first thing you notice.

  • AnnKH
    5 years ago

    So well put, LWO!

    If I had killer views and some space, I think I would want to start with an L shape - especially if the views were to the north, in a cold climate. If the "peak" of the L was to the north, two long walls would face the view, to the NE and NW, instead of one. You would also gain some extra morning and afternoon sunlight.

    If the "valley" of the L faced north, you would have views from even more places: in two directions, on each side of the L (I'm not sure I'm making myself clear).

    In both cases, the garage doors are not as prominent as you approach the house.

  • shead
    5 years ago

    I just now really looked at your plan and it's not as bad as I had thought it was going to be based upon some of the comments. The powder room is awkward, though, and placed as an afterthought. I also don't like the long, narrow hallway to the secondary bedrooms. Turning the corner with large furniture might be a little problematic.


    Do you really need a tub in the master bath? A lot of people are foregoing those these days and opting for a really nice walk-in shower.


    This may have already been addressed, but if you have a commercial kitchen, I'm assuming that you have some sort of business involved. Wouldn't it make sense to have a door going between the garage and the commercial kitchen for convenience?

  • Keithan Rogers
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Whew this is getting long - thanks for all the responses lol. Sorry if I seem combative at points - most of you guys seem that way too!


    Here are some of the standard finishes to answer a bunch of questions:

    U-28 or better windows per design - lifetime warranty

    Cement lap siding

    stone accents

    Cedar ceilings on overhangs

    Comp shingles with lifetime warranty

    9" or taller ceilings per plan

    R-21 or better wall insulation

    insulated garage

    r-49 attic insulation

    r-38 crawlspace insulation

    insulated steel garage doors

    interior garage finished

    undermount sinks throughout

    faucets throughout

    Pex plumbing

    tankless water heater or 75 gallon

    long toilets

    Smart thermostats

    Quartz or granite counters in baths, kitchen, utility + 4-6" backsplash

    5" baseboards, wrapped windows/doors throughout



    Labor is not a factor in any of the allowances, I emailed the builder about checking the lot to see if a side entry garage is possible - but to maximize our yard space we want a minimal front yard and with an easement and standoff distances we probably can't fit a driveway and point the house towards the view.


    I did take a hard look at the design - I shrank that center bathroom a little bit - but it needs to be attached to my wife's second kitchen because her employees need a separate bathroom (whenever she has some, we're planning ahead).


    Storage isn't a huge concern because that garage is 32' deep - kids gear and stuff will be in their rooms or in there.


    The hallway was an addition so the kids rooms don't open into the main living space - and so we have a long uninterrupted wall for our entertainment junk.


    The island is 5x10 with an 18" overhand on two sides - all the same level.


    Breakfast nook is 10'x17' - plenty big enough.


    I asked the builder about the master door - it may be weird right there - but it will be a barn door to - and closed when we aren't in there.


    I also asked if we could better use the space near the entryway - its 10'x13' but shrinking the bathroom and moving the door will make it seem different. Maybe make it a storage space at some point? We are also planning on building a loft in the future - so this is where the stairs will go and the den will become a theatre.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    Not combative but blunt. ;)

    U-28 or better windows per design - lifetime warranty

    What brand of window? They're just telling you the insulation factor of the window, not the brand. A crappy brand can have a low U rating but still not last more than a few years. Windows are one of the most important items in the house and brand does matter in this case. Don't skimp on cheap windows.

    Cement lap siding

    Again which brand. Some brands have had issues. And for aesthetics how wide is the siding since labor goes up with a smaller profile.

    stone accents

    Once again are we talking simulated stone or real stone? If simulated, again what brand? Again that matters because the cheaper stuff looks fake, and cheap,

    Cedar ceilings on overhangs

    What grade cedar?

    Comp shingles with lifetime warranty

    Again what brand? A builder brand or a quality brand and what type of lifetime warranty. Some have so many clauses they're not worth the paper they're printed on.

    R-21 or better wall insulation

    insulated garage

    r-49 attic insulation

    r-38 crawlspace insulation

    Check to see what is minimum for your area and what would be considered good. Most builders do the minimum to meet code.

    interior garage finished

    How is it finished? What type of flooring? Walls? Windows?

    undermount sinks throughout

    That says nothing. What type of undermount sink? Stainless? If stainless, what gauge? If not stainless, what material?

    faucets throughout

    Oh goodie. Faucets. What brand? and even within brands there are bargain basement ones made with plastic interiors that will fall apart in a few years and others that are made with interior ceramic parts.

    tankless water heater or 75 gallon

    Again what brand? Gas or electric? Etc.

    long toilets

    What the heck is a long toilet? Again what brands?

    Smart thermostats

    Brand? How does it relate to the heating system?

    Quartz or granite counters in baths, kitchen, utility + 4-6" backsplash

    So the old style backsplash which no one wants anymore. And are we talking about level 1 granite and quartz or something more?

    5" baseboards, wrapped windows/doors throughout

    What the heck is a wrapped window and door? What style of baseboard? What material is the baseboard made from?

    Basically this list means nothing until you get more details.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Unfortunately you're still not listening. You can have this house or for probably the same money or even less, you can have a house that lives fabulously, has better flow and doesn't waste space. However you have to be open minded and you're not because you've been looking at these plans so long you can't see past the trees so to speak. Too bad.

    Do yourself a favor and do a search for architectrunnerguy and see how others fought the idea of redesigning what they thought were good plans and how he helped them create a plan that lived so much better and took advantage of special features, (like your views)

    Also, may I suggest you pick up the book The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka. I used a lot of her strategies in my house and it was quite an eye opener and a huge help. Yes the houses are a bit dated in design now, but the overall concepts are still excellent.

  • Nidnay
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Cpartist....I think he means elongated toilets and regarding the wrapped windows I assume he means his windows will be trimmed out with casing and sills and NOT just drywall returns?

  • shead
    5 years ago

    I think cpartist nailed it. Your builder is being intentionally vague in your contract/allowances because he has a certain profit margin to make. If his margin is still good, you *might* get better finishes/items in the end here and there but if something happens and his margins tank, guess what? You're getting cheap $49 kitchen faucets that fall apart in a year and cheap sinks and MDF moldings or you're paying expensive change order costs. Some builders will even charge you a change order if you choose a lesser priced item. The devil is in the details - you HAVE to get the details worked out now or it WILL bite you in the arse later.

  • BT
    5 years ago

    > What the heck is a wrapped window and door

    Cool down. Wrapped trim = aluminum wrapped exterior trim. Instead of more expensive PVC like azek.

  • Bri Bosh
    5 years ago
    OP I would challenge you to try to place furniture in your great room... particularly your dining table and couches, and see how they are going to fit considering the doorways and pathways around them...
  • Lyndee Lee
    5 years ago
    I see $40,000 in fees and only $10,000 for cabinets...seems upside down to me. I understand this is how the market plays out in your area, but the costs which don't add any dollars to the market value of the home seem quite high. Financing and transaction fees are always expensive, but that seems like a really sizable chunk of the total cost.
  • User
    5 years ago

    You know what, everything is fine. Move ahead! Keep posting telling us how everyone is wrong and how wonderfully building it’s going. Only, don’t be one of those that drops out about half way through, and never updates how all of those “challenges” and overruns ended up. Keep going so you can post how right you were and how wrong and stupid everyone else is. That seems to be a thing lately, so join in the trend.


    The only thing is, those folks that start out with that intention of proving everyone wrong, tend to be the loudest members of the warning chorus later. If they stick around, and have the guts to admit that maybe they didn’t know it all. The been there done that's try to keep people from repeating the same predictable mistakes that they naively and pridefully made.



  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 years ago

    Let's see . . . where is my green shirt?? And I haven't seen my green shirt in a long time.


  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Looks like its pretty much in the same place as your lost red shirt...


    Hint to OP: use two hinged doors for each closet and not the sliders. Mark will never find his shirts unless you open the closets to wider access by using two doors.

  • dsnine
    5 years ago

    Okay I snorted out loud at the shirt example but it’s such a good one - many people wouldn’t notice the closet doors being non-functional for the closet width by looking at the drawing, not realizing it wouldn’t live well.


    Switching the door style is such a simple change but vastly improves the utility of the space.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    Okay I snorted out loud at the shirt example but it’s such a good one - many people wouldn’t notice the closet doors being non-functional for the closet width by looking at the drawing, not realizing it wouldn’t live well.

    Switching the door style is such a simple change but vastly improves the utility of the space.

    And it's all those little things, plus the larger issues (site placement, interior and exterior flow, room placement, exterior elevations, etc) which is why we are constantly suggesting working with an architect or person of design talent.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 years ago

    I can't find my red jacket either.

  • David Cary
    5 years ago

    I think we can all agree the wrapped windows/doors lacks detail. I presumed it was about trim since it was listed next to trim.

    To OP - windows can be made of many materials - wood, vinyl, PVC, aluminum, aluminum wrapped on wood, vinyl wrapped on wood and probably many others that I haven't considered. The U value is just one factor. Honestly .28 is probably just code minimum.

    a 5x10 single level island. We can't get 60 inch slabs here so you are faced with a seam. Something to consider.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    It looks like a 6' x 12' island.

    I'm sorry, but this plan is so bad it is not worth getting a price on. Get rid of the designer and get rid of the builder, for your own protection.

  • wantsideas
    4 years ago

    Your allowances are too low. As others have said go shopping and price out items that you would put in your home. Take a single category like lighting. Does that allowance include any recessed lighting? Figure out every light fixture you will need in each room including closets, garage and the exterior lights. Then go to your store of choice and see what you can get for $2600.

  • artemis_ma
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Seems low to me, and I built with a budget in mind. DW was minimal (just had a good repair record, as hand washing my dishes is not actually evil if it comes down to that). Otherwise I went with what would work for me, appliance wise. Medium- end for them. That's just the appliances, and still over your allowance.


    Landscaping: that's a way-low quote. Personally, I decided to separate landscaping out from the GC and contracted that out myself, since my GC really didn't have any expertise in landscaping and upfront acknowledged that. You might not have that option where you are, but check on it.


  • artemis_ma
    4 years ago

    PS, unless you really really love it, do something other than carpet in the bedrooms. You can indeed have area rugs. Better material longevity .

  • msteraflora
    4 years ago

    Just went through this with my builder, your allowances are waaaaay too low, as were mine. Your plan has some functionality issues, as did mine. HOUZZ can be a great resource, I wish I had consulted here more throughout my build.

  • runnem
    4 years ago

    So I’m not really good enough with plans to Kano what’s wrong with it (hence why I’ve hired an architect!) but I can comment on low COL areas and low budget custom builds.

    My current appliances came in a package from The Brick: washer, dryer, fridge, stove, and microwave for 2500 tax included 9 years ago. No problems with any of them. So, it is possible. We will be upgrading appliances when we build but it’ll likely be another box store package.

    Our paint and flooring and lighting will most likely come from a Home Depot type store because unless I drive 6 hours, that’s what I have available and that’s what will fit our budget. Our vanities will come from Home Hardware or some such store. Thankfully we have a custom cabinet maker here so the kitchen cabinets are an area we want to splurge on.

    The majority of our money will go into the actual build. We are in northern Canada and so I want the orientation and heating/cooling and windows and insulation etc etc to be GOOD. I’m cool with plywood countertops for a while if we don’t have enough money to do soapstone like we hope, as long as my structural elements are the best we can afford. I don’t want a crappy roof and marble countertops.

  • Mrs Pete
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Just looking for a sanity check on these figures.

    I'm with the majority here. With this plan, you're already pretty close to your budget, and your allowances are high. If you move forward with this project, I think you will go over your budget ... badly. In just the way other people have outlined.

    Do yourself a favor and go shopping for a day looking at lighting, tile, backsplashes, appliances, carpeting, etc.

    Yes! Do some shopping and see you you're able to find what you want for these prices. That's a good measurement of the numbers.

    I'm really surprised at the 10k for cabinets, particularly since you have 2 kitchens.

    Yes, I've looked at several levels of cabinetry lately ... and you can't even do one DIY Ikea kitchen for 10K. Is that supposed to include countertops? I think you mentioned quartz somewhere? For 10K you're going to have a hard time getting laminate.

    The commercial kitchen is for food processing - its not going to be a commercial grade kitchen - commercial grade stuff is way overkill for the type of food my wife makes and the builder is just stubbing it.

    I don't get what you're doing here. Does she do catering? Or do you process deer? Does she need an oven? A showcase refrigerator? Seating for clients? You need to consider her specific needs.

    For example, I make wedding cakes ... I have well over 100 cake pans, and let's not even get started on my cake stands. What are her specific needs?

    I’m having a custom Amish cabinet maker do our kitchen and vanities, and we’re at about $24k.

    That sounds about right for custom cabinetry in modest-sized kitchen ... not super fancy-schmancy, but excellent quality and designed to fit your space. So, to the OP: This is reasonable. Not the imaginary 10K cabinetry allowance or your over-the-top number of 80K for cabinetry.

    And you're planning on two kitchens. One of them huge.

    I don’t see plumbing fixtures, counters, or hardware on your list and there is no specificity regarding any other materials (windows, doors, etc.). You have been given an extremely general and incomplete list.

    I was going to bring that up -- those are some big ticket items.

    We are beyond happy with the floor plan as is. "its poorly designed" isn't great criticism because what am I supposed to do with that?

    Okay, you're asking for ideas on how to improve things:

    - We don't see any exterior sketches here. With the width of this plan, I fear for the dimensions /heights to which this width may push this roof.

    - You have two entry doors on the front of the house, which can be confusing for guests ... note that personal guests will have to bypass the commercial kitchen entrance to reach the home entrance. It's just weird. I'm guessing that your wife will see clients in her kitchen? A door on the side of the house would be nicer all around. The driveway and layout don't seem to support both commercial and personal traffic.

    - I suspect this commercial kitchen needs storage to be hidden from the public.

    - Note that the closets in the foyer and the office have small doors ... this will lead to deep, dark hidden spaces on both sides. You need larger doors to make these closets functional.

    - You don't have windows on the side walls. Rooms are always nicer if light comes in from two sides ... your office and one bedroom could be improved in this way.

    - Definitely change the door to the powder room ... also change the pocket door to a hinge door; pocket doors are great for spots where the door stays open most of the time, whereas bathroom doors are opened /closed frequently. Also, why the world's smallest shower in this spot? You're talking about money ... the guy who visited our house recently wanted almost 7K to refurbish our shower. That's a lot of money for something that likely won't be used. And if clients are using this powder room, a shower is odd.

    - On the other hand, pocket doors would work well for the mudroom door and the door between the family kitchen and commercial kitchen ... because these doors will likely stay open most of the time.

    - Your laundry is in the middle of the house. Ideally dryers are located on exterior walls. This is cheaper to build and more fire safe. With a commercial kitchen, is one W/D enough?

    - Consider walking from the garage to the family kitchen pantry ... you must traverse the length of the mudrom, then backtrack through the kitchen. Could you go with a pass-through between the garage-pantry ... or the mudroom-pantry? Corner pantries are problematic ... note that opening the door closes off circulation through the kitchen. Overall, the kitchen isn't awful, but neither is it the kitchen of a serious cook; it's the kitchen you'd expect to find in a tract house. Perhaps that's okay because you have the commercial kitchen adjacent?

    - You have a wall at the end of the family kitchen cabinet run /prevent light from coming in. It's going to break up the space visually. With no exterior walls, the kitchen won't be the light-filled lovely place you probably want ... with or without that small wall.

    - I don't see how furniture will be laid out in the great room

    - ... and is that a dining room in this space too? One of my major pet peeves is two eating areas in the same space. That's opinion, but it seems weird to me to have two tables in view of one another ... PLUS you have island seating? Probably seating outside too? How many eating areas do you need?

    - Your breakfast room isn't large enough.

    - Is that the master bedroom off the kitchen? I assume the bed will be placed against the wall shared with the garage? So you'll have to walk around the bed while carrying laundry to the closet ... and then the closet door will be right next to one sleeping spouse's bedside. This just isn't good circulation. I'd try to move the master bath and closet closer to the kitchen /bump the master bedroom out to the edge. This would allow the master greater privacy /would allow the master to have light from two sides.

    - The master bedroom isn't close to any exterior door ... if you anticipate being elderly in this house, I'd consider an exterior door for fire safety.

    - Look at the master bath and ask yourself this: where are you hanging towels for the shower? You need at least a small linen closet in the master.

    - The long, long hallway between the kids' bedrooms will be, well, long ... and dark. You can place the kids' room /bathroom down a hallway ... without it being dark and uninviting. You might need to break away from the strict rectangle into which you're currently stuck. Yes, a simple design is a good idea, but if it pushes you into spaces like this hallway, it may be false economy.

    - Some people might tell you to bring in sunlight with solar tubes, but I personally don't like the idea of holes in the roof.

    - I'm not opposed to J&J bathrooms, but they're rarely done well, and this one is no exception. For starters, the kids will wreck those pocket doors sooner rather than later, and then you'll have to call in a pro to fix them. Personally, I'd go with one simple three-piece bath (with a linen closet) opening into the hall /then I'd lose the powder room (unless you need it for commercial kitchen clients).

    - The kids' closets are minimal. I'd move them to the other wall to provide a sound buffer between the bedrooms and the bathroom. No, it won't hurt kids to hear plumbing sounds, but you don't build a custom house to keep all the little irritations that exist in most houses. You can have soundproofing for no additional cost, so why not do it?

    - The first kid's bedroom has some problems. Start by moving the door further down the hall; this will give it more privacy ... also, if you change the bathroom to a hall bath, you'll want the door closer to the bathroom. If you move the closet so it's adjacent to the bathroom, you'll have more empty wall space /furniture placement will be improved.

    - What's up with the garage? Is that an attempt at a four-car garage with entrances from two sides?

    On top of that - we have a kickass property and to capitalize on the view we are pretty limited with placement

    Thing is, you're telling us you have a prime piece of land ... but the house doesn't seem appropriate to it. 1/2 acre is quite small, but you're planning a rather large single-story house with a bloated garage.

    To build a successful project, you must choose a house that suits the land. Likely, given your space constraints, a two-story house (or a house with a basement ... or a garage in the basement, depending upon your geography) would be more appropriate.

    it may be more of a personal vendetta of some sort than an actual serious issue. I'll give you the bathroom door - that's it though :D

    Why would anyone have a personal vendetta against a stranger? People are trying to help you, but this isn't a "yes board" that praises everything that people sketch out.

    we aren't building it for the market we are building it for ourselves.

    This is as it should be when you're doing a custom build ... but it's realistic to consider the resale market too. Any of us could find ourselves in circumstances that would force us to sell, and this house is so highly personalized that it'd be a tough sell.

    Oh one thing I didn't address was the window placement - we have a 50 mile view of a valley on that side of the house - facing north - we specifically wanted any room that can have that view to have it.

    Is that view out the back of the house? That's where your best windows are placed.

    As I mentioned earlier, there is very little storage in this plan.

    True -- this is a major problem. I've read that a house should be 10% storage.

    Also aloof, as a fridge for $1500 is considered the ghetto low end I guess...

    Hyperbole doesn't help. Neither does sarcasm.

    $1500 is certainly not a ghetto refrigerator ... it's probably an average fridge that most of us would choose. It'd be a basic brand like Frigadaire or KitchenAid ... it'd be large, stainless steel, probably French door. It would not come with bells and whistles (which is okay 'cause fridges don't really NEED bells and whistles).

    The problem isn't a $1500 fridge ... it's an appliance budget of only $3850. Once you've spent that $1500, you only have $2350 left for a range (and the drawing seems to indicate a large gas stove, which will not be cheap) + a range hood + a dishwasher + a washer/dryer ... oh, and a whole second kitchen.

    1-2 rooms deep is not an option on our lot - we need certain spaces to be certain sizes and if we were to make it 1 or 2 deep we'd have a house that was 200+ feet long. Doesn't work on a 150x150 lot very well. Same reason we aren't doing an external garage.

    Again, a sign that your house plan doesn't match your space.

    We wont need to walk around anything to get to our master - that nook space is 12 feet wide and even if you cant beeline to the room...not a big deal.

    Perhaps if we had numbers on the plan we'd agree.

    Even so, the door is plopped in the middle of that space, and walking around the table to reach the door will become a problem when you're carrying baskets of laundry or when you're elderly.

    Our badass theater system

    I'm not against corner fireplaces ... as long as they're nicely done. Do consider, though, that you're talking about placing this "badass theater system" up against a kid's bedroom wall. He or she will hear whatever you're watching /playing.

    The mudroom is 8 feet wide. Plenty of room for 4 people to move around. We don't march like ants through our doors.

    The W/D and cabinetry will eat up 3' of this space, leaving you 5' of walking space. That's enough ... but I'd add an additional 1' of width to this room ... and use it to create a fantastic set of floor-to-ceiling shelves across from the W/D. This house lacks storage, and this would give you massive shelving, which could be used for either personal or commercial use.

    The spousal stuff is also not an issue. We have the same sleep schedule and I use a CPAP - a toilet flushing isnt a bother.

    For now you have the same sleep schedule ... things do change as you pass through the seasons of life. Will you always have these same jobs? What if one of you were to become sick?

    Ideally your bed would be "tucked back" so that all foot traffic would funnel past the foot of the bed / neither spouse would have to tiptoe near the head of the bed to reach either the bathroom or the closet.

    Again, a toilet flushing isn't a huge deal, but when you have the opportunity to eliminate all the little irritations ... and when it's no more money or trouble to do it /it just takes a little thought and planning ... why wouldn't you want to optimize all the functions to make the house as nice as it can possibly be? We're talking about things that don't cost more ... they just require planning.

    I don't know what you would need a linen closet in them all for - plenty of space in 5 or 6 feet of cabinet to store anything you'd actually need.

    A linen closet in the bathroom is WONDERFUL ... it's in the category of necessities /not a luxury. Mine's only 2' wide, and it's plenty. We have three shelves, which hold towels, extra toiletries, and winter blankets. The bottom half is open /we keep a hamper in that space.

    I suggest you take a couple of weeks away from your plan

    Excellent idea. I think you're too close to see the shortcomings. It's a whole lot easier to change things now while they're still just on paper.

    We can debate Jack and Jill baths (we have one) but the desire for sunlight is universal.

    Agree.

    So....I truly don’t understand why you would post your concerns if virtually nothing anyone says is seriously considered or has any meaning to you?

    Valid question.

    The "aw shucks, we don't need none of that fancy stuff" thing may be true, but, at the end of the day, you're spending a huge chunk of time and money to build a home, why not take a breath and make sure the floor plan best suits your needs?

    1. Yeah, the "we don't need none of that fancy stuff" concept works for some people ... but when you claim this while filling inspiration files full of pix dripping with money, a disconnect is obvious.
    2. Good design doesn't cost any more than poor design ... and a lot of the discussion here isn't about laminate vs. marble; rather, it's about circulation and placement of spaces.

    For example, ask what window brand he uses and make sure that's in the contract -- cheap windows will cost you more in the long run as they aren't as energy efficient as good windows.

    Good advice. Windows really are a splurge item; good windows will make a huge difference in the overall visual quality of the house ... and better quality windows will give you better function /lower utilty bills.

    Do yourself a huge favor and go browsing and look at appliances. Visit a showroom and determine IF you really want builder basic slide in ranges or if you want something a little nicer.

    Again, good advice. Gather real information. Determine your own comfort level. You can read advice here, but nothing compares to doing your own homework.

    U-28 or better windows per design - lifetime warranty

    Marvin? Pella? Which of their lines? Double hung or casement? What does lifetime warranty mean? It doesn't necessarily mean the rest of your life; yeah, really. Investigate. Seriously, windows are a make-or-break item, and U-28 doesn't tell us a thing.

    Cement lap siding ... stone accents ... Cedar ceilings on overhangs ...Comp shingles with lifetime warranty

    Too many elements. You're in danger of an overly-cluttered look.

    I'm not going to go through the rest of the list, but LOTS of vaguery here. What name brands will the builder use? If you don't know, the answer is Home Depot builder-basic.

    The island is 5x10 with an 18" overhand on two sides - all the same level.

    Are you tall? I wouldn't be able to reach the middle of that island to clean.

    Breakfast nook is 10'x17' - plenty big enough

    It was 12' wide a few posts ago. Again, remember that this space must support not only the table, but also the pathway to your bedroom. Consider passing through this space while chairs are pulled out from the table.

    You could maximize space in this area by using banquette seating.

    I asked the builder about the master door - it may be weird right there - but it will be a barn door to - and closed when we aren't in there.

    Wait ... a barn door into the master bedroom? Do you have any experience with these doors? I stayed in a hotel room once that had a barn door on the bathroom. That stay was enough to turn me against them ... they're not the best choice for privacy. If you love the look, consider them for closets (or similar), but not spaces where you want privacy.

    Consider this: Your kids are teens and have friends over in the living room watching that bad-ass entertainment center ... and you're behind a door that doesn't really close /doesn' give you acoustical privacy.

    Your builder is being intentionally vague in your contract/allowances because he has a certain profit margin to make.

    I suspect the same.

    OP I would challenge you to try to place furniture in your great room... particularly your dining table and couches, and see how they are going to fit considering the doorways and pathways around them...

    I suggest you plug this plan into a 3D house-planning computer program that'll allow you to "walk through". I promise you'll see some problems.

    I don’t want a crappy roof and marble countertops.

    That's well said.

    I'll add /finish with this thought: I don't want a top-notch roof and marble countertops covering poor circulation and oddly-laid out rooms.