Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Advice on having a home built from scratch?


Hey all.

I’m figuring that among my many readers (genuine and fake) there must be a few who have had a house built. You know: acquire the land, work with an architect, navigate the county permit system, etc.

Well, my better half and I are just beginning this process, and we’re experiencing the usual anxieties vis-a-vis money flying out the window, getting screwed by contractors, running into impossible-to-satisfy inspectors, and all the rest. If you’ve been through it all, please drop a comment in the box and offer some wisdom.

The photo above is in the vein of what we’re hoping to build. Very modern, clean, and open. We have a terrific lot in the Sierra Foothills, heart o’ Gold Country just up the hill from Sutter’s Mill, believe it or not. With any luck, we’ll have the house built and ready to live in by Spring ’17, maybe sooner.

Any tips or tricks you can offer will be much appreciated!

11 comments on “Advice on having a home built from scratch?

  1. Pamela Beckford
    February 27, 2014

    We didn’t have a home built. We physically built it ourselves. And survived. It is a 3800 sq ft home. We had the basement poured but did the rest ourselves. I hung drywall, he did the plumbing and electrical, we laid ceramic tile. It was a stressful time. It took us 18 months to do it. But we love our house.

    Good luck

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 27, 2014

      Gee, if I had any skills, maybe I’d give that a shot. What an accomplishment, though. You must feel a sense of awe whenever you walk through the front door!

  2. John W. Howell
    February 27, 2014

    These tips are from you foremost fake reader.
    1. Hire a great architect (cost will turn out to be savings in the long run)
    2. Make sure your contractor is bonded and will sign an agreement that all debts of his are not your issue. (saves having others put a lien on your place)
    3. Before you select a contractor visit houses he has built and people he has built them for.
    4. Be present continually during the process. Critical is the foundation pour, roughing in, electrical, plumbing. Since most of these activities can forget some things and you can’t go back after the drywall is in etc.
    5. Make certain the kitchen and tile people have a lot of experience. Bad cabinets, poorly fitting counter tops, and bad tile jobs are a nightmare.
    6. Get a construction loan because then the bank becomes a partner. It really pays in the long run and the loan is only a six month deal. Also the contractor will be paid according to a schedule and only after each phase is complete.
    If I think of more I’ll let you know.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 27, 2014

      Holy cow, John, thanks for all that! It’s practically a pamphlet.

      Really great advice, and in fact we’re already looking into a construction loan.

      I may be crying for your help throughout! 😩

  3. Phillip McCollum
    February 27, 2014

    No tips as I’ve never gone through such a thing, but color me jealous of where you’ll be living! Really loved it up there.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 27, 2014

      I thought it might appeal to you. πŸ˜‰

      We were just up there last weekend, and got a nice dose of that good Gold Country air…

  4. sknicholls
    February 27, 2014

    John covered most everything :). My Florida ass is way jealous though.

  5. 1WriteWay
    February 27, 2014

    John just convinced me that I would never want to have a house built πŸ˜‰ But, really, the Sierra foothills?! What I would give for that? Do they allow trailers aka mobile homes where you’re moving to? πŸ˜‰

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 27, 2014

      Seems a bit intimidating, now that I think about it…

      Anything you roll up in will be fine, Marie. You can plug into the solar and septic and stay a while!

      • 1WriteWay
        February 28, 2014

        Awesome πŸ™‚

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2014 by in Et alia.
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