Author Topic: Seeking advice for process of moving on land early and saving to build home.  (Read 1029 times)

Offline Burton

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Wife and I are going to be moving to NH in a year or two and our ultimate goal is to have land, be debt free, and build a forever home. Without going into the details of what the final home will look like I am currently trying to decide on everything from the moment we move to being on land asap and saving for our forever home.

This is more of a stream of consciousness so pardon me.

Here is my current thought process.
1) Find jobs ... we both work in the tech industry and can work remotely so we are not too worried there.
2) Find a place to rent which has a garage (latter important as we have motorcycles) ... This will be our base of operations where we will identify areas of interest for land / community etc.
3) Find land, and tease out all the what if's with a permaculture mindset ... then have Ben Falk go over it with us after done to ensure I didn't miss anything since he is localish.
4) Move onto land in a temporary housing ... this is where we are currently looking at options.

Ultimately we want enough property where we can have several smaller dwellings in which family, friends, rotational guests, yomen etc can visit or lease long term from us. Because of this anything we add as a temporary housing should eventually meet this need or the need of a work space / garage / workshop. If we build our forever home properly the temp structure will cost more to heat than our final home.

Getting electricity on site asap and internet will be key in our life design. We could likely deal with a composting toilet till we get in a septic system and it would be ideal if we had water on site as well.

Types of structures we are considering. Each under about 30k total
1) Yurt ... specifically a 30' winterized yurt
  The idea here is it is relatively cheap and easy to construct and can later be used as a guest house or rented out via airbnb etc. There are problems though as it would require continuous feeding of wood in the winter to keep warm. On the plus side there is a company right in NH which is near the area we are looking to settle down so they should be able to help us not make the common mistakes with such a structure.

You cannot finance a yurt as it is considered a temporary structure and it adds no direct value to the land. But it can be moved if needed in the future.

2) Amish Shed / garage / prefab / barn
  Would come in two pieces via a struck, likely require a concrete slab, and would require I finish out the inside for insulation. After we move out we could rent it out as a structure of its own or use it for a workshop. It would likely require less energy to heat than the yurt as it would be better insulated.

You could finance this structure if required (though they are rather cheap even for the big ones) and would add direct value to the land.

3) Pole barn and RV
  Buy an RV / trailer (big 29fter to fight off cabin fever), and park it under a pole barn which could a prefab structure. This would provide future storage but likely not be insulated. The RV could be sold in the future or used as a guest house.

Both the barn and RV could be financed if required and the barn would add value to the land.

4) double wide prefab? (Haven't really looked into these yet so not sure where it would fit in our design)

That is as far as I have got with options ... I am sure there are things I am not considering which is why I am throwing this out there. We currently live 10 hours from NH and plan to simply move / rent (or buy a foreclosure and fix it up for equity), before getting land as looking at land will be far easier once in state.

I am looking to hear from people taking a similar out of state journey and those who have done it and are living their dream. Let me know what you think!

Offline Bolomark

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https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChhBsM9K_Bc9a_YTK7UUlnQ/videos

also think about a park model trailer to rent out as airb&b or hunters/ fishermen, hikers.

Offline Burton

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Thanks for the advice Bolomark,
I have been following Jessy and Alyssa for a while now ... and I almost took my then GF now wife to a course on timber framed houses because of my exposure to them :D

When I said RV I was actually referring to what I think is called a bunkhouse camper trailer (29-34' sleeps ~8 with bump outs) ... likely a little bigger than Jessy and Alyssa's ... but we likely will need a good neighbor with a truck to park it or to buy another vehicle as we only have a honda element and I don't think it can tow something that big.

Just realized I forgot about this guy https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC57_WGDV4Eb6NiMeKz4UGvQ who built a wood yurt from smilingwoodsyurts.com ... more pricey than the standard fabric yurts for sure but since it is a physical structure one could likely get funding for it if required.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 06:10:35 AM by Burton »

Offline LvsChant

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We've sort of done this once and are in the process a second time...

1st time out, we concentrated on getting infrastructure done quickly.

a) Well dug.
b) Septic system installed
c) Electric lines run
d) Internet service (cable) installed

Then, we subcontracted and had a small workshop built on site before we were there (in hindsight, not being there to oversee the subcontractor's work resulted in higher costs and shoddier work than if we had been there). The workshop had a full bathroom (shower, toilet and sink) and washer/dryer hookups installed. We also had a slab poured for our RV parking spot and power connection for the RV installed on the exterior of the workshop. We also had a septic cleanout for the trailer (kitchen sink was all we needed that for, since we had the bathroom in the workshop).

We bought a travel trailer for the family to live in during construction.

It worked OK, all in all. But it was difficult with two kids (homeschooled) and all the physical work on the construction of the house. It did allow us to have the home mortgage-free when we finished... but it was HARD WORK.

We are doing it in somewhat the same way again, although the boys are now grown, so the dynamics are different. Also, I'm working full-time now, so I'm no longer able to really help with the construction the way I did before... as such we are doing things a bit differently and using more subcontractors this time out. As before, though, we focused on infrastructure before everything else... water, power, septic were priorities, as well as fencing around the property and a metal storage building for all the equipment for the work. We're building a small living quarters with 2-car garage first. Hubs is living in a travel trailer while he oversees everything and he travels here as much as he can (I have a small rented place near the two sons who are in college while the build is going on). After that project is done, the main house will start... the plan is for us to live in the small living quarters while the big house is built. That living quarters will be a guesthouse/man-cave afterwards. My husband is getting lots of kudos for building the workshop before the house :)

Offline Burton

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Thanks for the run down of your process LvsChant!

What type of structure did you go with for the first time out? Was it a prefab that you clubbed part of it out? cost?

What about the second project structure? It sounds like a kit gable building; making part of it livable like you did previously?  Or is this separate than the metal structure to store the equipment for the build?  cost?

I have been considering a large gabble building but I haven't looked at costs for these to work with NH's snow loads and I imagine it would be pretty hot in the summer. (Assuming they are the metal type I am thinking of)

What were your primary reasons for using this method over the others I have suggested (assuming you considered them)

Thank you for your time and consideration :D
-Burton

Offline LvsChant

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@Burton:

We thought about trying various types of construction, but ended up going conventional. On our house we did 2x6 framing to allow for higher R value on the insulation (not really much more expensive when you do it yourself and really makes the house more efficient for heating/cooling). Since we did it all basically ourselves, we basically bought our house from the local hardware store and Home Depot.

For the workshop with bath that we had built before we were on-site, we had conventional 2x4 framing, slab foundation, metal roof and stucco finish. The addition of the bathroom with shower and also the hookup for washer/dryer made all the difference in livability for a long period of time while we built the house, imo. We had done a bit of long-time living in a travel trailer before (evacuated from New Orleans for about 4 1/2 months after hurricane Katrina) and knew we really could improve our quality of life by not having to do our laundry at a laundromat and by having a real-size shower and bathroom. The workshop also contained our pressure tank for the well.

For the first build main house, we went with the 2x6 conventional construction -- it seemed least expensive and most attractive for us to be able to do ourselves. we had a tight budget. Basically, the budget didn't vary much from the original plan... We had thought we would be able to sub out more of the work than we ended up doing, primarily because the subcontractor pricing came in much higher than we anticipated on much of the work. So... we did a lot more ourselves than we ever thought we would.

For the second project that is underway we had a standard metal building installed on the site. We did have to get a contractor to pour the slab foundation before that was installed, but not terribly expensive and really helpful for storage of tools, etc. on-site. This time we didn't make any portion of the metal building a living space, as we plan to use it for tool/barn-type storage later on. Since the costs are so variable, I'd say just get an online quote for where you live from a reputable metal building company and get a quote for the foundation if you don't plan to do it yourself. It's amazing how quickly those teams can install a building once you have the foundation ready.

The current build (which includes living quarters and a two-car garage) is slab foundation, metal roof, 2x6 conventional construction and stucco finish. Since it is likely that we'll be living there for quite awhile while the main house is built and that it will be used as guest quarters for our sons when they come to visit in the years to come, we are making it a rather nice living space. It will have a built-in kitchen space, bath with shower and nice heating/cooling system.

My husband has considered other building methods, particularly for the main house... and since we haven't yet finalized our houseplans, we could still go with something other than conventional construction. He was considering the ICF method because of the savings in heating/cooling due to the increased r-values achieved and the long-term durability of the home -- estimated to last up to 4 times as long as a conventional structure with minimal maintenance. It adds $1-$4/sf to the construction costs, from what we have seen, so that is still on the table. With the kind of energy savings you could achieve, it may well pay for itself relatively quickly. We are also interested in homes that are mold-resistant, so we are quite careful about having any water instrusion. The ICF method seems to be attractive in that regard, too.

We prefer metal roofing, due to the resistance to fires and long-life. They cost more, but to us it is worth it.

When you do your own subcontracting and do parts of the build yourself, you can really make sure things are done well on things like the foundation, framing, insulation, etc. that you normally wouldn't even see if you buy an already-constructed home. We think that is where a lot of corners are cut to save costs in the contracting industry.

When you do your own subcontracting, you will also save significantly on the costs that would normally go to pay a general contractor -- somewhere in the neighborhood of 25%.

We find the cob-home, hay-bale and other unusual construction methods very interesting, but just don't want to spend the extra time required for those types of homes and the uncertainty of how well they might hold up over the long haul. If we end up selling out and moving near one of our sons when we are older, we would rather it be an easy process. I do find many of the Tiny Home projects quite interesting. That might be something to consider if you want something small and less expensive to start with on your property. I can envision that a Tiny Home would be very easy to sell later if you don't need it on the property; it would also be an attractive guest quarters to keep there later on...

I cannot really remember how much the workshop cost, although I'm thinking it was something like $30K