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What I like to see in a house plan
I have been in the homebuilding industry for 15 years and built over 180 homes.  I have seen my share of “Home-Owner-Designed House Plans.”  It is simply amazing what people think might work.  A home is an incredible investment and I recommend getting a house plan that has been built before.  I have to laugh at some of the plans that people bring to me.  Some of them are like Crayola drawings on a paper napkin.  They want to know how much it will cost to build it.  I can tell you I automatically shoot high, really high.  No builder likes to work with unorganized people.  However, if the people come to me with a house plan they have purchased, I Read more
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Published On : 06-28-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1350 Views
Make sure you ask what others think
I realize that a home is your own and you should be able to make all of the choices yourself.  However, I have noticed that some people have very strange tastes and some have no taste at all.  Most people seem to pick styles and colors that go together, but others really struggle.  For instance, we built a nice home for a family, but they really made some poor choices.  Jake and I created the home plan for them.  It was a great plan, but the home owners chose to have yellow stucco, not just a light hue, but Ronald McDonald yellow.  I instructed the stucco guy to lighten it up and spread a small amount on the wall for the home-owners to see.  They insisted that they wanted it much more yellow Read more
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Published On : 06-30-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1572 Views
 
More money than taste?
Jaren is right, some people have more money than taste. But, one of the advantages of paying for a custom home is getting what you want. So, while I recommend listening to the advice of your home builder, designer or other professionals in the industry... it is your home, and as Jaren said, you have the final decision. Decision making. That's what building a new home is all about. It all starts when you choose a home plan, a lot, a loan officer, and then you'll have hundreds of other decisions thoughout the upcoming months. If you can't make decisions and live with them [literally, cause they'll be in your house] then building a new home can be quite stressful. Read more
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Published On : 07-01-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1085 Views
How I got involved with www.theplancollection.com
About five years ago I met Justin when he bought a house from me.  He wanted to do some sweat equity on his home.  He really wanted to paint his house.  I really hate when people request to paint  If you were to buy a really nice car, would you ask if you could paint it?  Well, a house is worth a whole lot more than your car.  I asked Justin what he did for a living?  He told me that he was a computer programmer.  I asked him to help Jake build a web-site for my construction company, and in return I would lower the price of his home.  Well, make a long story short, Jake and I were very impressed with Justin's abilities.  Jake suggested we start an on-line home design service.& Read more
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Published On : 07-01-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1723 Views
Make all of your selections before you start building
I have learned that building a new home can be a stressful experience.  However, I have also watched other families have an enjoyable experience.  One common thing that helps these people enjoy the process is they make all of their color and material selections before they start building and then they stick with their choices.  I have actually had people come to me with house plans they purchased and a complete materials list and selection agreement.  I knew exactly what I was bidding and I knew how much the home-owners wanted for allowance items.  Because they were so organized, I sharpend my pencil because I knew they would have several general contractors bidding the same plan.  95% of the people are no Read more
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Published On : 07-02-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1664 Views
How to get the most out of your builder
I once built a house for a man who owned a pizza franchise.  He would frequently bring a few pizzas by the job site.  He would talk with my subcontractors for five minutes while they ate their pizza.   He was always positive about the job they were doing and told them how much he appreciated their good quality craftsmanship.  It is just human nature to do a good job when you feel appreciated.  You can't believe the extras those subs did for the homeowner, at no additional cost.  To this day, that is the best home we have ever built.  The homeowner was actually one of the most demanding we have ever had.  However, he gained the respect of my subcontractors before he would say something l Read more
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Published On : 07-05-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1573 Views
Remodeling
Today we started remodeling our own home.  As I designed the renovations, I couldn't stop thinking about how much easier it would be to start from scratch.  Trying to stick new into the old is certainly no easy chore.  What a mess it makes, but hopefully it will be worth it.  I actually designed and built the home we have been in for the past eight years.  We are expecting our fourth child in September, so my wife has the nesting instinct and feels like we need more space.  I have to admit that my building business does well because of expecting mothers.  It kind of forces people out of smaller homes and into bigger homes.  Apparently expecting mothers like Read more
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Published On : 07-06-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1379 Views
Make your choices together
   As a general contractor I have seen the good and bad in people.  Designing and building a new home can be stressful.  However, it doesn’t have to be.  In fact it can be very exciting and rewarding.  I have seen a few couples actually get divorced over building a home.  In those cases, I noticed the husband or the wife wanted to make the majority of the decisions.  Most of the time the husband was very adamant about what he wanted.  In my humble opinion I think the wife should have the greatest say in what she wants in her home.  After all, most women spend more time in the home than men. Generally they do most of the housework, most of the child rearing and care the most about thei Read more
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Published On : 07-07-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1477 Views
Remodel or Build?
As a builder and part owner of a house plan company, I naturally love when people invest their money in buying a home plan from www.theplancollection.com to build a new home.  However, I also realize that many of you are just looking at our home plans, in order to get good ideas for remodeling your current home.  I know there are many of you who are doing this, because we have over 5,000 unique visitors come to our site on a daily basis.  Most of you don't buy a house plan, but that's okay because there are many who do.  For those who don't, I hope you are finding some good ideas on our free collection of great house plans. Speaking of free ideas and advice, I ran across an article on www.nahb.org that talks about buildi Read more
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Published On : 07-15-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
5133 Views
I agree with Jake....this time.
I have to agree with Jake about choosing a home that is architecturally appealing. I have built nearly two hundred homes in my career. Most of them have been good solid plans, but there are two or three that I hate to drive by, because they are just not good home plans. The people we built for just insisted on having something like an RV garage that was bigger than the home, or skimped on the curb appeal. Curb appeal should be what you should emphasize with any home plan. However, just a word of caution about choosing a home plan based on curb appeal. Just because a certain plan on www.theplancollection.com has wood siding, this doesn’t mean you can’t use rock, stucco or brick. As long as the basic façade is the design you Read more
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Published On : 07-15-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1545 Views
Designing or Finding a Plan. Where to Start.
Designing a home plan or finding a stock home plan is pretty much like buying anything else. Lets take purchasing a car for example. Probably the first consideration for most of us is the cost. Then we analyze our needs and wants and try to figure out what car will be the best bang for the buck. - is it roomy enough?- is it attractive? can you see yourself driving the car?- does it have the features we need/want?- is it energy efficient? or do we make enough money that it isn't an issue? The list can go on. Unfortunately you can't test drive a home, but if you buy a home from a home builder that has several projects under way, it's likely you would be able to preview some of his work to make sure it is what you expect. Cars are a little Read more
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Published On : 07-20-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1674 Views
This land of ours
I am currently on an airplane on route to Oklahoma City.  It is a clear day, so I am able to see all the vast amount of open spaces.  We really do have a lot of open space out here in the West.  Until now, people have needed to live in or around major cities.  With the popularity of the Internet people are able to telecommute.  I predict that semi rural areas will become more and more populated.  What will this do to all of our open spaces?  If we are not careful, we could lose some pretty neat areas.  Fortunately, there are other factors to consider, besides employment.  In the West we have to consider the availability of water, as well as other utilities.  This should slow down the land gr Read more
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Published On : 07-20-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1347 Views
Make money on your home
  I know most of you are hoping that your existing home sells right as your new home is completed.  We have a lot of homeowners who build new homes that are selling their existing home.  This usually works out just fine.  However I feel like many people panic.  If you are able to qualify without selling your existing home, then take full advantage of it.  Once you start building ask your builder who a good appraiser is.  Try and get the highest appraisal possible.  Once you get the appraised value, ask $5-10 thousand more.  This will establish what you are asking.  If your home gets an offer, it will probably be $5-10 less than you were asking.  Take the offer and you did as well Read more
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Published On : 07-21-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1456 Views
Consider Your Options when Choosing Exteriors
Consider your options when choosing exteriors.   Virtually every homeowner asks this question.  “So, how much would it cost to do the home out of brick vs. siding or stucco?”  Well, in Utah this is roughly the breakdown per square foot:   $13      Rock $8        Brick $5.5     Stucco  $1.5     Vinyl Siding   After I tell the people the price difference, they usually ask which one I would recommend.  I tell them it depends on the house plan they choose.  Some homes look good with a mixture of brick and siding.  That is a good combination if you are trying to save money.  Some house plans simply wouldn’t look good with siding.  Most homes look great with all-brick, but considering costs is part of the equation.  In Read more
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Published On : 07-23-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
4067 Views
Take care of your concrete
Dear Homeowner: Most builders educate their homeowners about concrete.  As a builder I can testify that concrete is always a warranty worry.  Concrete is very strong and durable, but certainly has limitations. There are so many problems that can occur with concrete.  It is a very large expense of any home and should be taken care of. Here are a few tips that will prolong the life of your driveway and sidewalks.   Never use salt, fertilizers or de-icing chemicals, they will speed up the freeze thaw cycle and will cause permanent damage.  Salt and fertilizers actually chemically attack the concrete surfaces.  One thing I have noticed is many cities use salt on icy roads.  Salt doesn’t hurt aspha Read more
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Published On : 07-27-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1467 Views
Building a home plan with an indoor basketball court
We have built several homes with indoor basketball courts.  This has been a lot of fun and challenging.  These indoor courts are about 30'x35' with ceilings heights a minumum of 17'.  Most of the homeowners have chosen to put a thin carpet on the walls and an industrial gym carpet on the floor.  The carpet reduces the noise and is more kid friendly.  The activities in these indoor gyms range from basketball, volleyball, raquetball, gymnastics, and even golf. I actually built a basketball court in my house and it only gets used 3 or 4 times a day.  My 5 year old son Brock plays in there the most.  He is getting to be a great little ball player. He also hits hard foam golf balls in the gym and is d Read more
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Published On : 07-28-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
35397 Views
Choosing colors wisely
I have to agree with Jake about being bold with your colors selections.  However, what Jake's wife did was to be creative with a few rooms.  The rest of their home is fairly conservative.  The outside of his home is also very neutral.  In my opinion, that is the safest way to experiment.  Even Jake wasn't sure about the color of his room until his wife decorated it to match.  Paint is cheap to replace, but brick, stucco, shingles, flooring, counter tops and cabinets are not.  Be conservative with the expensive items, but have fun with paints and decorations.  That will help to indivualize your home.  Just remember that a home is for you, but it is also a very large investment.  Be Read more
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Published On : 07-29-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1725 Views
Funny Home Owner Builder Stories
I have great admiration for those who try and general their own home construction.  However, I have seen very few people save money.  There are certainly many secrets to making the building process run smoothly.  Connections, pricing, liability, experience and know-how are just a few things you get when hiring a general contractor.   I heard a funny story from a builder, named Skip, who lives in Texas.  He said he has a friend  who wanted to build his own home.  His friend would frequently ask Skip for advice.  Skip was a little concerned with his friend’s questions so Skip decided he better go to his friend's construction site.  When Skip arrived he sat in his tru Read more
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Published On : 07-31-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
3811 Views
Think about doing it yourself
I was talking with a man at church yesterday. He told me about his awful weekend.  He is currently remodeling his home,  like I am.  (By  the way, I would highly recommend that you just start over.  Remodeling is not fun and mine has cost almost twice as much as I thought it would; and I build houses and know how much things should cost.)  Anyway, this man started remodeling on Saturday.  He got off to a bad start when he stepped on a nail.  He then got stung by a bee.  He said he was just getting going again when he did what all framers worry about.  He was using a nail gun and shot himself in the hand with a nail gun.  Now this guy might just be accident prone.  Ho Read more
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Published On : 08-02-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1918 Views
More funny stories
I mentioned two blogs ago that a man in Texas who was helping his friend build his house.  The man, “Skip” went to check on his friend who was building his own home.  Well, this time he showed up and was impressed because his friend had put the drywall up and was almost done with the stucco.  However, Skip expressed a concern with his friend because there were no windows.  His friend told him that they hadn't come in yet and he didn't want to wait.  He simply said he could cut the stucco back and install the windows later. Obviously this man needed more experience before trying to build a home. Happy home plan hunting!     Read more
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Published On : 08-03-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1571 Views
Shop Around
I was just telling Jake E. that my lumber salesman told me that they have been so busy this year that they keep raising prices to slow it down.  That was probably not the smartest thing to tell one of his biggest clients.  I have already started to price check him to make sure I am getting the best possible prices.  It is a constant battle to make sure the subs and suppliers are giving you their very best pricing and service.  Take your time and get your home plan bid out by 3-4 subs and suppliers.  You will probably have to buy some products form one supplier and some from another. Remember, it is your money to save, not theirs to spend.  I just checked carpet prices and a National building supp Read more
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Published On : 08-04-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1312 Views
Think twice about remodeling
I have been complaining to Jake about how awful it is to remodel.  The hard part is we are trying to live in the home at the same time.  Not only is remodeling messy, but everything is twice as much as I originally anticipated.  For  instance, I added some square footage so I knew that I would need a larger central air unit.  When they brought the unit, they decided that the furnace would not be big enough for the new central air.  The other bad thing is when we put in new fixtures etc. then all of the new stuff makes the older look totally out of date.  The bad thing is we were perfectly happy with the older things, until it was next to the new.  What a waste! I think we probably should have just sta Read more
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Published On : 08-05-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1535 Views
2x4 or 2x6 construction?
Why do people choose to use 2x6 construction over 2x4?  Well, in most areas 2x4 construction is sufficient.  2x4 construction will easily support a home's structure and weight.  The main reason 2x6 construction is attractive is for the extra insulating value.  However, with the blown-in-insulation available today, most homes can pass the Mec-Check, (Model Energy Code) with 2x4 construction.  Most of the heat loss occurs through windows and doors, as well as the attic.  If you were concerned about conserving energy, I would recommend putting more insulation in your attic and upgrade your south and western facing windows to a low-E- type window.  My opinion of why people choose 2x6 construction is based more Read more
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Published On : 08-09-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
12868 Views
Spending too much time in home improvement stores
Because we are currently remodeling, I have spent a lot of time in home improvement stores searching for products and price checking.  I am surprised by the limited selection these massive stores have. These stores are gigantic but still don't have much selection.  They also don't cater to the contractors like the smaller lumberyards do.  My theory about why they don't have much selection is because they cater to the homeowner who is fixing or remodeling their older home.  Honestly, there is not much selection on common items like baseboards and trim.  The selection consists of the same designs that my parents put in their home 25 years ago.  I guess people still buy it by the truck loads because when they remo Read more
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Published On : 08-10-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1670 Views
Building Inspectors- Your friend or enemy.
Funny how some people -when given resposibility- feel it necessary to exert their power excessively to prove a point. Why is that? Do they think it makes you any more willing to do what you can to accomodate them? Recently a local municipality has gotten a new building inspector. This has happened a few times in the past many years I've been involved in construction. Some inspectors ease into it, others feel like they have to be a hardnose about every little thing in the book whether or not circumstances require other solutions that are perfectly acceptable. There is a difference between doing your job, and just being a jerk. Sometimes, circumstances are such that you just need to analyze the situation and not necessarily let things go, bu Read more
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Published On : 08-26-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1877 Views
Was the Remodel Worth it?
Many people are asking me, “Now that you are done remodeling, do you think it was worth it?”  Well, our house is very comfortable now and we enjoy it.  However, the costs are nearly double than what I anticipated.  The reason they are double is because when we put new things against the old things, we just ripped out the old and put went new.  I probably should have just started over with a new home.  New homes just appreciate in value so much quicker than an older home.  When I say old, I mean like 10 years old.  That doesn't sound old, but in 'house years' it really is.  The reason is, fashion changes so quickly.  The value of most homes increases dramatically in the first ten year Read more
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Published On : 10-30-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1523 Views
Lumber Prices are Declining
Finally, the price of lumber is coming down.  For instance, about three years ago, the price of OSB or wafer wood used to cost $6 a sheet.  Last year the price shot up to nearly $20 a sheet.  However, my latest quotes show that the price at Home Depot was $10.50 a sheet.  However, some of the other lumber stores are still trying to make a few extra dollars by charging $13.50 a sheet.  Always get current bids, because lumber is a commodity that changes daily.  Good luck and happy home plan hunting Read more
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Published On : 10-31-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
2992 Views
House Plans - during construction
Ever wonder why house plans are sold in sets of 5, 8 or 12? Extra sets are expecially nice as construction begins and you need them to get bids from various subcontractors quickly. They are also nice to have during construction because your home plans will be put through adverse weather conditions, as well as exposure to concrete, mud, and heavy paperweights (framing nailers and whatnot) to keep them from blowing away. Some people like to get one set of houoseplans laminated to leave on the job. This is a great idea, and will keep the plans ledgible during construction. Laminating is fairly cheap and can be done at your local copy shop. Now, all you have to do is keep the subs from walking off with the house plans so that your other subcont Read more
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Published On : 11-05-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1628 Views
The Future of Home Building is Looking Bright
All of the economic indicators and most of the recent articles I have read seem to paint a positive picture when it comes to building new homes.  Lumber prices are coming down in a dramatic fashion and the higher price of gas was factored in two years ago.   The bright spot about our economy has been the homebuilding industry.  However, the costs have been escalating dramatically over the past few years.  Nevertheless, the demand for new homes has been constant.  Interest rates have been in the basement for a long time now.  As the economy continues to heat up, the interest rates will be raised.  The economy is gradually getting better, which means the rates shouldn't jump up all of a sudden. Ev Read more
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Published On : 11-11-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
2023 Views
Having a Security Blanket (Home Equity)
I recently had a discussion with a man I am building a new home for.  With the money he is putting towards his down payment, combined with the good price I gave him, he will have over 20% equity in his new home.  I suggested setting up a home equity line of credit.  If he closes on the Home Equa-Line at the same time as his long term, it will cost him nothing extra.  If he chooses not to take any money out, he will just have a $40 a year fee.  This is according to a loan officer at M&T Mortgage www.mandtbank.com  I told him it is important to get it set up, in the event something were to happen to him or his job, he would have a nice safety net.  If he were to wait to get it set up, and something hap Read more
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Published On : 11-13-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1571 Views
Tips for locating a good/reasonable engineer
Many people who look for home plans on www.theplancollection.com are being their own general contractor.  As a general contractor, I realize that some people just like torture and punishment.  For those people I know that one of your first hurdles will be finding a good/reasonable engineer.  Most building inspectors will require that your home plan be engineered to meet your local seismic requirements etc.  However, not all engineers are the same.  Some charge a lot more money than others, and some charge less, but over engineer your plan.  When they over do that, the cost to accommodate the engineering, can far out weigh the engineering fees.  So how can you find out who the good engineers are?  We Read more
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Published On : 11-23-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1862 Views
Selling Spec Homes
About 70% of my home building business consists of spec homes.  A spec home is simply a home that is built without a buyer.  It is more risky to build a home that isn't pre-sold, but it sure is easier, quicker and generally turns out nicer.  Most of the risks can be minimized by choosing a good floor plan and making sure it is built in a good location.  However, sometimes a home can sit for a while before it sells.  When that happens, there are a few things I do to get rid of it.  I rarely sell a house before it is completed and cleaned up.  I think it is odd that so many builders get a house most of the way done, but then they don't get it cleaned up and presentable.  Cleanliness sells! Another Read more
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Published On : 11-23-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
3114 Views
Keep your foot in the door.
I have been working with our framing contractor this week trying to get things finished up at the house we are building. It's a fun process building a home and seeing everything come together, but I think its important to keep tabs on whats going on. Sometimes, someone elses interpretation of how things should be determines the outcome of a homeplan, rather than the intentions of the home owner or designer. Fortunately, we've been working with a  pretty good framing contractor that is happy to build things as we want them, yet makes suggestions on things that will and won't work. Maybe one of these days I'll post a picture of the home. Its been a struggle getting the roof completed as the truss company built a girder truss incorrectly, Read more
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Published On : 12-08-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1691 Views
How to get your the most out of your brick
With the price of brickwork, make sure you get exactly what you want.  One thing that can really make a difference is to use a different color of brick mortar.  For instance, if your stucco color is a tan color, consider using a tan colored Type S mortar.  Since a large portion of the visible area of any masonry veneer wall is the mortar joint, spend a little extra time getting just the right color combination.  Be aware that the colored mortar is a little bit more expensive, but I have found that most masons will give you a good deal on it, because they like to show off their work.  Laying brick is not a very fun job, so masons usually jump at the chance to do something out of the ordinary.  The cost shou Read more
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Published On : 12-08-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
2239 Views
Getting ready for the new year!
Well, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and is looking forward to a great new year. As the new year starts, so does a lot of construction projects. If you're looking to start building this spring, I'd suggest getting your home plan right away so that you can obtain bids and get everything in order as soon as possible. As the year begins, subcontractors get busier and busier. Read more
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Published On : 12-28-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
1696 Views
Installling Doors in Your New Home
Having built a few homes, I have learned that there are certain things that really need to be done right. One of those things, is having your doors installed correctly. If you are in the middle of building or remodeling, I would suggest that you make sure the doors are installed correctly. How can you tell? First, check the reveal around the door. The reveal is the distance between the door itself and the jamb. The reveal is usually around 1/8”. The reveal should be consistant all the way around the door. Second, make sure the door is level. You'll want to check it in the door opening and on the surface of the door. There is more to installing a door than I have mentioned here. The reason I bring it up is that if the door is not hung Read more
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Published On : 01-06-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
2434 Views
Dealing with subcontractors
I know many of you who are looking at our house plans are probably wanting to general contract your own home.  I have written several articles on why not to do that, but some of you will do it anyway.  For those of you who like that kind of stress, let me give you a few hints when it comes to working with subcontractors. NEVER pay any sub-contractor up front money. When the job is finished, DO NOT just accept the sub-contractors word "I'm finished" INSPECT IT (twice) to make sure it is finished, and then pay them. VERY IMPORTANT: Require ALL Sub-contractors to sign a Mechanic Lien Release (or lien waiver) form, showing that you have paid them in full. Your local title company probably has a pre-written form.Find the right sub-con Read more
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Published On : 02-26-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
2542 Views
Lock in your lumber prices
My lumber salesman at Stock Building Supply called me on Thursday to warn me of upcoming price increases.  This is good insider information that a good sales rep should let you know.  We do enough business with Stock Building Supply that they will lock in the lumber prices on certain homes we have coming up.  This little tip will probably save me 10k, or more, in the next month alone.  I know a lot of you who look at home plans on www.theplancollection.com are trying to build your own homes.  I would suggest that you get to know a lumber salesperson and let them know what you are planning.  If you hurry and find a home plan you like, I would get it to several lumber companies and have them do a take-off.  Read more
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Published On : 02-26-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
3128 Views
Glazing
We recently built a nice home where the homeowners chose to have us put in a lot of tongue and groove pine.  On top of that, they wanted pine doors.  Well, I was a little nervous, because this was a very high priced home.  I thought the pine would probably make it look cheap.  However, my painter did put a glazing over all of the wood and then did a clear coat of varnish over that.  To say the least, I was very impressed with the results.  In fact, much of the pine was near their knotty-alder cabinets.  The glazing on the pine made it look just like the alder.  Glazing has become very popular on cabinets, but don't be afraid to try it on other things also. Happy home plan Hunting. Read more
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Published On : 02-26-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
2205 Views
So How Much Will This Home Plan Cost to Build?
Since so many variables make up the cost per square foot, such as lumber prices, location, amenities chosen, time of year, etc., there is no "standard" cost per square foot.  You can get an idea by calling several contractors in your area.  However, be aware that their bids probably don't include the cost for building permits, impact fees and construction loans.  Be sure to ask them to give you estimates for these items too.  When comparing bids, homeowners should be sure they are comparing "apples to apples." For example, prices will vary tremendously if one builder is quoting an estimate for a kitchen with hickory cabinets and ceramic tile and the other is quoting cherry cabinetry and oak flooring. Consumers should a Read more
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Published On : 02-27-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
2938 Views
Spec Homes
One of our readers posted the following:  “I am interested in building spec homes in Arizona. I have many questions regarding the spec home industry and have had a difficult time obtaining useful information. Plenty of info on fixers, foreclosures, investment property and such but with regard to building spec homes and the financing, planning construction and selling there just isn't much out there.” I don't consider myself an expert on spec building, but I have built over 200 homes.  Out of the 200 homes I would say 120 of them have been spec homes.  I enjoy building spec homes because it is much easier and can be more profitable.  However, it can be risky.  The best thing to do is start with a good f Read more
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Published On : 04-02-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
9560 Views
Deal with the Consequences
Its funny how one little decision can have such an impact on your home, and the costs of building it. I think a lot of people don't really think about what other things will need to be changed by simply choosing a different sink, faucet or doorknobs than usual. For example, I'll use my own experience to illustrate my point here. In my case I don't regret making the choices I did as that is what I wanted in my home... but this is something to think about if you are making a choice that may or may not be really that important to you. I chose to use square vessel sinks in my master bath. Vessel sinks are basically like a bowl that sits on top of the countertop. When using vessel sinks, you either need a   faucet that will come up high en Read more
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Published On : 04-06-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
2266 Views
Here are 10 steps for hiring and working with a contractor
This is the year you're going all out. You're going to build a deck, add a porch, erect a gazebo or lay a patio. You've done the research. It's well within your capability and you're looking forward to the satisfaction of creating a structure of beauty. Or not. Yes -- you'd like to proceed with an outdoor structure, but for you, it isn't a do-it-yourself project. How can you find the right person to do it for you? Here are 10 tips for hiring and working with a contractor. 1. Plan your project carefully. Clip pictures, make sketches, write a description. This will help you accurately convey to the contractor what you want the finished product to be. 2. Make a list of contractors. Ask your neighbors or friends for the names of rep Read more
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Published On : 04-29-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
3382 Views

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