Build Your Own Home
Miscellaneous


Below are some of the results from the "Ask George" files for, miscellaneous topics on Build Your Own Home.

More Information on Can I Really Build My Own Home can be found on the Build Your Own Home, Home Page.

These questions were submitted thru my contact form which can be found on the "You Can Build Your Own Home" Ask George Page.
   
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From Belle:

Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience ! I have a 2 acres land in Georgia that I would like to develop. There is already a house on it. But I would like to subdivide into multi lots to build several houses. Across the street from my house is a subdivision. It used to be a jungle. Any advices?

Response:

Hello Belle,

I have never developed several building sites at a time. If it were me, I would draw up a master plan for the development laying out each lot and put all the utilities and road in, then sell the lots to pay for the property. Just the a thought.:)

Merry Christmas,

George
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From Kenny:

I noted using 5/8 in copper from the propane tank to the entrance into the house however, it looks like you then went to 3/4 inch piping. Am I correct and do you have a drawing showing the actual hook up to the water heater and furnace? I recently purchased a rough house and have been doing the repairs alone but can use your expertise. I'm 68 and refuse to slow down as I love working on houses and accomplishing something I can stand back and say, "I did this."

God's peace

Response:

Hello Kenny,

All the gas piping in the house is Black Iron Pipe. That is the standard for gas around here. It is 3/4 inch. As you noted the copper is buried and runs to the propane tank regulator.

I am of the same mind you are, I try to do everything I can myself. It is a matter of pride, and I love it, most of the time.

All my friends ask if I will ever retire, and I tell them define retirement. I define it as doing what you want, when you want. I love to work on my house and have no intention of ever stopping.

All the best,

George Stevens
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From Lora:

Hi George;

I just received your newsletter and as always found useful and helpful information in it! Thank you!!! My question...You mentioned READ READ and READ some more, do you have specific books you would recommend that were particularly helpful? There are just thousands upon thousands of books out there it can get frustrating when it actually comes to buying them.

We (my husband and I) are building our dream home from scratch up - there is not electricity, phone, water, anything where our land is so we need any and all information you can come up with!

Thank you in advance for your help and keep up the great work with the newsletters.

Response:

Hello Lora,

Thanks for the encouraging words! Sorry my return email is so late, I have been busy, busy, busy.

Every home building situation is different according to the region, and your particular situation. I almost always learn something about home building every time I read a book or an article on the subject. Each little pearl of knowledge helped me when we built our home. So... I put together a Building Knowledge center that has a collection of books that you can buy through Amazon.com . It took me a long time to get all the titles together. I also have a received some recommendations from folks like you, that have read good books. I have a form for that also in the knowledge center.

Here is a link to the main page of the Building Knowledge Center .

The Diy Knowledge center focuses on Building Your Own Home and being the General Contractor here is the link to it DIY Knowledge Center .

Hope this helps,

George Stevens
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From Ray:

I would like built a website to sell hotels and real estate in Jamaica, can you help?

Response:

Hello Ray,

I used a company called Site Build It! to help me build my website. I knew nothing about the internet, except how to look up information, prior to using their service. Build Your Own Home has far exceeded my expectations and that is largely because of SBI!

You can have a look for yourself by clicking this link Site Build It!.

All the best,

George Stevens
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From Chandra:

I love your site!! You gave me exactly what I was looking for except...When do you start. We know when we want to start building but how far in advance can we get quotes- when do you need to meet with a contractor.. And when asking for quotes what sort of time frame in the process do you tell them? For example...We want to start in May.. do you go to a roofing contractor and say can you bid me this for next September? That's a year away? I don't understand how that works. Thanks again!

Response:

Hello Chandra,

Thanks for the encouraging words.

As soon as you have your plans you can start getting bids. The contractors know that they are in a competitive market, and they will give you a bid from the plans. You can give them a rough timeframe for their part of the house, but it is not set in stone. Remember they work for you not the opposite. You have to set your posture up front. You have the money they want.

The more bids you get the better. It is tiring process, but, if you get the right contractors to build your house it is well worth it!

Hope this helps,

George Stevens
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From Kathleen:

I am looking for information on a remodel house, can I use the same system?

Response:

Hello Kathleen,

You can use the same contractors for the different trades to get your bids and figure your costs. I have done some remodeling on houses and used contractors to do the work in the past. The process is similar.

You need to contact your local city our county and find out what your permitting requirements will be. If you are doing a major remodel you will need drawing for the contractors to follow.

All the best,

George Stevens
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From Ann:

Mr. Stevens,

Do you have a page where you talk about keeping up with your job while you built your home? How much time did you have to personally put in at your building site?

Response:

Hello Ann,

No, I don't currently have a page that discusses time issues and building, Sorry. I probably need to devote a newsletter to the topic.

I had a full time job when we built and traveled many weeks. My wife took a couple of months off to keep a good eye on construction at critical times. It was a very demanding process. We did some of the work ourselves, like painting the inside and cleanup, landscaping etc...

You can build a house and keep a job, but it is tough. I had a couple of weeks vacation and used it all up a day at a time for various needs. It really was worth it, but we really worked hard.

Most mornings were started meeting contractors and after work I would meet with them again. I picked up materials at lunch often times and brought them to the site for the next day.

Planning is the most important thing, a good cell phone and a fax machine will also help.

Building a house is a big job and requires much of your time. You need to really look at your life and see if you have the time to devote to the process.

Hope this helps,

George Stevens
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From  Sherral:

George,

I'm looking for information on how to begin to layout the foundation and square foundation. Base information on how to begin. 

Response:

Hello Sherral,

Are you trying to lay out a foundation from a set of plans that you have? If so your concrete contractor will take your plans and build your foundation forms.

I did not build my own foundation so I can't advise you on that aspect. I used a professional licensed concrete contractor.

I did however rough locate my house footprint for the concrete contractor so he could place the forms properly on my land.

All the best,

George


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From Roger:

How far would you suggest the floor I-beams to be spaced apart? Using 3/4 flooring.

Response:

Hello Roger,

We used 1 1/4 flooring set on 2x 12's on the second floor and they are on 16 inch centers. I don't know what the spec would be for 3/4. It would be a good idea to consult a pro about this issue. If you have plans they will have it defined on them.

All the best,

George


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From Adriana:

What is the average length of time you need to expect for a new construction until your home is actually livable?

Response:

Hello Adriana,

There are many factors that affect the Home Building timeline. It took us 9 months once we got really started. It rained for 2 months right after we closed our construction loan making it really difficult to bring in heavy trucks to do the foundation work.

The usual timeline is 6 months to a year. The more complicated and the bigger the house the longer it takes.

The framing goes up really quick making you think the house is going to be finished in no time. But once the house is dried in (roof on walls up) the process slows down. All the interior and finishing is pretty slow.

The more prepared you are the smoother the process goes and the faster.

Hope this helps,

George
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