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bryce 04-26-2012 12:01 PM

Building a house VS buying an old house?
Hi guys i want to get your opinion on building your own house vs buying. What i gather the short answer is that it's cheaper to buy an existing house and renovate then to build new.
In my case, i'm a single guy so i don't need a 2-3 bedroom house. I need a 'super bachelor.' What i've learned, renting a house now, is that heating bills are no fun. I think a new house would be much better for insulation and designed. I'm think i only need about 600-700 sqft, something like a large A frame with a loft to sleep. I haven't looked much but i guess you can find plenty of designs online or hire an architect which doesn't seem to cost too much. I found this line, these prices look fair reasonable.(?)
I was looking at one house in South Ontario, for around 120k it need some work. But some nice land bit further out of town (3km) in a rural setting is 50k. So i'm thinking for another 60k i can build a nice new house. In the end it will be much better, efficient, interesting house. Perhaps even with a higher resale value, or am dreaming? I've heard that old house cost %2 in maintenance per year. I guess with a new house it should be maintenance free for maybe 20 years.
One thing i don't like is force air heating, most of the housing seem to have to this in small town. So there would another reason just to start from scratch and build my house. I can have everything to my liking, small kitchen, small bathroom, large open space to live and sleep. I'm thinking i can organize parts of the build myself, but i'm wondering if this would be worth it?
The only thing about this property is that water has to be trucked in, but there is gas and hydro. I'm a bit confused about by-laws.
Anyways interested in your comments, is it cheaper to BYH?

BridgeMan 04-26-2012 03:38 PM


You need to come back down to earth before you do something very foolish. If you think owning a property with trucked-in water is just a minor problem, you have a lot to learn about life. And building what you think is neat and funky will likely result in a mess that you won't be able to sell to anyone, unless you give it away.

kok328 04-26-2012 03:55 PM

Forget trucking in water and drill a well. Forget about what you like , think about resale and what others would consider practical. Build to your liking but, don't go wild to the point that nobody else would want to buy it in the future.

bryce 04-26-2012 04:23 PM

I don't think you can build a well there at least what the RE agent said. It's zone agricultural i think, it would be pending zoning approval. Septic tank yes. Again for one person how much is needed? Once a month water delivery, does not seem so bad, people around there already deal with it. Obviously there's some trade offs for the price (cheap) and location (in nature but near a urban life too.)

As for the plans, they would suit 1-2 people, 700 sq ft. This is plenty for one person if it is laid out right. High ceilings. Again i think when you build your own, what's an extra foot in the ceiling? Same for the basement, i like a bungalow but something that sits high above street level. The point is a house set up for one person for one person to live is much better. I'm thinking a bungalow 25 x 25 x 15' and 50sq ft for the bathroom and kitchen. Unfinished basement. That would be plenty of space on a good lot with trees. Think simple and efficient like a prius.

joecaption 04-29-2012 07:48 AM

Sorry but I'm with the other posters, very limited resale market, dealing with trucked in water, no storage area, no place for a guest to even come spend the night. It might be fine so a weekend place but to live full time would be a royal pain.
Keep in mind I have lived in mobil homes, a 27' camping trailer, on a 37' boat for 3 years, and one of the houses I own is a single bedroom 800 sq. ft. home. So I have been there done that.
Not sure how it is in your area but around here there's more houses up for sale then there ever has been and some are selling for a whole lot less they were 2 years ago.
Just the trucked in water would be enough to turn me off, trying to keep it from freezing, having to do without until the new tank arrives everytime it runs out.
Do far more research then you have done before going any further.
Not even sure anyplace would let you put in a one bedroom septic. They presume at some point someone's going to add on.

itiswhatitis1 04-29-2012 08:08 AM

Do you have cash to pay for the house. Bank are not giving money on land today.

bryce 04-29-2012 08:31 AM

Well i wasn't planning on reselling it, at any rate it will all be high quality stuff, much higher than any rental dump. As for the water issue i don't see as much of problem because i'm only one person. Plenty of people get bottle drinking water even in cities. This place is only 3 km from the city, i'm sure i can get water anytime i want. I only need maybe 20 gallons per day for a shower and dishes, i just put a big tank in the basement and devise some sort of rain water catch, it won't freeze down there. I don't need a full water heater, just a tank for 1 shower per day and some dishes. You see i don't need what's in a 1-3 bedroom house.
Consider to rent a house in the area is maybe $800 per month+utilities, to buy a small OLD house is maybe 120k for a cheapie. This place is 40k + 60 k to build how i like it (i am estimating), utilities will be much cheaper, taxes, low maintain costs, few neighbours. In a natural setting. Consider what a condo cost, it's just a concert box with no privacy or layout control, 800sqft is huge for condo. Plenty of people live in less than 800sq feet in Toronto. Detached 800sq on large lot is fine. This place will only cost $3000k a year to own while renting will cost at least 10k a year so i save 7k which a lot more than a gic pays for 100k.

nealtw 04-29-2012 11:26 PM

I would want a better reason that there are no wells in the area. I have only herd of that when there was a spill that was bad enough to shut down wells for years. "Gasoline" Friends who lived there trucked in water and sold house cheap when kids got sick.

sdhomeguy 05-01-2012 11:33 AM

I am also withe the other posters in this thread. I have seen people who believe they can build their own house and can deal with all the problems. Then after tossing in a few 100k realize that the situation that they have is too complex and there is too much they had not thought about before. So there goes there 100k +. I also think there would be a problem with the re-sale. Even if your not planning on selling it anytime soon, you have to think into the future and will it actually have any value then? Personally I would say weigh your options out one more time and you might see buying a old house and renovating might be better.

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