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Old 02-07-2019, 03:56 PM   #1
anticd70
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Default House Building Advice

All:

My wife and I are looking into building a summer home on the north side of the lake within the next couple of years. It will be between 2000'-2800 sq ft (not on the lake). Any advice on contractors, dealing with towns/zoning, well/septic planning and purchasing raw land?

Or can anyone recommend a consultant/relator to assist with the process? Its a bit overwhelming because we are out of state and I don't have a good grasp yet on the towns and all of their nuances/restrictions on building on virgin ground.

Thanks
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:38 PM   #2
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It is much cheaper to purchase by (approx. 30%) an existing house. If you must build a pre fab is your next best option. Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:13 AM   #3
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What you end up with for a lot really dictates how complicated the building and permitting process will get. Being off the lake certainly will remove a great deal of permitting but no matter where you are zoning and wetlands (if present) will have an impact on what and where you can do in regards to development.

It would be for your sake ideal to have a general contractor that can evaluate a lot before you buy, especially if you have a particular plan in mind for a building. Site work/prep can quickly rack up significant costs before you even get to pouring concreate and banging boards together.

The only interest I would have in choosing one town or another is tax rate.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAXUM View Post
What you end up with for a lot really dictates how complicated the building and permitting process will get. Being off the lake certainly will remove a great deal of permitting but no matter where you are zoning and wetlands (if present) will have an impact on what and where you can do in regards to development.

It would be for your sake ideal to have a general contractor that can evaluate a lot before you buy, especially if you have a particular plan in mind for a building. Site work/prep can quickly rack up significant costs before you even get to pouring concreate and banging boards together.

The only interest I would have in choosing one town or another is tax rate.
It's cheaper to find a place already built and remodel to you liking. And at the same time you can use it.
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:29 AM   #5
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Default Your land or the builder's?

There are considerations to buying land and then hiring a builder vs having a builder construct on land that he owns and selling you a completed package. These range from different financing packages and insurance policies to what happens on your land when the builder fails you in some way (gets sick, doesn't pay the subs, etc etc. Wetlands and septic systems don't mix very well. Septic designers are licensed, but you may want to consult a soil scientist too. S/he should be a member of the NH Association of Natural Resource Scientists; Google NHANRS. Solar orientation is importnt for siting. Not just for heating/cooling and solar panels, but so the sun keeps your driveway clear instead of icy. I favor plowing snow instead of a snowblower, but either way, where will you put the snow?
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:04 PM   #6
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Default Building

If you are dead-set on building new, then I cannot stress this enough. Design it with an architect, unless it will be a simple design. It will cost you ~$30K up front on a $300K house, but you will get it back in the satisfaction and quality of the house in the long run. If you can find a reputable builder who has incorporated architect services, then that can work for you as well.

As far as design goes, the sky and your wallet are the limit. I am a subsurface construction consultant by trade, so I am bias towards perfecting the foundation of your home, because you only get one shot at it. Besides that, insulate your house as much as you can afford to. A house that is built correctly can be heated/cooled comfortably for very little investment.
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:49 PM   #7
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I would not spend 10% on an architect. Way too much money unless you are building a McMansion on the lake, JMO! You would be better off spending that extra money on a quality builder.
They can take a basic design and tell you what you need and don't need. Many of them have plans on hand that can be expanded and customized to your liking.
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:25 PM   #8
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Especially for the north side of the lake I highly recommend

https://nicolewatkins.com/

Nicole has helped us buy/build/sell several homes over the last 15 years. She is a wonderful human being and also very knowledgable about the lake (P.S. her family has the restaurant on Cow Island)

Best of luck,

Justin
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:41 PM   #9
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Default Backfire

Not too long ago a relative built a super efficient house. It was difficult finding a builder with related experience, but she found one and it is a very efficient house. Because the heat was considered to be electric, even though it would rarely come on, the generator guy said she needed 20+ KW. Very expensive, so she passed. Relatives were visiting when everybody lost power. Being efficient (panelized construction), everybody was warm enough. HA! They had to come to our house to shower and cook, 6 KW genset, traditional construction (1977).
"Your Engineered House" by Rex Roberts was the bible in the 70's. Lots of new tech now, but the basic concepts hold up.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:21 AM   #10
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I will disagree that buying existing property will result in a substantial saving. One of the bonuses of buying or building a new house is you start with everything new from appliances and heating system to windows and insulation. That will represent a tremendous saving with lower utility bills and little or no repairs needed over the first ten years.

Unless it is a waterfront or on a lot with special circumstances there are ways to build and save, and still end up with a quality product.

For plans, many people find them on the internet. There are thousands of plans available so it would be surprising if you could not find something to your liking. I would never pay an architect 10% to draw plans. (Unless I was in that "money is no object" status, which I am not!)

If you are comfortable doing some of the supervision then acting as your own General Contractor will save a lot of money. Ask each of the subs for the names of people who they have worked with and would recommend. With online reviews available on many sites, from Yahoo to Google, it will help determine the quality of the people you find.

It seems like this site would also be a good resource. Many times when people post here about a need for skilled tradesman they get multiple responses and recommendations.

I have done a lot of building from spec houses to remodeling. I can't pound a nail and have it go in straight but I have been able to find people than can. It has saved a lot of money over the years.
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:27 AM   #11
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Default Realtor suggestion

I suggest contacting http://https://www.nancydeporter.com/
Nancy was raised on the lake and knows it like the back of her hand. She and her husband Doug are also very knowledgeable on all things concerning building and zoning.
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:58 PM   #12
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There are a multitude of General Contractors that will construct your home.
Cargill being one off the bigger names. That company has architects on staff.
There are hundreds of paper back books available with house plans. Or a simple sketch drawing of what you want.

Depending on your budget. A 3 car garage is advantageous. Or just a simple rectangular box with no garage. If older folks then a single story home has many advantages. No stairs to climb to bedrooms.

Water in basement can be a serious issues in some locations. The surface water table rises in Spring is some places and cause basement flooding issues.
Read up on perimeter drains. And triple up on those. Won't be done unless you ask.

Ice of roofs is an issue in many homes up here. Drive around in winter time and view homes. Many will have icicles hanging from roofs. Many/most/some builders do not know how to properly ventilate a roof.

Metal roof versus shingle roofs. Pros and cons on both. But overall a properly installed quality metal roof will never leak and will last forever or thereabouts. Note. I have seen two generations of bad asphalt roof shingles fail prematurely. Any warranty on roof shingles only covers the cost of the actual shingles - not the replacement cost of roof.

A quality whole home generator installed at time of construction is a good idea.

Views on heating systems vary greatly. Do some research on this topic. Find the method and brand that has the least breakdowns. The most simple to maintain and to repair. Whole house air conditioning is nice but can be expensive. A Mitsubishi (or other brands) added split heating/cooling is a nice redundant added back up for at least one room. Then there are wood fireplaces, gas fireplaces, and pellet stoves as an added redundancy system.


Low voltage wiring sometimes called structured wiring. Few builders even understand this. The house should be hard wired with RG6 and Cat5e/Cat6 wires to every room terminating in a low voltage panel. Determine where the modem and router are to be placed. Usually should be in center of home and not hidden in a corner of the basement. Most will state that everything is "wireless" now. Hard wiring is faster and safer then wireless. All routers today do have wireless capabilities. Hard wiring is always better.


LINK

Wire for home theater or sometimes called surround sound. The quality of the sound from the television improves dramatically with built in wall/ceiling speakers in living room/TV room.

Double up on the number of electrical outlets. There are never enough. Place one on each exterior wall.

Of course quality of windows and doors. Anderson for example makes 3 grades of windows.

Lots of things to consider. Don't assume anything. One has to become familiar with all facets of home construction to make sure what is built is what one expects.


If time and funds permit attend the International Builders Trade Show IBS

LINK

You will find a wealth of information at this trade show. Only open to the trades but there are ways to get admission if one digs deep. Been to this trade show every year. This is NOT a Home Show that one would go to locally. This is the largest building trade show in the world. Well worth the effort if one is going to have a home built.

Good Luck.
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProfessor View Post
There are a multitude of General Contractors that will construct your home.
Cargill being one off the bigger names. That company has architects on staff.
There are hundreds of paper back books available with house plans. Or a simple sketch drawing of what you want.

Depending on your budget. A 3 car garage is advantageous. Or just a simple rectangular box with no garage. If older folks then a single story home has many advantages. No stairs to climb to bedrooms.

Water in basement can be a serious issues in some locations. The surface water table rises in Spring is some places and cause basement flooding issues.
Read up on perimeter drains. And triple up on those. Won't be done unless you ask.

Ice of roofs is an issue in many homes up here. Drive around in winter time and view homes. Many will have icicles hanging from roofs. Many/most/some builders do not know how to properly ventilate a roof.

Metal roof versus shingle roofs. Pros and cons on both. But overall a properly installed quality metal roof will never leak and will last forever or thereabouts. Note. I have seen two generations of bad asphalt roof shingles fail prematurely. Any warranty on roof shingles only covers the cost of the actual shingles - not the replacement cost of roof.

A quality whole home generator installed at time of construction is a good idea.

Views on heating systems vary greatly. Do some research on this topic. Find the method and brand that has the least breakdowns. The most simple to maintain and to repair. Whole house air conditioning is nice but can be expensive. A Mitsubishi (or other brands) added split heating/cooling is a nice redundant added back up for at least one room. Then there are wood fireplaces, gas fireplaces, and pellet stoves as an added redundancy system.


Low voltage wiring sometimes called structured wiring. Few builders even understand this. The house should be hard wired with RG6 and Cat5e/Cat6 wires to every room terminating in a low voltage panel. Determine where the modem and router are to be placed. Usually should be in center of home and not hidden in a corner of the basement. Most will state that everything is "wireless" now. Hard wiring is faster and safer then wireless. All routers today do have wireless capabilities. Hard wiring is always better.


LINK

Wire for home theater or sometimes called surround sound. The quality of the sound from the television improves dramatically with built in wall/ceiling speakers in living room/TV room.

Double up on the number of electrical outlets. There are never enough. Place one on each exterior wall.

Of course quality of windows and doors. Anderson for example makes 3 grades of windows.

Lots of things to consider. Don't assume anything. One has to become familiar with all facets of home construction to make sure what is built is what one expects.


If time and funds permit attend the International Builders Trade Show IBS

LINK

You will find a wealth of information at this trade show. Only open to the trades but there are ways to get admission if one digs deep. Been to this trade show every year. This is NOT a Home Show that one would go to locally. This is the largest building trade show in the world. Well worth the effort if one is going to have a home built.

Good Luck.
Very nice posting. Excellent suggestions!
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:24 PM   #14
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What is a "paper back book"? Where would you get such a relic?

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Old 02-09-2019, 06:09 PM   #15
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If i was going to build a house i would call joe skiffington
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
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If i was going to build a house i would call joe skiffington
You would? Ask around and read some old threads.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
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What is a "paper back book"? Where would you get such a relic?
This book may help some posters here.

LINK


As far as the original poster/question - here is real paperback books that might help:

LINK


Some are digital to boot !
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:14 AM   #18
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www.bookmongerNH.com ..... where all NH goes for their books ....... and toys! ..... including Jeff Bezos ..... here for a weekend get-a-way!
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:42 AM   #19
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Very good advice from TheProfessor
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:06 AM   #20
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Yes i did use joe skiffington and would again
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:33 AM   #21
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Yes i did use joe skiffington and would again
Joe made some nice looking homes.
His own employees were excellent.
But running up to the crash of 2008 he was building many homes at one time. He had to hire sub-contractors and the oversight was lacking for some homes.


Down the street from me is one of his houses. Beautiful looking. But the original owners had to take legal action as all of the windows were leaking. All of the sheetrock had to be replaced as well as all of the doors and windows. Messy legal situation.


Another home on other side of town. Nice looking new home. There was no insulation in attic. None on ceiling of attic. Not on attic floors. Severe ice dam resulted with $8,000 in water damage. No insulation of any kind in attic? At least on floors above 2nd story bedrooms?


Made some nice looking homes. But sadly, some had issues.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:57 AM   #22
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Professor, that is true. But along with that, he got in trouble financially and allegedly took deposits and took off with the money. Lots of unhappy people to say the least. I do think he came back though. I don't like to say things about anybody but I also would hate to see somebody that is unaware get hurt.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:35 PM   #23
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thanks for the input. I had him build a house in 1991 . He was responsive, took care of issues well beyond warranty period and even flew out to phoenix to let me pick out options. I guess growth can kill any business
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:32 PM   #24
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I learned a long time ago never build something that you will never get your money back on, location, location. location.
I know, everyone wants to build their forever dream home but life happens. If you need to sell you will lose your shirt if you over build for the location.
I've seen homes in the lakes region sell for much less than they would cost to build unless you're on the water.
The farther you are from the lake the harder it is to sell, so you will take a big hit.
I'm not trying to tell anyone how to spend their money but don't let your emotions run wild unless you have an endless supply of money.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:56 PM   #25
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Default Closed vs vented attic?

Good post from the Professor. I would suggest there are varying thoughts on attic ventilation. My sister-in-law recently built nearby. Two years planning, researching, looking at locations. She wanted, and got, an energy efficient house. Heat pumps, underground coils/heat exchangers, panelized foundation and structure.
Anyway, the deal was to make the house tight and that included no attic ventilation. Not all builders (most?) are fully conversant and experienced with this technology or type of construction. She has solar panels and pays almost nothing for utilities. It's remarkable. In the third winter now, with no problems. She is part of a non-profit that will review and advise on solar. They like it but have no product to sell as far as I know. I'm sure she'd be happy to discuss. PM me for contact coordination.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:43 PM   #26
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See the thread below. That discussion was mostly on new construction.

https://www.winnipesaukee.com/forums...ad.php?t=23718
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