Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our search is over!

Two months ago, we finally put aside any hope of building our dream home and focused our efforts on finding an existing acreage home that would suit our needs.  We looked at a lot of options online, visited a few of them, and even made an offer on one great place that got rejected.  Finally, just two days before Christmas and nearly four years after we bought our empty lot near town, our offer was accepted on a nice, 10-acre home out in the country.

Monday, December 1, 2014

House shopping around Lincoln

Back in October, we finally put aside any hope of building our dream home, and focused our efforts on finding an existing acreage home that would suit our needs.  We looked at a lot of options online, visited a few of them, and even made an offer on one great place that got rejected.  Along the way, I got pretty good at searching for properties, so I wanted to share some tips I learned.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Working with one last builder

After working with three different custom home builders this spring and coming up empty, we decided to give it one last shot with Brester Construction.  They were great to work with, but really not much cheaper than the other builders that had already fallen through for us.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Which concrete reinforcement method is best?

When we were talking with our home builder about concrete, we found that he used several different methods to reinforce the concrete, depending on the application.  I had my own ideas about what I wanted to use, but after talking more with our builder, he's won me over.  Here's what I've learned.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back to square one

This isn't where we expected to be this month.  In early July, we thought we had three great builders and a great floor plan.  It's now mid-August, and we've got just one builder with a price tag so high that we can't possibly build the plan as it's drawn up.  So now we're back to where we were this Spring, trying to simplify our plan and find a builder that fits both our budget and our desire for quality.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The bids are in

As we progress toward building a new house on our acreage, we found three custom home builders that suited our desire for quality craftsmanship.  We interviewed their references, which yielded no distinction among them (all were excellent), so we decided to let our bank account choose the winner.  We gave each of them a copy of our drafted house plans and sent them off to get apples-to-apples bids on what it would cost for them to build our house.  The bids are finally in, and they're not what we'd hoped.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Septics, lagoons, and alternatives

One of the first steps we needed to perform was to have a percolation test done on our acreage to see whether we could install an underground septic system or had to use an above-ground lagoon.  Mike Rezac took the initiative to contact Lloyd Jakoubek at Raymond Contracting to get that test done.  It takes a couple weeks, so it's good to have that out of the way.  The results just came in, and we failed the test, meaning we have to go with either an engineered type system or a lagoon.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Checking home builder references

In the three weeks since I last wrote, our three potential custom home builders have been compiling detailed bids on the plans we had drawn up.  While we wait for them to do their thing, we've been contacting the references that each of them gave us.  Overall, the results are pretty close for the three.  Here's what we've learned.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Choosing a new lawn mower

When we bought our old house 16 years ago, we bought an inexpensive Craftsman push mower to care for the smallish lawn.  It held up well (a little less so after our kids started using it), but has been showing its age lately.  I patched the rusted-through deck with duct tape (which worked quite well), and I've had to rebuild the carburetor every couple years when it didn't want to start.  Last week, even cleaning the carb wasn't enough to keep it running, so I decided it was finally time to upgrade.  I did lots of research and ended up coming home with another Craftsman that was very similar in concept to our old mower.  Given the amount of time I spent on this decision, I figured I should share my thought process with you all.

Friday, June 13, 2014

We've got our house drawings!

After interviewing three potential custom home builders, one of the next steps was for us to get our desired plans put to paper so that the builders could each give us an accurate cost estimate and we could do an apples-to-apples comparison.  Cost isn't the only criteria we're using to choose a builder, of course, but it is a big part of it.  According to all three builders, there are basically two draftsmen in town that do the majority of the custom plans: New Ventures and Residential Drafting Services (RDS).  We went with the latter.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Goldilocks and the three builders

I mentioned last time that we're once again trying to build a new home.  Since we've already got a pretty good idea what floor plan we'll be using, our next step is to choose a local custom home builder after the guy we'd been planning to use retired on us.  We compiled a short list of three builders who were recommended by friends or whose work we'd seen & liked on the Parade of Homes.  We interviewed all three of them this week, and while we haven't selected one yet, I wanted to share our initial thoughts about each one.  If you're looking to build a home near Lincoln, Nebraska, hopefully this info will help you.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

New acreage: take two

A lot has happened in the 18 months since I last wrote about our plans to build a new house on our 3-acre lot just outside town.  A lot of things changed during that time, and we think we're going to be able to see it through to completion this time.