Here's a list of the steps we have taken so far, and advice for others following in our footsteps
BUYING LAND (Jan - March 2010)
- assess value of lots in the area (check msp.com and ask realtors)
- assess value of houses in the area, to see if you can make a profit (msp.com)
- visit the local building office to find out about town development plans that might affect your lot or your liking of the area, and to find out about local building regulations.
- check access to services for your lot
- get a realtor to work for you (not the realtor selling the land!)
- ask the realtor for a 'kick back' on his/her commission
- put in a low-ball offer. It'll take less than a week of back-and-forth to agree on a price.
- spend a week or two 'clearing your conditions' and making sure you actually want the lot. This involves getting a lawyer to do a title search for you, to make sure the seller actually owns the land, and there are no 'liens' or claims on it.
- put down a deposit. There's no backing out now!
- the sale completes when you pay the remainder. We chose to do this quickly so we could get started on applying for building permits. Remember you start paying taxes from the moment you own it!
DESIGNING THE HOUSE (March 2010 - March 2011)
- take into account the views, sun exposure, tilt of the land, and snow shedding, in designing the overall shape.
- take a tape measure with you everywhere! see what sizes of rooms / hallways / ceilings you like.
- keep a scrap book of rooms / houses you like
- contract a designer or architect. Designers are cheaper but perhaps less creative... We found a lot of variability in price ($2000 to $20,000 to design a home).
PERMISSION TO BUILD (April-May 2011)
19 April 2011 - Stef submitted a package of material, including the plans, where the house will sit on the lot, how water will drain off the property, etc etc etc, to the city. It took them a few weeks to give us a building permit.
5 May 2011 - We also got building permission from the people who own the development, who get to judge whether our house is an okay style (we're not allowed to build a Japanese pagoda or even a log home, but have to be 'in keeping' with the neighbourhood).
SITE PREP (April-May 2011)
- blasting took a couple of days. Digging around to prep the land for building took about 2 weeks, including laying in the service pipes (water, electricity)
FOUNDATIONS (May 2011)
- it took about a week to build the frames and pour the concrete, then another week to plumb in the sewage pipes, put piping around the edge to pick up drainage rainwater, and back fill with gravel. Stef has put down insulation and plastic in the suite.
FRAMING (June 2011)
- Framing the ground floor took all of a day, and a Saturday at that...
- They started the second floor by 12 June, and claim the roof will be on by 17 June. Holy smokin' speedy pants!
July/August - holiday
ROOFING (August - Sept 2011)
Stef, with the help of one worker (Oni), put the roof on from 19 August to the end of September. Just when the weather was at its hottest.
Oct 2011 - window installation, exterior painting, exterior 'wrapping', chopping wood (for the stove).
Nov 2011 - installing the stove, electrics and plumbing
Dec 2012 - tarring the balconies.
Jan 2012 - installing the sliding doors to the balconies, front doors, garage door.