Comment of the Day Runner-Up: Those Crazy DIY Houstonians

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: THOSE CRAZY DIY HOUSTONIANS “And what is up with everyone wanting to build a house? I have friends who are building in the Heights, Spring Branch and Oak Forest. I can tell you that it is a miserable process. Lots of delays (trades and materials can be in short supply), cost overruns, failed inspections, builders who don’t return calls until you start dropping the ‘l’ word (not ‘lesbian’) and having a double bill for housing if you buy the land. All of that just to get a ‘custom’ home that is really just a slight variation on a form of residential design that an architect has recycled dozens of times for different clients all around Houston. Why not just find a house you like well enough, make an offer, sweat the inspection and move in after 30 days?” [Old School, commenting on Garden Group Looking To Turn Gus Wortham Golf Course into Botanical Wonderland] Illustration: Lulu

15 Comment

  • I agree, building a house is a very stressful and sometimes aggrevating proposition. You do however get a connection to the house because you had a hand in it’s design and construction. From the financial perspective I would boil it down to one statement… You will not save money vs. buying but you will most likely get nicer finishes for the same price as buying.

  • Totally agree.
    The only reason I’m looking to build (not in Houston, and not in the US) is because I found a lot I want in the area I want it. The homes that exist near buy are huge and $$$, where as I just want something basic. I only care about the location and ocean view. (I don’t need a huge 5000+ SF home).
    So in my case there is nothing avail to buy that’s small and simple. Since the land is $$$ in this location, they go over the top on construction.

  • What’s bizarre is this comment had absolutely nothing! to do with the discussion of Gus Wortham as a botanical garden, it was a bizarre non sequitur that added zero to the discussion and sooo Swamplot rewards it as Comment of the Day.. Oh goody..As for the Comment, some people enjoy creating their own house, so what?

  • Because houses in areas where the land value is comparatively affordable are often, even if in perfect condition, too small by today’s standards. I’m not talking about mega-mansions with a wine-cellar-media-room, I’m talking about bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and closets that were back then considered luxury items just by existing and were far smaller than we want today. Add to that often very poor energy efficiency and insulation and the fact that many tract houses were cheaply built and you begin to get to the point where you want to build new even leaving aside the desire for any kind of custom design. I’m a big advocate for historical preservation but those concerns kill a lot of old houses, even those with an architectural pedigree.

  • I’ve found that saying the word lesbian works, too.

  • Whoops. I would have sworn I made that comment to this comment:

    but it ended up on the golf course article.

  • Yes, building is stressful. I think even more so in Houston since so many contractors rely exclusively on subs (very different from where I grew up in the North East, where my architect/contractor father had a full construction crew on salary and was able to keep a tighter leash on project timelines/outcomes). And it is probably more expensive than buying a cookie-cutter house, whether new or a few years old. But as for it being a slight variation of a recycled design used dozens of times, that’s entirely a question of who you get to design it. If you want a truly unique home, there are talented architects out there who can give you that, and if you care about design it may be worth the investment of time and stress. If you’re essentially happy with a standard Houston-style new-build box and just want to choose the wood for your cabinets and the tile in your bathroom, you’re probably better off to find a developer with houses in progress where you can have a say in the finishes.

  • Lol, ok now that makes more sense Old School

  • Regardless where the poster intended to put it, almost everything about the post suggest someone trying desperately to push his agenda that only old houses are worth living in. He couldn’t be more wrong. There are things to like about old homes (I live in one now), and there are things to like about new homes (I plan to build one eventually).

    Some of us enjoy managing a team of workers to create a masterpiece. Some apparently aren’t very good at it.

  • I’ve been watching someone build a home in the city of Southside, across the street from me. They’re going on month ten now, with many days of the empty house just sitting with no workers on the site. No doubt part of the delay is waiting on, and complying with, Southside-mandated inspections.

    The homeowner told me that if they had realized how complicated the building process in Southside would be, that they’d have re-sold the lot and walked away from the idea of building a new home in Southside.

  • Because building new is CHEAPER than buying new.

    Which makes sense, it should be. You are taking various risks, and don’t have the overhead of a developer (Salaries to pay, inventory to finance, etc).

    Think Wholesale vs Retail.

  • @jim, completely untrue. In fact you can get a lot more at a cheaper price from a volume developer because of economies of scale. In vast majority of instances it will cost you more build one off custom.

  • Why do people have children when not having children is so much cheaper and easier, and they aren’t so different from other people’s children anyway?

    That’s what this question sounds like to me.

  • Commonsense is 100% accurate. Let’s say the developer works on a 20% margin. My guess is due to the sheer quantity of homes that developer builds and his rate of labor, a developer can build a new home and sell it to you cheaper than you could do yourself
    There are advantages to building your own home… cost savings are not generally one of them.
    Another example is an apartment complex I just sold. I could have sold it for $500,000 as is, or rehab the property and sold it for 650 K. The upgrades would cost me $125k to do so by doing them I make extra money. However, if someone were to try to do the same upgrades it might cost them 200k due to the fact I can get it done cheaper. So this buyer opted to have me do the upgrades even though they knew I was charging a higher uplift then my actual cost.

  • We built a house 7 years ago and sold it last spring. Never again. The house we bought is 12 years old and perfect in every way. Go ahead, build a house- you’ll only make that mistake once.