|Re: I'm frustrated- diverse finances||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Lynn Nadeau (welcomeolympus.net)|
|Date: Wed, 8 Jul 1998 20:34:27 -0500|
Matt: I'm glad my post gave you some thoughts. I still don't understand the situation entirely (nor, I suppose, do I have to). Whether or not there is a major economy of scale in group building is a good question. It's hard to compare apples and apples in the mainstream world, because most grouped construction is also spec housing which is done at the cheapest level of materials. Such housing is also cheap if done singly. The question would be relevant if you could find housing of a quality you like, that was constructed en masse. There are doubtless cohousing groups that are relevant. Construction costs vary from area to area of course, but in the Pacific NW it certainly isn't necessary to spend anywhere near $200/sq ft. For one thing, a larger house is proportionally less per sq ft, as it still only needs one foundation, roof, heating system, etc. My house (and similar ones in our project) is about 2400 sq ft including a lower level rental apartment and finished workroom area, and two stories above. It came in at $85 a sq ft-- with oak floors, real linoleum, stone and tile work, radiant floors in the apartment, clad windows, a deck and porches, custom trim, and good insulation. On a smaller scale, houses of 800 sq ft have been built here for about $70K for the house itself. Building with shared walls also kicks in some extra expenses, due to increased fire code requirements. Fire-rated drywall, restrictions on channels through the walls for plumbing and electrical, I believe. I don't know if insurance companies also consider attached buildings a more expensive risk. Perhaps you have a very special situation-- I can't imagine how one could have a 4 BR house AND common lands AND infrastructure installation (roads, parking, sever, water, power, phone, drainage systems, fire hydrants, sewer cleanouts) AND a common house for $80,000 in an unsubsidized situation. Here, our development budget (the above minus the housing) on 9 acres (blocks) brought our first 19 lots (no house) to $30-38K, with our phase two development area (5-6 smaller lots) slated to bring in about $160K more, total. If your group thinks that's do-able, even at low-grade construction quality, it wouldn't hurt to double check your figures. Have you looked at other groups' development budgets to be sure you are remembering what all needs to go into it? We did fairly well, considering we had no professional help, but still left landscape underfunded and had to add it as a capital item later, and also did not allow for inflation over time of some of our original projected costs, such as some paving which was delayed, and the construction cost of our common house. Remember contingency funds, for sure. What professionals do you plan to use and how much do they cost? What's the trade off in time and money for doing things yourselves, and what do you not even have that option on-----certain things require an engineer's stamp, or legal advice. If you plan to deal extensively with professionals, remember that they can charge $60 an hour or more. We shaved the "non-profit" budget uncomfortably close, figuring to come out even once all lots were sold, but we would have done better to cut ourselves some slack. I've also heard professional advice, which makes great sense, to make a line item in your budget for environmentally-better choices. If it's something that just comes up within each item, you will probably again and again go for the conventional, as it is usually way less expensive. By giving yourselves a budget for eco-friendly upgrades, you can at least do that much. Watch too for ways you can decrease long-term costs, in maintenance and energy costs, with strategic investments and choices of design and materials. A short-term higher expense for something like insulation can pay for itself and more, in the longer run. Sorry I don't have time to organize this better, but perhaps there's some additional bit of grist for the mill somewhere here. Lynn at RoseWind
- Re: I'm frustrated- diverse finances Lynn Nadeau, July 7 1998
- Re: I'm frustrated- diverse finances cynthia . e . carpenter, July 9 1998
- Re: I'm frustrated- diverse finances Matt Lawrence, July 9 1998
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