Re: cost estimates
From: Diana E Carroll (
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 09:57:11 -0800 (PST)
Seems unlikely. I've had friends and acquaintances build or rebuilding their single-family-homes and the cost overruns and delays happened to them, too. Invariably.

I've been involved in many projects, non real estate related, and honestly...almost all come in after deadline and overbudget. Why? Human nature. We want it cheap and we want it fast, so we unconsciously minimize the projections, and then are surprised when the projections aren't accurate.

I don't know that including a professional totally offsets this tendency. Professionals are paid to make their clients happy. This is how it goes in my projects (cohousing and otherwise):

Clients: "We want X, Y and Z"
Professionals: "That will cost $A and take B months"
Clients: "Too long!  Too expensive.  How can we cut costs and time?"
Professionals: " Z?  That would reduce price some"
Clients: "Yes, drop Z.  Anything else?  Please tell us yes!!! PLLLEASE"
Professionals: " could trim back on X and Y and maybe we can squeeze 12 hour workdays out of the workers. If everything went PERFECTLY we could get it done by date Q" Clients: "Yes! Perfect! Q is perfect! We're ready to sign on the dotted line and pay you large sums of money."
Professionals: "Whew...almost lost that one."

And, of course, it didn't work that way. The clients were SO eager to see lower numbers that they were ready to hear "we could maybe kinda sorta get it faster" by a professional eager to please them as written in stone...and always ALWAYS end up disappointed.

The projects that come in on schedule and on budget are the projects where the clients aren't pushing for lower projections up front when the schedule and budget are set.

- Diana

On 2/14/2010 12:11 PM, Cindy T wrote:

I'm wondering if a community where each person was responsible for building 
their own house, with some construction guidelines established, would be able 
to avoid this problem?  Maybe communities with experience doing this 
successfully could share their experiences?


As I've read many posts to this list, I've learned more about how the
price of a cohousing home or community can quickly spiral beyond the
financial limits of some members. Hiring good professionals probably
results in heading off some unanticipated expenses and makes planning
departments, banks, etc. take the project more seriously.

Home construction seems to be exceptionally susceptible to delays and
cost overruns. Maybe I'm not hearing about the projects or homes that
come in on time and at or less than the original budget.

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