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Just got our offer accepted on a lot in Capistrano Beach, CA. It's 4700 sq. ft. and buying for $310,000! We'll be building a 3000+ sq. ft. modern style spec home on it. Floor plan is already finished. I'll the exterior elevations posted in a few days! Michael (our son, partner does all the architectural preliminary plans and visualization, so he's ahead of the game!)

Capistrano Beach Project (Clink on Capistrano Beach link lower right)

keywords: spec, new construction, capistrano beach, orange county, dana point, new house.

Congratulations! Curious what your projected cost per sq ft will be and anticipated sales price?

@Cal C. Thanks! On this one we'll probably be around $150 sq. ft. It's a nice level lot, ready to go, which makes it nice. As to the anticipated sales price, not quite sure. Market is appreciating, and we still have some time to go before we get in for permits and can actually start construction, so we probably won't pin a price to it too soon.

Awesome! I live about 5 lots down camino cap from there

@William Larsen What a small world! We'll definitely have to chat at the meet up!

Congrats Karen. I live in Capo beach too, would love to watch your project come up. $150/sqft, is a pretty dang good price for new construction.

@CK Hwang Actually, that's just an estimate on my part. I haven't actually looked at the numbers for that house as we are just in the design phase.

We do however do some phases of the work ourselves, which helps cut down on costs. On Capo Beach the lot is already level so won't require much grading, etc. Also, depending on finishes and appliances chosen there can be upgrades added in.

@Bryan Hancock @Jon Klaus @Will Barnard @J Scott (will someone at mention him for some reason I never can get him!) Of course others are welcome to comment too!

Please look at these plans and tell me your thoughts :) I will have exterior elevations soon. It's a 2 story house, a little over 3000 sq. ft., There's folding doors that open to the side courtyard. Stairs from the courtyard lead to the rooftop ocean view deck. There's also access to the stairs from the upstairs loft. The room downstairs next to the kitchen can be a dining room or media room.

That floorplan makes great use of space...very functional, and I imagine for that area, being able to get a 4/4 on that sized lot is uncommon. Particularly, I love the fact that you essentially have three master suites upstairs (each bedroom has its own attached bathroom). Did you do this because there's a chance someone will purchase this as a rental/vacation property?

$310K seems like a great price if the exit is over $1M (which I assume it is). How did you find this lot?

What's your timeline for starting and finishing the build?

@J Scott (it works if you've already posted on the thread) First off we have to get a minor discretionary permit for the rooftop deck, that should take about 4-8 weeks. While that's being done we will be finishing up the plans with the engineer and the architect. Our son does the initial plans then passes them off to an architect that reviews, makes her notes, and stamps them along with the structural engineer.

It will probably be 4-6 months from now before we can start building. We've never built in Dana Point - Capistrano Beach area before, so not sure how easy they are to deal with, but they seem very helpful.

As to the bathrooms, it works for a vacation rental, people with parents living with them, etc., so thought it would be a nice touch.

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave :

It will probably be 4-6 months from now before we can start building. We've never built in Dana Point - Capistrano Beach area before, so not sure how easy they are to deal with, but they seem very helpful.

That would put you solidly in the spring market (assuming you don't pre-sell). Where I live, that would be a huge bonus.

Do you find that in that area there are still seasonal effects on selling? Or is the weather so nice year-round that the market is pretty consistent?

@J Scott We don't have as seasonal a market as other areas because it is perfect weather year round. However; in the demographic with kids, I think school schedules still weigh heavy on decisions of purchasing homes, especially if someone is moving into a new district, etc.

Hi @Karen Margrave

Looks like you picked up a great lot! I'm doing projects in that price point and am loving using Butler's Pantries in the layouts. More importantly, my buyers love them!

So, not to throw a HUGE wrench in what you've already done with the floorplan, but here, catch a wrench!

How about something like this?

Here's my thinking:

  • I'm assuming the desirable view is the front of the house. If not, you can rotate this layout 90 degrees counterclockwise to put the main living areas in the back of the house
  • Most living is done in the great room/dining, not the office, which is why I swapped them.
  • great room and dining can be easily swapped (and I'd probably do this if it was my project).
  • The butler's pantry adds a ton of storage, offers an area for additional not-often used appliances.
  • The huge island makes up for the lost countertop space and creates a huge area for food prep.
  • You can open up the full right side or front and put an outdoor dining/entertainment area.
  • Garage would still be on the left, I just didn't draw it.


@Lynn Currie I appreciate you taking the time to do the drawing. However; the great room has a 18' ceiling that opens to the upstairs loft, therefore; the great room and dining area cannot be swapped. Aside from that, your plan would have the front door opening directly into great room which would basically create a hallway directly through the room, and limit furniture placement.

Also, for those not wanting a dining room, that space can be used for a media space, and that's why the wall to the kitchen isn't open. (though should someone want that wall open, we can do that by flipping the cabinets, and refrigerator to the opposite wall and reworking kitchen.

We like the idea of a butlers pantry too, if a plan allows it. On this plan however; we like keeping as much space as possible for the kitchen great room area that will have a wall of glass folding doors opening to a side courtyard. From the courtyard there's stairs leading up to the rooftop ocean view deck (which is also accessible from the upstairs loft)

Here in southern California the outdoors space is living space with our perfect year round weather - therefore; with the great room where it is, together with the wall opened, it creates a much larger living space!

Each area of the country has their lifestyles that need to be accommodated, and here, it's outdoor living.

Wow, 18' ceilings. Nice!

All great points. Sounds like you've got a great plan!


@Lynn Currie Regarding relocating the office on our plan, the reason we have the office where it is (separated from the rest of the space and access to the bathroom), it allows that space to be used as a ground floor in-law suite, or for owners to "age in place", etc. in the future.

I'm sure you know that when designing "spec" homes, trying to get the design so that it works for the maximum number of potential buyers requires a lot of guesswork, and hopefully we get it right.

Maybe you can upload some of your houses too! It's always fun seeing other builders stuff. I'll be adding the exterior elevation soon.

@Karen Margrave Completely agreed!

It's interesting, when people ask me about starting to develop in other areas, I always cringe a little. I feel like I really know my buyers well, but also know that I don't know what buyers in different areas will necessarily be looking for.

You're right, I do need to post some projects of my photos. I'll be having a couple of my projects photographed in the the next couple of weeks. I'll post some photos and tag you then!

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