900k decision on new construction, need your feedback please

40 Replies

Hi all. Would like to get your feedback: I'm building a house in Edina MN starting in 2 weeks, it will sell b/n 900k-1m

All houses that are new construction in this neighborhood have two car detached or attached garage. I was planning to build like everybody else (2 car detached or 2 car attached) but my architect says that he would rather choose a house that is not super good looking from the front, because it will have 3 car garage, than building a better looking house with 2 cars garage. Please share your opinion and respond:

 2-which means 2 car garage or 3-which means 3 car garage.

Also how would you pay 43k more for the house to implement energy efficient improvements if the payback period for these improvements is 12 years or less.

See, most builders in that area build to code, which is the minimum standard of construction, and this house will bit the code by at least 200%

First picture is a house with 2 car garage, 2nd picture is the house with 3 car garage (one garage is a tandem)

Three cars yes, building past code is a waste of money. Put the money where people will see it. 

I hate to say this, but I lost $20k in profit on my first build trying to build energy efficient. Waste of money and my home(s) would sell without it...

You are right, Keith, normally people are looking for a payback for eei (energy efficient improvements payback within 7 years). Unfortunately there is nothing on the market right now except 95% furnaces and 15 seer ACs that would provide a greater payback.

I wanted to use exterior foam insulation for this project to remove the conduction heat loss through the studs to improve R value from R19 to R28, but now have second thoughts.

I built my house from SIPs, and did some other creative things to bit the code by 270%, but doubt that anybody would pay me more than 50K, even though I spent over 150k on these energy efficient improvements.

This is a picture of the house that I built, had over 5000 people touring through it during Parade of Homes in 2013

How do appriasals in your market go?  In my market, we get a higher appraisal with a 3 car over a 2 car.  We build only spec homes so we build by the appraisal.

Regarding building over code - huge waste of money.  People don't pay for stuff they can't see.  They can see granite countertops, beautiful doors, 3 car garage.  They can't see R28 insulation.  Unless they've been badly burned with a poorly constructed house in the past, they won't appreciate over-building.

Save that stuff for custom construction.

I built a house with SIPs, too, on my ranch, but I have no expectation of selling for a premium.  They have to see it.  You might consider some "wow" feature that buyers can see.  One that doesn't cost you too much.  

Can you do a detached storage/shop building in the back yard and stick with a two car garage?

Strange statement from your Architect.   He'd rather have less curb appeal and a 3 car garage than good curb appeal and a 2 car garage??  I'd say the opposite. 

The garage depends on your lot size.  Can't really form an opinion without some site information. 

The biggest question I have is you said you are starting this project in 2 weeks but you don't have plans yet.  How long do permits take in Minneapolis?  

Cake-eaters love their garages. Go with the three car garage. Which neighborhood in Edina is it?

How big is the house? 

I don't understand the appeal of Edina and why it commands such high prices. Granted i haven't seen all of it but i have been to southdale and surrounding area its not anything to write home about. Galleria is nice though. 

Originally posted by @Carl Petterson :

Cake-eaters love their garages. Go with the three car garage. Which neighborhood in Edina is it?

 Welcome to BiggerPockets, Carl.

With spray foam insulation in 2x6's walls you can get R21 super easy, going beyond that unless its a custom house is IMHO a waste. I think fiberglass bat is R19 off the top of my head. 

I have a hard enough time getting people to upgrade to real windows over the low price point builders grade I use. I have only had one buyer who asked and paid for an upgrade to Anderson windows!

In my area electric cars are really getting popular. For a few hundred bucks you can have your electrician put a 220 circuit in the garage next to the panel. Now you can advertise that your green! Bring the Tesla!

Seem worth it install the 220v circuit to appeal to electric car enthusiasts, or plug in the RV.

There car garage for sure.  In my area, almost all new construction of higher level homes is three car garage.

When I built my home in 2006 I did things to future proof it.   I did things like had my electricians ran multiple smurf tubes from my panels (which I upsized and gave lots of extra room for).

I added solar panels a couple years ago and boom... They just had to pull the wiring from my attic through the smurf tube conduit.  Very quick and easy.  Ditto on the electric car wiring.   I have a Chevy Volt now and adding the home charger was very easy.

So my suggestion would be to do the little things like conduit, upsized wiring... And then you can advertise as "solar ready,"  "electric vehicle ready," etc.

The only thing I might suggest that I really love in my last two homes is installing zoned heating and cooling.   It does add a bit more to the price tag, but only having to heat and cool your upstairs overnight does make enough of an energy impact I think it's worth it.  And people understand that, it's easy to explain....You can control the heating and cooling on each level of your home individually.

@Pavel Sakurets  That is quite a house you built. I can see why it was such a hit on the Parade of Homes. As to your question, it's rather confusing, a good architect should be able to design a house with great curb appeal AND a three car garage, so what's his reasoning for not being able to do that? Maybe an opinion from another architect? 

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave :

@Pavel Sakurets  That is quite a house you built. I can see why it was such a hit on the Parade of Homes. As to your question, it's rather confusing, a good architect should be able to design a house with great curb appeal AND a three car garage. Maybe the problem isn't what you want to do, but your architect. 

  I agree on the architect/garage, though if it's a narrow lot with street access only, it's a pretty big challenge to make it very nice aesthetically. 

I think you should go for 3-car.   They need a place to park their hobby, boat, motorcycle, SUV, and Audi. 

Plus the kids will get new cars when they turn 16 and parents don't want them blocking the driveway or parking on the street.  

Indoor parking is a major consideration for home buyers at the $400,000 level.  Just look at EVERYTHING being built as new construction in the burbs. I just can't see it being any less important to million dollar buyers.

Originally posted by @John Weidner :

Strange statement from your Architect.   He'd rather have less curb appeal and a 3 car garage than good curb appeal and a 2 car garage??  I'd say the opposite. 

The garage depends on your lot size.  Can't really form an opinion without some site information. 

The biggest question I have is you said you are starting this project in 2 weeks but you don't have plans yet.  How long do permits take in Minneapolis?  

In Mpls if it's residential construction and there are no zoning questions you can get the building permit for a new house the same day over the counter, that's why I love it!

In Edina, where I'm building, it takes 1.5 weeks.

We got the house under contract 2.5 weeks ago and got a survey done last week, only after we knew what was the exact lot size we could start designing the house.

See, it was published that the lot was 50' wide and if it's 50' wide or wider, the total sides setback is 12' and I could build 38' wide house.

If the lot was 49'11'', the total sides setback is only 10' and I could build a house 40' wide.

That's why I was not sure on elevations and the plan, because didn't know what size of the house I could build. 

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave :

@Pavel Sakurets  That is quite a house you built. I can see why it was such a hit on the Parade of Homes. As to your question, it's rather confusing, a good architect should be able to design a house with great curb appeal AND a three car garage, so what's his reasoning for not being able to do that? Maybe an opinion from another architect? 

It's not want I want, Karen, it's what will sell fast, I don't care what to build and my architect can design anything I want, I'm just deciding which front elevation to choose.

Made a decision on a 3 car ( looks like 2 car from the outside but tandem garage due to narrow lot size), thanks to BPs

PLEASE BPs who built houses in higher income communities, please vote which elevation you think will sell fast in Edina, MN

There are total of 8 elevations, elevation #2 can be extended for a 2 car garage to look symmetrical, all colors can be changed, it's just an idea of the front look/elevation.

Imagine that interior layout will be the same for all houses

Originally posted by @Jon Klaus :

I built a house with SIPs, too, on my ranch, but I have no expectation of selling for a premium.  They have to see it.  You might consider some "wow" feature that buyers can see.  One that doesn't cost you too much.  

Can you do a detached storage/shop building in the back yard and stick with a two car garage?

Good idea about the shop in the back, but I'm limited to 30% lot coverage and the house is taking 29.9% already. Thanks for the tip for electrical charger in the garage, great idea!

Originally posted by @Carl Petterson :

Cake-eaters love their garages. Go with the three car garage. Which neighborhood in Edina is it?

Address 5841 Abbott Ave S, Edina MN

Originally posted by @Byron Bohlsen :

How big is the house? 

I don't understand the appeal of Edina and why it commands such high prices. Granted i haven't seen all of it but i have been to southdale and surrounding area its not anything to write home about. Galleria is nice though. 

With the basement will be around 4300 sq ft.

High prices in Edina due to their schools and Edina Country club.

We bought this tear down for 250k

Nice, hopefully its profitable for you. 

Most of the school rater websites I see doesn't rank Edina 1st. Shrug. 

@Pavel Sakurets

That's quick on permits - much better than Chicago

I'd go #7, 5, 4 in order of preference

Other option can you stick a 2 car garage at the back of the lot and use the setbacks as a driveway?

I agree with the posters that say put the money where people can see it.  Forget over building.  I have the same tendency to build the way I would want my house to be but buyers are ruthless.  Build to the level of places close to you.  You won't get you money out if you go over.  

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