New Construction SFR - Los Angeles County

32 Replies

Hello BP, thought I'd finally start a diary on my project. To make a very long story short, we have finally broken ground on our 10 acres of land in Acton, CA which lays in the northern part of Los Angeles county, just below Palmdale and about Santa Clarita. Anyway we bought the property 6 years ago (almost to the day) and initially tried to build a site built home, which I designed and drew to construction documents for. Although I did get my plans stamped and approved by the building department, the home I had designed became way to expensive for us to build with our budget, and we ran out of money and time. After sitting on the property for a while, even putting it on the market for 6 months, we decided to try again and here we are! 

The House:

This time we went with a Modular home. This is not a manufactured or mobile home, but instead it is a stick built home, with 2 x 6 walls, that is built in a factory and shipped out the site in pieces (modules) and put together on site. We paid much extra for this time of home as opposed to a manufactured of the same floor plan. The reason being, the Modular home is deeded at the county as a regular single family home, no modile, no 433, etc. On paper it is no different than a site built home and appreciates and appraises the exact same.

It's a 4 bed room, 2 bath 1782 square foot home. Features: corian counter tops, hard wood maple cabinets, a 9" wide distressed pine plank flooring, 4/12 roof pitch, master bath with corner jacuzzi tub and separate shower, walk in closets, can lighting, open floor plan, stainless steel appliances, etc.

The Land:

10 acres in Acton, CA. A semi rural, horse property area in Los Angeles county. 

The Numbers:

Land - $50,000 (paid off)

House and all amenities - $155,000

Site work - $106,000

Loan and interest fees - $26,000

Total - $337,000

Appraised at $450,000. (future appraisal done to close the loan)


We just broke ground on Monday 2/29/16. The grading is about complete as of today and they are starting the foundation on Tuesday. I will keep updating the status as we go along. Thanks for reading!

Had to excavate and recompact the soil at the building site. Took about three days.

@Nick Coonis looks like a real cool project.  Where are you getting the modular home from?  I have seen some cool designs online and I am curious who you went with.  Hope it goes real smooth for you. 

Thanks @Bob Burson The dealer is called Pacific Valley Homes, and the home manufacturer is called Golden West.They are out of Perris CA. THe floor plans on their website can be built either modular or manufactured homes, I believe the Modular option for us was about 30% higher than the manufactured home construction. 

@Nick Coonis  I remember when you talked about building on that land quite some time ago! It's a beautiful parcel. I can't wait to see your project come along, and will be following it. Do you have any renderings showing what it's going to look like? 

@Nick Coonis Good to hear that you finally broke ground and starting foundations soon, hoping for no more hiccups, like @Karen Margrave I will be following this progress. I was trying to structure this on DTLA but investors doesn't seem to understand as much. Will be going for a small multi with these guys is one of my goals though.

@Karen Margrave Here are some basic renderings. I drew the one with the front porch, we are building that once the home gets delivered. The house is basically just a simple rectangle, but we're looking at it as a blank canvas. Once we add the porch and the landscaping it will start to develop into a more complex home. We are very excited about the colors as well, the main body of the house is Wooden Oar, kind of a brown/beige with a hit of moss green, the trim is all a very light beige, and the roof is black.

This image is shows basically the exact same color scheme that we chose (this image is not our house by any means, just the same colors). I think we are going to go with a black front door though. Other than that this house is pretty spot on with our colors.

Status Update: 

The footings have been all trenched out, and all the steel is in. We passed inspection on Friday for the trenching and the setbacks, etc! Today they are starting to pour concrete for the footings!

Looking good! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that site! Can' wait to see this being done. 

@Nick Coonis Beautiful piece of land. Will look great when completed!

So it looks like your construction costs and site prep are $261K. Does that also includes professional fees? Seems like a pretty good way to go, at $261K for 1,782sqft you're looking at around $146/sqft for modular.

Did you look into traditional construction methods? Just trying to get an idea of the cost difference between modular and traditional. 

@Andrew Fielder yes that includes everything except the loan costs. We actually tried to build a site built home originally, I even drew all the plans myself and got them passed and approved by the Building and Planning departments, but it ended up being MUCH too expensive for us to build. Our problem was/is site costs. To tap into the water pipe alone was $26,000, plus $10,000 in fees to the water works district, plus $3000 to hot tap into the water main and install the meter. So almost $40k just for water. Edison was another $7500 in fees, which also didn't include any actual work, plus another $4000 to trench the under ground power and run the conduit.

All those costs would have stayed the same with a site built, but the house would have been more expensive. We only paid $155,000 for the actual home which includes everything from lighting fixtures to appliances to window blinds. Plus, they have the home ready to deliver in 5 weeks, can't beat that right?

@Nick Coonis wow 5 weeks. Absolutely can't beat that.

Looking forward to seeing the final product! Congrats.

Very interesting concept , have a friend in Pueblo that wants to build on a bunch of one acre residential lots.

WOW!! Very impressive on that time frame. I can't get over that property! Love it! 

Sorry!! I've been super busy with everything, and I'm way overdue for an update. By the way, the house is getting delivered tomorrow! Ok, here it is. 

Status Update:

Foundation is complete and ready for the house! We decided to change it up the last minute and forgo the vented crawl space idea, and go with a completely sealed and insulated craw space with an exhaust fan installed. I've read to many bad things about crawl space vents actually promoting mold and moisture, not to mention rodents, etc.

We also went and saw the house at the factory while it was being built! Crazy how quick they get it done. We loved it, very exciting to finally see it for reals.

Kitchen counter with corian. Sink is kinda basic, but we can deal with that later.

Front dormer over the entry door. The color came out nice, kind of a mossy green/grey with a tan trim.

Side of the house. All that siding gets finished onsite, after the home is closed up and sealed. So you won't see the center seam. Same with the roof ridge cap.

waaaaw, that looks like too easy to build for me. haha!

@Nick Coonis

Great project and thanks for the picture updates.

Can you please expand on the site costs?  Why so much for the water taps?  Is it due to the sheer distance that the pipes need to be ran to the house location?



@Rick Jones

Thanks Rick! No it doesn't have to do with the distance, the neighbors on my street, well 9 of the neighbors, all chipped in and paid for a water pipe to be ran down the street. I think their wells were drying up. Since it's a private road, and those 9 neighbors paid for the pipe, they "owe" the pipe, divided into 9 shares. For me to hook up to the pipe, I had to buy in with them, as the 10th owner. That's what the $26,000 was. The rest of the water fees are just the standard fees around here. The waterworks fee was for a 3/4" meter, had I needed a 1" meter (which I had to prove in writing and drawings that I didn't) the fee would have been double!

The fee for the hot tap into the main was just connecting to the main, running the pipe about 10' to the edge of my property and installing the meter. It's funny, I called about 7 or 8 companies to get a quote for that, and every quote was completely different, ranging from $8,000+ to $2800 and everything in between. I know cheaper isn't always better, but I went with the cheapest bid because a county inspector had to stand over him all day and make sure he did it correctly anyway, so I figured he couldn't really screw it up. Which he didn't, he did a great job.

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