Home Builder Looking To Move

11 Replies

Hello, I am looking to re-locate my business to the Oregon area within the next year. We do a lot of residential remodeling, additions, and custom & tract home building. We do everything from the foundation to the paint. Home Development has been a lucrative item in Upstate NY. We're quick and we are able to build homes for around $72 /sqft and from what I've seen, lower end homes are selling for $250-$350 a sq/ft in many parts of Oregon. Here we are selling custom homes for around $160 sq/ft which includes granite counters, cultured stone exteriors, landscapes, etc. 

I am looking to connect with individuals in the Oregon area who are familiar with home development or who are interested in discussing the potential to build custom & spec houses in the state. I am also looking for advice on good places to live, I am moving from a heavily forested area in NY and would like to remain in a similar area with at least 10 acres of land but within 1 hr of prime development location. If anyone has recommendations it would be appreciated, thanks!

Hey Ronald, 

I don't have much to add on the build front except that I was just having a conversation with our construction lender and we got on the topic of general price per square foot new construction that she's seeing...and it's 2-3X what you're building for in NY. Just want to make sure you're taking regional difference into account when you're building out your business modeling and forecasting. 

As for areas to relocate to...I'd check out Parrot Mountain outside of Sherwood, Yamhill county, or east of Portland out towards Estacada/Sandy/Damascus/Mt. Hood. All of those will likely be pushing over an hour to get into Portland, but will also give you what I feel is the best chance to find larger parcels of land. 

Best of luck on the move and let us know how we can help!


@Ronald Starusnak good luck on your move. @Mathew Wray is right on for build costs here. $150-$200/sf is really common here. We're building a pretty high end 4plex and we're just over $200 in hard costs. I know development here a bit and am happy to get you pointed in the right direction. Along with what Matt said for possible home locations. Vancouver/Clark Co will have lots of acreage opportunities within an hour of Portland's core and their market is doing really well right now too. When I heard heavily forested, I thought of NW Portland/Scappoose as well. 

Thanks guys, that's an excellent start for me to look. In reference to the costs per Sq/ft we charge $120-$130 sq/ft to BUILD but our costs are around $72 sq/ft. I think you guys costs are higher simply because the cost of living there is a little bit higher and the market will support a higher price. I'd be interested in meeting up with someone to discuss building in a JV at a lower cost to help make us more money but we can talk about that a little more in PM as we aren't supposed to do deal making on the actual forums.

I am incredibly excited about the move but certainly looking to line 1-3 builds up before we move ourselves and our guys. We'd be bringing 6 families over all at once so we want to make sure we're going to be okay right off the bat. I'd  have to see what our other costs are but it looks very promising.

@Ronald Starusnak exactly. It's a labor issue/highly competitive market issue. I've had and have heard multiple people discuss bringing in labor from other lower cost markets for that very reason. If you can bring that amount of labor over, you will do well. Contractors will stay in very high demand for another 2 years or more, at least and even if construction slows down, it shouldn't slow down for too long as we've had a slow down in permitting and will be short on housing supply; hence creating more demand for new construction. 

How is Portland Vs. Bend? I was leaning towards Bend OR at first. We pay our guys well at least by Upstate NY standards, $20-$25/hr plus company vehicles. Not sure how that will translate over there.

Hi Ronald,

Still moving? I grew up in Bend and it's beautiful but instead of heavily forested think lots of Junipers and dirt and beautiful mountain views. Bend getting pretty populated but outside of town there are still plenty of wide open living.

Hi Genna, I was looking at potential properties to build our own house on zillow and I seen the Mt Hood and general areas surrounding Portland are much closer to what I am used to here in Upstate NY. I think we might relocate closer to Portland for this reason. thank you for the info!

I am a small renovation contractor in the city of Portland.  I don’t have any personal experience with the new construction side locally but a couple points.  Construction labor is extremely hard to come by. There is so much demand for labor you might need to pay $20 for someone with literally no experience to show up 40/hrs a week. I think a decent framer would run you $30 if you’re lucky. Getting licensed with the CCB is very easy and the cost is minimal. I think one of the biggest things to consider is the difference in Oregon’s land use laws. They make Oregon a great place to live but we don’t have the subdivision development much of the rest of the country has. If you want to build one-off large custom homes you will do fine, but if your business model is modest homes in subdivisions you might have an easier time establishing yourself in SW Washington. Don’t get me wrong I just did some work for a home in a 110 unit development in Estacada,OR but those developments aren’t nearly as plentiful as they can be in any other state.  It sounds like your on the right track looking at properties on Zillow but do look at zoning in these rural wooded areas like you’re hoping to work in. 

remodeler =/= home builder.

Big difference between remodel and spec home builder. Review what you need to do to make it to the next step. (Hint: establish relationships with banks and realtors in your area)

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