Can anyone help with my home building problem?

I have decided to stop rehabbing and start building new. I am currently in the process of building one using an “owner-builder” which mandates that I live in the home for one year. I plan to sell it after one year.

If I’m going to do this for a living, I obviously can’t live in every single one. I am trying to find contractors that will build for a price that will allow me to sell the home for a profit, but I’m having trouble finding anyone with good enough prices and references.

I am considering getting a contractor’s license for myself. I have enrolled back in school and have found someone who will call me their “foreman” if I hire them for jobs. This will give me enough work/school experience to apply for my contractor’s license. However, it would save me a lot of trouble if I could find reliable contractor’s to build homes for me. I would give them consistent work if they would build for a price that would allow me to build many, many homes. And eventually maybe build condominium complexes.

Welcome back Redstar! So the rehabbing didn’t go as well as you expected?

What area are you looking for contractors in?

I think rehabbing could go well if I stuck to it. But I think building new homes would be better.

I’m near Orlando, FL.

Wow this forum has died.

Hi Redstar,

            Welcome back! I am going to share some invaluable information with you to hopefully put you on the right track, pay attention to what I am going to tell you!!!

First always double and triple check everything someone tells you, including what I tell you!

First there are three types of homes, a tract home which is a home built in a group of lots within the same development, a spec home (Speculative) which is built semi custom to market and sell and third is a custom home which is usually build customized to the owners specific needs and taste’s. (Style & Design)

The lot is the key to spec home building! The lot is the key to spec home building!

Why is the lot the key? Because the lot indicates design and position in the market! I bet your thinking “The lot can’t talk” but oh yes it can and it does!

Stand in front of a lot (Virtually is ok) look at it’s size and shape, would the size and shape indicate design? There are legal setbacks (Distance from street lot line to front of house) and legal offsets (which is distance from each side lot line to house) and the legal back set (Back of home to back lot line) this indicates the biggest footprint allowed by law!

If looking at the lot let’s assume we verified utilities were at the lot line and we have sewer, water, gas, electricity, phone and cable readily available so we are going to build a spec home of comparable size and style to those homes within a 1/4 mile to 1 mile range around us. (Think appraisal)

We still want to look outwards 1 to 3 miles for design ideas but square footage is dictated by surrounding homes as we don’t want to over build or under build.

Your costs include:

  1. Lot (8,000 sq. ft.) ($56k) 7.0
  2. Soils Report .30
    Perk Test (If Required) .35
    Well Drilling (If Required) 3.0
  3. Surveyor .75
  4. House Plans (2000 sq. ft.) 4 bed / 2 bath - 2 car garage .75
  5. Plan Review .25
  6. Permit Fees .50
  7. Assessment Fees 1.50
  8. Civil Engineering (If Required) .25
  9. Fire Sprinkler System Design (If Required) .50
  10. Excavation, Compaction and Grading 1.00
  11. Building Cost
    (In California a single story home runs $82 per square foot and a two story home runs $92 per square foot.)

My cost examples are based against lot sq. ft. as a portion of cost, so if the cost for a two story home with upfront cost’s is roughly $108 per sq. ft. and you still have to carry builders risk insurance, liability, hard and soft cost’s, carrying cost’s and then make a profit of 15% you.

Don’t forget landscaping and escrow / closing cost’s.

In my example your $120 a sq. ft. before sales cost and final escrow cost’s! You have to have $129 per sq. ft. in comparable value before adding 15% for profit to make $150 per sq. ft. required in comparable market sales.

So any lot you find in my example which does not have 3 sold homes in the last 90 days and within 1/4 to 1 mile which sold for over $150 per sq. ft. would not work!

These numbers are probable incorrect I will correct it later!



You can set up a construction company and get a license qualifier in Florida for a builder license!

The license qualifier will either be a RME (Responsible Managing Employee) or a RMO (Responsible Managing Officer) and will usually get paid a flat rate for use of each license and then paid to work (RME) or paid to be an officer and attend board meetings, etc. (RMO)

You set up a construction corporation, liability insurance, workers comp, contractor bond, banking (Financial Stability) and personal credit / financial statement! The license qualifier brings his license into your company if he likes you, vets you and believes you can responsible run your company using his license!



I will be building spec homes. I have a nice neighborhood picked out that new homes are currently selling at $160/sf. There is lots of land left to build on in this neighborhood.

If I could find a contractor that would build for those prices, I would be in business. For a while, all I was hearing was $130/sf building price, which would not work for me. Lately, I’ve been hearing around $77/sf for spec homes, especially if I’m going to give them repeat business. I’ve heard this from 2 people, but one of them had no verifiable references other than a complaint on the Better Business Bureau. The other one was not a licensed contractor, but had a GC that let then use his license.

Even if I hire a GC to do all the work, I think I would have to double-check everything anyway. I’m finding myself having to double-check even the surveyor, for example, who had the Finished Floor Elevation a foot higher than it had to be. That would have been a lot of wasted dirt if I had not caught that. So at this point, I don’t think I would be able or willing to trust anyone to “handle everything” let alone pay them to do so.

Yes, I think I could find a few contractors who would sign building permits for a fee, but long-term plan I think it’s better to go get my own license.

I find very useful information which I was looking to know from some time, this discussion made me know a lot Do’s and Dont’s while building a home.