What type of house should I build?

I don’t know what section is appropriate for this.

I want to get into home building. I think I have a lender (my dad) that would loan me the money for the first one if I presented accurate numbers.

What kind of house should I build? I don’t think it has to be fancy. Anything that looks half decent should sell if it’s in the right area. Should I just copy the house that I just moved in to? A 1,555 square foot, 4 bedroom, 2 bath, with a pool? Should I try to create something of my own? It might come out weird.

Are there “special” features that. would add to the purchase price such as tile roofs instead of standard shingle roofs? I know there are houses in rich parts of town (like Winter Park) where the houses look very “fancy.” Should I copy those?

I would probably be building on 1 acre lots zoned rural residential or something similar.


The fact you have to ask these questions say's you have no business getting into home building right now! 

The only way to make money building houses is you have to be the developer and builder! You can not make money contracting out a General Contractor to build your projects as their 25% average profit, overhead and prudent reserve percentage will eat all your profits! Paying for consulting / project management / supervision will eat more than you would profit to build one home!

If you had a construction background, had apprenticed and trained say as a carpenter, become a journeyman and advanced to foreman, superintendent, residential / commercial project manager you could transition into home building!

You do not have those skills, you have no idea what your doing, and you will make a huge financial mess hopefully only losing $10k or $20k!



 Redstar what is?
  1. Soils Testing?
  2. Why do you soils test?
  3. What is a survey?
  4. What is a perk test?
  5. What is an offset?
  6. What is a setback?
  7. What is over excavation?
  8. Why would you over excavate?
  9. What is a compaction ratio?
  10. What is a “Blue Line” certification?
  11. What are “Batter Boards”?
  12. Why place batter boards?
  13. What is a monolithic slab?
  14. What is post tension?
  15. What is pre tension?
  16. What is a stem wall?
  17. What is a footing?
  18. What is a “Cold Joint”?
  19. What is “Weeping Tile”?
  20. What is “Waterproofing”?
  21. What is a “Sump Pump”?
  22. What is a “Window Well”?
  23. What is conventional stucco?
  24. What is synthetic stucco?
  25. What is weep screed?
  26. What is expansion joint?
  27. What is the difference in concrete finishes?
  28. How deep is a water pipe installed?
  29. How deep is a gas pipe installed?
  30. How is site electric installed?
  31. What is a vault?
  32. What is a single sack slurry?
  33. What is ground fault?
  34. What is a arc fault circuit?
  35. What are anchor bolts?
  36. What is a “Grade Beam”?
  37. What is a piling?
  38. Why is a piling used?
  39. What is #4 rebar?
  40. What is 6 - 6 - 10 - 10 mesh?
  41. What is the mesh used for?
  42. What is a vapor barrier?
  43. What is “Mud Sill”?
  44. What is the frost line?
  45. What is a “Cold Well”?
  46. What is a storm drain?
  47. How is snow load determined?
  48. Why is snow load determined?
  49. What is ice and snow dam?
  50. What is a valley?
  51. What is a ridge?
  52. What is a hip?
  53. What is a cricket?
  54. What is a “Bump Out”?
  55. What is a “Nail on Fin”?
  56. What is “Fire Blocking”?
  57. What is “Three Tab”?
  58. What is “Dimensional”?
  59. What is “Fascia Board”?
  60. What is ventilation?
  61. What is GFCI
  62. What is vent piping?
  63. What is a clean out?
  64. What is a rafter jack?
  65. What is a strong back?
  66. What is a collar tie?
  67. What is a hurricane strap?
  68. What is “Grey Water”?
  69. How many plugs on a circuit?
  70. What is code for a window less than 18" away from a door?
  71. What is minimum height for a standard window?
  72. What is a fire rating?
  73. What is required for a garage door?
  74. What is fire rock and where is it used?
  75. What is minimum nail size for framing?
  76. How many nails have to be used at the base of a stud?
  77. What is top plate?
  78. How far is top plate overlapped?
  79. What is “Sheer Wall”?
  80. What is minimal nail size for sheer wall?
  81. What type of nail is used for sheer wall?
  82. What is the nailing pattern for sheer wall?
  83. What is a “California Corner”?
  84. What is typical RO for a 36" opening?
  85. What is a scuffer?
  86. What is a header?
  87. What is the two studs at each side of a header?
  88. What are the blocks above the header?
  89. How many electrical plugs on a 17’ long wall?
  90. What is the minimum legal height of a ceiling?
  91. How far above the floor is a wall plug?
  92. What is an anchor bolt?
  93. What is traditional septic?
  94. What is alternative septic?
  95. What is a coffin tank?
  96. What is a leach line?
  97. What is a water tap?
  98. What is a sewer tap?
  99. What is the driveway apron?
  100. Why do you etch or saw cut a joint in concrete?
  101. What is geothermal?

I could literally sit here for the next month 24 hours a day and I would not run out of questions?

Where do you learn all of this without costing daddy money?

Stay out of construction until that time you have worked in and learned the industry, it’s much different than doing a cosmetic remodel!



  1. What is a doby?
  2. What is a gang form?
  3. What is tie wire?
  4. What is 14/3 with ground?
  5. What is a cut in box?
  6. What is low voltage wire?
  7. What do you use to secure an exterior door frame?
  8. What do you use to secure an interior door frame?
  9. What is the screw pattern for the parameter of sheet rock?
  10. What is the screw pattern for the field of sheet rock?
  11. What is the field?
  12. What size screws are used to hold the lid?
  13. Is sheetrock installed vertically or horizontally?
  14. Is sheetrock installed by sitting it on the floor?
  15. Is sheetrock staggered? If so why?
  16. What is a shelf rim?
  17. What is closet rod? What size? Why?
  18. Is base installed on the floor?
  19. What is door trim reveal?
  20. What is engineering standards?
  21. What is a change order?
  22. What is a contract?
  23. What’s in a contract?
  24. What is a scope of work?
  25. What is builders risk insurance?
  26. What is critical path?
  27. What is backtracking the schedule?
  28. What is specified as materials?
  29. What is a draw?
  30. What is a draw inspection?
  31. What is the percentage of completion?
  32. What is retainage?
  33. What is a back charge?
  34. What is an “As Built”?
  35. Is there “As Built” drawings?
  36. What is a special inspection?
  37. What is “Special Conditions”?
  38. What is a street use permit?
  39. What is onsite work?
  40. What is offsite work?
  41. What is hardscape?
  42. What is softscape?
  43. What is soft costs?
  44. What is OSHA
  45. What is a safety meeting? What does it cover?
  46. What is a safety program?
  47. What basic fire / life / safety requirements must be on the job site?
  48. What is “Home Warranty”?
  49. What is a lien?
  50. What is a lien release?
  51. What is a partial lien release?
  52. What is a labor release?
  53. What is a materials release?
  54. What is non-performance?
  55. What are architectural details?
  56. What details are required in blueprints?
  57. What is plan review?
  58. What is a special assessment?
  59. What is planning and zoning?
  60. What is public works?
  61. What is an HOA plan review?
  62. What is historic preservation?
  63. What are permit fee’s?
  64. What are tap fee’s?
  65. Who pays for site utilities?
  66. What is a chase?
  67. What is fire caulking?
  68. What is a weather head?
  69. What is a shut off valve?
  70. Who places the water meter?
  71. What is a line crew?
  72. What is a glulam?
  73. What is a engineered joist?
  74. What is a water vent?
  75. What is a dedicated circuit?

And I can go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on in infinite am!


I know half of those.

Aren’t most of them for the contractors to know? I’m not the one installing sheetrock.

I’m more worried about how much I’m paying them and how much the house will sell for when it’s done, and how quickly it will sell.


Let me paint you a picture:
  1. Lot cost typically 20 to 30 percent of homes finished FMV / sales price.
  2. Development overhead / architectural / soils testing / civil engineering / survey / etc.
  3. Permit fees / plan review / assessment fee’s / tap fee’s / etc.
  4. Site development / excavation / site utilities / compaction / grading / blue line certification / etc.
  5. Building cost - Typically $70 dollars per square foot slab on grade / 1500 sq. ft. = $105k
  6. Outside General Contractor 10 percent profit / 10 percent overhead and 5 percent prudent reserve / common
  7. Overhead / carrying cost’s / construction management / security / site fencing / storage / office trailer.
  8. Real Estate fees / marketing / advertising
  9. Sellers closing cost’s / 2.5 percent average
  10. Home warranty program / warranty reserve / required by law!
  11. Builder defects litigation / 10 year liability for a single home / lawsuit can be filed 9 years and 364 days after closing date!
  12. Profits

If you end up paying 25% over and above your direct costs that $35k plus cost just ate all your profits on a $210k FMV home!

The only way to make money on speculation is to be the “General Contractor” and the GC has to know all the codes / process / etc.
It is the GC’s responsibility to oversee code compliance and quality control and has to know how that process evolves!

Knowing what half is and knowing how those questions apply, what code is, and what is quality are learned in the field working in the industry!


So then how were you considering building houses in Florida when you don’t have a general contractors license in Florida?


Redstar we own a construction company in Florida with a certified general contractors license. We don't bid private or public projects, but only take on our own projects each year. Florida is one of the better overall US markets and a tax free state! 

If I was going to start building homes I would try to get a RMO / RME qualifier and set up a licensed building company for houses!

I also have the option of myself or someone on my staff spending the time to go through a Florida contractors license school, testing with the state and setting up a company from that certified license.


But don’t you need to have 4 years experience working for a general contractor to qualify to take the exam?


Yes you must have 4 years of verifiable experience in construction (Usually carpentry trades) or a combination of college and work experience or work experience and construction related classes. 


And you worked for a contractor for 4 years?


I have a professional background in construction management / business and now have 39 years of verifiable construction experience including holding engineering, building and commercial contractors licenses in multiple states. 

I have bridges, dams, tunnels, waste water, water treatment, pipeline, heavy industrial, oil refinery, residential and commercial experience.

I started learning the construction industry when I was only 7 or 8 years old. I worked after school, weekends and summers for my dad during junior high and high school. My dad retired with 56 years in the construction industry and a professional background in engineering / business. He was a engineering and building contractor doing public works projects around the country! He just retired about two years ago!

My dad also ventured into real estate development during his career, it’s where I got my passion for building commercial property!



 My dad and mom never provided for me or gave me money, they brought me up with a work ethic and helped me very minimally. 

I paid my own way through college, I drove what I could afford and lived where I could financially afford to live. I did do some partnership real estate projects with my parents but they insisted I have skin in the game! I was never given anything and was expected to work hard for what I want!

My parents let me lose thousands of dollars in my first real estate investment, they could have bailed me out but I would not have learned anything had they done that, I was expected to walk on my own two feet, make my own decisions, be responsible for my own future and make my own way in life!

I am successful because I put in 12 hours a day working 7 days a week! I don’t give up, I don’t let anyone tell me I can’t do it, and I overcome obstacles by sheer perseverance. I never stop, never quit and never take no for an answer!

I delegate authority, I don’t micro manage and I know it takes a team of professional associates to get projects done!

I don’t spend time screwing around, I don’t waste time and I don’t take seven steps when 4 steps will do!

                     Gold River

I don’t have 12 hours worth of stuff to do since I have no money.

I suppose, when I sell my Lexus, I could use this to fund a house rehab instead of buying a fake Lamborghini.

If I lose my money on the first one, I’m out. I have no way of getting that back.

Only other thing I could do is to turn my home into a vacation rental. 4 different bedrooms on AirBnB.