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Old 10-06-2012, 12:13 AM   #26
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It's to save money.

If they tore it down, the permits City of Vancouver is a lot more vs if they just renovate even if they tore it down to just one wall.
My point is that that really doesn't classify as a renovation......It's not very impressive.....why are they showing me the old house as if they built from that....
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:00 AM   #27
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^ agreed. Even on the MLS site, the house is listed as a 2012 build year.
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:42 AM   #28
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Impressive if they didn't tear down the house to do the transformation. Second house looks like they kept the original plans. On the outside at least.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:14 AM   #29
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They definitely gutted those renos down to the bones.

My dream home would be a Vancouver special gutted from the inside out with very little done to the outside, but all high quality on the inside.
my dream home would be to gut a large heritage style home inside & out lol. seen a few and it looks fantastic.

but after seeing the first vancouver special that looks pretty darn nice
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:58 AM   #30
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That first one has a rental suite in it - are you fucking kidding me , build a dream house, have to have renters to afford it

Sharing your house with strangers is not living the dream, it's called living above your means
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:04 AM   #31
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Maybe it's not necessarily a rental for strangers. It could be for family, like grandparents.

Some people value having their family around. I mean, I personally don't share those feelings, but there are people that do.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:25 AM   #32
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Build a house with a suite...10% it will be family, 90% its "thanks for paying the mortgage".

I would have a house with a suite in it. No problem. In fact, it would be a sweet ass suite managed to the tits-but that's me.

But I wouldn't want to have a suite to afford my dream house. In my dream, I don't have tenants in my basement.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:36 AM   #33
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i thought to build your average house in the Vancouver proper is 300-400k..
yup, be your own contractor and save a TON of money!
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:40 AM   #34
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Beautiful. Love the modern look
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:56 AM   #35
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Aw Fuck.

Now I want a Vansterdam Special.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:44 PM   #36
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That first one has a rental suite in it - are you fucking kidding me , build a dream house, have to have renters to afford it

Sharing your house with strangers is not living the dream, it's called living above your means
I think having a rental suite in your house these days is a selling feature. So most builders do this because it looks attractive to potential buyers as this can obviously offset mortgages and other expenses.

I agree though, having renters isn't always ideal.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:31 PM   #37
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Beautiful but here's the issue I have with these type of homes; they don't flow with the rest of the homes around them and stick out like a sore thumb. It's like this one episode of million dollar listing were some guy built some crazy $5+ million home but the homes around it were like $2 million dollar single story homes and it's the same issue with these homes, like the house in the first picture looks like it belongs in a area like Kits because look what kind of home is beside it.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:26 PM   #38
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So there is a link to the design group that renovated the second house there (yew residence). I'm curious to know what the fees are for "spec home designers" vs "registered architects". Any know the general idea?

I'm looking at you, MindBomber or possibly Grid/Dino.



Is there anyone else that works in this industry?
A spec home is just a house built by the contractor for re-sale, and as such, the contractor or someone in his employ chooses the finishings. Spec homes are generally quite nice, but not overly special. The cost of employing a spec home designer - probably 10-20% on top of the GC fees... hard to say, since there's no defined qualifications. The spec home designer would certainly earn a small fraction of what an architect does, since the architect can actually make decisions regarding structure.

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yup, be your own contractor and save a TON of money!
If you cut the GC out, and use nothing but the cheapest options for finishings and structure, $140-150/ft is realistically possible. So, a person could build a really shitty 2000-2500sq/ft house within that budget.

An owner acting as their own GC is generally a terrible idea based on my experience; the finished product shows the inexperience and the cost savings aren't great.

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Old 10-06-2012, 04:39 PM   #39
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Maybe it's not necessarily a rental for strangers. It could be for family, like grandparents.

Some people value having their family around. I mean, I personally don't share those feelings, but there are people that do.
I agree, but it is billed as a rental unit - for family, I'm all for it, gotta take care of ur family, no matter what

But chances are this wont be the case going forward
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:41 PM   #40
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I think having a rental suite in your house these days is a selling feature. So most builders do this because it looks attractive to potential buyers as this can obviously offset mortgages and other expenses.

I agree though, having renters isn't always ideal.
I wonder what the percentages are for ppl who want a rental unit vs ppl who want a home for them.

For me, and this is just me, I'd never buy a house to live in that had a rental suite - an investment property, fine, but I won't live with renters
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:41 PM   #41
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i think it depends on the area you're looking in. van/burnaby you're more often than not going to find rental units and the odd laneway house too, even with duplexes. i guess that's just b/c of the pricing of properties in these cities
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:38 PM   #42
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As others have stated, I think the interior finishing is going to determine a big chunk of how much the finished product is going to cost. We just finished building our house with ourselves handling most of the construction ourselves. We had cedar soffits all around and sidings only in front of the house (a grade & better) and that alone material and labor was 20,000 already and stucco around the rest of the house costs 25,000. So it's very expensive to do a nice cedar siding. We ended up with a cost of around 190 bucks a sq ft without paying a gc on a 5000 ft home
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:48 PM   #43
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An owner acting as their own GC is generally a terrible idea based on my experience; the finished product shows the inexperience and the cost savings aren't great.
That's your experience, I have the complete opposite experience, even the house I'm living in was built by a owner acting as a GC (with no prior construction experience). Before he started building he took months and months to research how to do everything properly and efficiently. He built three houses side by side on a lot that was originally built for two. Quality of all 3 houses are great. Cost savings are very much worth it.

All depends on the owner and project...
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:17 PM   #44
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That's your experience, I have the complete opposite experience, even the house I'm living in was built by a owner acting as a GC (with no prior construction experience). Before he started building he took months and months to research how to do everything properly and efficiently. He built three houses side by side on a lot that was originally built for two. Quality of all 3 houses are great. Cost savings are very much worth it.

All depends on the owner and project...
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Okay, Mr. ArmChair Contractor.

When you've spent time on multiple construction sites being run by Owner/Builders then your opinion might change.

You're entitled to your opinion, but your lack of direct experience and knowledge on the subject should be noted when you give it.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:56 PM   #45
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That's your experience, I have the complete opposite experience, even the house I'm living in was built by a owner acting as a GC (with no prior construction experience). Before he started building he took months and months to research how to do everything properly and efficiently. He built three houses side by side on a lot that was originally built for two. Quality of all 3 houses are great. Cost savings are very much worth it.

All depends on the owner and project...
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Yeah, most normal people can learn in a number of months, what has taken professional builders 20-30 years of experience to acquire.

I think your experience was the exception, not the rule.

A good GC is well worth the investment. Especially if you are building your dream home.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:49 PM   #46
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No offence intended, but from my own experience, almost all of the home owners that were wanna-be-"contractors" without any experience working in trades have built ass backwards homes. Money always gets wasted on the wrong things and then they try to skimp out on more important things and then get it wrong again and end up doing it more than once. The reason for this is probably because they tried to go extra fancy on the houses.

A good GC is worth the money if you want a real quality home.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:35 PM   #47
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looks like a west van style house
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:13 AM   #48
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There has been a lot of mention of the worth of a good contractor however how would someone find a good a contractor without being in the industry?
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:28 PM   #49
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There is another one of these super renovated Vancouver Specials on Commercial Drive across from the Croatian Cultural Center.

Too bad the page that had all the pictures of it is not available any more, but I found the discussion about it, and the original house was purchased for $645K in early 2010, and it was sold for $1.2M in September 2011.
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:21 PM   #50
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There has been a lot of mention of the worth of a good contractor however how would someone find a good a contractor without being in the industry?
It depends on the scale and type of work.

For a person considering a large scale renovation, I would recommend evaluating the sites being managed by various contractors in their neighborhood. Here's exactly what I would do, step by step:

- Compile a list of prospective contractors, whether it be through the local home builders association (Google search: "Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association", "Fraser Valley Home Builders Association," etc.), word of mouth, or Google search.

- Visit your local municipality website, and the websites of the communities surrounding yours; every municipality lists all building permits that have been pulled online and includes information like the site address, value of work, type of permit, and name of contractor. Write the addresses of the sites being run by the contractors on your list, and do a drive by, don't go on the sites, but take a good look; if you can, do this a few times at couple week intervals. Is the site clean, is the project progressing steadily, is there a port-a-potty (seriously, this is very telling of a good contractor), does the work look good from your basic understanding?

You may very well narrow down your list this way; anyone can put on a good show in a meeting or refer you to a list of jobs completed WELL, but the status of current jobs does not lie.

- Meet with the contractors you have serious interest in at this point. Part of the industry is bidding on jobs, and meeting with prospective clients who never pass the prospective stage, it's expected, ask a ton of questions and take notes! Get a feel for the person too, you'll be having a very close and very expensive partnership for at least a few months, you need to get along and be able to work together.

- Submit your plans to the contractors, the list should be 2-3 at the most. Don't send them to ten contractors, it takes 12+ hours to bid a job where a complete house is being built.

- Take everything into consideration, pick a guy.

Is time valuable, fuck yes.
Is that all going to take a lot of time, hell ya.
Are on handing over one of if not your most valuable asset to a complete stranger, and trusting him with $40,000 to a $1,000,000 plus of your money to spend, YES.

Take the time.

If it's a small job, like a second bathroom reno; ask for a recommendation on Facebook or Twitter, or on Revscene, or at work, or your neighbors (people should be more neighborly). Referrals really are a great way of finding the right professional. Still do your due diligence, and make sure the proper permits will be pulled.

There are tons of crooks in construction, because it's easy to take a lot of your money with little repercussion. It's YOUR job responsibility to prevent that, and preventing it comes down to common sense.

Quick story from my first job in construction, I was still a helper at this point -

I spent a morning at a quaint little Kits home, I was talking talking to the homeowners; husband was a prof and wife was a nurse, they were mortgaged to the eyeballs to own an older home in a dream neighborhood. The husband explained, he was thrilled with the contractor who had been doing small jobs throughout the home, and who I was working through. Then the line, "It's pretty crazy that we'll be paying you $10k for a few hours work, but according XXXXX that's the going rate." I was baffled, our work was about $1800. The crackhead contractor arrived later, and repeatedly confirmed that we had not talked to the homeowners (I confirmed no..). It was pretty clear what was going on at this point. The homeowners completely trusted the contractor after he did a couple small jobs, and he was now billing them $8k to do nothing but arrange a mornings work. I went back later that night, on my own time in my own vehicle, and spoke to the homeowners. My suspicions were confirmed, they were understandably upset but very appreciative and ensured it would not come back to me when they confronted the crook. I never heard anything about it from my bosses.

What's the lesson, it's very easy to dupe people with a re-assuring smile and it happens frequently to all types of clients in construction. Take the time and do your research or you could be one of the people who gets taken, because the lack of research done by many clients is what makes it easy.

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