Access-A-Hut's Blog

October 10, 2009

The three costs of a house

Filed under: Land costs,Uncategorized — by accessahut @ 11:02 am

If you build on new land in a city, there are actually three sets of costs involved. This is assuming you have cash on hand and does not include finance and interest charges:

Purchase price of land:

  • Land itself
  • Taxes
  • Closing costs
  • Inspection costs
  • Buyer’s commission
  • Seller’s commission

Preparing the land

  • Environmental Assessments (at least a Phase 1, which searches the history of the lot, and then a Phase 2, which tests the soils and determines the physical characteristics)
  • Building permits (electrical, mechanical, plumbing, construction)
  • Utility permits (Water, sewer)
  • Utilities themselves (Water, sewer, electric)

Building the house

  • Design costs
  • Zoning costs
  • Foundation preparation
  • Foundation and walls
  • House (plumbing, electricity as well)
  • Fence
  • Ramps
  • Driveway
  • Gutters

The land and the house costs are somewhat determined by the size of the house. But that middle category stays the same, no matter how small the project.

The economics here are like the cost calculations in buying a shirt. You take the price of the shirt and divide it by how many times you wear the shirt to get a relative cost per wearing. This allows you to compare thrift store clothes ($5 for 10 wearings = 50 cents a wear) vs new clothes ($50 for 50 wearings = $1 a wear). You could take the price of the land prep and divide it by the number of houses ($40,000 for 1 house = $40,000 a house) vs ($40,000 for 10 houses = $4,000 a house).

So… maybe our fantasy of getting a big lot and dividing it into little houses is not so far fetched as it seems. Instead of just building and designing for ourselves, we could build and design a whole community–say 6 houses on a 6,000 sf lot.

We don’t have the money, but I have good credit and could leverage this. And if we are doing accessible housing, we might be able to get a grant or something.


October 8, 2009

Wow permits cost

Filed under: Land costs,Zoning and laws — by accessahut @ 12:29 pm

Ok. We would have to have an electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and construction permit. Then we would need a boundary survey and a soils report. Then we go to building, get denied, and go to zoning.

Wow land costs more!

Filed under: Land costs — by accessahut @ 10:58 am

To get a sewer hookup in Denver, call Wastewater Management at 303-446-3500.

In 2009, the $2,730 “tap fee” is for residential sewer tap + $100 permit fee.

You can reactivate a sewer pretty easily– just $90: “A Reactivation Charge of $90.00 per SFRE for sewer connections that have been inactive for ten (10) years or more will be assessed.” You can cut off the old plug and put in a new one and that would issue a credit, which would offset the cost of the sewer tap–so there would not be a tap fee.

To get the sewer from the street to the residence, we’d have to hire a sewer contractor to tap into the street line and that costs extra–the fee and the pipe extension are two different entities.

Blue Sky Plumbing & Heating – (303) 674-2442 – has very nice reviews. So that sounds good. We have no idea how they really are… so caveat emptor. They estimate $6,000 to connect the water and sewer to the house (40 feet).

October 6, 2009

Wow, land costs!

Filed under: Land costs — by accessahut @ 9:41 am

Boy oh boy, the land costs mount up! This looks to be about 4 times as much as the actual house. We need to bear in mind that the land costs are the same for a 25,000 square foot house as a 250 square foot house.

But we talked with CTI/Thompson and they were wonderful–quite professional and straightforward. We could do a Phase 1 environmental report for over $2,000 (which would go into the history of the plot of land and find out if there were any “nasties” like dry cleaners or gas stations or meth labs) and then if there were such a thing, we’d do a drill rig and lab samples for about twice that (over $4,000). Yikes. But consider–our health is pretty shaky as it is, so this is about the copays for 1 serious hospital bill for either of us–and yes, we are blessed to have insurance.

Anyway, these folks seemed very reasonable and nice about the whole thing. We’d also have to get a soil classification for the foundation as well–and put in vents to take care of any radon (because you can only search for that in a completed building–kinda like shutting the barn door after the horses have escaped only here it is opening the foundation after the gases have already accumulated.


October 3, 2009

What would it take to get urban land?

Filed under: Land costs — by accessahut @ 3:33 pm

We’re stuck in the house with swine flu and are dreaming–what would it really take to get real estate we could build a tiny house on?

Colorado has expansive soils, and we’d need a Soil Classification survey. “Expansive soils are so prevalent in Colorado, in fact, that the University of Colorado at Denver has an Expansive Soils Research Laboratory. Their mission is to study expansive soil and design ways to keep construction damage to a minimum. If you’ve got a tough question about expansive soils, you might give them a try. Their phone number is (303) 556-2362.”

NRCS has a website on soil classification.

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