Click Here: Day to Day Blog Updates


……Today’s Update April 17, 2014:  Day after the First Open House.  Some would say (including myself) that I am pretty awkward in crowds and just in general.  So, right at 4:00pm I left as two vans came.  There was constant traffic for the whole three hours.  There was never a time when someone wasn’t in […]

Our Story – About Me

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Click Here for Day to Day Updates Course of Construction Photos ……Our Story How did I get into Spec Home Investing? It is actually not me that is into Spec building. It is my wife working with the builder. They work well together. I enjoy watching what they come up with. She doesn’t do websites […]

Mrs. BuildSpechomes

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Well Hello there.  It’s Mrs. Buildspechomes here.  Doing my first guest post.  Well, I wanted to do a guest post because of the stressful week I had last week.  By far the most stressful since we have started this project.  I think I needed to vent! But before I get into that, I’m going to […]

Large Kitchen Ideas

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The Kitchen is going to be Big.  Really Big.  So, I wanted to chronicle the kitchen’s progress step by step to see how it comes together: Plumbing for the Kitchen Pot Filler. If you are looking to renovate your kitchen or are building a new home and want to shop a selection of Pot Fillers, […]

Bathroom Design Ideas

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Bathroom Design #1). Downstairs Bathroom (Hexagon Tile Floor) These six inch hexagon tiles are difficult to find.  You can find the mesh connected smaller hexagons at any department store.  These bigger ones might require more looking to find: We have great floor installers.  We have actually had very good subs throughout this process.  They work […]

Kids Playroom Ideas

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Upstairs Playroom When we planned this house, my wife wanted to include a playroom upstairs.  My initial thought was, what a waste of space.  But, the more I thought about it and watched it being built, I believe it is one of the favorite fun things in the house.  The kids are going to love […]

Start to Finish Construction Photos


‘The Heather Plan’ Course of Construction Photos from Beginning to Finish…… Month 1 Week 1: Bare Land Before the Dig: We purchased a .77 acre lot that backed up to an orchard.  It was the only area in our city that had a decent sized lot that didn’t absolutely break us.  It only broke us a […]

Stone on Exterior of Home

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Scroll to Bottom to see cost PICKING OUR STONE AND OUR STONE WORKER My number one rule in hiring a sub-contractor on my home is to get someone that I feel comfortable with.  Like, when I talk to them I want to feel that they are truthful, nice and good workers.  There should be no […]

Garage Ideas


Our garage doors were installed: We are going to leave the color white as shown below.  It will be the same color as the trim.  The garage door is called a “Carriage Panel with Stockbridge Windows.” It’s nice to have garage doors on the house, one because it looks a lot better and two it […]

The Balcony (Covered Patio)

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The Balcony/Covered Patio was my idea.  Looking back it was basically the only idea that I had that stuck throughout the building process.  It is going to be my favorite area of the home.  I enjoy sitting, reading and watching things.  This is a beautiful spot to do it: The balcony is covered by about […]

Gold Hardware Pulls


Gold or No? I’m sure one of the most polarizing choices that my wife made for the home is the gold hardware pulls.  Before we even started picking finishes, one of our good friends said whatever you do is fine, as long as you don’t pick gold.  If you have lived through the 80′s odds […]

Built In Ironing Board

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Built in Ironing Board Reviews So, our cabinet guy budgeted for a “built in ironing board” cabinet.  I had never seen an ironing board that was built into the wall before.  I have seen a bed built into the wall on “Full House” in the uncle’s upstairs room.  I didn’t quite know what to think […]

Framed Chalkboard Wall

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My wife told me she was going to put a chalkboard on our wall.  I didn’t even think twice about it.  I’ve seen chalkboards on our kids walls before.  They are small and the kids like to doodle on them.  I don’t even know why she told me, usually she just hangs that kind of […]

2 Story Large Kitchen House Plan

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‘The Heather’ HUGE KITCHEN 2 STORY HOUSE PLAN HOME SPECS: 5 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom, Great Room, Playroom upstairs, etc. etc. etc. Main Floor: 2632 sq feet Top Floor: 1547 sq feet Bonus room (Above the Garage): 447 sq feet ____________________ Total Square Feet: 4626 Garage: 3 Cars – 918 Sq Feet Foundation: Crawl Space Main […]

Cost to Build Calculator


Why did we Make a Cost to Build Calculator? No offense to any other cost to build calculators on the internet, but they are miles off.  Not even close.  The one I used estimated the cost of our house at $1.1 million+.  So, I was determined to create an online calculator that more accurately estimated […]

Granite, Quartz or Marble

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Should I get Granite or Quartz for the Kitchen? Is Quartz Catching Granite? My Wife has spent more time analyzing this question than any other in the home building process.  She has literally spent days full of hours thinking, talking to experts and builders, friends, foes and strangers.  She thinks she has come up with […]

Stone Fireplace Ideas

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PICKING OUR STONE AND OUR STONE WORKER Choosing the Stone We chose to use the same kind of stone for the fireplace as we used on the exterior of the home.  It is a Cultured Stone (veneer) from Boral Stone Products.  We liked this stone because along with the grays it has a lot of […]

Pantry Barn Door


Pantry Barn Door When my wife told me that we had planned for a barn door to go in the pantry.  I wasn’t sure what she meant.  I wasn’t ambitious enough to google it or otherwise find out.  So, I just waited until it was installed.  This is the first photo of our unpainted Barn […]

Master Shower Tile Ideas

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Master Shower Brick lay wall tile and penny tile in the master shower:  White Penny Tile: The penny tiles are from Lowes and the grey is just a ceramic tile from a local specialty store: Slipping and Sliding Bench made of the grey tile and also used the brick lay method.  My one and only […]

Free Landscape Plan

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  How much does it cost to Landscape a New House? Obviously the answer depends on the size of your lot and what you plan on doing with your landscaping.  Do you want to get fancy with retaining walls, ponds, decorative items?  Or are you going to stay simple?  Here is our landscaping plan and […]

Cost to Build Our Home

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How much does it cost to build a house? Well.  Things have changed since the inception of our idea to build a spec home for less than $350k and sell it for over $450k.  The Bids came back today and here is the breakdown: Basic Cost: $367,750.00 Sales Tax: $29,693.25 Architecture: $3,300.00 Land: $92,400 + […]

How to Find a Good Real Estate Agent

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How to find the Best ‘Real Estate Agent’ for You I would say how to find a Realtor, but I don’t want to get sued.  Apparently the word realtor is trademarked, see this link, and I have heard recently of people getting cease and desist letters for using it in their blog.  So, I went […]

How to List my House on Craigslist


Should I list my home on Craigslist or just use the MLS? I’m not going to lie, real estate agents for the most part don’t like Craigslist.  I don’t blame them.  It is a hot spot for sale by owner listings, free listings and commission free listings.  I have sold one home by owner that […]

Hiring and Working with Subcontractors

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Top Ten Tips For Working with Subcontractors By far the second most stressful (Picking out finishes is #1) aspect of building a home is working with, hiring, firing and paying subcontractors.  It is something that is often out of our control, but completely necessary to the building of a nice home that meets your budget. […]

Swinging for the Fences


UPDATE:  Well, to heck with it.  I’ve been watching way to much Flip or Flop on HGTV.  Those two always get their target price and usually more after bidding wars.  There has been too much effort, time, stress and risk to sell our home for less than $650k.  Our New listing price is $699,000!  Any takers? […]

Residential Sprinklers Required


Wow – That is another shocker.  The City is requiring us to put a residential sprinkler system INSIDE our house.  That is weird.  I have never heard of that before.  I thought sprinkler systems were always on the outside. (The Finished Product – we paid the premium for the pop up residential sprinklers that won’t […]

Construction Loans

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Construction Loans I’ve learned that there is not much information or resources available on the internet about construction loans.  What’s the secret?  Due to the economy, the structure of construction loans have also changed somewhat over the years and from institution to institution. Receiving construction loans for spec homes has become more difficult and requires: […]

Flip or Build a New House?

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Should I flip a house or build and sell a new House? Most people prefer to flip houses over building ‘custom’ spec houses.  Sure, there are tract home builders that have a business plan and follow it.  But, for the average citizen looking to make extra money, flipping houses is preferred. Building spec homes, especially […]

Getting a Spec Building Loan

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Spec Loans are an internet mystery I looked for weeks on information about spec loans and how to get them.  I spoke to three different lenders that gave me three different stories on what they are, how much they cost and whether or not I qualified for one. Here are the common answers that I […]

What is Spec Home Building?


What is a Spec Home? A spec or speculative home is a house that is built with the hopes that it will sell after or before construction is complete.  A spec home is different from a custom home in that the owner or builder or investor builds a spec home hoping to sell it. A […]

What is the Profit Markup on a Spec Home?

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What should I expect to get as profit on my spec home? Depends on everything.  Depends on the time, location, quality of home and current market.  Depends on luck and timing.  Depends on agent fees. To be successful, you should always shoot for a 33% profit/markup on your spec home.  This means if you build […]

Saving Cost on Specs

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HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON SPEC HOMES WITHOUT CUTTING QUALITY? That is the 100k dollar question.  Literally.  I have seen numerous examples of both sides of this equation.  Your goal in building a home to sell or a speculative home is to balance low cost with high quality. Negotiate with the Suppliers When I say […]

Legal Considerations when building a house

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*Note – Every state has very specific rules and laws regarding construction of a home.  So, don’t take any of this as legal advice for you.  Speak to your own contract/construction attorney if you have any legal questions. I spoke to a good friend of mine who happens to be a construction attorney.  He has […]

Cutting Spec Home Risk

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How can I minimize the risk of building a spec home? Spec means speculation.  You are speculating that someone is going to like the house plans you picked, like the finishes you pick, like the area that you picked and like your home.  I have known more than one person, an investor and a builder […]

Setting our Spec Home Price

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How do I set the price of my spec home? Setting the price at which to market your spec home is probably the single most important thing you will do.  As discussed in previous posts and what we keep going back to, if you are a spec home builder/investor, not a tract or volume seller, […]

Using an Investor to Build Spec Homes


Should a Builder use an Investor to build a spec home? In the current market, banks are reluctant to lend money on a construction loan to a builder without a reputation or a sales history.  New builders may not be able to get the financing on a spec home and may have to look to […]

Bank Appraisal on Construction Loan

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Our construction loan officer (do you call them officers?) called yesterday and said that my appraisal was done and that I could come in and pick it up.  So I did. He turned the report pages to the last page that read: Appraised value of Subject Property: $534,000 Oops, that’s about $100,000 less than I […]

Engineer Stamp


What is an Engineer Stamp on Home Plans? I wish I had known the answer to this question Before we cemented our house plans.  Actually, I guess it wouldn’t have changed much.  Either way, I’ve got to pay it. So, we submitted our house plans to the city to start building.  Five days later we […]

Should I use a Real Estate Agent?


Should I use a Real Estate Agent to sell my spec home? As discussed in a previous post, your Goal for your spec home is a 33% markup sell.  This is a lofty goal, something to shoot for.  You will remember that even at 33%, if you are dividing the profit between more than just yourself, […]

10 Cheap and Cool Home Upgrades


How can you set your Home Apart? I asked my wife the other day, what can we do a little bit differently, that won’t cost a lot of money but will set us apart from the other hundred new homes in our area?  We started exploring the internet a little bit and came up with […]

Free House Plan?

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The Heather – Our Spec House Plan When you type FREE HOUSE PLAN into Google, you get a host of house plan websites, which unfortunately DO NOT offer free house plans.  Try it.  Google “free house plans” and see if you can find one solitary website that offers free, fully architectured house plans.  Can’t do […]

Contact Us

Contact us at Find us on Google+ Google Adsense Privacy Policy: Privacy Policy for Build Spec Homes The privacy of our visitors to Build Spec Homes is important to us. At Build Spec Homes, we recognize that privacy of your personal information is important. Here is information on what types of personal information we […]

Home Idea Search Engine Search Engine Idea: 1).  Very Clean front Page with a LARGE Search Engine Box and my logo on top In grey letters in the Large Search box should be the words: Search For Home Ideas – Go Ahead Type in Kitchen 2).  Use the images from the search results from three different websites:, […]