I’d really appreciate some advice and opinions here. I'm finally in a position to jump on the property ladder and am faced with the build versus buy dilemma.
Up to now wife and I had considered buying given there is apparently good value to be had at the moment. However we can’t see any real value in the area we’d most like to live in and are afraid to buy in an area we may later regret. Last week a site became available in our preferred area (a rural area of Cork not too far outside the city) and my wife and I reckon we’d get planning permission as her parents live quite near to the site and we have a housing demand as first time buyers.
We met with the guy that manages the land for the owner and he agrees that we would be in a good position get planning as its A3 zoned and we’d meet the criteria. He’s also an architect and he offered his services (for about €2.5K) in designing a house that would meet the requirements of Cork county council. We’re currently renting a house which is about 2000 sq ft and really want to own a similar sized house as we both work from home and need the space.
My big concern is the cost of building a house this size. I’d like to keep my mortgage at around 250K but would be willing to go up towards 275K at a push. I’ve heard stories from people I know that have built similar size houses in the past few years for between 180K (direct labour, excluding site) and 250K (contractor, excluding site).
The architect guy we spoke to reckoned we could easily build a house using a contractor for around €70 sq/ft with basic fittings, but I have my doubts about this after reading posts on this forum and reading the SCSI rebuild prices for detached houses in Cork are €164 / sq ft.
Also we don’t have a price for the site yet, as the owner is some old guy my father in law knows and he hasn’t given any guide price, but has asked us to make an offer. Similar sites in the area have an asking price of 95K for 0.7 of an acre through a real estate agent. I was thinking of making an initial offer of 60K as a starting point. So to sum up my main questions are:
1. Is 60K a reasonable first offer to make on a 0.7 acre site in Cork (subject to planning permission of course) given that nearby sites are asking for 95K, though not necessarily selling at this price?
2. Is €70 per square foot for a 2000 sq/ft build realistic if using a builder? If not, what would be more realistic? I’d be happy go get a house to a builders finish with just the kitchen and bathroom appliances and fittings and do the bedrooms and garden landscaping down the line. As I’m a newbie to this building lark, does the price per square foot typically include everything such as professional fees, appliances fittings etc?