Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The beginning of the house adventure

I will cut an past some journal entries I made last year to get you up to speed on the beginning of our adventure:

We went to the property today to dig holes for the perc test and stake out the house site. It was a disappointing trip. Todd hit water at about 3 feet in each hole. There needs to be 3 about 50 ft apart 4-5 feet deep. W e figured that we couldn’t have a septic filed let alone a basement with the water table that high. Todd and I were both very disappointed and the girls also—they started grumping and slamming things as we packed up the stuff we had taken to the property. But we stopped at the Blaylock’s on the way home and they said the water table is about the same at their place and they have a basement. So maybe all is not lost. Todd put a call in to Randy W. when we got home and hopefully he will have some insight.

Back to the beginning…

We have been seriously looking for a house since March. We looked at 4 and found one we liked so we got busy on getting our home ready to sell. Even the house we liked so much was at the top of our price range and we’d have to finish the basement and add on very soon after moving in, plus it was in Midland—out of our familiar locale. Then we found one we wanted to go see, but between the time we made the appointment to see it and the actual appointment time it got an offer on it. Then we looked at a house with 10 wooded acres for $100k. We even took Randy W. out to see about adding on to it. We made our offer that night, but were a few hours too late. Someone made a mysteriously similar offer only hours before us. So it was not meant to be. All though this we have been praying for clarity and that the desires on our heart—especially my faithful Todd’s heart—would be met.

Todd came to me not too long after this and said "What about building?" I was shocked. Whenever I had mentioned building before Todd was not interested at all—too much work. But it is supposed to be a buyers housing market right now…and we still can’t find a home that we want to buy. I have been interested in building for a long time. I think it would be fun and great to have things the way we want them. I got excited about the prospect.

So we started looking at land. One of the first pieces is right down the road form the Blaylocks—some dear friends. It is ten wooded acres 1.5 miles south of them on the same road.

I started “building houses” with a computer program I have had for a long time. I had looked many house plans on line and pulled ideas form my favorites. I shared my favorites with Todd and we chose one that we both liked and was simple. It has 2 stories so we could finish the main level first then as time and money allow finish the children’s bedrooms upstairs. One last time Todd and I (and Josie and Tabitha) went to the land to see if it had dried a bit since we were there last and to look at one more house—friends of the Blaylocks. We walked into the house and I thought “Oh no Todd Is going to want this”—it was beautiful: Wood siding, beautiful setting with a pond, log cabin styling, great room with pine paneling all over. But then we saw the bedrooms, there was no way we would fit; two very small bedrooms upstairs and a master bedroom no bigger than our current one and no real good way to make space for more. It was another clear signal.

We took the plans to Randy Winterstein (He is a builder we know from church and homeschool circles and I scrapbook with his wife) and asked him to give us a rough estimate. He made a few suggestions and we left him to price it out before we made any offers on land. His rough estimate came back right in the middle of the range we were thinking it would. We had looked at another piece of 20 acres also near the Blaylocks. With Randy’s numbers it was clear that the smaller piece of land was a better economic fit for us. We made an offer on the 10 acres and after a short negotiation we agreed on $45.5K.

Things and emotions just kept getting clearer that this was the land and this was the house and this was God’s time for us. I haven’t been as excited or as convinced of God’s will since Todd proposed marriage to me.

The Blaylocks and the girls have added to the momentum with enthusiasm for the prospect of being neighbors.

Many have warned that it will be HARD work and take longer than we expect and more money than we expect. So we are trying to be careful with budget—which causes some marital issues. Todd counters every suggestion with “remember the budget” or “that would be too expensive” or the like. He has backed off a little on that since I told him that it hurt for not to even listen to my desires without telling me it can’t be done because it might cost too much. But in general we seem to be very like minded on the whole project.

Update: we have an accepted PA on a piece of land that is questionable to build what we want where we want. We understand how new construction loans work and about what we can afford to spend. We have a house plan that I think is final (I still need to share it with Randy). We are working on a contract with Randall Winterstein Builders. And our current home is on the market. Next time I will write about our first showing, but right now I am too tired.

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