House Update

Image via Pinterest.  Kinda, sorta what our house might look like someday.

Happy Monday!  It’s been almost a month since I have shared a house update and a lot has happened!  Well, a lot has happened and nothing has happened.  Building a house is a long, unexpected road, y’all!  Let me explain…

In my last house update (HERE), I shared our plans with you and that they were at the city getting the permit so we could start the work.  Well, that was a month ago…and still nothing has been done on the house.  We were thrown a pretty big curveball that set us back quite a bit, and honestly had us wondering if we were even going to move forward with the project at all.

We had a budget meeting scheduled with our builder.  They are a 4 person team, so at this point in the project the person that we are meeting with is Kathy, who handles all things budget.  Well, she showed up to the meeting with her husband, who is the contractor/on-site person of the team.  Immediately I’m like…something’s up.  And something was up.  Bottom line: they want to tear the house down and start from scratch.  Let me list all the reasons this is annoying:

1. We designed the plan based on the footprint of the original house.

2. We bought this house because it was a structurally sound, 1900 square foot house, perfect to gut and redo.

3. We took possession of the house at the beginning of November.  With the holidays we expected to start work at the beginning of February…a very reasonable goal.  It is now mid-April and nothing has been done yet.  If we decide to tear the house down, we have to go back to the architect, back to the engineer, and back to the city for a new permit, a process that AT BEST will take 2 more months.

4. It costs more and is putting us into a range we are not totally comfortable with.  Sure, we can afford it and it is well within our means, but it’s definitely not what we expected to spend, and we would be spending more than any house has ever sold on the street.

All that being said, we took a week to think about it…and we are moving forward.  We met with the architect and builder on Saturday to go over changes, so he’s starting on that.  Then it’s back to the engineer and back to the city.  And then one day y’all…one day we’ll have a new house!

Let me tell you how we made the decision…

So the design of the house to me was the most annoying part.  Sure, I love the plan…but what would we have done if we had started from scratch from the get-go???  Bottom line…it’s impossible to say and I went back over the plan with a fine tooth comb, and I really do love it.  We are going to make some small changes that we couldn’t have made being in the confines of the footprint.  One change we are making is adding two feet to the living and dining rooms, which will be awesome.

The timeline is annoying because ya know, we’re paying two mortgages!  But again, it’s water under the bridge and there is nothing we can do about it.  Lance is basking in all this right now though because he predicted from the beginning it would take this long (he actually wanted us to rent the house out for 6 months and the builder and I both said he was crazy), and would cost this much, so he’s feeling very vindicated.

The cost.  This was the biggest thing that made us pause.  And I’m sure you’re asking, why didn’t they recommend you tear it down from the beginning??  Well, here’s how it all went down.  When you’re designing and building a custom home, you start with a sketch from the architect and the builder draws up an initial budget.  This will be the fourth home we have built with Banister (our personal home and then two investments), and they are REALLY good at budgeting.  Like, the best I have ever seen from a builder.  And honestly, I’m sure they lose business over it because most builders draw you in with a quote that they KNOW they are going to go over.  Banister doesn’t do this; they know the finishes people want and they budget accordingly.  Anyway, the contractor, Rod, wanted to tear the house down from the beginning, so he had Kathy run the numbers.  It was about 100K more to tear it down, so at the time it didn’t make sense.  Well, then we closed on the house, got a true plan from the architect and engineer, and from that learned more about what needed to be done to the house.  We opted to tear out the front porch, back porch, and fireplace, which was not part of the original plan.  We were taking out most of the trees.  Lance and I kept making decisions that were adding to the cost of the plan…so Rod asked Kathy to run the numbers again on tearing the house down vs. keeping it.  And when she did, it was only about a 20K difference.  So that changed things.  First of all, if we tear the house all the way down, the build date becomes 2018 (or 2019, let’s be serious haha), which makes the house more valuable.  Second, we could regrade the lot, which is a HUGE plus in this situation because the lot has quite a slope to it.  And third, we could make some changes to the plan.  Or really start over if we wanted to (which we don’t).

With all that being said, we are opting to tear the house down!  Annoying?  Yes.  End of the world?  No.  So, back to the drawing board (kind of)!  Stay tuned for another update when something ACTUALLY starts happening.  Thanks for reading!

  1. Katie Dress + Random thoughts – Miss Orrell

    May 7, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    […] the house!  I have so much anxiety about this damn house (you can read about it HERE, HERE, and HERE).  But I felt the same way when we built our current house, so maybe that’s natural??  […]

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