I was thinking about writing an update on Facebook about the latest in our home building adventure when I remembered – hey – we have our own blog. We pretty much stopped writing here when Facebook and Twitter got popular, exchanging blogging for microblogging. But since microblogging became social media which is now mostly everyone just repeating their rarely changing political viewpoints and ads, I think we’ll return to writing here instead.
January was focused on moving out. February started with closing the sale of Punaro Acre in Holland and quickly moved on to reviewing and revising house plan drafts. At this point we are narrowed down to 3 potential builders. We’re on draft 3 with the first, draft 2 with the second, and draft 1 with the last. Two builders have been removed from consideration, one prior to ever drafting plans, and one after getting the first draft back. The designs are pretty consistent between the 3 builders, we’re just tweaking based on what we like from each and as we give more thoughtful consideration into the various aspects of the house.
What we don’t have yet are construction estimates. That might seem odd to some that we’ve gone as far as selling our house and moving out without knowing how much our new house is going to cost, but our thought process works basically like this:
- We know how much we’re comfortable spending on our mortgage per month.
- We sold our house and paid off all related debt. The net proceeds are now in-pocket, so we know what cash we have available to put towards the new house.
- We own our land already. This removes the big lot cost variable from the picture. Since we just bought it last year, we also know the equity value which feeds into the construction loan formula.
- Knowing all the above, we can determine how big a mortgage we want to carry, and thus how many dollars we will have for construction.
- While considering the purchase of our land in Colden, we talked with a number of contractors to get some rough estimates on some of the more challenging aspects of building there – primarily that we will have a long and steep driveway and are building about 500′ off the road. This also helps in planning for some non-mortgage costs, such as buying a tractor to be able to clear the driveway in the winter.
- When talking to builders, we got basic cost per square foot ranges for the construction, and largely they were all in the same ballpark.
- So, knowing how much we want to spend, how much we have already, and rough cost per square foot and major additional costs for our unique property, we can determine how much square footage that affords us. That was in-line with our initial designs for the house, so we were comfortable enough to say we should be able to make the house fit our budget. Excelsior!
While still working through the draft revision process with the various builders, we’re also starting our research on some of the bigger budget items in the house – kitchen and bath design, fireplaces, etc. That will help in fine-tuning the estimates once they come in and start to be able to make the litany of decisions around exactly where we want to spend our money in the house. Still a long road ahead, but at least we’re on it!