Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You can make a PLAN if you want to but God's gonna do as He pleases with you

  HAHA! LOL! Teehehe! Bahahaha! LMBO! That's God laughing at our "plan"...
 Our plan was to break ground Spring 2014. Umm, Summer 2014 is in about 30 days. So much for that plan.
 God knows what we want and though we are being impatient, He has perfect timing. We will get our Forever Home when we are meant to have it. 
 Got back the numbers from a contractor we really liked... and it wasn't pretty. Way out of our price range. So we've been talking to yet another contractor. He seems very real and is super detailed in his hard estimate. We are waiting for his final number. Fingers crossed he is within our budget.
 Mind you our budget has increased twice since we decided to buy land and build a house. We are so far away from what we had planned to spend on a 1600-1700 sq ft house it's not even funny. We honestly can't afford to increase it again. Like I told Brad about our beautiful, cleared one acre of land surrounded by growing corn, "I'm about ready to throw a single wide on it and call it a day."
 With this last contractor, I have literally gone as cheap as I can get on finishes without sacrificing my hardwood floors. I got back my covered back porch, though. At least for now. I think we might be back to a spec home already. :) I bet it still costs more than we want to spend...
 I've decided if our next quote comes in out of the newest price range, then I AM going back to work as soon as I can find a decent job. Otherwise, we truly won't be able to afford to build. The 20% down and closing costs is already going to deplete our nest egg as it is. That alone is depressing enough. 
 I just have to keep reminding myself that God has a plan for us and in His timing, we will get this house. It WILL happen. I just need patience and to trust Him.

Lifestyles of the Broke and Not-Crafty

  I guess you could say I get a little jealous when I see all these awesome DIY projects gone RIGHT. I can't seem to get that to happen to me. I've even given up on Pinterest these days. So many cute ideas... but I lack a creative gene or something. It's super rare when I try to recreate the Pin that it actually comes out half decent.
  Below you will find a few of my DIY projects lately. They didn't turn out terrible, I don't think. My motto is "when in doubt, buy some black spray paint."

Gold Mirror Gone Black

Mirror prepped for spraying
End result- I cropped out the table on purpose.

 I like the mirror painted black now but it is over a dark brown console table in my foyer and it just doesn't look great together. Whoops. The mirror is heavy and requires a screw in the wall to hang. Since we do not own our current house, I will wait until later to move it elsewhere. The console is a family heirloom in great condition so I dare not refinish it to match the mirror. 

Inherited End Tables Get ANOTHER Face Lift

 Back in 2008 I was obsessed with HGTV (nothing much has changed in 6 years). Inherited two end tables from a family member. They used to be straight outta the 70s and in dire need of an upgrade. Mind you this was before the days of Pinterest. What can I say? I'm an original DIY-er. I saw Sabrina DeSoto use painter's tape to create this... Yeahhhh, it's not cute. And I've lived with it for SIX YEARS! Six.


WTH!
Much better
 So the two end tables look a bit better but I would still love to change the hardware. Took one to Lowe's with me to buy new handles and NOTHING would match up with the existing screw holes. So I'm stuck with these "gold" beauties for a while longer.

I Have A Night Stand. Hallelujah!
 When we sold the Greenville house, homegirl wanted our ENTIRE bedroom suit. Yes, the very first purchase I made with my teaching paycheck! Even had to put that joker on Layaway for a hot second until I got my second and third paychecks. It broke my heart to have to get rid of it even though we do want a King suit next. I thought I'd pass it on to my son. So much for that idea. I sure hope she loves it as much as I did.
 Since we've moved back home, we are sleeping on our original mattress and box spring on a metal frame, upgraded from 7 cardboard boxes to a $60 yard sale dresser, and our "night stand" is more commonly known as The Floor. Naturally, when I saw this one on a yard sale site, I snatched it up. It's Mission Style like my old bedroom suit so it reminded me of it. *tear* 
 This project cost $20 for the night stand, $8 in spray paint, and $4 for new hardware. Not too bad. Legit night stands can get pricey, brand new. 


Forgot a before pic. This is post-sanding.

Ta-da! Terrible quality pic.


 Now my books, cell phone charger, and the ingredients for a diaper changing station all have a place to sleep at night. Our "gorgeous Master Suite" is a bit more appealing now.
 Y'all just go ahead and be looking for me on HGTV. My new show will be called "From Crap to Class". 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Confession: House Building is "spensive"

  Alright, I'm not an idiot but I've quickly learned that building a house is not nearly as easy or as cheap as you'd think. Whatever you have in mind that it will cost to build your home, go ahead and add about 15% more to that. It's ridiculous.
  If I've said it a 100 times, I'll say it one more: "it's cheaper to live in a big city". TRUEST STORY I'VE EVER HEARD... or told. Cities have more competition, thus lower prices. Small towns have less to offer but with supply and demand, the prices are cray! From the cost of gas to groceries to constructing your forever home, you might go broke. Let's not forget that the cost of living is ever-increasing everywhere but the paychecks stay the same. 
  Now, with all the pissing and moaning out of the way, THIS is what we wanted-- to be home around family and raise our family. I just think we were quite naive about expenses here. 
  To date we've met with two contractors and with one of them twice. Both contractors are out of our price range but one of them has lost his home-building mind! We could build 1.75 houses in Greenville for the cost of one here in Como. Holy cow! Mind you, we don't have expensive taste and the house is only 1700 sq ft! We're talking laminate counter tops, no fireplace/mantle, pre-fab cabinets, and the like. Yes, I want hardwood floors but that's the most extravagant thing on our Must-Have list. Seriously! We want to participate in the building of our home when we can like buying and putting in hardwood floors and tile floors, painting, putting on knobs and pulls (see this post on Tips) to not only save money but to feel a part of our home. To know we helped build that. Both contractors are a bit hesitant on what they will allow us to do. I think it has to do with 1- their decreased paycheck and 2- their "name" is on the final product of our house. Yes, I understand that contractors have warranties with our house and what we do does not get covered in the warranty. We are okay with that. The other thing we are worried about is IF the contractor agrees to let us do stuff then though we won't be charged for it under "Painting" in the hard estimate, that will silently appear under a new category... just so they get paid still. I know that's terrible to say and appears as if I don't trust the contractor, but really, in this day and age I'm not sure there aren't too many people looking out for themselves only. It's sad. 
  So our original floor plan that we've loved since the beginning has been tossed. Too much needed to be changed which added more square footage which ultimately means more money! Then we found another and lo' and behold, things need to be changed to it as well! Imagine that. (Yes I am being sarcastic. We aren't the ones who want to make changes to this one...) So we reckon that one is out, too. After our last meeting with the more reasonable contractor, I've had to sacrifice two of my three Must-Haves: my covered & screened-in back porch and my office. It's so disappointing but I'm trying to keep in mind that those are luxuries. At least with the covered back porch, maybe we can add it on later. We really just need a HOUSE! 
  It's getting frustrating to the point that I'm tired of studying house plans. Yes, we can afford the estimates being thrown at us but NO we do not want that mortgage payment when the time comes. Thankfully Brad and I are on the same page when it comes to our finances and bills. We are both frugal people who understand the value of hard work and money. I'm not trying to brag on us, just simply stating that we aren't blinded by the fancies of building a home; that we understand our goal is to build our forever home and not a monstrosity out of Southern Living. Sure that would be amazing but realistically, we'll never be able to afford that. 
  I guess it's time for us to get FRANK on our potential contractor and tell him what we can afford to build. Maybe then we'll either come to an agreement or quit wasting each other's time. I will say this for the guy, though; thumbs up for the beer on our last meeting!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

We have an address. We must be official now.

 Brad called the Land Records lady about our address. Good thing because she had forgotten. Imagine that! But nevertheless, we have an address now! 
 I texted Mom to tell her what her future neighbors' address is and she responds with "when are you putting up your mailbox?" Really, mom?? Kinda need the house to at least have some string markings for the foundation, first. Sheesh. She's a little bit excited for us. :)
 Got a few other contractor names and have another meeting today for estimate #2. Brad and I have tossed around the idea of subscribing to Angie's List but thought it might not have too many listings for our area being as we are 1- a very rural area, 2- one of the poorest areas in the state, and thus, 3- not many are gonna pay for the Angie's List subscription to write reviews. Or maybe we have the wrong idea about this ol' Angie? Perhaps but still not investing. Word of mouth and physical proof seem to be the best way to go in this small area.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Contractors, Banks, Floor Plans... Oh my!

 Well, we are at a sticking point with these 3 things. Haven't selected floor plans because we haven't talked to enough contractors and don't know if we'll be able to afford the house. Haven't chosen a financial institution because we don't know how much we'll need to borrow as we don't know how much the house will cost to build. Haven't selected a contractor because some institutions only finance NC licensed contractors. Is your head spinning yet? Because mine hasn't stopped... And we're only at the very beginning. Good grief.

 We are looking at yet another floor plan because the only contractor we've talked to is about $20,000 more than we want to pay.  One bank has approved us for way more than we want to borrow and another only does 15 year mortgages now. This means a much higher monthly payment. Brad has a point- paying a lower monthly mortgage for a longer period of time means we end up paying $40,000-$60,000 extra for our house in interest. Needless to say, I'll be on the job hunt much sooner than I had anticipated. Guess I can't stay at home forever...

 Looks like we won't need to pay that extra $500 to the architect to make changes to our first floor plan before we buy it (if we decide on it). Contractor says he can change it himself. Good to know and always good to ask.

 Brad called another financial institution yesterday to get pre-qualified. We are waiting to hear back from them. The one we really want to go with told him they wouldn't blame us for choosing another bank.

 I called about 6 contractors yesterday. We've got another appointment this week for an estimate. Another is going to call me back to set up an appointment and the rest either didn't answer or had disconnected numbers.

 Let me tell you-- this is such a fun process........

 I keep having visions or daydreams of us already being in our new house. Maybe one day!

 Also, lady from  the county Land Records was suppose to call Brad back with address info last week. Trust me when I say you've gotta stay on people. Also, our deed still isn't showing online or on the GIS map. Brad's more patient than I am. I'm ready to see it listed!

CONTRACTOR TIP:
   - don't figure in your appliances to your mortgage. Why pay for 30 years for appliances that are only made to last about 10 years? Finance appliances on your own... Or be sure to save the money for them yourself.  His estimate included everything except appliances for this reason. Valid point!

Monday, March 3, 2014

And then there was a driveway.

  It's good having connections. It's not an abuse of privileges per say but rather a knowledge of how to use those connections. With Brad being an assistant engineer with DOT for the county we are building in, it kinda makes getting your driveway put in done quickly.
  We had to purchase our 20 foot pipe from CRMP for about $180 then DOT came and put it in for free-- dirt and all. They would have provided rock too but seeing as it won't be the actual driveway we'll use (using the farm path beside our property as our garage will be side entry. Hard to explain but it makes sense to us...). Brad decided on no rock and to plant grass but DOT used a more silty dirt and we aren't sure how well grass will grow there. :( Maybe we need to ask DOT to come BACK and put down some rock so the dirt won't wash away. I guess it'll always be a "No" if we don't ask.

Here are the pics:
See farm path to the right.


 Not much but you gotta start somewhere. 

 Next up: pointing out where our driveway is on the survey at Land Records then getting the proper information/documents to take to the post office to obtain our 911 address.

Still working on: financing. Been pre-qualified with one institution but need to talk to another. Getting floor plans ($500 extra to make a few changes per the designer. Need to consult contractor before paying this.) Need to get a contractor. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

God speaks, I listen

Proverbs 24:27
Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.


This was in my morning devotional today. How appropriate? We keep getting asked if we've talked to a contractor yet, when are we planning on building, etc. It's borderline annoying but I just keep answering "Not yet. In due time. We are taking things one step at a time. Trying to complete one task before moving to the next."

We have a plan or at least an outline of events and we're filling in the blanks as we go along. We are trying to prepare for the ups and downs and unexpectedness of building a house. I mean, we just got the deed to our land last week and we're already experiencing the unexpected. Building a house is stressful. People who have done it say if they had to do it all over, they'd buy a house. That's not very optimistic for us. 

We just want to be as prepared as possible as to avoid as many "surprises" as we can. Of course we are in for more… lots more. That comes with every home building/remodeling job. It just comes with the territory. 

We also are firm in our faith that God has a plan for us. He made all of this happen. We wanted to move home, He gave Brad a job. We have a dream of building in the country, He allowed us to purchase farm land. I've always dreamed of living either in my parents' home or very close by, He is answering that. This is God's doing. His work. If building our forever home wasn't in His plan for us, then we'd still live in Greenville, commuting home on the weekends to be with family. 

Family is the root of this journey. It's the reason we moved back home. It's the reason we have land. It's the reason for a LOT more during this journey. Just you wait. We are and can't wait to see what else God has in store for us.