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!