Building our House (part 1):

This building our house series of posts is going to be about what I underwent to obtain my first piece of property...and then what I had to accomplish to put my first house up.

No it isn't a tiny house.  Too bad because I really like the idea and the small amount of money required to build one.  My house is a modest 3 bed 2 bath ranch.  It has a full size basement (unfinished) and a 24x24 garage. 

When we moved in we did not even have a sidewalk!  Oh the humanity!  The horror.  I ended up building the sidewalk myself.

In fact I put a lot more work into the place then I originally thought and the place still cost us over 200k!!!  I am getting ahead of myself.  First we must go back to where we once were...


The Beginning: The land grab

Getting a piece of land shouldn't be that hard.  Especially when we had someone (grandpappy) who was generous enough to deed us the property.  Well it isn't that easy and this is partially why I am writing this.  To remind myself of how difficult the process was so I will NEVER EVER want to repeat it.  If this post also helps you build a house well then that is a plus as well.

First we had to get the land surveyed, staked, prepped for legal description.  That cost us a cool 1000 buckaroos.  I of course was novice and thought that somehow getting this property was going to be um how shall we say...free.  How wrong I was...

Next we had to record the plat, record some other land info, and get a quit claim deed.  Ok.  $169.50 later and we are ready to go.  This was actually a pretty good deal in my opinion as we had to have a lawyer draw all of this up for us and sometimes lawyers can get pricey. 

Next came one of the worst run arounds I have ever put myself through.  The dreaded local government and zoning!  I had to go through about a million steps before finally getting the lot approved for building which included
  • Finalizing plans with our builder (we changed at least 5 times and our builder was very understanding and patient with us).
  • Getting pre-approved for a loan (good thing my wife works at a financial institution).
  • Visiting the health department so I could pay them money to tell me it was ok to build
  • Having the soil tested to make sure it was ok and revisiting the health department to deliver the samples to them (Still ok to build!)
  • Making sure the taxes are current (So they made my grandpa drive down and pay in full before they split the plot)
  • Many other steps that I can't even remember at this point all designed to make sure you could only get one thing done at a time
  • Down payment to loaning institution $11k and some change Ouch!
After a week of driving around and dealing with some nice people who had to follow some stupid laws I finally ended up with the property in my name.  I can't remember exactly but I believe that filing my plot, fees, etc... ended up being an additional $1500-2000.

So after all of that and $2500-3000 dollars later I ended up with a gorgeous 2.1 acre lot.  This was a whole lot cheaper than if I had purchased the lot for fair market value.  Thanks papa!

 Electrical Service and the Foundation

Next up was getting the electrical service set up and good to go while the foundation was being put in.  We had two major problems at this stage. 

First major problem was that our foundation was being dug right after it had rained for almost a month straight.  The walls continually wanted to fall in so it took more rock then expected to make sure the walls held steady.  It also took more rock for the driveway because the ground kept swallowing it!  Rock ain't cheap.  Neither is the excavator or labor...so there went an extra $933 that was unforeseen.  We also ended up paying for some more copies of the blueprints at this stage ($100).

The next step didn't cost any extra money, but it did cost time.  The electrical company I was dealing with was not exactly friendly to put it mildly.  First I called the lady months in advance (like December before we built) and she said just to wait and call her back the month we were planning on building.  O.k.  Whatever.  So I call her up.  She is on vacation.  Nice!  Anyone else that can help, NOPE.  Double nice!  When she finally gets back it takes me a couple dozen tries to get a hold of her and then it takes a couple of weeks for them to come out and hook up temp service...great!  The only really fortunate part of the whole thing is that the builder only had to have his crew on generators for about a day because of how long the concrete took to cure and the foundation to be established.

The UNKNOWN

These expenses were all unknown to us and certainly a shockWe now had to either pay out of pocket for these expenses, or go under budget in other areas of our house.  This meant sacrificing certain items we may have wanted.  The other option was to get down and dirty and do more work than originally planned.

Total money out of Pocket so far: $15069.97 (obviously we knew about the down payment, but the extra 4-5k was shock to us).

In the next post of this series I will lay out how my wife and I used all three strategies listed above to hit our goal and come in on budget somehow:/

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