A quick note to those of you who emailed and left comments interested in buying the bus: thanks so much for your interest! I don’t have any specific information for you all yet with regard to when it will be available and how much we want for it. We’re still a ways off from that point, BUT I will keep you posted as soon as we know.
Things are coming together, slowly but surely.
Noah has been hanging the ductwork for our HVAC system:
It’s a family trade – Noah learned how to work with sheet metal and ductwork from his dad growing up.
Our windows have been delivered and are almost finished being installed and our roof is halfway on:
Next up comes rough electrical and siding.
So, there’s all the fun progress stuff. Hooray!
I wanted to touch a little bit on the financial side of things, because I’m always curious about that kind of stuff and I imagine some of you are as well. A lot of time with remodeling or construction blogs all you get are the before and afters with none of the nitty gritty details about what happened in between. I’m all about the nitty gritty.
In some ways we’ve been extremely fortunate that we haven’t YET run into any major complications with regard to the actual construction of the house. A few windows and doors have had to be moved inches for various reasons and there have been a couple face palm moments where we realized we should have added or changed something on paper (i.e. adding a drain in the garage or making the closet under the stairs a kitchen pantry instead of a closet in the library – doh!), but on the whole, things have gone relatively smoothly and we’ve been really happy with how things are turning out. Again, lot of that credit goes to the simplicity of the design and our realistic expectations (we’re not expecting an exotic, Architectural Digest-worthy bungalow, here).
I think one of the best things that we have going for us on this project with respect to finances is the fact that we trust our contractors. We have had some bumps along the way with regard to our budget line items (which I’ll go a bit more into below), but the fact that we don’t feel as though they are trying to cheat us or rip us off or get rich off of our lack of experience makes all the difference in the world in how we feel about our build.
In retrospect, it was actually a really, really fantastic thing that our old contractor got nixed by the bank because I do NOT think I would have felt the same way about him at this point. At all. In fact, a lot of the issues that we’ve had with our new contractors are as a result of our old contractor’s mistakes (or deliberate attempts to take advantage of us, if you’re coming from that viewpoint).
Anyway, I wanted to give you guys a look into what sorts of things have cost us extra money (things we have paid for outside of the loan) on this build. We are very grateful for the fact that we have had this opportunity to save up a nice chunk of change to pay for all of it, even if some of the things aren’t really what we would have preferred the money to go toward.
If things had gone differently, these costs would have been included in the loan, however I like to remind myself that even though it’s cash coming out of our pockets, it’s also money that we’re not going to have to pay 30 years worth of interest on, so that makes it a bit more palatable in my brain.
The biggest and most costly item, by far, has been the permit fees. Our county requires an enormous amount of money out of every new build to go toward permits (grading, septic, building) and fees (for parks, school, traffic impact, etc.) On our budget with the original contractor, he had allotted $7k for them. The actual cost? $25k. Our new contractors were able to wiggle some stuff around in the budget to cover about half of them, but that still left us with $13k to pay for ourselves. Ouch. So far we have put $9k back into the budget to cover those costs and are keeping the last $4k in reserve, but we’re working with our GCs to possibly make up the costs with labor instead.
Another thing that is going to cost us money out of pocket is the fact that we really wanted siding on our house instead of stucco, which we communicated to our original GC and is detailed on the plans, but he neglected to include a line item for painting the siding. So the exterior paint job will be paid for by us to the tune of about $4k.
The only other things that we have changed so far (that have cost us money out of pocket) include digging deeper footings around the garage in case we ever decide to build on it, adding a little bit of plumbing in a couple spots for additional showers in case we decide to turn the library into a downstairs master bedroom in our golden years, adding a couple of floor outlets and upgrading some of the upstairs windows to double-hung (so they tilt back for cleaning). All of those changes added up to a measly (by comparison) $1300.
A few other changes that we’ve made include nixing the tub in the master bath in favor of a large, walk-in shower, and moving the island in the kitchen to a peninsula. Neither of those changes have affected our cost, however, because we’ve made other changes to offset any potential overage. Taking out a large bath tub helps cover the cost of the extra tiling for the shower and to cover the rest we took some of the tile budget from the kids’ bathroom and put a tub/shower insert in there instead.
And there you have it. Makes this:
look a little less glamorous, huh?
So, now that that’s out of the way, the next post will be about finishes and I will show you our Ikea kitchen plan and the book of preferred finishes that we’re making for our GCs. And you guys can help me figure out whether our dark, narrow stairwell should be carpeted for safety reasons. Oy.