Friday, December 2, 2016

Eyes Wide Open

The Floridian
I know that I want to get everyone caught up to speed on what's occurred in the last 6 months but right now my mind is mulling over recent events.

The house plans for The Floridian are virtually complete. Our drafter is now working on, for lack of a better term, the layers of the plans. The layers include various parts of the building stages, including a layer to designate where the electrical wiring and outlets will be positioned and a layer for the structure of the home. The Floridian will be a wood framed home with a stem-wall, rather than concrete slab. A stem-wall means the home is raised a few feet off the ground and has a crawl space. These terms may make perfect sense to you or none at all. I'm a novice at this stuff, so sometimes it seems like Chip and our drafter are speaking another language when discussing the plans. Anyway, my eyes are wide open as I have to learn and understand everything to communicate my thoughts and ideas and I have to be aware of each and every tedious step along the way, especially in light of my blog writing. I can now grasp that hiring a contractor has it's benefits - sign on the dotted line and every few weeks wonder "What the hell is going on?" as they go through the land clearing process, then the permitting process, then (fill in the blank) and then (fill in the blank) and then (fill in the blank) and so on. It would be less stress and brain power on my part and I could lay back and relax until I'm needed to pick the color of the house or choose the stones being used, you know - the fun stuff. The big draw back though is that I'd also have to write a BIG FAT CHECK every month for the next 30 years, ultimately spending more than triple the cost to build our home. Yikes! No thanks! We have the desire and ability to do it ourselves so we're going for it!

Now that we had more detailed plans, Chip spent yesterday morning estimating the cost to build the garage and The Floridian's foundation (the county stated we have to start on the house even thought we want to build the garage first). Let me back up a bit to fill you in our goal: build the garage first, which will have a studio above, to store all Chip's equipment and live in the studio, and then build The Floridian. Chip was able to provide a rough estimate of the cost to start building. He was unable to get quotes on the cost of lumber and isn't sure if he will frame out the roof (i.e. build the roof structure piece by piece or buy roof trusses) but he had enough to work with. While he did that, I reviewed the permitting process which includes so much more than I realized, such as requiring a portable toilet on site (Oh jeez, really! How much is that going to cost?!) and we need the Roads department to dig a ditch (in Florida many homes have a water run-off area at the front of each property). I now have homework for the next several weeks; there will be questions to asks, people and businesses to contact and then I'll need those entities to sign off on our paperwork. I wonder if I'll have to do a lot of driving? The permitting office is 45 minutes from where we currently live. I hate driving but thank goodness for the public library, audio books and Harry Potter; they'll provide hours of entertainment.

After we finished our respective projects, we came together to review our notes. The big discussion was the cost, bringing our current state of finances into focus: not having enough liquid cash. The key question: how to save enough money in time for when we need it? We brainstormed some ideas:
  • Chip working overtime shifts. 
  • Me taking a second job.
  • Sell the motorcycle.   
  • Taking out a line of credit with the bank. 
We weighed the pros and cons of each idea and came up with the following:
  1. Chip will take on as many overtime shifts per month as he can. He has been taking OT but not as much as he could.
  2. I will not take a second job, for now, so that I can work on all the necessary paperwork, ensure we have yummy and hearty dinners, lunches prepped, household tasks tended to and, when possible, be Chip's assistant at The Floridian site. 
  3. We should sell the motorcycle. Chip hasn't been riding it lately and will continue to ride it less and less because his spare time will be spent at the property. Therefore, we'll look into how much we can get for it and sell it. Gosh, that's hard to swallow. The bike is Chip's baby - he's been riding since he was 17 years old and he bought this bike in 2011. This is the nicest and biggest bike he's owned. We've taken the bike as far North as Maine and far West as Texas. I'm sure this will not be his last motorcycle. 
  4. Chip and I riding the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, NC.  
  5. Taking out a line of credit is a really good option. We don't want to take on more debt but this is realistic knowing we can't get a building construction loan because we have no contractor. This form of credit won't pin us down to a completion date and will give us a good chunk of cash. 

I don't feel like we did a whole lot yesterday but our research and discussion was important. We took the time to process the present state of the building stage, our current financial situation and the numerous parts that we'll be working on in the upcoming weeks and months. At times, it felt like information overload but I realize that I just need to take one step at a time and be glad I've got my eyes wide open.  


  1. Holy cow that's a lot. I'm excited for the two of you!

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