Thursday, June 8, 2017

The lot has been cleared!

So it was hard to try and get before photos, but below kind of gives you an idea of how thick the brush was.  There were a few large trees that had to come down as well, but we tried to save what we could that wouldn't interfere with our septic.  The grading and septic of our lot has been a major stress factor.  Our lot came with a septic easement attached to the neighbors property.  There has been several items that caused issues but the main one was just that dealing with the neighbor has been very awkward and hard.  He was upset that we had to cut down many of his trees to be able to install the septic field in the future and there seems to always be hidden costs that keep popping up. For instance we most recently just discovered a gas line that will need to be moved and of course these things just keep adding up.

We finally got the lot cleared and had a silt fence installed this past week.  We were about to begin the basement excavation when another huge hurdle was made aware.  There is a current old abandoned foundation that was built on the property and will need to be demolished (more $ of course)  We knew about that, but what we didn't realize was that due to setbacks and being restricted by the septic field of the house and the drop off in the back of the lot, we are forced to put the house in the existing cavity of the old foundation.  That is fine for the basement portion of the house, but unfortunately the garage needs to be raised up to the first floor level and it is going to cost close to $12,000 extra what we were planning for the excavation portion of the build.  So there goes a huge portion of our budget.  Basically our entire contingency that we will need to try and save in other places.  Not that we can ever make up that much but at least try and save a few thousand or so in other places.  We are meeting our graders out there again this weekend to try and come up with the most affordable solution, but unfortunately none of the options are very cheap.

Our main hope is to make it through the foundation and framing stage and then the worst part will be behind us and we really feel we can manage well from that point on.  The foundation will probably be the most stressful of all since it is the most important that it is done right. We do really like our graders though and trust them to do a good job.  We found a good reputable concrete company to pour the basement walls and concrete footers as well.  Hopefully we can make it through this without too many issues and will have our forever home.  And pray that our inspections will go well!

Below is a picture of the lot before it was cleared.  I will take pictures of the cleared portion this weekend:

We moved...Again!

So I just realized it has been about a year and a half since I last posted.  It would take me way too long to try and recap everything that has happened since then but I will try and touch base on the major things.  Adeline is now almost 2 years old!  Up until about 12 months she remained a wonderful baby.  She still is not bad, just not super laid back like she used to be.  She is pretty stubborn and likes things her way!  She also desperately wants to be able to do everything the older kids can.  Kaitlyn graduated the 1st grade and did really well.  Her test scores for reading were in the 99% and her math was 92% (of other kids in the county and state.)  Brayden and Allie both started and finished preschool at a new school near our house. Brayden will start kindergarten in the fall.  I can't believe it!  They both enjoyed school and both were very different than Kaitlyn.  Kaitlyn was always such a teachers pet and rule follower.  Brayden apparently does his own thing and talks a lot more to his friends even when he is probably not supposed to.  I observe him in Primary at church as well and I joke that he seems to be the worst kid in there!  He just wont sit still or pay attention.  So we may have more challenges with him in kindergarten.  Allie is still my most difficult child.  She is either super sweet and loving or very angry and throwing major tantrums.  It's either one extreme or the other.  Her teachers told me that she is a drama queen.  For instance one day she fell on the playground and hurt herself (not badly).  Just a bump.  Anyway, her teacher asked her after a little while if she was going to be ok and she said "NO! I'll never be ok EVER again!!"  Oh goodness!  It's so funny how all of them have such individual personalities.

So in major news, we are building a new house. Yes I realize we just moved into a new house  from my last few posts but a variety of reasons made me want to move again.  Our old house was in Indian Land.  While we were very happy with the schools, I was not thrilled about the distance our house was to the schools.  The elementary school was not far, about 5 miles, but the middle and High school can take about 30 minutes to get to and the bus routes can take over an hour.  When we bought we were mostly focused on elementary so it wasn't such a huge deal, but as time went on, the county passed a new school bond to build a new high school.  Most all of the growth of Indian Land is in the north but unfortunately land is also much more expensive the closer to Charlotte you got.  Our house was on the border of both Pineville and Fort Mill.  I could hear Nation's Fords's football games from my house, but we had to travel 30 minutes one way.  So we waited and waited to hear where the new school would be and come to find out it was almost 7 miles further than the current high school.  And it was still going to be the only high school!  There were several other reasons as well, but that kind of put me over the edge.  We realized that we just are not good neighborhood people.  We hate having to have a perfect yard and we hate not being able to even a plant a tree in our yard without permission.  I think in the 18 months we lived in our house we got at least 8 citations for certain things such as weeds, bare spots in yard, etc.  The house itself was fine and worked for our family but once we moved in, I realized there was no storage!  Not even an attic.  The entire upstairs did not even have a linen closet.  We had no place to store towels, sheets, or board games.  That drove me crazy as well, b/c I like to have a place for all that kind of stuff.  Well one day Justin got an email about a lot that had popped up on the market in Fort Mill.  We made an offer within 2 days on the market and it was accepted and we closed on the lot last November.  It was perfect for us, (at least we hoped).  It was 1.8 acres on a wooded lot that bordered the Sugar Creek in a quiet established neighborhood on a cul-de-sac with NO HOA!  I fell in love immediately.  We could have chickens, the kids could run and explore the huge wooded lot!  It was perfect and what we felt a really good price compared to other comparable lots in Fort Mill that were not near as nice.  We sat on the lot for about 6 months before we finally decided we were ready to build.  We listed our Indian Land house on the market and it sold within 2 days with 3 full price offers!  It was amazing!

However, at that time we thought we were building a house with a contractor.   After buying the land we got several different quotes from various builders and contractors that were all WAY over our budget.  We knew a friend from church who was a contractor and got a quote from him and ended up deciding to go with him.  Unfortunately the house price once all the final numbers came in was still out of our budget.  At that point we were devastated and had to tell our contractor that we were so sorry, but we just couldn't financially continue on with the house.  Which brings us to now...We are building the house ourselves!  I am acting as the general contractor!  It is going to be horrible and super stressful and time consuming but it was the only way we could still build our house and we were already homeless since our house had sold!  So we are now living with my mom who opened her house up to us again and we will be here for the next 9 months.  It definitely has it's challenges, but we are hopeful that one difficult year of our life will be well worth it in the long run.

So I set out to get quotes and had a new found appreciation for our former contractor and the time involved in trying to obtain them all!  It took my months just to gather all my quotes and put them together.  I had to seek out my own subcontractors, and the hardest part was finding the loan!  I must have called 40 different banks and credit unions before I finally happened upon this small bank in Rock Hill that was our saving grace to allow us to be owner builders without a contractor!  I designed and drew the house myself and then paid to have it engineered and stamped.  We filed for permits and closed on our loan today!  We currently have 9 months to build the house before our loan expires!  Pray for us that it happens!  I can't even being to explain how stressful this whole situation is already and will be but I'm hoping and praying that we can do it!  We're already in way to deep to back out now! lol!