December 9, 2013: Our second walk through with the electrician who is mostly finished. We spoke mostly about can lights (canister) and “boob” lights (I don’t have the real name for these). According to our electrician, we have gone Way over our allotment of can lights, and it is going to be more than our initial bid. Big Whoop, I thought under my breath. Everything is over their initial bids. I was impressed though with this electrician. He REALLY wanted to fit within the budget. So we went through the home with him and removed some can lights and added some boob lights. Can lights are cool and boob lights are less cool. Could have fooled me.
The Siding team was out today when we went. They were finishing some of the siding and adding “Shaker” siding in the locations that we previously selected. (everything still needs to be painted).
Up close of the shaker:
The Three Windows on the East side of the home where the master bedroom is.
How did I get into Spec Home Building?
It is actually not me that is into Spec building. It is my wife working with the builder. They work well together. I enjoy watching what they come up with. She doesn’t do websites though, but she allowed me to do this one and chronicle our first and maybe only (if it doesn’t sell) Spec Home. I will admit. I am an attorney by trade. I am not proud of that fact and I am not ashamed of that fact. It is something that I deal with. My Dad is an attorney. I should have been a doctor. Everybody is an attorney. A drug addicted relative has just applied to law school. I’m not a do-it-yourself type of a guy though. This summer, my wife asked me to trim the tree in the back yard:
After living with my wife’s parents for a long time and really skimping, we got our student loans paid off. There is a lot competition in the area of law that I am in. I tried a couple of things outside of my law practice, just to see what is out there. I tried to start a compost business (making compost out of sawdust and chopped up rotten food). I almost died of inhalation poisoning the first night of composting.
I got my real estate license and passed the tests, but I have never activated it with the State. I’m not too interested in taking people around and pointing out how neat everything in a house is. Not for me.
Later, I was approached by a lifelong friend that was bored of his job and wanted to fulfill his dream of being a full time home builder. He had money, but not enough. He had time and was motivated. I trusted him and felt comfortable with him from the beginning. He asked that we team up to build a spec home and split the profit. I consented and put my current house on the market and began the process.
My Wife The Designer
My wife is a pinterest follower. It is her favorite website and the only one I ever see her on. She knows trends and she loves houses and house plans and house finishes. She knows what people like. I put my wife in contact with the builder and they began immediately with a house plan. I set the budget and picked out the best land available for a spec home. The problem was it was expensive. $92,400 for .77 acre, right in front of a beautiful apple orchard. We sold our home, tapped our savings and bought the land.
The land became our down payment on the Construction Loan. We began to rent a home. A big, old, somewhat smelly box of a home. We like it though.
Our plan was to build the Spec home, let it sit on the market for two months after completion and move in if there were no takers.
Our goal was 1/3 or 33.33% Markup. Heck, it was the same price that I charged my contingent fee clients. I felt it was a fair markup price.
The Initial Plan
The initial plan was to build a 3500 square foot home for a total price (including land) of $400k. We would list it for $533,333.00 and sell it for no less than $495k. We would split up $95k (appx 45k) each and move onto the next Spec home. We Initially decided against using a realtor.
We are both down to earth people. Skeptical of anything that screams ‘easy’ or ‘deal’. We both knew that there would be changes to the initial plan and that we would be fortunate to sell the home for a modest profit.
Reality Sets In
Reality began to set in when we got our completed plans back from the architect. The home was not 3500 square feet. IT WAS 4668! There was no way we were going to build a 4668 square foot home for $400k. Remember, the land alone cost $92,400. I asked my wife if we could “scale down” on the plans and have them re-drawn. But, alas she was set on the plan and preferred to move forward as it was.
I do admit, I love the house plan. It has a HUGE KITCHEN and HUGE GREAT ROOM. I did my fair share of internet searching for a house plan that we could buy. Most house plans were a thousand dollars or over and none of them offered what this house plan did.
So I consented to the house plan. Ever since I consented, my stress level has gone way up and I haven’t been sleeping as well. I don’t use medicine to sleep, because I don’t like medicine. I did however buy a sleeping mask and ear plugs and sometimes I sneak in a swig or two of the kids Benadryl.
So, we began looking at ways to reduce house cost without trimming the quality.
Here are some of the ways that we saved cost hopefully increased value to our Spec Home. Again, these ideas were for our First Spec Home Adventure and may change if we ever get to build a second.
The Stomach Punch
Initial Bids came in at 498,000 (including land of $92,400)! What? The builder called and asked if he could come to my office to break the news. I called my wife and asked her if she was ready to give up yet on this project. We thought there is no way that we could mark up a 500k home enough to make money and find a buyer. In our area, buyers above 500k are few and far between. We would either have to build a Killer house or just give up.
I couldn’t afford a 500k dollar house. Just too expensive. I have too many kids (4 under 7 years old).
After a couple of days of letting it settle in, we decided to press on. We are going to take a fairly big risk, knowing that if the home doesn’t sell we can move in (although it is more expensive of a house than we really want to afford).
Life just got a little more nervous.
My Semi-Retired Dad called and said he thinks that we maybe should reconsider what we are doing, sell the land and move into something more affordable. I appreciated his advice. I really did. I just felt like I should proceed. I felt like we could sell the home. I felt like it was still a good idea. I wanted to take the Spec Building Home Risk.
So we moved forward……..
December 3, 2013: It is about 20 degrees outside, but at least it is about 45 degrees in my covered patio. I call it my Hawaii Lanai. The floor turned out great. I like it. It is like a Spanish tile, but it is soft and waterproof. Learn more about the balcony and floor on this new post.
They are putting the siding on:
The Front Door is on (I always thought a Door was a Door, but I have since learned that a door is not a door. It is a high priced fashion item). It will need to be taken down again when they decide to paint it. Weird order of things…..
And the Garage Door:
We have sailed WAY above budget and are trying to make some modifications to get us closer to where we want to be. We spoke with the cabinet maker today and tried to scale back on some of the built ins and cabinets without cutting back at all on quality. Also, my wife has cancelled the order for the De Cheateau floors (because I was de cheateauing in my pants) and is looking for a less expensive, quality alternative.
December 3, 2013: I went out to the construction site today and spoke to the HVAC guys and the siding team. They always seem kind of reluctant to talk to me, like they aren’t used to it or something. I just enjoy watching them work and learning about what they do. They like my wife because she usually brings warm desserts to them.
Even though it is cold, we got our front porch poured. It is now covered with blankets to avoid breaking up:
We passed our plumbing inspection. Here is the extra plumbing for the Kitchen Pot Filler:
I actually love the 2nd story enclosed balcony. It is probably going to be one of my favorite areas of the home. It was probably 35 degrees in the home today, but in the balcony alcove there seemed to be a very nice warm spot where the heat from the sun is captured and doesn’t leave. The view is also very nice:
And an updated photo of the home with the nearly completed roof: (we chose a really light grey for the roof which will hopefully contrast well with the siding and stone exterior):
December 2, 2013: Back from Thanksgiving and a little recharged. I’m ready to get this house sold and move on to the next project. It would take a Christmas Miracle to sell it before the siding is on and painted, the cabinets are in and most of the finishes are visible. We are meeting with the siding workers today.
November 26, 2013: I was REALLY looking forward to a break for Thanksgiving. I’m pretty worn out and I’m sure wife is. So, I was going to relax and enjoy my time off of work and home building. However, I got news from the In-Laws that we are expected to be at their house this Thanksgiving. It is an 11 hour drive. So much for my vacation.
We met with the electrician yesterday. I made sure he puts all of the high tech gadgets that I like. My wife made sure of the lights and outlet positioning.
In the kids upstairs playroom, I thought it would be fun to add a doorbell and an outdoor looking lamp above the mini door. So, they are going to run electricity to this mini door and window.
I like how the upstairs balcony floor is turning out. This is a very fancy plaster type floor that is not expensive.
Our Residential Sprinklers (required by the city – we paid a premium for the POP up sprinklers that shouldn’t be noticeable once the drywall is on) and our HVAC (control units upstairs and downstairs. If you only put a control unit downstairs than the upstairs will heat up faster and you run into major inside temperature problems).
November 22, 2013: It’s Freezing. I admire all of the workers that can work through the cold. My wife’s decision today is not the brand of hard floors (she chose De Chateau over Hickory because hickory looked like a church gym floor). This morning I woke up to four choices: I chose the bottom left so that I means I’ll have a 25% chance of getting it right.
November 20, 2013: No Offers. A couple of Inquiries that want to learn more about Finishes, landscape, etc. My guess is that there will be some people interested that follow the construction along to the end and see how it looks when it is completed. I may be wrong and the right buyer may come along before that, but, I am not getting nervous yet.
A couple of interesting things I noticed today at the house. 1). There is an outdoor water hose hookup that has a hot water option. I have never heard of this before, but I like it. It will definitely be used by our family full of kids.
2). The framing for the transom windows in the entry way room came together very well.
3). The fireplace is going to be one of the focal points of the home. It is really the first thing you will see when you open the front door. My wife spent HOURS looking at fireplaces, BTUs, mantels, stone and rock combinations, etc.
And – the Roofing is starting today – Electrical run through at the end of the week – Siding starts right after roofing:
November 19, 2013: I was watching Shark Tank last night. I’m a sucker for electronic gadgets. So, when the DoorBot came up, my wife looked at me and knew I would want it. Of course I do. I’m going to get it and I’ll let you know how it goes. Unexpected Cost = $199.00 (Unexpected Value = A lot. Someone pushes the doorbell and with my smart phone or tablet I can see a video of them and communicate with them).
Update: I Created a firestorm with that Doorbot posting. The minute my wife read it, I got this line of texts:
November 18, 2013: We met with the plumbers this morning and did a walk through for plumbing positioning. We only had a few changes to the plans which include 1). Plumbing for a kitchen pot filler (Added cost about $400 including faucet), 2). Re-positioning of the upstairs washer and dryer hook ups (Minimal additional cost), 3). An extra outside faucet near the front door.
We also met this past weekend with the siding guy. He said that siding really is becoming more popular now because of the colors and versatility. Stucco, which is more expensive, is kind of limited in color and combinations. With siding, we will also add shaker, board & batten, stone and trim/borders.
We are also signing a six month extension to our current rental home lease. Phew….. I was getting nervous about where we were going to live and I didn’t want additional pressure to have to move into our spec home. So, now the pressure is off and we can concentrate on finishing the spec and selling it.
November 14, 2013: The windows are now in and the painter has started outside trim work. Our sheet rocker is going to hang some drywall in one room this week so that the HVAC guy can come next monday.
November 12, 2013: Updated Construction Photos. My wife made a few changes to the framing plan on the last day the framers were there. First of all she wanted to add transition transom windows in the home. This is the rough sketch given to the framers:
…..and what the framers are doing with it:
Also, the framers moved this closet wall back 6 inches in order to accommodate my wife’s large storage boxes:
November 11, 2013: On the MLS! Waiting for the Offers to Flood in….
First Email from our Really Good Real Estate Agent: (58 agents looked at the listing and sent it to 9 clients in the one day that the listing has been on the MLS).
November 7, 2013: We met today with the framers and the custom cabinet maker. It is important to inspect and measure the home before the framers finish their work. We had a checklist of about 8 items that we needed changed before the framers left. A couple were cosmetic changes and other were function. For example, there is a large storage closet upstairs that wasn’t quite wide enough to fit large tubs. So, we asked them to move it out 6 inches.
My wife was excited for the cabinet guy to come and chalk out her kitchen.
I also sent information to the real estate agent so he can finalize the MLS listing and I spoke with the banker who was more than anxious and excited to see if the home would sell. Of course, he would love to write another loan if it sold. He said our expectation of $100k net profit is “really ambitious”.
November 6, 2013: LISTING THE HOME ON THE MLS: We are meeting our real estate agent at the home today at 12:30. We have been back and forth on using one, but we have finally decided to just do it. There are a couple of reasons why; 1). We want to shift the responsibility, liability, time/energy, hassle of marketing a home to someone else. We don’t have the time to respond to requests for showings. 2). We’ve got to get the house on the MLS now. It is going to be done in four months and our loan will come due at that time. If we can get it sold before it is done, we can save interest and mortgage payment costs.
There are a couple of drawbacks to hiring a real estate agent now. 1). We lose 5% of the gross sell price; 2). At this point it may turn into a semi-custom. With the framing just completed and most of the finishes chosen but not yet installed, there is a risk that a buyer may want to custom finish the home. We do not want to buy/sell/finance or be involved in custom homes. It is not part of our business plan. We don’t want to subjugate ourselves to the demands of someone building their own home. We are spec home builders. If people like our product they buy, if they don’t we lose. But, at this point we are beggars and can’t be choosers. So, if you like our home and want to semi-custom it, we will allow you, this once.
What is the listing price? $695,000. Wow. That is a lot. I don’t live in California. There are only a handful of homes in this whole area that cost that much. Our best estimate for FINAL building costs (including everything, including interest on the mortgage, land costs, upgrades, landscaping) is $525,000. So, if we can sell the home for $650,000 and take off the 5% ($32,500) for the real estate agents, that leaves $614,800 for a profit of $89k. At this point, I would not take less than $650k. You may ask me in four months how firm I still am at that price. But, considering the time, energy and risk involved, a profit of close to $90k is minimally acceptable.
So, we are excited to get it on the MLS and see if we get any response. The framing is finishing this week, the bonus room is framed now and then we move onto roofing and plumbing.
I spoke to our stone guy today. He is from Russia and is a big chess player. We speak in Russian together and I enjoy meeting with him. He said that especially for stone work you really need to be careful who you hire. He had me drive to homes and buildings that he has done. He does beautiful work. He said that laying stone is like playing chess, you have to have an eye for where the pieces in the puzzle will fit the best. So, when you hire a stone worker for your home, check their work first.
This is the stone that my wife chose to use on the outside of the home and on the fireplace. She said it has to be a contrast to the paint color. This stone is ‘veneer’ and not ‘natural.’ It sure feels and looks like natural to me, but it doesn’t cost quite as much. It is still expensive though…..
November 1, 2013: It is getting cold. Which may become a problem. The painter says that it is better not to paint the exterior when it is cold or else it will fade and need to be re-painted. The roofer says that it is not good to roof when it is too cold or it may not seal and then the shingles will fly off in the wind. We are hoping for enough consecutive warm days in a row to get the home finished by the end of February.
The bathtubs came in today. We moved them inside of the house. The plumber should start in one week. The master tub (not shown here) will need to be framed in by the framers. My wife wanted these tubs that come with the tiled look because she didn’t want grout. She hates grout. Says it gets dirty. She also liked the shelf that goes all the way across the tub.
Balcony Floor My decision: I was able to make my first sole decision since the home started. Because the second story balcony was my idea, I got to pick out the floor. This is what I picked. It looks like stamped concrete, but it isn’t. It it is a mixed plaster. It is not that hard and not that heavy. You can’t have too heavy of a material, and you need something that is rain resistant and won’t crack over time. This is the good stuff for outdoor decorative floors.
Minor Backyard Patio Cement Issue: There is a minor issue that we will need to remedy with the backyard patio. First of all the cement guys poured a half circle of junk cement outside of the patio. This can probably be covered up with landscaping, however, there is also an issue where the support beam is. If we trim it out where it is now, it will hang over the edge. So, we’re going to call the cement people back and have them pour a 6 inch decorative border around the whole patio. Unexpected Cost = Probably $400
October 30, 2013: Things are really starting to Heat up now… I spent about 3 hours last weekend with my wife, picking out the finishes. The big decision is what wood floor to use in the kitchen. The choice is between the more expensive duchateau kitchen floors:
Or the less expensive, but tried and true Hickory:
As you already know, this is not a typical spec house build. This is a high end spec home for someone that has money. The goal is still to stay under budget though. The quotes for the duchateau came in surprisingly lower than expected at just over $8.00 a square foot. Hickory is just over $5.00. The oil finished floors (duchateau) have some downsides in maintenance. I am curious to see what my wife finally chooses……
The Roof is now going on and hopefully by the end of the week we will have enough progress done on the home to put it up on Craigslist/Zillow. So far there has been ZERO response from the builder’s for sale sign that is sitting in front of the house.
Our builder was kind enough to move the toilet that was in front of the house, so we can get better photos:
October 28, 2013: The roof should be completed by the end of the week (No one is working today because of the wind) then we list it on Craigslist/Zillow to see if there is any response. Once the cabinets go in, we plan on getting a realtor and listing it on the MLS. Construction Photos
October 24, 2013: Well that was kind of neat. Someone from Houseplans.com contacted me to see if they could put this story on their website. I said sure why not. Next thing I know it is up there: blog.houseplans.com.
We hired Russians to do our stone work/floors/tile/backsplash, etc. I speak Russian and lived there for a while, so I trust them and like them. I don’t ask these subs to cut me any deals. If they offer their services at a reasonable rate, if they are good and responsive and if I get along with them, I hire them. They deserve to be properly compensated for their work.
I have updated the Construction Photos with some upper level framing. Also, is a photo of how big and open the great room/kitchen area will be.
So, do you remember how my son lost his shoe in the big dirt piles? And that my wife was digging for it for a couple of hours and couldn’t find it (while I took photos)?
Yesterday, two weeks later, My 8 year old daughter was playing in the dirt and uncovered the missing shoe: Unexpected Savings $10.00
October 22, 2013: The builder just texted me and asked when I was going to update everyone on Buildspechomes.com. I was going to wait until the upper floor framing was completed. Framing should probably be completed by the end of this week or beginning of next week. The trusses are being delivered at the end of the week. I enjoy going to the construction site. We have very decent subcontractors that are willing to respond to questions without getting upset. My wife has taken them cookies and cinnamon rolls to keep them going. Either my wife or the builder is there everyday to check on the framing. Apparently, framing is the most important part of a home and needs to be checked constantly for accuracy in measurement.
Now, let’s talk about the important stuff, money. As you know, we are now living in a rental home that is currently listed for sale. Our contract is up on December 1st. There was a showing at the rental home last week, but I don’t think any offers were made. This is becoming the critical issue right now. This spec home won’t be finished until March. If we get booted out of our rental, the pressure is going to be to move into the spec home instead of selling it. However, that is not why we started the project and is not the goal. But, that is the difficulty in building a large spec home. If you build it while having a mortgage, than the pressure is to sell cheaper to avoiding owning two mortgages. So, to reduce risk, it is helpful to be in a rental and have the OPTION of moving in if the spec doesn’t sell. Timing is difficult.
On the flip side, selling a spec home when you do have the option of moving in, puts you in a very comfortable negotiating position.
The house will be on the MLS soon. We keep delaying it. We want to make sure that the initial listing is done in a timely way. If there isn’t enough house to see, prospective buyers may lose interest and the home may grow stale on the MLS. I want multiple offers the first month of listing the home.
October 14, 2013: Updated Construction Photos: Crazy how the framing goes up so fast and makes it look like an actual home. There was only one mistake in the framing so far, the framers put a transom window in the front of the home where the plans didn’t call for it. No problem. My wife considers it a free upgrade. She takes the framers cookies so that they will do their best job.
October 7, 2013: Updated Construction Photos: Garage Floor cement has been floored and the first floor beams and joists are in. We may have an answer for the extreme amount of dirt leftover from the excavation. We got a hold of a dirt/gravel sales company. They are going to come look at the sand and see if they want it. I don’t know what they are looking for. Hopefully they want really fine sand. There’s still a shoe stuck in there somewhere. Unexpected Cost: (Depends on who is buying the new shoes. I buy Payless $10 and my wife buys ‘shoes that will last’).
October 3, 2013: A text from our builder today: (I think we will wait to list the home on the MLS until the framing is completed so that IF anyone wants to come and look they can have an idea of how the home will be laid out).
October 2, 2013: Additional Unexpected costs incurred this week: $207 dollars for the sewer hookup equipment. $40 to the city to re-review the engineering plans. It is already getting cold and has been really windy. The amount of sand that was excavated is becoming an issue. The city re-approved our updated engineering drawings and there will be no delay in construction. We couldn’t locate the High Speed internet fiber that was supposed to go to our home. Updated Construction Photos
September 30, 2013: Our excavator encountered something unexpected, a pile of apple crates about 5 feet down and spread out on our property. There is an apple orchard behind the house and it is obvious that is where the junk came from. The owner of the orchard was very nice and has already cleaned it up. Total unexpected cost to us = $0 dollars.
September 27, 2013: The framers looked at the engineer’s drawings and said there were changes that should be made to save cost. So they made the changes and we had to re-submit the plans to the city. Fortunately, there shouldn’t be a delay as the concrete pouring can still continue and than backfilling the dirt. Hopefully by mid-week next week we will have re-approved plans and can start framing. Once it is framed, it will be listed on the MLS.
September 25, 2013: Updated Construction Photos: Concrete footings are underway. It should take until the end of the week and then the excavator will come back to back fill the dirt. Hopefully by mid week next week we will get the framers out. We had to pay the concrete man close to $6,000 because he required up front payment and couldn’t wait for the bank to provide a partial completion payment. We will be re-paid from the bank.
September 20, 2013: Every time I get a call from my builder, I know it is going to cost money. First of all, I need to get a port a potty on site. OSHA requires a toilet on the worksite. I called a portable toilet company yesterday and it costs $72 per month for just the toilet or $75 a month for the toilet with the sink. They will flush it every week. My wife said to get the toilet with the sink. Not a huge expense but it adds up to close to $800 by the time the house is finished.
Next, we got an email from the developer that said that all homes that back up to the orchard are required to put in a cedar fence on the back line of the property. News to us. There goes another $3000 or more.
I called the realtor yesterday that is going to list our property. We are listing the house at $699,000. We wanted to shoot for a 33% markup, but with the added costs, things aren’t looking great. As it stands, it looks like conservatively our home will be completely finished for close to $525k. But, it could be more depending on what other expenses we encounter. If we can sell it for $650k, we will still do good enough even accounting for the realtor fees.
What odds do I give of the home selling at or close to $650k? Probably 25% chance.
September 18, 2013: Construction has finally begun. Follow along with photos and commentary here: Construction Photos
September 16, 2013: Digging starting tomorrow.
September 12, 2013: City approved us today! Moving Dirt Tomorrow. Course of construction photos and analysis to come.
September 11, 2013: My wife dragged me to a Parade of Homes last weekend. I am pretty disinterested in that sort of thing. I am glad my wife is super interested in it. You need to have someone that is current on homes and finishes to appeal to the trendy market. It was interesting the spec parade homes that weren’t sold yet. Generally, they were out of date and not trendy. I was the photographer and took photos. Here are the Parade of Home Light Fixtures that my wife is drawing inspiration from.
September 9, 2013: The engineer completed his calculations, stamped our house plan and sent it back to the city. The City said they need five more days to review the plans. Meanwhile, our rental home that we are living in has been listed for sell.
September 3, 2013: The engineer had changes that needed to be made by the Truss guy. Our builder just texted me and said the plans will be back to the city this week. In the meantime, our landlord said he is putting our house for sell and that we need to find a new place. We thought we would have had the house built by now.
August 21, 2013: Another day another Negative $5000+ dollars. The City is requiring an Engineering Stamp on our House Plans. We called around, but noone offers pro bono engineering services. And, in the surprise of 2103, the City is requiring that we put A Residential Sprinkler System in our home. Goodbye at least another $5,000.00, I hardly knew ya.
August 19, 2013: We’re still around. No substantive updates since the last one though. We are still working (and paying) an engineer to appease the city and start construction. I would call this another unexpected major cost. When the home is completed, I will write a list of all of the Unexpected Costs we encountered.
August 8, 2013: The City said we need to have an Engineer “Stamp” for our house plan because of the large second story. The waiting time has become so long at this point that I am no longer waiting. It’s like when you are in a Disneyland line. You get to the point where you aren’t waiting or anticipating going on the ride. You kind of just build your life in the line and if you ever get to the front that is just a bonus. If we had built a rambler, I bet our plans would already be approved. A Discussion on Rambler, Basement or 2nd Story Home. Building a basement was not a possibility because of the sewer depth.
July 31, 2013: What legal problems can arise when building a house? See: Legal Considerations when building a house
July 30, 2013: After speaking with the developer, the lead attorney on the project, our builder, other builders in the area and my wife, we have once again changed the initial listing price. Get Rich fast? Or Burn my chances by starting too high?
July 27, 2013: Just back from my one week off and got a text from our builder that we are still waiting on the city, plans, engineers, etc. etc. etc. I thought the house would be close to done by now and sold. We still haven’t moved dirt…..This upcoming week has got to be approval week.
July 19, 2013: I spoke to a construction attorney for a consultation today on what to look out for that could cause problems during the construction process. I will write more about it later, but for now he said that the most encountered problem is with diversion of funds and mechanic liens. In some cases, the general will pay the sub and the sub will divert the funds to other projects or debts. In the meantime, the sub’s employees won’t get paid or the sub’s supplier won’t get paid so the project gets hit with a mechanic’s lien and can’t be sold. To protect yourself against this, make sure you require signatures on Mechanic lien releases when subs are paid and make sure suppliers are paid directly by you and not through the sub…….
July 15, 2013: Signed the approval documents on the construction loan today. Also, paid the city $10,000 for the ‘application fee’. Waiting for the cost on the ‘engineer stamp’ required by the city. In honor of today, I am going to implement buildspechomes.com first Hashtag. #papermoney #burningthroughit #noturningback #Buildspechomesmaybebuildspechome
July 12, 2013: Had a round table meeting today with all of the builders in the development and the lawyer in charge of the development. I was not able to go because of work and our builder was not able to go because of work. So my wife went. We didn’t know it was a formal round table event. She went in with our 6 month old. She was a little late and when she arrived our house plan was on the projector screen. She sat down next to 15 or so established builders. The lawyer was talking about how “amazing and beautiful” the house plan was and how it “exceeded all their expectations” for the development. He asked all of the builders “who’s plan is this anyway.” My wife with a baby on her lap surrounded by all of these well known builders sheepishly raises her hand. ”That’s ours.” The Lawyer told her he had the LUDR regulations changed to match our house plan instead of having us change our house plan to match the LUDR regulations!
July 11, 2013: No Word from the city yet…..Waiting……
July 3, 2013: I picked up my bank appraisal today. IT CAME IN AT $534,000. About $100,000 dollars less than we can sell the home for. Why my Wife is Worried, but I’m only a little Worried.
Sunday June 30, 2013: No Word from the City yet and I’m concerned with this weeks holiday schedule that we may not be able to start for two weeks…….We will know by this Wednesday…..
Monday June 24, 2013: Woke up a little nervous Today. The city said that we should be able to start moving dirt by the end of the week. Still haven’t finalized the loan, but it is about 100k more than I felt comfortable borrowing. The closer I get to building, the more expensive it gets. I’ve already blown budget and am now Targeting a Higher End Market. So, in light of that, I asked my wife if we should consider some ‘relatively’ inexpensive upgrades so that are home appears really modern and worth the price tag. She said we should consider it. So I put together a list of some Cool and inexpensive Home Upgrades that we are considering.
June 19, 2013: Our house plans were approved by the Development. Man, that was more scrutiny than I thought. Maybe it is because we are the first home in the development that submitted house plans. Other updates This week: Submitted our house plans to the developer’s architect. He sent them back and said to make changes (move out the garage side wall 4 feet to add to the aesthetics). So, we did it. It wasn’t free. The city called and said that our plans are on hold until we get final approval from the developer. Our current home owner (we are renting a home) called and said that someone may buy the home and we will be kicked out. Wife worried…….
June 13, 2013: Forget intuition, My previous advice to myself, and my Father’s counsel on the subject, the Builder and I have decided to raise our initial listing price $20,000 to $649,000. Swinging for the fences. The city and development has delayed everything. Hoping to start building soon.
June 9, 2013: My wife and I talked tonight about our options. We feel that our only option is to press forward. We went and looked at our land again this afternoon. We hope to start building by the end of this week…….
June 7, 2013: FINAL BID BREAKDOWN: Our Final bids came in today and we took them to the city along with the building application. They say it takes 9 Business days for approval (if we get approved). The Bids of course came back WAY HIGHER than I wanted. I don’t know what else to do at this point. Can’t shave down the size of the house now. Going for broke I guess…..Read More on the Final Bids. Time to start looking for a second job.
June 6, 2013: My wife woke up and told me that I’d better get a second job in case the home doesn’t sell and we have to move in.
June 5, 2013: Got a call from the builder. He said that our home is TOO big and TOO personalized and that it won’t sell. Discouraged before we even start. I hope that our home appeals to the masses. Only time will tell. Heck, the dirt hasn’t even started moving yet.
Although new at spec buliding, I would be glad to respond to any question: firstname.lastname@example.org
More to come………..
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