We've been chugging along with the house plans and the stress was really getting to me. When you get a construction loan, you have to show the bank every little detail before they will approve you. They want to know how much everything will cost (down to light switches and door hinges) so they can hand you over money knowing that a house can actually be built for what you're borrowing. Even though we will be doing work ourselves, and some friends and family will be generously helping for much less than the going rates, we can't put those things in the bid. We must include labor and supplies at face value. And then we must put down 20% of that, even though we plan to come in under that.
This was all getting pretty stressful (I don't want to decide on countertops yet!) and on Tuesday I picked up our final plans from the architect - giving us the ability to get all the bids going with the intent to have everything turned into the bank by next week. I felt so great about our final plans and was excited to get this part of the process finished so we could move on to breaking ground. The house felt perfect - like our dream home. There was not one thing I would change. But all of that was about to change.
Micah contacted the surveyor to come stake out the house on the lot and quickly received a call back. "Um, that house isn't going to fit on that lot." What? "That easement doesn't allow for the house to fit." What easement?
My parents have owned this lot for over 20 years. The plot they gave us that we, in turn, gave the architect doesn't show an easement anywhere. But the surveyor shows a big one running on the south side of the lot, knocking 30' of buildable land off.
We reached out to the city and they use it for a storm sewer. If we want to pay an engineer something like $15,000 to draw up plans and do testing for moving it, they might (yes, might) approve that, and then it would be our responsibility to cover the costs of moving it. Clearly that's not an option.
Our other option is to try and figure out a way to change the floor plan. Our lot, while big in square footage, is an unusual shape. The two story colonial we had decided on was really the best for the pie shape, and I'm not sure what else would fit on there. We can probably moving things around (do away with a side entry garage and go from a 3 car to a 2, loose the walkout basement and windows) to make it work, but it's going to be tricky and push our timeline back quite a bit.
This is all pretty disappointing, but I also have the assurance that it will all work out. There doesn't seem to be a clear answer yet, and while part of me wants to fix it right here and now, I've learned that when an answer doesn't seem obvious, it's best to just wait. Sit back and wait for the right thing to make itself known. Am I good at waiting? Not really. But it's often in the waiting that we find the perspective. It reminds me just how fortunate we are to even be in this situation. We're a young family attempting to build a dream home in a neighborhood that anyone would be happy to live and raise their kids in. It doesn't really get much better than that.
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