Home Build Update: The Lot and Permits

When Josh and I first decided to build a home it was about this time last year. We first started just rough drafting layouts, doing lots of research on what we wanted and then finally went and got pre-qualified. Once we knew we qualified we stared interviewing builders. We interviewed about 5 before picking one. But one of the questions all the builders had was "where is your land located". Funny they should ask because we didn't have any land. So that's when we started looking. Finding land for our new home was the hardest part so far. This is going to be a home where our kids will most likely be raised in. One where they will start school so we had to take that into consideration. We also had specifics on which way the house faced, location for Josh's work commute, and neighborhood CC&R's. One lot we looked at had crazy rules. One being the front yard grass wasn't ever allowed to get above 2" in height! Which would mean if we ever went out of town we'd have to hire a landscaping company to come mow. Just seemed a bit too strict. We also knew we wanted at the very least a third of acre of land. Taking all that into consideration made the seacrh pretty difficult. When we thought we found the one, we'd call on it only to find out it was sold already.

Finding everything we wanted was hard. It took several months but we eventually found the perfect half acre lot in a beautiful neighborhood with a few CC&r's to keep the neighborhood looking nice and respectable but not crazy strict 😉 Something that the bank and our builder told us was that if we found a different lot we'd have more money to spend on the house but the location of the house was more important to us than making the house bigger since we feel there is plenty of room in the new house and a large yard is what we truly want. After a little negotiating on the lot, Josh got it down from 166K to 163K, not a whole lot of a difference but every little bit counts, right?

Anyway, we put in the offer for the lot and had put down Earnest money. That's when we started praying about the decision to build and when I got a very firm no from the big guy upstairs. It was hard but we listened. At that point our current house only would be listed for $230,000. Which was really great but we decided to put the whole thing on hold for a while.

Some time passed and we came back to idea of building. I prayed again and got a much better answer! We called the real estate agent that morning and he got back to me that night and told me over the past few months the market had gone up and our house was now going to be listed at $250,000!!! So happy we listened to our answered prayers. 

Once we listed our home, we dug out our old house plans that we put up for the last several months and started really reworking everything. Once we got a plan we loved we headed to the architect. He helped us really finish making the house more liveable and it is everything we could have ever dreamt of! I think it's a humble home that will have some personal character. The plans just got finished after about two months of working and reworking on it. They were sent into the engineer a couple weeks ago and we are just waiting on him to approve them before we can send them to our city for building permits.

So I know I've been talking about bringing up numbers for our build and I'm going to talk a little bit about that here and then once we get a final line list from the builder I can talk a bit more of specifics like electrical, paint, etc. . But for now the architect and engineer's fees are roughly $2,500 for the plans/and official stamp. (It helped A LOT that Josh had drawn up our plans on Auto-CAD and that the architect didn't have to start really from scratch as we pretty much knew exactly what we wanted.) That money will most likely be worked into the loan although we have been thinking about just paying upfront for it. The city building permits are $20,000. Of course permits are different for every home depending on lot size, loan size and home size I believe. But for our home we are building on a 1/2 acre of land and our home will be a little over 2,000 finished square feet with an unfinished basement. So roughly 4,000 square feet total finished and unfinished. 

Okay so just a past history on our current house and the process of buying it/selling it because it plays a HUGE role in us being able to build right now. I talked briefly about this HERE. But a little bit more detail...

The top of our budget when we were house hunting 5 years ago was about $190,000. Anything over that was really stretching it for us at the time. Especially because we knew someday I'd eventually want to be a stay at home mom and we'd only have one income. We put two offers in on two separate homes, both offers were rejected and it was really hard emotionally. When house hunting it's super exciting but really stressful as well. It seems like everything you want is just out of budget. When we stumbled upon our current home we put an offer in the second we looked at it. We won the house at $153,900! I look back and still can't believe they chose us. We had to write a letter telling them about Josh and myself -and sent in a picture haha. Worth it!

Anyway. We knew from the beginning that this would be a house only to make a profit on. Everything we did to the house had to stay neutral for potential buyers. When we listed the house we got 3 offers on it within a day! The first all cash offer is the one we accepted but the buyer backed out about a week later. Read all about that HERE. We ended up going with the second full price offer. At the time we closed Josh and I owed $136,000 on our home which meant we profited $114,000. After closing costs, realtor fees, taxes, etc we made about $92,000 on our house.

It's still a pinch me moment! We can't believe we made that much off our little home that we put so much love into. So fast forward to now, our house is sold, we moved out into our in laws home while they are gone for the winter and we are planning on breaking ground sometime this month if all goes well! It's such a scary process and we honestly went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth the whole time until our good friend who works at the bank basically told us to just jump in and do it. It's totally scary taking on a new mortgage but we know it will be worth it in the end. So as soon as we get back our actual line sheet from the builder I will go over a bit more in detail what things cost. Of course this is all based off our budget for the home. A big thing for us was making sure we had enough for a 20% down payment. If you don't put 20% of your total house price as a down payment you'll get hit with PMI which is private mortgage insurance and can be around $200 extra a month on top of your mortgage.

I'm going to be sharing our layout and exterior next so stay tuned!!!

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