Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hangin' in There

Again, I am posting that we are waiting for bids. Lately, I have been busy with odds and ends. It has been a Loooong time since my last post. Mainly this is because of the lack of progress. I would love to post good news, and when there isn't is hard to keep moving forward. Zach and I have been swamped with stuff (life, I guess) and we have had many discussions about scrapping the house building idea and just buying a house nearby (Eugene). We have had the plans finished for a while, trying to get bids, detailed bids. We did not have much luck with some builders. Not returning calls, Crazy! Anyways, the plan is to continue chugging along with the house building project, so here we go. Anyways, the newest update is that we may have to abandon our basement/garage. The way it is, appears to be too daunting for a builder (hence the lack of bids?) the last builder we talked to said it could be done, but would cost about 30 - 40 % of the entire project.

We hope to have an accurate bid, very detalied by next week or so with this last builder. This will be a bid without the basement /garage and in its place a standard crawlspace foundation. We are thinking about moving the garage to a different location. If we do this (plans are in the works) then we have to move farther away (7-10 feet) from the bank that our home site is on. We would have to move far enough back to have to move the existing septic tank (and most likely the drainfield). I am working on getting bids for that.
I'll keep you posted...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Slow Goings

Our first bid for the house, which we received almost 3-4 weeks ago was about $185 / square foot. That was really discouraging. (We probably couldn't even do half the house at that cost). We met with one other builder that I really liked. He gave us a pretty good estimate and wanted some more details on the plans. He had a lot of good information for us. We let him do most of the talking, and he sounded like a good fit for us. He would be able to fit in our project this spring/summer and could estimate an approximate timeline of 7-9 months for a completed house. We would like to get another bid or two, but I'm leaning towards him. His best guess - again, needed more details on the plans would be $110 - 140 / square foot. He thought it could be done for around the $110/square foot, but that the basement/garage was going to be a bit of an unknown. Zach had been working on getting everything together with the plans but has been swamped at work. It is a little hectic with everything going on, but we are still trying to keep going strong.
I need to meet with our loan officer again and see what is available for a 9-12 month construction loan. Previously she said 6 months is the norm, it costs more if you go over that; however if you don't set it up right than you can be penalized for the time spent over the 6 month period...
Our property is in the floodplain (FEMA maps call us in the floodplain and unless you survey the land / area and say you aren't in the floodplain then you have to pay flood insurance for your home- this can be $150-1,000 per month around here). So, we hired a surveyor (specializing in floodplain property) to come out and specify a chunk of the property out of the floodplain. We couldn't use the original survey completed a few months ago because some of the land we definately know is in the floodplain; however, our building site should be out of the floodplain. This then has to go through FEMA and then you can be "out of the floodplain" and not pay floodplain insurance. We also needed to know at what elevation our basement could be - since we need and want it at least a foot above the base flood elevation. The survey crew were out last week, our estimate for the entire thing was $1000.00. Well worth the effort to not pay insurance. Hopefully the results will come soon, and another item scratched off the list.

Monday, January 7, 2008

We have called some builders back

We handed off plans to 5 builders at least a few weeks ago. We have yet to meet with one. We have been playing phone tag, and actually talked to 2 that might have a bid for us soon. I have heard that 2-3 weeks should be plenty of time, but we were right in the middle of a couple of hopefully soon. One builder denied the project because we said we would like to do some of the work ourselves (minor finish work). Apparently that is something you should ask right away....(tip for the future). His insurance wouldn't cover anyone that did any work that wasn't licensed.
This last week, we met with a plans examiner. He was very helpful and gave us some insight into why we might not be getting bids right away. He had great things to say about the plans. He thought Zach did a great job with all of the layouts, calculating the loads to carry all of the weight of the structure properly, etc. He even mentioned that he thought we could do this on the side one day since Zach is familiar with the code and shows that he is willing to learn the code. The thing that we need to work on is formatting the plans and displaying some of the information a little differently. We will revise a couple of things and add more detail to the plans hopefully this week.
One builder actually called today and mentioned that he will be emailing a bid - although he would like a little more detail in the plans and mentioned that the bid will as good as he could get based on what he had.

Oh! I also have 1 serious inquiry about the trailer for sale! and 2 others "interested". Crossing my fingers, and will post more later.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Here are a few of my favorite things....Oprah's done it...Can't I?

After making lists of fixtures, lighting, fasteners, etc. for the house spreadsheet I thought I'd share some of the cool things I've come across.

1) I have been purchasing a few things here and there for the house when I find good deals. Some things I just need to wait on, because we don't have the space. Anyways, this black chandelier I saw in a bathroom on a tour home this summer. For the few amazing seconds I was in this bathroom, I considered buying the house. The entire house was Amazing, mostly furnished in a black and white theme with things found from the Z Gallerie (in Portland).

2) What is there not to love about Anthropologie (the store)? Well they have these cool doorknobs that really aren't that much more than a standard doorknob...yet they have so much more character.

3) Push Button Light Switches are the coolest thing! I have always loved to push buttons (haha), no really, there is something about pushing something in, hearing a click, and waiting for the after effects. I'd just have to know me, or just nod. It's the little things in life. It's hard to find a good picture but here is one from Rejuvenation, where they sell really hardware lighting, antiques, and other things. They have this mother of pearl finish on the buttons and different switch plate options.

This last week

Getting a little further....Zach finaled the house plans last weekend and he printed off 6 copies to hand out for preliminary bids. I wrote up a cover sheet with our contact information, our goals, and attached our construction specifications spreadsheet to the plans. Friday, I dropped off plans on to three different builders we have been in contact with. I also gave a set to a friend to review who works in plan review at our local building department. Next step...we should have some NUMBERS!!!! and feedback.

I'll work on posting the spreadsheet and other info soon. Many things are unfortunately still on my laptop which is on its deathbed. It is still hanging in there for me; however, there is no way that I can get it to connect to the internet. I pulled out the wireless card with too much vigor last time and broke the inside of the laptop (that is as technical as I can get folks...). I tried a new wireless card but that didn't work. There are moving parts inside. Tried an ethernet cord, nada. I need to spend some time and transfer files....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

November...tick.. tock

Plans are getting closer to being done. Last weekend with the extra day off was awesome (thank you Veterans). We ate, breathed, and smelled house plans. I am a visual kinda person. Things need to be drawn out and in as much of a 3-D picture for me to understand how things will look. Here on the left is a layout of the 1st level with a deck (dashed lines) off the back...soon to come...Labels!
We are coming up on December and we would love to start construction this March (or earlier because of the interest rates) so we are tying to get it all lined up.

Scary issue #1. We don't know how much it will cost to build our house. About 1 in 5 people like to scare me by telling me it could cost $500,000 to build it. If that is the case, we won't be building. I think my approach from now on will be to ask 4 more people and then not talk to anyone anymore.
I have read a lot about estimates based on square footage, simple layouts, interior finishes, etc., but there are too many factors involved that I just don't know. We would rather have a good structure with a good layout and then do most of the finish work ourselves even if that means putting in cheaper, non-conventional finishes.
As soon as we can print out the plans and talk to builders we should know an estimate. We may have to go back to the drawing board, or cutting board in that case.

The Second Level is a partial second story Master Suite, again...labels and room sizings coming up next post.

Finally, this is a crazy view (not sure how it will look on this format) of all of the AutoCad layers (framing, plumbing, roof eaves, windows, etc) on in 3D, including the basement/garage. I like to use the orbit feature...pretty fun.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oh yeah... Partition approved.

Next steps will be approaching soon!! Zach and I are making a timeline to get our building plans approved by the county around March of 2008.
We are trying to get the last bit of detail (decking, porches, electrical outlets, etc.) on our AutoCad plans.
Finalize the specifications sheets.
Print out plans for estimates.
Meet with builders.
Choose a builder.
Turn in finalized plans to the county.
Meet with lendor.
Move into RV (yikes!)
Get rid of trailer house.
Build house.

On another note, I need to rant about Measure 37. Some of you may know about it already. Basically it was a property rights measure that passed in 2004 that gave longtime land owners a way around current land use regulations. The idea was that people should be able to use their land and that government should not be able to regulate what a landowner wants to do with it. We are just now starting to see the effects of the measure. All over, large housing development tracts are sprouting up all over the state on rural farmland that has existed as farmland for decades.

We recently found out our neighbors are planning a 20 lot subdivision right next to our property. On the other side, is a 5-10 lot subdivision, and across the road is a 200 acre who knows what is yet to come. These properties have measure 37 waivers (only other option was a payout) from the state and county to do what they want. Our only option to limit (not stop) the effects is to vote on a new measure, Measure 49.

All I am going to say is that we will be voting for YES on 49, a measure set to modify the original measure and to add clarity, limit large scale developments, etc.

I realize that we are developing our property as well and that this can sound hypocritical, but we are simply replacing a trailer home with a "stick built" home in the exact same place. Our intentions are to keep the property as farmland and limit our impact here.
Ranting is done... for now. Thanks.