Sunday, February 10, 2013

Construction, Delay - No Way!

Almost two months ago, I talked about building our dream house.  At this point, we had hoped to have a builder selected and looking forward to the start of the foundation.  However, due to additional restrictions put on small, private banks, the bank we had back in December had to pull its loan in January.  It was not great news, and it has left us scrambling.

We have called many banks to ask them fifty questions about their construction loan program, such as whether they have one time closing, locked rates, required down payment, appraisal process, etc.

I am typically not risk adverse, but in this situation, I am.  AJ and I both are weary of not locking in a rate or not having our house appraised until it's built because what if we assume something and then have a hard time making the monthly or down payment?!  Not cool.

So what have we done in the past two months to progress living in this dream house? 

  • Subdivided the land - This took two iterations because the first survey indicated part of the property would be in a flood zone, which would require additional insurance even though the house would not be in a flood zone.  $$
  • Met with the POA - The current covenants did not allow for plots to be less than 10 acres, and on the front side of the property, we were only able to subdivide 7.22 acres and not include a flood zone.  So the covenants had to be revised and approved by the POA's, which is one other family and the realtor. $$$
  • Agree to New Easements - The realtor who envisioned an equestiran community for 500+ acres he held has revised his plan and wants to sell the remaining 400+ acres as one piece of property to a cow farmer.  Our current access would go through the middle of this property, so the realtor asked that we agree to a revision. $$
  • House Plans and Site Approved - Per the original covenants, the house plans and it's location on the land had to be approved.  While waiting for the lawyer for the covenant and easement revisions, the review board apporved our plans.  This was an easy process, thank goodness!
  • Bids Recieved from the Builders - We have met and discussed the builder's bids.  We have listed the differences so that we can know the cost impact in order to compare apples to apples and choose the best builder for our needs and wants.  However, until we know what the bank will loan us, it's hard to know whether we should cut items or not.  So they're in a holding pattern with us.
  • Chosen a Bank - After too many phone calls and in person meetings, we believe we foudn the bank that will be the most beneficial to our situation.  We will fill out their application this week and meet with them next week.
  • Completed the Refinance on Our Current House - This was done near the end of December, and February was the first month we had the lower payment.  However, due to the social security tax going back to 6.2%, our gain in the refinance is not seen in our budget due to lower paychecks. :(

So our next steps are recording the new parcel with the county, finalizing the bank application, and choosing a builder.  We're also hoping that we can avoid any more hiccups until the house building actually starts.  Yes, I know, it never seems construction goes perfectly and there are bound to be surprises, but I guess I didn't pay enough attention to what Congress was doing to the banks to be prepared or pushed for the loan prior to the end of 2012.

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