Another Bummer of a Post

I’m afraid I have nothing good to report here…

To follow up on the previous post: our lot is not going to appraise any higher. While there are other lots for sale in the area, nothing has sold at the high asking price. This could change when things start selling, but it’s not working in our favor right now. The city has a stupid formula for figuring out the value of a combined lot that basically counts against us because if the lot is over 5000, the excess amount is counted as a lesser value. Both of my solutions to the lot issue failed. Because the appraisal sits low where it is, the only remaining thing to do to get this home built is to add more room.

The developer has come up with a plan to add square footage to the home, and the contractor has agreed (without seeing the plans) on the price. Somehow adding 360 square feet on to our 1080 square foot home has only increased the price by $6000. This just doesn’t make sense to me, and it makes the numbers seem intentionally low to draw us back in to the plan. Without the drawings, I don’t trust that the contractor can make a fair assessment. Without a more detailed break-down of the budget, I don’t trust the numbers to move forward. And, this might even be the worst part, if we were to accept the new plans and numbers, we’re back at square one…we have to start all over with the city and the permit process and then head back to the bank with our fingers crossed.

We can’t stand the thought of starting at the beginning again with all the re-dos that will certainly follow. We have no more patience. Our developer says she can get things through the city and the bank quickly and that we could begin construction in a month, but there is no reality behind that. This process has taken us 2.5 years to get this far, and we just don’t have the energy to round this up to 5 years of waiting for a home. I don’t know that we have 6 months left in us.

We need somewhere to live, so I figure there are several choices: keep hoping for the container house, build a different house, or buy a house.

I’ve hashed out what it will mean to keep trying for the house above, so let’s look at it another way: how would we feel if we cut ties and walked away from it? Beyond feeling like we’ve wasted a colossal amount of time and a chunk of cash, would we be OK with another home? Right now, for me, the answer is yes. When I think of the container house, I’m filled with anxiety, fear, and doubt.

I don’t think we’re even ready to consider building a different type of house on our land because it brings the same feelings (maybe construction really isn’t for the young-ish and middle-class?). Our best bet is probably to hang on to our little plot and wait for the value to increase. When that day comes, we can sell or try to build again if we’re brave enough.

The feelings aren’t quite as negative when we consider buying a house. While we probably wouldn’t find the perfect mod house in the perfect neighborhood, we probably could find something decent that wouldn’t take too much work in an area we could enjoy.

So, after all we’ve been through, it sounds like buying could be the best choice for us. But is it really? The market in this town has exploded. Homes are selling on the first day they are listed for 20-50k over asking price. How do I know this? Well, we’ve been looking. In the past few days, we’ve actually put two offers on two homes that haven’t worked out because both times we were overbid by amounts that were well over the asking price. Neither home or location was ideal, but either could have worked for us. Sure, there will be other houses, and we’ll bid on the right ones, but it’s next to impossible to feel any security in winning the bidding war.

It’s hard to say what’s next for us. We’ve informed both sides (developer/contractor and realtor) that we are conflicted and that our main priority is to find a better living situation, and whichever happens first is going to be where we end up. It sounds like a fun game, like a race to the finish line, but it feels the exact opposite.

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7 thoughts on “Another Bummer of a Post

      • Hey Guys, Just came across some of your adventures as I am trying to design a container house as well! I hope the odd lot vale business gets sorted out well. One solution may be to buy a yurt to have a solid homebase that doesn’t need to meet code (temporary structure). Pre-fabricated yurt kits are pretty affordable for the space they provide.

      • Nathaniel, good luck on your project.

        I’m not sure what our city would say about structures that don’t meet code…I’ve seen those yurts before, though, and they’re super cool.

  1. Pingback: Appraisal Scoop: The Reality of Price Per Square Foot | Kentucky First Time Home Buyer Mortgage Loan

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