Universe is saying “NO!!!!!”

All right, I’m listening–stop hitting me over the head with the bricks. It’s not our time to buy a house, so says the universe. I don’t believe in fate, per se, but still, I’ll take the hint. It’s not our time to buy a house–embrace it, let go of the stress, focus on something else.ย 

Here’s what I take away from the whole process:

  • When a builder gives you a price for building on your lot–expect it to be $100K more before you get to the contract signing step.
  • When you ask a pool company for a price on a $40-50K pool on your new lot that hasn’t been cleared–expect them to tell you that the pool may cost $80-90K.
  • You can’t really afford a lot close to town. If you can afford the lot, you can’t really build a nice house on it right next to the $100K houses.

I do feel a little sad…but moving on is good too. So, that being said, this blog is clearly misnamed for my future blogging efforts. Because while the house is not going to be built, I’ve enjoyed the blogging and want to continue. So, I’m going to move back to the blog I created last year. Join me there!ย 



After much agonizing, we decide to postpone

The_ScreamIt’s been an emotional couple of weeks. First the builder came back with a price. We looked like this–it wasn’t pretty. One of the pool people gave us a price. We screamed again. We added up the figures and winced–quite a bit more than we wanted to spend or felt comfortable spending.

We first took the builder’s spec sheet and made comments on it where we thought allowances were too large or too small. Next, we scheduled a meeting with themย and brought our real estate agent–poor Paula, we dragged her out while she was recovering from surgery. She’s a trooper! We also discussed ideas for reducing the foundation costs brought about by the topography of the lot. Some of them we weren’t too excited about–shortening the third garage bay, putting the 2nd and 3rd bedrooms on a second floor. We really wanted a one-story. We identified some other changes and the builder said he would give us an itemized list of savings for each item so we could pick and choose.

It was the 13th. We were told early the next week we’d have something. A week later, we went out of town on a combination business and leisure trip. We still hadn’t heard anything. On the long drive up, John and I discussed our options–at this point, we felt if we couldn’t get responses from the builder before we had a contract, what would happen afterwards? The designer hadn’t thrilled us–basically we designed the house ourselves, he just drew it up. We decided to listen to Tricked by Kevin Hearne instead of talking about it more. Oberon, the dog, is funny.

After my meeting, we went to dinner at Rise no1, a souffle restaurant in Dallas. I highly recommend it, we try to eat there every time we go thru Dallas. Sometimes they’re closed, like on holidays. :/ Nobody likes that.

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After a slight altercation with the car battery (thank you to the kind gentleman who gave us a jump in McAlaster, OK in the frigid cold morning!), we drove up and picked up our granddaughters, Hannah and Olivia. Aren’t they adorable? And so sweet too.
playing games with the girls

After a very nice visit, we drove home–stopping in Waco for another meeting for me. Oh, and a nice hotel, Hotel Indigo–had room service dinner and a very nice breakfast before my meeting. John visited some monkey friends at the zoo during my meeting. He bought art work from a tang. ๐Ÿ˜€

We call Paula and tell her to terminate the offer on the lot. At this point, we’re unhappy with the builder and there’s no way we want to rush into finding a new builder.

Sooo…there’s where it lies currently…

Confusion, unhappiness, and a general crazed feeling


I think we’ve hit a go/no go decision point. John and I are crazed, frantic, annoyed, upset, confused, unhappy, scared, irritated, and just go on naming other words that mean we want to pull our hair out, run screaming through the room, and then cry…a lot.

The lot is supposed to close by Monday–not happening. The pool people are concerned with the cost of building a pool behind the house. No one can think outside of the box and use any problem solving skills–like what if you swing the pool to the left side rather than the right. Since the right is where the slope starts heading down, down, down!

Then, Friday we get a price from the builder…it’s quite a bit more than we had expected. They act as if they never heard us give them our budget. To make matters worse, the builder’s nephew died on Friday (and I’m sympathetic, really I am) so we can’t meet to discuss options for lowering the price until Wednesday—after our option period expires. ๐Ÿ˜•

Luckily, our realtor (who had to have emergency surgery, but is still emailing and calling us from the hospital! Paula, rest up!) says we just have to provide them the extension on the option paperwork before Monday. It’s then not our problem that the sellers are out of town (again!). Why did we want to build a house?



Granite pricing

granite prices



Granite pricing made slightly less mysterious. This is from Lowe’s and, on the bright side, corresponds to one of the granite places we actually visited! On the down side, the fancy granite below is in the most expensive group, E.



More expensive granite

Getting started–or how to go from sane to crazy in just one month

So, John and I are building a house…well, we’re not building it, but you know what I mean! And I was thinking the other day, gee, this would make a great story. Lynne & John build a house–while trying not to go crazy and/or kill someone in the process. And then I had to Google that–I mean really, someone must have already written that story, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Strangely, no, they have not. In honor of that (no one having my title), I’ve decided to write a blog about our house building process.

Process…sometimes that has a bad taste in the software world. I looked up the definition…I kind of wanted to go with this one:

ย “natural or involuntary series of changes”

Sounds like a house building process, huh? But we’ll go with this definition instead:

“a systematic series of mechanized or chemical operations that are performed in order to produce or manufacture something”

Now I’ll have to catch us up to the current day by giving you a brief timeline of our journey to this point.
  1. June 2013–Thinking about remodeling our house–updating the kitchen, bumping out the master bedroom some. After discussion, we realize a) this will make our house the most expensive house in the neighborhood + $40K (since it’s probably already the most expensive house) and b) we don’t want to retire in this house because it’s a 2-story house. At this point, I’m still limping from my knee surgery from last October and using a cane half the time.
  2. July 2013–We start looking around at existing houses with pools…cause you know it’s always cheaper to buy a house with a pool than to put in your own pool. It’s a discouraging–ugly houses, houses in locations we hate, houses that are 2-story…
  3. August 2013–Let’s try new houses–we’ve never bought a new house, might be fun. Where are these people building you ask? Alamo Ranch–traffic galore, houses upon houses upon houses…try to go eat somewhere, wait in traffic. Shudder! Other locations–small lots, builders we don’t like, floor plans that are very rigid and unmodifiable.
  4. September 2013–Maybe we should build on our own lot…where are lots? Huh, there’s one right down the street from here–we spend the month trying to decide if we would want that lot. Eventually determine the street noise would drive us bonkers (after thinking about ways to build the house around the pool, install acoustic barriers, grow bamboo).
  5. October 2013–Okay, while we look for lots, let’s interview builders. We got to so many model homes that they all run together. We take pictures of model homes, and they still all run together. We narrow it down to 3 builders and interview them–yay, we’re progressing.
  6. November 2013--We’ve picked a builder–we like his houses, we like him, we like his sales guy, Larry Armstrong. ๐Ÿ™‚ Our builder is Jack Uptmore of Uptmore Custom Homes. We find a lot we like, Jack thinks it’s a great lot, we try to make an offer.
  7. December 2013–I don’t know who owns this lot, I’m thinking they’re elderly and dislike technology. They are certainly sloooow. We meet with a designer to start the house plans. See the progression of pictures.
  8. January 2014–We’ve settled on a price for the lot. We’re getting closer on the house design. Panic sets in–how in the world will we manage all of this. What are we doing? Ack!
  9. February 2014–John has a breakdown. This is apparently the month to go from sane to crazy! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s temporary, thank goodness. Our design is done, the lot is under contract, now there are a million things to do before the option period expires. We have to make sure we can actually build on this lot for the amount of money we have! Important consideration.