Now for a Meeting With the Builder

So the story continues. Our next stop was a meeting with our builder, Aaron. If you remember, we met Aaron through Service Magic, an online matching system for contractors and clients. You can find someone to do landscaping, home repairs, remodeling, or even – as in our case – help you create your dream home.

Aaron later introduced us to Mark, the designer that is creating the plans for our Southwestern Dream Home. So here’s where we come in.

We met with Mark, and got the preliminary drawings for our home. But we seem to have created a monster, here. Although Mark knew we wanted a home in the range of $4-500,000, we also gave him an idea of what we wanted our home to include.

House Plans

So Mark chose the route of creating a home that had all the amenities we wanted, and sort of overshot the mark on the square footage, and therefore the price. The house we described to Mark, our Southwestern Dream Home, materialized in Mark’s mind, (and on his computer,) as a 7,500 square foot home that will cost about $900,000 to build.

Now when I say 7,500 square feet, I need to qualify that statement. The area under roof, including garage space, porches, and all interior space, was 7,500 square feet. If you just count the interior of the home, it was closer to 4,000 square feet. That was still a bit larger than we thought it would be.

Aaron explained that interior space would cost us about $150 a square foot in our area, and the exterior porches and garage space would be about $100 a square foot. So it was an average of the two that brought us our final number.

Our first thought was to reduce the size of the home. The rooms were about the size we had thought they should be, so it would be difficult to reduce the size of the home in that way.

Aaron also showed us a few sections of the house that we could postpone, and effectively create the house in stages. The front porte-co-chere, at the entryway could wait, as could the casita and a portion of the porches. Also, the third section of the garage was an option we could wait on.

This, Aaron stated, was a possibility, but it still left us with a house that would cost about $650,000. That was still out of the range that we can afford to pay for a home.

Aaron also explained to us that anything left off while initially building the house, would later cost more to add than the savings afforded originally. So the casita that would save us about $100,000, would later cost us $150,000 to add due to construction details that would be harder to handle at a later date.

Due to the investments that bring our income, we anticipate we would have the amount of money needed to pay a mortgage of that size in about 5 to 7 years. But what about options for creative financing?

There are options such as balloon notes, interest-only loans, and other methods of reducing the payments for a few years. It could become possible if a bank could come up with a plan that would allow for that type of financing to help us.

So our meeting with the builder gave us a little bit of room for thought on how we should handle a house that was exactly what we wanted, but a lot more house than our budget could afford. I know everyone has the problem of finding a house they want that is within the budget they can afford, but how will we handle it?

Remember, this is our Southwestern Dream Home here, do we give up on what we want and just settle for less? Hmmmm….I’ll have to get back to you on that one!

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