Monday, November 27, 2006

Next up!

I am so freaking excited, I can't even tell you!

Since we had decided to sell the house we were building for ourselves, we've been on a quest to find another lot in the Heights. A few weeks ago, we made an offer on a lot and we were outbid by a builder with a full price offer. Disappointed, we moved on and kept looking.

Sunday, my sisters, J and I were going to breakfast. We were in separate cars, but I rode with my sisters since they needed directions. J arrived a little late as he wanted to drive by the house first. On his drive, he saw a "For Sale By Owner" sign in a yard on a street we really like.

After breakfast, J met with the seller. It is just the perfect lot for us - right location, great houses all around, alley access, and the right size. J ended up making a full-price offer that night. If you know J, you will know how insane that is. We have never-ever-ever paid asking price for a house. That's how perfect this lot is. The more insane thing is that after we made the full price offer, the seller started getting cold feet. "This is going so fast. I just put up the sign today." He said he'd let us know by 10AM Monday morning. We have been on pins and needles. The competition for lots in the Heights is fierce, and we feared that a builder would come in and offer over asking price.

The seller called J this morning and accepted! They met at 1:00PM to sign the contract, and WHILE they were signing the paperwork, the seller received three calls from builders, all submitting full price offers. He started waffling again, worrying that he had priced the house too low, but J worked his magic, and he signed the contract. J told him to take the sign out of the yard because he'll keep getting calls that will only make him mad, lol.

I AM THRILLED, THRILLED, THRILLED! Our architect/builder is driving by the house today, and he's going to start on the plans. He's already done three sets of plans for homes for us, so he knows what we want. Our last lot was 49X120, and we were able to build a nice-size home on it. This new lot is 50X132, so we have room for a larger home as well has having a larger yard. With alley access, we also won't have to give up space for a driveway. As soon as the other house is under contract, we're going to break ground. YAY, YAY, YAY!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Coming along nicely

They've completed framing and are installing the OSB (oriented strandboard). It's such a difference to actually walk through the house with walls up as opposed to seeing the plans on paper. Some rooms we feared would be too small were just fine, while other areas seem surprisingly small compared to what we envisioned. I can't wait until the drywall is installed so we can get a true feel of the size - once the sheetrock is in place, the rooms will actually seem larger than with just the bare studs. Seems counter-intuitive, doesn't it?

Even though we've done this before, I'm still learning things. In this house, I noticed that the builder was using OSB on some of the interior walls. I'd never seen this before; apparently it gives non-load bearing walls more strength. A few pics below...

Front elevation:

Side elevation:
The kitchen (or where it will be):

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Away we go!

After much red tape dealing with the City to re-plat the lot and rebuilding the alleyway so that we have alley-access to the garages, we've finally started building the first home. The garage and garage apartment has been framed and sided, and they're framing the main house. Progress should be made fairly quickly from this point on, and we should be completed by March. Woohoo!

The finish out will be different than our last home since that one we went with all stained wood before (doors, cabinets, all trimwork). That looks beautiful, but, as we learned after the fact, is incredibly expensive. Even though we're doing paint-grade trim this time around, I think the house will still look great since there are features we aren't sacrificing in the build-out - hardwood floors throughout, 3 and 5 piece crown molding, granite and marble counter-tops, 10+ ft ceilings, gourmet kitchen, designer fixtures, etc. Also, we have nice "extras" such as the wet bar and wine closet. I can't wait to get to the finish out stage where I can have fun with the interior design!

Oh, yeah, we're building a house, too

I've been so busy with the flip project, I'd practically forgotten that we're also building a house - two actually. Last year, we worked with our architect to design a home on a large property we own in the Heights (large for the Heights, at least). After running the numbers, we got major cold feet in investing so much into a single property, especially since I was considering leaving my job to stay home with my daughter.

I was talking with my coworker, bemoaning the woes of having to decide whether to move forward with building, and he casually mentioned, "Why don't you subdivide the lot, build one home to live in, and sell the other?" Hey, why didn't I think of that?

I discussed it with J, and he and I approached our architect and builder, and long story short, we are in partnership to build two homes. We've already had interest in the home that we had planned to live in, and it's likely that we will sell that one as well. Actually, we've already made the decision to put it on the market and we're actively looking for another property on which to build our personal home.

The houses will be narrow "row houses on steroids", approximately 3000 sq. ft with an additional 600 sq. ft. garage apartment above a 3-car garage. Posted is a computer-rendering of the front elevation of the first house. Like our last home, it's in the Craftsman style to keep with the architecture of the historic area where we're building. It's actually slightly larger in square footage than our previous home, but with a much more narrow footprint (leading to the "row house" designation I've given it).

Part of me is excited about our first foray into spec-home building, and part of me is asking myself, "What are you thinking?!" I liken home-building to childbirth - after going through the pain, tears, and need for drugs, you forget all about it after you see the end product. Hopefully this baby will turn out as nicely as the last one.