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I’m fairly horrible, but I haven’t posted an update here in forever. It isn’t all my fault though, because not much of anything has happened. Since my last post, we did get most of the clearing completed, brought in a LOT of dirt for the driveway, and poured footers. And that’s it. Nothing else. We used up all of our savings, and can’t go any farther till we save up more, or some other kind of miracle happens, like we get a mortgage from someplace or someone, or win the lottery. I can’t believe it has been over three and a half years since we started this project!

We talked about trying to find a lender again, now that some of them are lending again, but found that they still aren’t lending much on construction projects and we are still scared of having to pay a lot of money for appraisals only to have them come in ridiculously low. The mortgage broker we originally worked with said he will let us know if he finds another lender for construction. Blech.

So, in the meantime we’ve been busy with work and school and trying not to think about the house we’re not building. It is sad to think of it just sitting there, waiting for us.

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Moving along

Friday afternoon, I stopped by the property on my way home. The work crew was gone already, but I poked around a little. While I was there, I met some of the adjoining neighbors. They have huge greenhouses on their property where they raise houseplants that they wholesale to florists and such. They were super nice and said that if we would have our clearing crew clear out some of the Brazilian peppers on their side of the property line that they would be happy to pay for it. They also said that they could help us out with acquiring new plants to fill in the areas we are pulling the invasive Brazilian peppers out of.

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Then, yesterday afternoon, Andy and I went back out there to figure out where my little craft house and his tool shed will be located. We had to mark trees for removal that would be in the way of these structures. It only amounted to four large cabbage palms that needed to be taken out, and we will reuse them by replanting them towards the front of the property.

While we were there we spotted a teeny little alligator hanging out near the beginning of our driveway:

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Home site

This afternoon after work, Andy and I went to meet our builder out at the property to check out the progress of the clearing. There is quite a lot to clear, so it takes some time to do things right. With all of the environmental issues, they have to work very carefully to avoid damaging areas outside of the approved site.

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We heard that the backhoe operator stopped at least four times to get down and relocate box turtles that he happened upon during clearing, and that is way cool with us. Turtles, we are sorry for disturbing your homes and will make it up to you when we are able. Seriously.

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We were very happy to find that a lovely cypress tree that we had really wanted to save will not have to be removed. The site superintendent said that one of the surveyors who is an expert on trees had estimated that it is approximately 70 years old. We really wanted to keep that tree, so it was great news to find that it will not have to be removed. We are doing our best to preserve as many trees as possible. There are quite a few cabbage palms that have had to be removed, but we will be able to relocate them to another part of the property, so they will not go to waste.

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More progress

Today we went out to the property to take a look at the progress that has been made after the first two days of land clearing. It looked so very different. Even though the area back where our future house will be hasn’t been cleared yet, we could get much more of a sense of what it will be like.

It was so amazing to be able to get out there and walk around in areas we had never been able to get to because the vegetation was too thick. Most of what is being cleared is invasive Brazilian Pepper plants, which we are required to remove anyway for our wetland mitigation plan. We are working to preserve as many trees as possible.

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Above is a view of the end of our future driveway. It will be a very long, windy driveway, perfect for a couple of wanna-be hermits 🙂

 

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Today the unthinkable happened- we actually started the first physical step of construction after nearly three and quarter years of working towards this goal. It is such a great feeling to see actual work being done; such a refreshing change.

This morning Andy and I took a break from work to go to the site so that we could be there to see the first bit of the land clearing. It seemed so surreal. We met our builder’s father, who is the site superintendent, and he is awesome, just like our builder is. I just wish we had all the money we needed to work right on through the project rather than having to stop after we run out of money and wait until we can scrape up enough to move forward again.

Oh, and the neighbors are a huge improvement over our current ones. They heard all of the commotion and gathered around to watch the land clearing.

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More to come!

I haven’t posted here in quite some time, mostly because there hasn’t been much to post. While anyone else could have gotten a building permit in a week’s time, for us it was a lengthy process spanning many months. Go figure. Anyway, the good news is that we are supposed to start clearing for house tomorrow or the next day, if all goes as planned. We finally have all of our permits in hand again, with the revised and much smaller workshop house we ended up with.

We are not home free yet, though. Our original plan to use loans from our 401Ks to fund the construction is out the window due to the terrible economy. Our 401Ks fell in value by at least 50% so there is not enough to borrow from. Also it would be a bad idea to borrow from them when they are valued so low because if the market rebounded we would not feel the benefits.

So our current plan is to get as far as we can on our savings, and then re-evaluate at that point. We are hoping that we have enough cash to complete the site work and perhaps the slab. Then we will have to stop until we can come up with enough money to get the whole thing framed, dried in, roof on, etc. because we can’t just leave it open to the elements for a long period of time. Maybe we can borrow from a relative or something, or get a signature loan. We’ll have to see when we get to that point.

Regardless, we will be thrilled to see something finally happen on the property when the clearing begins. We both want to be there to see the first bit of it since we have been working towards this goal for three and a quarter years now.

Well, we finally got our revised septic permit after months of waiting. Now we go forth to attempt once again to get a building permit. We still don’t have the money we need to build the house once we get it, but we could at least start and perhaps we would get some momentum to figure out a way to keep going. One can only hope. Merry Christmas.