We were out of town visiting family this week when we got the revised appraisal. Even with the additional 1000 square feet adding another bedroom and bath, it’s still too low. The difference is 50% less than the previous appraisal, but still money we don’t have on hand to make up the difference. So, now what? We’d have the enough to make up the difference in 6 months or so, but construction costs and interest rates will probably continue to go up in the meantime. It’s highly likely we’d be fighting an uphill battle – we save up the difference, but the costs keep rising leaving us with not enough. And there’s no guarantee what the real estate market will do and what the house will appraise for then. Meanwhile, we’ve already blown $1400 on useless appraisals. Do we want to go thru all this again in 6 months to a year?
We actually went out with a realtor yesterday to look at 3 existing houses. We liked all 3 of them more than we expected, but we also have fairly significant concerns about each one of them. They were all less than what we were going to build and there is a certain appeal to that. Knowing we could change anything we don’t like (within reason) and have enough left to put in a pool sooner, buy furniture and whatever else we might want. But we can’t change the fact that they are in neighborhoods and not on 4 rural acres or that the floor plans don’t fit our needs as well. We know we’d have to make compromises, but after spending over 2 years designing the “perfect” house, that’s not an easy thing to do. We just extended our lease so we’re not in a hurry, but it drives me nuts to have no idea where we are going to live in 6 months to a year. Especially with The Kid starting school in 2 weeks.
Another option is to find a builder who will build a house that we buy from him instead of us needing to get a construction loan. I wouldn’t want to use one of the mass builders, but there are a few smaller builders around here who have neighborhoods where they do that. At least then we could pick out a floor plan closer to our needs and have more control over the finishes. The problem is finding a decent sized lot that isn’t surrounded by other backyards and looking straight at all the neighbors. Those are few and far between in the areas we want to live.
I fell asleep last night trying to figure out a way to cut the construction budget down enough without affecting the appraised value. Doing the painting ourselves and contracting the second half of the build on our own would cut down quite a bit, I’m just not sure how much exactly. I never got the quote for semi-custom cabinets which may give us quite a bit of savings. I will probably contact them again this week to see if they’ll finish our estimate. Our finish allowances are already too low, so there isn’t much room to save there. I need to look at the elevation and numbers again to see if there are changes we could make to the exterior to cut down costs, but I don’t want to lose the look of the house. That’s something you can’t really change later.
For now, I’m just hoping for a “sign” – a miracle with the construction loan or a new listing on the market for a house that we know is the right one for us. Something that makes us realize where we are meant to be. I’ll keep updating the blog regardless, it just may not end up being the story I thought it would be.