If you ask me what I have learned about building a house - my only answer at the moment is: building your own home is how God teaches patience.
Patience leveled up.
To be perfectly honest, I am exhausted. I can't sleep at night. And I am a nervous wreck.
And we still don't even know if we will qualify for our loan to build - which was the one thing we were absolutely sure about when we started this adventure.
Let's back up and recap.
Three months ago, things seemed to be moving along great. We were waiting for numbers and quotes and estimates to come back, picking out light fixtures, flooring, counters, bath tubs, sinks, outdoor lights, siding, etc.
This is when we hit our first big hiccup. We were told that Gabe would be losing his job. It felt like the bottom had dropped out from under this whole thing, and my heart just sank. We had just listed our house for sale and were scheduled to close on our land the following week. When Gabe had gotten this job a year and a half before, the one thing that we both were so excited over was the feeling of job security. It would be guaranteed work, a W2 job, and all of our problems would be solved. But here we were. We were told the layoff would occur at the end of October, and so we RACED to finish pricing out our build to hopefully get financing before the job change. This was a familiar feeling of doom. We knew all too well that if Gabe went back to being 1099 again, it would be a two year wait for financing.
When we finally got all of the numbers back with two months to spare before the job crisis, we excitedly submitted the information to the bank, and we would be on our way! Upon reviewing our numbers, our loan officer rather bluntly told us that there was no way we had included everything, our numbers were far too low, and we would absolutely not be approved for financing. At the time, we felt insulted. Later, we realized that what we were never told was we would not be approved unless we asked for the amount it would take to have SOMEONE ELSE build our entire house. Of course, the whole reason we are doing this is because the idea was that Gabe would be building everything himself thus making this adventure affordable. This news came only days after closing on our land.
And here we are. Waiting for new numbers to come back and watching our total grow to numbers we never intended to reach. While we know that these numbers are only a precaution should something happen to Gabe, we still have to qualify for the full amount.
So as of 10/4/2018, here is our progress:
-Gabe started a new job a few days back with a local home builder. One worry resolved.
-We are on week four of waiting for official quotes for electrical, plumbing, drywall, and framing to come back.
-We have a price to get electricity out to the land and should be getting that taken care of in the next few weeks.
-Our contract to buy the adjacent lot to the lot we already bought has expired, but the landowner has told us he is still holding it for us.
-Our house has not had any offers on it, and with the rising total on the build amount, it has become clear that we will need to sell before we can proceed with the construction loan.
-Once all the estimates come back, we submit again and hope for the best.
-It has gotten to the point where we will not be able to build until the spring because we cannot pour the basement once Michigan's cold sets in.
-Realistically, we are looking at living in a camper over the winter and not being able to build until at least the spring, and I am taking deep breaths and telling myself it will be okay.
If I am being honest, I am afraid to publish this post because I am expecting "I told you this was a bad idea" to come from one of several people. The things we have heard recently have sounded like "With all of these things going wrong, do you really think you should still sell your house?" "Should you still do this?" "Are you still going through with it?"
Let me tell you, my head is already full with that. But the truth is that once I step back and look at the bigger picture, I still know we are meant to do this. But if (WHEN) this all works out, it will be so clear that God made it happen and 100% not us because this whole thing currently seems 99% impossible. If I step back and look at the big picture, rather than 99% impossible, it looks more like this:
1. Last year and early this year, my biggest disappointment was that no matter what I did, I simply could not fill up this year with weddings. I tried everything. I mean I even put together a bridal show. I watched my peers fill their year with weddings. I lowered my prices. I really just felt defeated and like my work must be awful. As soon as we started down the process, all of the hours and hours of tedious work pricing out our build fell exactly in the gap between weddings. Had I filled my year the way I wanted to, I simply would not have been able to handle this. Once we started this process, I without trying and without explanation promptly booked more weddings for next year than I have ever shot in a year since starting my business. The retainer fees allowed us to pay for the land (and some of you even paid your balances early for no reason right before we closed on the land???) but did not add to my workload for this summer. (To all of you 2019 brides, you truly have no idea how much we appreciate you).
2. Gabe tried very hard to get out on his own, quit his job, and be his own business. One thing after another happened that seemed to prevent this. Had he succeeded, we would have had to wait 2 years to get financed. When he found out he would lose his job, we thought that was the death sentence to this project. After finding out we would need to qualify for a much larger amount, we realized the change in Gabe's job (which happened at almost exactly the same time as this realization) that came with a raise in pay was 100% necessary for this whole thing to work. Wrapped up in here - had things not kept getting delayed further and further, the increase in pay and new job would have happened too late, and we would have given up already.
3. We were upset when our house didn't sell in a week like the rest of the houses on the street - had it sold then, we would be homeless as there is no power on our land yet. We also would have paid for the adjacent lot with the proceeds, and we no know that the best course of action is to include that lot in our loan for the build.
It is as if every time we set out to do something that would ultimately be NOT in our best interest, God stepped in and held us back, we got upset, and then we understood and were thankful. It is in this light that I am trying to view the upcoming year. Days like today, it is hard to see that.
All that being said, we covet your prayers, patience, and encouragement because, to be honest, 5 months of waiting for people to get back to us and being in this limbo phase of not even knowing if we will qualify for our financing has truly put me at my limit.