Okay so I have been avoiding you. Sorry blog! I have been debating back in forth about what to say in this posting. Basically Kyle and I had a rough Saturday house-wise last weekend. But, in the hopes of disclosing the good and the bad of building a house, I think we should share what happened...
Here comes the long story. We made the relaxing drive from Lansing to Hudsonville to visit with our builder last Saturday morning. The plan for the meeting was to go over all the contractor bids that have come in and to see the budget. We had a great meeting with our builder (we adore him, his vision is spot on with ours). However the budget was a bit of a shock. Okay that was a lie, it was way out of control!
This was the first time we have seen the budget but we have always had an end number in mind and had talked about it frequently with our builder. We had fully expected to go over the original budget amount but to a certain point. Kyle and I do not want to put specific numbers out there to the world so will just tell you the percent. We are (oh boy, I can't believe I am willing to admit this) about 30% over the original budget.
Okay, I feel better to have gotten that out there. It has taken the better part of the week to get to a better place with this. In fact I feel like we went through the five stages of grief. In our case it felt like the death of our dream house. First we were in a state of denial. "That number wasn't so bad I guess". Then we moved on to anger, which thankfully didn't last long. We were angry that this was so much larger that what had been discussed and what we were expecting. I think we were more angry with the possibility that this might actually not happen. We spent the hour and a half drive back home talking about the budget but I don't think it had fully set in yet.
That Saturday afternoon we went to the MSU pavilion Home and Garden show. This was actually a great place for us to be that day. We set to work gathering business cards from vendors that we might like to get a competitive bid from. We gathered about 25-30 business cards and brochures from vendors at the show and started contacting them as soon as we got home. We e-mailed about 15 of those vendors and about 5 more that we had researched online. I guess this was our bargaining phase coming in to play. Now we wait to get responses from our e-mails we sent out last weekend.
I wouldn't say I was depressed but I was definitely in a funk all this week. I have to say, we have been planning and dreaming this house for over 2 years now so this was a hard hit to take. It truly helped that Kyle and I were on the same page with how we were feeling. We spent every night this week "red lining" the budget to see what we could cut to make this all work out.
The most important thing to get our budget back on track will be getting more reasonable bids back from contractors. Some areas of the budget seemed to be out of proportion with the rest of the house. We are hopeful that with time and hard work, we will be able to find contractors with much lower bids.
We are also make concessions to help the budget. We have both agreed (I took a while to come around) that loosing the granite counter tops was a good start. We are also planning on getting rid of the deck off the dining room. We are aiming to cut items that we could then upgrade to in the future. We can upgrade from laminate counters to granite in a few years if we want. The areas we are not willing to change are things like the Geothermal system. We know it is more expensive to go the route of geothermal but it would be very difficult and more expensive to try to put a geothermal system in after the home is built.
So now we come to the acceptance stage. We are in a happier place with the house budget. We are adjusting our way thinking and our expectations. We are becoming more proactive in finding reputable contractors that want our job and are willing to give us a better price. It is going to take a lot more work on our part but I can't think of a better way to spend my free time that making our dream home a reality.