Saturday, May 11, 2013


Finalizing costs

So here it was the beginning of summer 2012, and after owning the house for eight months we were now ready to get the construction going. We had worked hard to get the plans for a house that we thought would suit our needs. We knew our advance work of having the trees taken down, a new gas line brought in and kitchen design started would give us a jump start. We had walked the lot, moved walls on paper and had pictures in our heads of what our newly renovated house would look like. Yay!

But there was one step left. Now we had to give the plans to the builder for the final cost. But we weren’t concerned as we had stayed in touch with our builder and had preliminary reviews and cost estimates done.  We were confident that we had kept it affordable and were sure that we could quickly put this to contract and we could finally get shovels in the ground!

Different things happened along the way with the summer. Jobs, projects, vacations, family events, missed phone calls. Everything seemed to add another week. It seemed our project had now come to a screeching halt.

Finally near the end of August, our builder called and said he was ready to meet with us. We were excited. Finally we can get construction on this overpriced storage unit going!

Once we met, the excitement quickly evaporated when we jumped to the price. The cost of renovating this house had suddenly skyrocketed. It seems moving walls, stairways, removing a chimney, a new second floor, adding bathrooms and a new garage, etc., all added up.

We sat there dumbfounded because we had kept tabs on pricing throughout the design process to ensure we stayed within budget. It turns out (big surprise here) estimates are just that, estimates. When you hit the final details and have added in things like floor trusses over the garage, new stairs and things like that, they just plain add up.
So as our minds were clearly on hyper drive, we recognized that it was beyond our budget. Way beyond our budget. We both told the builder that we couldn’t afford the work and that we had already made compromises to stay within our budget.

He left. I drank another beer. Neither of us slept well that night.  Or the next.
We had spent all this time designing our house and now it was beyond our grasp.