We're building a house. They started clearing today. We're working on the floor plans with the builder, choosing colors and materials, negotiating window placements and washer/dryer hookup locations. Actually it's very exciting.
Not to worry, we're not leaving our cozy log cabin. This house is right next door. And it's for my dad.
Here's the story: Several years ago, when we were living in Raleigh and had a bit of capital, my dad offered the suggestion that we buy rental property in his town as an investment. Then we would rent it to him. That way, he would feel his rent money wasn't just lining someone else's pocket, he could be reasonably assured his landlords woudln't sell it out from under him, he could get out of the Godawful damp hole he was living in, and we would be able to have a long-term investment. We liked that idea. We liked it so much that we went out and bought a house--for my mom to rent. Sorry Dad.
Our capital then tied up in that house and another rental property in another city, we could no longer afford to do something for Dad.
Then we moved here (to the town where Dad lives) and cut our income significantly. After selling our house in Raleigh, we found our cabin, bought it and the lot next door, moved in, la la la-la, we're happy. Dad found a new rental, got out of his damp dark cabin into something lighter, cuter. He was happy enough. He became our gardener, landscaper, and occasional housesitter and babysitter. We were even happier.
Without getting too much into our financial situation, I will tell you that we sold the second rental property last year. Didn't care for being landlords to people we don't know in a town several hours' drive away. That freed up some money and suddenly we realized we could revisit the whole idea of buying a place we could rent to Dad. (Note: Despite the housing price crashes and mortgage crisis in much of the country, we believe that real estate continues to be a good long-term investment around here, if done right and with a traditional mortgage).
We started looking around. Not much out there in our price range in an area replete with second and third homes for high end out-of-state residents. So we looked...next door. You see, we have this extra lot. Maybe we could build something small, with a basement (for expandable space) and put Dad there. We mulled that around a little bit, then went and talked to a builder. Then a lender.
And suddenly here we are: a backhoe tearing a driveway through the woods.
The thing is, Paul and I have always wanted to build a house. We've always wanted to be a part of creative aspect of designing and choosing colors and window placements and floor plans. Over the last two weeks we've been talking about porch widths and basement steps and closet dimensions and counter space. We're stressed, yes, and I'm sure there will be a few arguments, especially as Paul starts back to graduate school and I consider leaving my job and the construction issues get more and more complex.
But really, we're kind of loving it.