Isn’t that just life to throw you a curve ball when you think everything is finally falling into place? Before I say more though, let me assure you, nothing too terrible is happening. I’m just really confused regarding how the next year of my life is going to play out, and I find myself needing to make some decisions quite quickly. If I wasn’t so much of a planner, of a perfectionist, perhaps I could allow myself to breathe and let be what will be, but that’s just not me.
I’m not sure if I’ve specifically mentioned this on here yet or not, but the closing for our lot/construction loan is scheduled for next Friday morning, January 30th. I was stoked to finally get a date set, to know we were moving ahead, getting closer to our goal, so to speak. Then, last night my loan officer called with a bit of bad news… The appraisal of our floor plans came back low, over $100,000 low. To give you the jest without boring you, and this is my understanding, we’re basically building a house above the average price-point in Cedar Falls. That said, there aren’t a lot of comparable properties in this price range, and thus the appraiser probably picked, I’m assuming here since I haven’t seen the actual appraisal, properties worth less than what we hope to build, and because of that, our value is being pulled down. It’s very possible that once the house is complete and reappraised, the value will come in higher, hopefully closer to the actual cost, but there are no guarantees of this. The larger issue though, is that the bank will only loan us 90% of the appraised value. So if the final appraiser still comes back $100,000 under what the house actually cost to build, then we need to come up with that $100,000 or so in cash, in addition to our 10% down-payment. So in a nutshell, we need to win the lottery to afford this house. Our main issue isn’t really affording the house though, it’s having enough cash upfront, as we’re certainly fine on monthly payments.
So last night in my panic I was trying to rationalize building this gorgeous home. I mean, it’s just a house, right? And I know this is true, but it was the one thing I was looking forward to in our move, being this city was not my choice, and frankly doesn’t offer much in the realm of entertainment, restaurants, shopping, etc. I guess I was telling myself that having a nice house would make up for the city’s other downfalls, and keeping in mind Eric wouldn’t be around much due to his assumed busy schedule.
There is more though. Baby is due June 1st, at which point I stop working, at least for the time being. Eric is finished with residency June 30th, at which point he stops working, as his contract doesn’t begin until August 1st. He was looking forward to the month of July off, partly to help me with the baby, but mostly to study for and take his board exams. Then, yesterday the top guy in his physician group asked if he’d be willing to work the month of July, on-call, paid at an excellent daily rate. I, of course, told him to go for it, as it solves one of our issues, neither of us working in July, and how does a family raise a new baby with no income. So, one issue solved, I think.
But this brings up another issue… I was originally thinking we could stay in our current home through July and I could stay here with the baby even longer, until our house was finished, which might be as late as December, as I really didn’t want to move twice with a new baby. Being that Eric would now need to be there starting July 1st, well, doesn’t it make more sense that we all move right away? I highly doubt I’m going to want to be here without him for six months, even though it’s only a two hour drive.
Back to winning the lottery though, how do we move forward building a house without enough cash? The bank assures me we will make it work, that with Eric’s income starting in July now we can certainly save enough before the house is complete, as the cash isn’t needed until closing, which is December, or even later. But that seems like a huge gamble to me. Not knowing what the house will appraise for and therefore how much cash we’ll need, until the very end. I can guess at Eric’s paychecks each month, but still, all estimates. And me being the planner hates estimates, the not knowing.
So do we go ahead with building as planned and pray all works out? Or do we close on just the lot for now and wait to start building until we have enough cash saved? Do I stay here and have Eric get an apartment there for the first several months? Or do we look for a rental and plan to be settled there together by July 1st? What if baby comes early? Or if she comes on time, and then I expect us to move into a rental with a two-week-old baby? Can I handle that much stress?