Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Finding A Builder

We have never built a home before and don't know any builders on the Outer Banks. So we decide to look for one on the Outer Banks Home Builders Association web site. What a bad idea...there are 500 builders listed on the site and another 250 associate members. How is a person supposed to figure out who to hire?

Plan B. We talk to Carolee's parents and they give us the number of a family friend who lives in Buxton. I call her out of the blue and we talk for 30 minutes (thanks Betsy!). Best 30 minute phone conversation I've had in a long time. I've got a short list of names and numbers, and least a place to start. One name on the list seems to have everything we are looking for (design, permits, construction management) and we decide to talk with him first. Things are looking up!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Decision to Build

Fast forward to January 2008. After some serious number crunching we come to the conclusion (right or wrong) that we can finally afford to build a house on the lot and not have to rent it out (one of our goals!). With only one year of Stephen's college left, by the time the project is done we will have only one child left in college (Eric..who subsequently tells us in March that he is leaving school to pursue other interests).

We also decide this time to be a bit more expeditious about breaking the news to the kids and let them all know within a month. Everyone in the family is excited and we even find plans on the Internet (see picture above) that seem to have almost everything we are looking for in a beach house.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Breaking the news…

Just how do you tell your kids, family and others that you bought beach property? We really didn’t know how to tactfully do it, so we didn’t tell anyone for four months. When we finally told our kids Melissa (23), Stephen (21) and Eric (19), they were excited but were a little taken back that we didn’t tell them sooner…I guess we get a D- for how we handled this one. The one consistent question we did receive was, when are you going to build? The one consistent answer…as soon as we’re done paying for the kids college tuition!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Let's Buy Some Land!

So, after vacationing on the Outer Banks each July for close to 30 years, Carolee and I get the bright idea in early 2006 to buy some land and build a beach house. Using my outstanding Internet skills, I scour the Dare County, North Carolina website GIS to find all of the empty lots on the street where we rent a cottage each year. I write all of the owners and get only one reply from some guy who wants to totally rip me off!

Back to the drawing board! In July of 2006 we make our annual pilgrimage to Buxton with an army of relatives and lo and behold, the lot across the street from our rented cottage is for sale. I contact the real estate agent who promptly tells us the owner no longer wants to sell, BUT she has a lot for sale one street over that is beaucoup bucks cheaper!

Next thing we know it is September of 2006 and we own 7500 sq. ft. of oceanside property that is 450 feet from the beach! Who knew that a lot filled with sand and scrub brush could cost so much...but we're pumped!