It was a tough pill to swallow, but building our dream house on a mountain wasn’t going to happen. I think the disbelief that we could actually do something like that is what made the disappointment a little more bearable. We didn’t even know it was possible to build our own home. Since there wasn’t anything physically there to touch or see, it was still just a dream that wasn’t real.
The only thing that was real was that stupid rock I still had in my coat pocket. I wanted to chunk that rock as far as I could throw it, but I couldn’t. Not yet. I wasn’t ready to let go of that dream quite yet. Physically it was the only real part of that dream of building a house. I decided to keep that stupid rock in my coat pocket until I was ready to move on.
We were back at square one. Before all of this, we were perfectly content with buying a perfectly nice home already built and waiting for us to move in. So, that is what we were going to resort to. We just needed a little time to get over the heartache and disappointment and try to swallow that pill we were given. We would try the house hunt again with our Realtor in the next few weeks.
What I am about to tell you next is one of the most vivid memories throughout the whole experience… A few days after all of the disappointment had occurred, I was on my way home to Bull Run Mountain. I was just about at the exit I need to take when my cell phone rang. It was our Realtor. I have to admit, when I saw it was him calling, I didn’t want to answer it. We told him we needed a little time before going house hunting again.
What does he want?!?
I figured he had found a house he wanted us to look at.
Knowing the timing is everything when dealing with real estate, I answered his call. He sounded very excited and proceeded to tell me some very interesting news. He ran into a builder he was acquainted with, a builder that had deep pockets. Pockets deep enough, that he could probably build our dream house up on that mountain and then sell it to us turn-key. I was flabbergasted by what I was hearing on the phone.
David and I thought our dream was dead, but with this phone call from our Realtor, our dream was alive again!!
We set up a meeting to meet with this builder with deep pockets on a Saturday.
We sat around a small little table in the break room of our Realtor’s main office. The conference rooms were busy that Saturday with real estate classes. The builder was a local and had many years of experience building houses. Our Realtor kept telling us how fast he could build houses and about how he had built one in just a couple of months. According to what the builder had done in the past, as soon as he got permits to build, he could have our house built within 90 days.
We showed him a copy of the house floor plan and discussed the main details we wanted, such as the Corian countertops, hardwood flooring, wood-burning fireplace, a larger deck, the detached storage building, and the log siding. He said he could do all of the things we wanted for the same price that we had previously agreed to.
David and I began to ask questions. We asked two important questions that came up during the last contract. If you will recall, the last contract had two clauses: the rock clause and the well clause.
We asked: “Mr. Builder, will there be any additional cost that we need to worry about? For instance, the last contract had a ‘rock clause’. What if you run into some bedrock while excavating and digging foundation?”
Mr. Builder’s response: “They make dynamite don’t they?”
Needless to say, he wasn’t worried about rock and he knew how to deal with it so we didn’t have to worry about paying for it.
Then we asked: “Mr. Builder, there was a well clause in our last contract. What happens if you cannot find water? Will we have to pay extra for digging past a certain depth?”
His response: “We’ll just keep digging until we find it.”
We weren’t going to have to worry about digging a well either. Mr. Builder agreed that he was willing and able to buy the lot from the previous builder we were dealing with, build our dream house and absorb any additional costs. He didn’t seem too worried about anything at all. Well, except for maybe making a deal with us.
After discussing the details of the house, we all decided to go up to the mountain and take a look at the building lot. This was the first time the builder was going to see the lot and the challenge to find stable ground to build a house.
As soon as we started to walk around the lot, I tried my best to read his body language to see if there was any concern or doubtful looks that came across his face, but he didn’t seem the least bit concerned by the lay of the land.
After some more discussion, Mr. Builder, Mr. Realtor, and David and I were going to take a look at some of the builder’s other work in progress. We wanted to see his work and craftsmanship first hand, before signing any papers.
The first house we went to was just on the other side of town out in the valley. I quickly noticed as soon as we arrived that you could see Skyline Drive from the yard. What a cool view the homeowners were going to have. We all got out of our vehicles to go inside when the homeowners-to-be pulled up. They were also there to take a look at Mr. Builder’s progress.
We were pretty impressed with how the builder communicated with them. He told them about how deep the well was dug and was going over details with them off the top of his head. We liked how he interacted with them.
While Mr. Builder was talking with the homeowners-to-be David, our Realtor and I took a look at the house. The floor plan was a bit choppy for our taste, but the craftsmanship was pretty impressive. One of the first things David and I noticed was the living room had a vaulted ceiling that went all the way up to the roof. It made that living room area seem larger than what it was. We mentioned this to our Realtor and how much we liked the ceiling.
Mr. Realtor shouted out into another room where the builder was: “Mr. Builder, they really like this vaulted ceiling in the living room. How much extra would you charge for that?”
Mr. Builder: “Nothing, extra.”
Mr. Builder went on to mention the only building modifications that needed to change to make the vaulted ceiling. David and I already knew if Mr. Builder was going to build our house, he was definitely going to put in a vaulted ceiling in our house. It would make our open floor plan even better!
We proceeded to walk our way through the maze of walls in this house to the master bedroom. We loved the ceiling. It was a tray ceiling, (a ceiling with a raised center while the rest of the ceiling is flat and give a room the illusion of height).
Mr. Realtor shouted out again to the builder: “Mr. Builder, they really like this tray ceiling in the master bedroom. How much extra would you charge for that?”
Mr. Builder: “Nothing, extra.”
Mr. Realtor: “Nothing extra? What do you charge for, Mr. Builder?!?!”
The builder went on to say that it was a matter of ordering a different kind of truss for the ceiling and that it was no big deal. Well, this was one more thing added to our list if we decided to go with this builder. It was looking more like we were going to sign papers every minute.
The builder also mentioned that he was building a house for his daughter. He could go show us that one and show us a more finished house since that was almost move-in-ready. I figured it would be a good idea to go take a peak. We already knew we could get a vaulted and a tray ceiling for no extra cost. I wanted to see what his daughter’s house looked like. Maybe we could get some additional details for no extra cost.
At that point, our Realtor apologized for needing to run to another meeting he had scheduled. He didn’t realize how much time we were going to consume. David and I thanked him and definitely understood that he needed to go. We rode to the builder’s daughter’s house to take a look.
We really liked the location of this house too, but it didn’t have the views that the other house had and it surely didn’t have anything on what we could potentially have up on that mountain. We got out and went inside the house. The first thing that caught our eye was the fireplace.
It was a stone face fireplace that went all the way up to the top of a vaulted ceiling. Together with the hardwood floors, it was truly the focal point of the room. We told Mr. Builder how much we like it. He told us a little bit about it and said he would only charge $XXX amount for it. We discussed the hardwood floors that were in this house as well.
They were what he called “character grade” hardwood floors. Whatever they were called, they were sure pretty. We got to see a lot of the finishings and the cabinetry he would use.
After we finished looking at his daughter’s new home, we parted ways. David and I were about to POP with excitement. We needed to call our Realtor and get the paperwork rolling. No doubt in our minds, we wanted that builder to build our house!! Later that day our Realtor called and asked what we thought. We were so excited again!
We proceeded to tell him that we wanted Mr. Builder to build our house. We wanted to sign a contract with him but wanted the vaulted ceiling, tray ceiling, character grade hardwood floors AND we wanted that fireplace that we saw in his daughter’s house as long as the price was the same amount as he had mentioned to us while we were looking at the house with him.
Our Realtor agreed to contact Mr. Builder and to draw up the paperwork according to the new discoveries we made. He would arrange everything for us and get back with us when it was time to sign the papers. Our dream house was going to be built after all. It was plain to see our Realtor was a miracle maker!
Not long after that and we signed on the dotted line, charging the same price we had agreed on, but adding the $XXX amount to the end of the price for the fireplace. In that contract the builder agreed to have our house build within 90 days of breaking ground, barring any unforeseen weather or timing issues out of his control. After signing the papers our builder said to us:
“Now, I just want to let y’all know, it is going to probably take about three months before anything happens. It may seem like nothing is happening, but I have to purchase the lot and get the permits before I can start on your house. Just know that it will probably take about three months before anything happens.”
This was an understandable statement. The builder had to purchase the lot from the previous builder and then he had to obtain building permits from the county before he could even start our house. We were anxious but were willing to wait just a little longer than anticipated for our house to build on that mountain.
We all parted ways after signing the papers. David and I rode back up to the lot. It was so unreal that within a few months we were going to have a house here. I reached down in my pocket and squeezed that stupid rock I had picked up all those weeks ago. It was happening, our dream was starting to come true.
And so we waited.