Thursday, September 23, 2010

Money, money, money

I knew one day it would come to this - crunching numbers and cash. We don't yet have permits to build the house but we do have a preliminary budget...

Two things have begun to unfold simultaneously that all revolve around how much cash we have in our bank account.

First of all the price of our home: We went into the project imagining that we would limit our spending to 200k. Turns out we have expensive taste and right now we are looking at something more around the range of 280K. The reality is that we can't afford that and we're going to have to really look long and hard at the budget to figure out where to cut. The other option to consider is what we can take away from the shoulders of contractors and do ourselves. Anyone want to lay flagstone down for our patio? Have you got a long lost dream to build a fence? Call me.

The part I'm struggling with is that we want the building to be a green as possible and I don't want to compromise on less sustainable materials. That said, I work for a non-profit and Brendon is a photographer - aka we aren't rolling in dough.

What we don't cut we have to find extra money for. Brendon and I have some savings but definitely not 80K so we need to evaluate how much more debt we're will to carry for a home built on Brendon's parents land.

Which leads me to the second money priority - the price of our relationship. As you all know we are building in Barb and Rogers backyard. The land is theirs and the home will be theirs (legally) as well. Perhaps in time the city will allow for the land to be subdivided but for now it will remain an intact parcel. We (I) LOVE Barb and Roger, but we also know that we need to protect our relationship with one another so we're figuring out what kind of things we'd both like to put in writing. It's like a pre pre-nup. One of the things we'll do is try to quantify the value that the mini home brings to the property. We'll do this by evaluating the property pre-build and then after the home is installed. The percentage difference will help us put a value on the mini home. We'll also be writing in something about the sale of the property that if Brendon's parents decide to sell and we're not interested in buying, that we'll be entitled to some of the money from the sale. Where it starts to get even more interesting is looking into things like 'What happens if Brendon and I split?' or 'What do we do about property taxes?' It's not yet all figured out but we're all stumbling through it, expecting the best and preparing for the possible.

P.s. We begin demolition of the backyard next week! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

'Tis a crappy job...

It's rare you get to see the nether regions of a home. But part of our permitting process is to have the sewer pipes split from the main home to the mini home, so that they each will be independent while still having only one line entering the city's system. Before we actually break ground and re-pipe, the city needs to survey the existing line to ensure there's no current problems. So with the help of some city workers that's exactly what we did.

First the toilet was removed and a video camera on a cable (very akin to the miniaturized fibreoptic camera used in surgeries,.. I've seen it on t.v.) and sent straight down the pipes. Here's a view of the camera and what it sees heading down the old clay pipes.

What amazed me was the 20 meter distance from the main home to the city's pipes. And some of these pipe sections are 60 years old with little vine creepers growing in! Anyways in the end it's all looking good and we're slated to proceed in the next few weeks.

Here's me expressing my joy at the news (on the monitor)!