Blog Entries For The Month of October 2017

The surveyors are here... We hired Moore and Arnold Surveyors out of West Blocton, AL to do the survey on the property. The sellers agreed to pay half of the survey which is great because it costs $2,150 to survey 21 acres. We'll each pay $1,075 towards the cost of the survey which is still a good chunk of change. It took them a little over 2 days to complete the survey because they had a hard time locating 2 of the markers. We walked with them on 2 of those days so we would understand what they were marking and why.

The corner markers were obvious except for two. They had to go back to the courthouse to get maps of the adjacent properties so they could triangulate the azimuths for the southern and eastern sides of the lot. At the front right side of the lot, the fence along the northern edge is actually on the neighbors property. But I think since it has been the accepted property line for over 70 years that it doesn't matter. Either way, the neighbors wouldn't come on our side of the fence and we wouldn't go on their side (unless one invited the other). The two other fence lines on the northern side are pretty straightforward from corner marker to corner marker. The back side of the property is wooded and a power line easement shares a border with us. It is fenced inside the treeline so the right of way for Alabama Power is not obstructed.

The southern side of the property was a bear to survey. They couldn't find the corner marker so that's why they needed to go back to the courthouse for more maps. Once they had that info, they were able to find the marker. According to their calculations, it was off by about a foot so we gained some land with this survey. They set the new marker and shot an azimuth across the open field to the opposite southern corner. They then set several stakes across the field so we would know where to build our fence. A survey involves a lot of walking and having to deal with 6' tall weeds and extremely thick grass doesn't help. And let's not forget the briars and tree limbs in the wooded section.

One step closer... Now the survey is all done and we know what our legal boundaries are. The next step is closing on October 31, 2017 and writing a huge check for the down payment and closing costs. We've already got Alabama Power working on getting us hooked up to the grid and the builder is anxious to get started leveling the lot where the house will be. We can't wait to watch those pine trees get bulldozed! 4

Waiting... Waiting... Now that the contracts are signed, the perk test is done, the survey is done, the appraisal is done, and everything else is done... we are waiting on the closing date to arrive. This by far is the most frustrating part. We are very anxious for the builder to get started and for us to be able to start working the property. Most people are not very good at waiting and waiting when you are excited makes it even worse. The builder will clear the area where the house will go with a bulldozer and we will hire someone to bush hog the open areas of the property. We have to build a bridge across the creek to be able to get to the majority of the land. I reckon we can look at a YouTube video to learn how to build a good, strong bridge wide enough for a tractor. There's a lot to do and we'd like to get it all done right away, but that surely won't happen.

The cost to build a carport, build a workshop, build the bridge, buy appliances and buy all the lighting for the inside of the house are not included in the construction cost of the house. All that will be a good chunk of change, especially since Cynthia has champagne taste. $4,500 for appliances, $2,500 for lighting, $ 1,500 for smart home gadgets, $1,500 for the washer and dryer, $1,500 for the carport, $2,500 for the workshop, $3,000 for concrete work... whew, it adds up quickly. All that totals $17,000! Ouch.

Two more weeks til closing and then the money will start flowing out like a dam burst. I hate writing those huge checks but it is all part of the process. And... we're trying not think about the house payments that start right away. Add that to the rent payment we are already making, so we will be hurrying the builder on as much as possible. Once we get the certificate of occupancy, we will refinance the loan through the VA for a much lower rate. All in due time... 5

We closed! The waiting is over, we closed on the land and the builder has started work! The closing consisted of us reading a whole lot of documents filled with legalese... which made the others in the room have to wait for us to finish. That's OK though, thanks to us reading and proofing all the documents we discovered a $2,802.51 error in our favor. That allowed us to leave the Title Company office with a check in our hands. As soon as we left the closing we called our builder. We met him at the property the next day and we staked out the location of the house. We also discussed a few more details such as what trees stay and which ones go, where the driveway will be, where the septic system will be, estimated timeline, etc. Oh yeah, after the survey of the land was complete, we actually ended up with 21.84 acres. We only thought we were getting 21 acres so that extra .84 acres was a bonus.

The southern edge of the land did not have an identifiable border so we started building a fence along that edge. We drove the fence posts in a few inches inside the property line. We've a long way to go on the fencing and it won't be done for a long time. That's a lot of distance to cover and the dang fencing material ain't cheap! In addition that, we are not used to all this manual labor so we are a bit sore right now. Hopefully, we will get used to this and maybe even lose a few pounds along the way!

What's next? Anyway, as time and weather permits, we will be working at the property cleaning it up as needed. There is some trash there from over the years, both fields need to be bush hogged and some trees need to be trimmed and/or cut down. The bush hog guy is supposed to be there this weekend and that will make walking around much easier. We are so excited and anxious to see the slab poured and framing going up!! 6

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