Some other things of note. I should have taken an extra couple of days with the bulldozer when I was putting in the driveway to a) put in drainage ditches (we have had several washouts as the water preferentially runs down the driveway as things stand now) and done some grading so there were not the many lumps and bumps all over the place making mowing such a pain in the ass. Pay a bit more for the trailer and get one that doesn't have a leaky roof! Still get the canopy, though, as the canopy will probably be paid for in the electricity savings on the AC bill. On that canopy, spend the extra $100 up front and get the mobile home anchors to keep it from blowing away. The relatively inexpensive tarps from HD, etc. are not worth the price if you need to replace the canopy as we did, pay the extra money and get the replacement as it lasts much much longer. Really really try to get your significant other (Eliz in my case) completely on board when the plans are just lines on a paper as it is trivial to make changes at that point. Eliz really couldn't envision the finished product until the walls started to go up and only then did she start to take ownership of the project and start to make the suggestions that so many were brilliant, but too late as literally concrete had been poured around the initial design.
All in all we probably learned to build a house and built it in about 14 weeks of full-time effort and about 1.5 year.s worth of weekends or about 250 days of effort or probably about a year of full-time effort taking weekends off. This is with 99% of the work being done with just the twain of us! We characterize the construction effort as being like childbirth. A long, drawn out often painful and frustrating process that never the less leaves you wanting to have more once done. We will almost certainly be building additional structures (right now we plan on the front/rear enclosed porch with a carport on the front (and maybe the rear), a 3 car detached garage, a workshop/lab to replace the one that got 'lost' during this process and 90% for sure an enclosed pool) so we will get to take advantage of the experience we gained, not to mention amortizing the $5K (at least) equipment we purchased over the years. According to the zoning laws we can build 3 additional residences on our property and the 23 acres is actually two tax lots so we could build on the front lot any time and have another asset to sell if needed. We have plans for a fruit/nut orchard, a bit of a vineyard and landscaping the entrance way so it looks like a million dollar estate when you drive by.
For those of you curious about dollars, the entire project cost us about $300K and in November of 2008 the house and land appraised for $500K for an on-paper profit of $200K or a payment of approximately $50 an hour for our time (4,000 hours betwixt the twain of us assuming 8 hour days for 250 days). Here is a bit of a breakdown we calculated:
|Misc MC charges||$17,956.88|
|Misc AMEX charges||$7,190.05|