It’s funny to say this, but I’m worn out and we haven’t even started building the house yet!  As of June 5th, 2009, we are officially closed on the Construction Loan/Mortgage, and have a Building Permit to get rolling.  Wow, that took forever!  Some of the hurdles we have faced are listed below, and will hopefully serve as a learning tool for some of you.

Changing Your House Plans Changes Your Schedule

This may seem like an obvious one, but every time you submit changes to your house plans to Barden Homes, it takes 10 days to get the changes done.  Knowing what I know about technology, computers, and CAD, I know that the changes we requested are not 10-Day projects.  I also know that we are not their only customers.  Having my own businesses, I have always tried to make our clients feel like they are our only customer.  Barden should try that approach.

No Sewage Permit – No Building Permit

The first challenge we faced in the “legal” aspect of building a home was that we couldn’t get a sewage permit, thus we couldn’t get a building permit.  I explained the issue in this post: Expect Delays… They Will Happen, As I Now Know, but to put it simply, the Department of Environmental Protection restricted our local sewage authority from issuing new permits because of an issue they were having with our sewage plant.  Luckily, the DEP gave them just enough “emergency” connections (EDUs), so that we could get one.

The Lawyer Needs The Abstract to Your Land

I had heard of an abstract before, but never knew what it’s purpose was.  That is, until we needed one and didn’t have it.  When my In-Laws sold us the property, the sale went through in no time and with no issues.  When we were in the process of closing with the bank, we ran into the need to have the abstract for the land.  Unfortunately, my In-Laws couldn’t find it.  So, we had to have the lawyer redo the abstract, which cost an extra $250.00 and added a week to our closing time.

The abstract is a history of Title to the land, noting all Conveyances, Transfers, Grants, Wills and judicial proceedings, and all Encumbrances and Liens, together with evidence of satisfaction and any other facts affecting title.  In other words, it traces the land back as far as it can go and says who has rights to the land based on previous transfers and legal documents.

The new abstract that we had done goes back 60 years.

Guess What, You Own A Pool

OK, this wasn’t really a surprise to us, but the fact that it caused an issue for us was.  In fact, we had to deal with it in a less than ideal way to get through it.  Our soon to be neighbors put a pool in about 10 years ago, and against better judgment, never had their lot surveyed to see what they actually owned.  Come to find out, half of their in-ground pool is on our property.  Imagine that! 

You can see our half of the pool in this photo: 

We had planned on dealing with the pool issue (having them buy a small piece of land), after we got started with construction.  Unfortunately, our bank’s Title Insurance company wouldn’t give us title insurance until the issue with the pool was resolved.  Rather than spending several more weeks working out a deal with the neighbor, and closing on that deal, we grant them an Easement for the area just around the outside of the pool so we could progress with our project.  We’re already over 2 months behind!

Lawyers Are Slow Sometimes

I like my lawyer, so don’t interpret this as a hate-note about him.  That being said, it took forever to get done with the legal part of the close.  The worst part is, his secretary (a sweetheart) does 90%+ of the work!  It’s something to at least consider when choosing a lawyer to work with.  The process is pretty standard, so as long as they’ve close mortgages before, they should be able to handle your project.  Ask them how long it will take up front and call weekly to make sure it’s on track.  It may annoy them, but you are paying for their service, so they will have to deal with it.

Some Contractors Will Need to be Certified In Your City

I never really thought about this, but our city requires that our plumber be a Master Plumber and have a current certificate to operate in our City.  Ours was a master plumber, but not certified in our city.  He had to provide a bunch of documentation and pay $30.00.  It wasn’t a huge holdup, but it took a week or so.  Keep this in mind if you are using a builder/contractor from out of town.

Not All-Inclusive

I know that I didn’t remember everything, but that’s a decent start.  I’ll do another post after we have some work under our belt, as I’m sure more things will crop up.