Now that I had the plans all worked out, it was time to go look for a contractor. I was more nervous about this part than any other because I had heard so many horror stories about bad contractors or crooked contractors. I started my search at a Log Home Show that was going on locally. It was informative, but overwhelming. There were so many different ways of going about it, and so many different people all wanting you to give them your hard earned money. I wanted someone who would do a good job, obviously, but I also wanted to try and find someone with a sense of humor. Someone with a real passion for his or her work, someone who would be a partner in building my dream home.
While at the Log Home Show, though, I did meet a man who specialized in building barns. You could tell he was a good horseman, he kept a few stallions and knew what he was talking about. When it came time to build the barn, I’d have someone to call.
I started interviewing contractors and getting bids. It was early fall by this time and the leaves had started turning up on my land.
I decided that it would probably be a good idea to try and get my current house on the market because I couldn’t realistically afford two mortgages. I was worried that it might take a while to sell since the market was pretty slow at the time. The plan was to try and sell it myself by advertising in the newspaper and online.
I did a little painting, put an ad in the paper and pounded a “for sale” sign in the front yard. What I didn’t count on was that my next door neighbor would see me pounding in the sign and come over and make an offer for nearly my asking price. Turns out he was planning on doing a huge remodel of his home and needed a place to live while it was being done. He wanted to incorporate my horse pasture into a big yard/garden for his house and then either sell my house when he had finished remodeling his, or rent it out.
I was speechless (and that doesn’t happen very often people). I told him that I wanted to think about it and went in the house and poured myself a stiff drink. It was too good of an offer to pass down, but I couldn’t just sell my house and move into an apartment until the new house was done. At the time I had two dogs and six horses. Try and find an apartment that will let you tie your horses up outside!
After several vodka tonics and some hurried phone calls, I made my decision. I would sell the house to my neighbor if he would let me live there with my horses until early spring. Then I would buy a travel trailer, get someone to build me a corral and move up on my land. The HOA had a rule about travel trailers on the property, but I didn’t have any real choice in the matter. With the real estate market as slow as it was, I felt like I had to accept the offer.
At that point, the search for a contractor became a bit more urgent. I talked to five or six different ones, some of them were creepy, some of them too nice, some were rude. I met one guy, however, who seemed to be really excited about the land and my plans. He was young, but not too young, had a nice little family and was local. I had narrowed the search down to three contractors, all of whom had good references, were pleasant to deal with and in the same price range. The problem was that one of them couldn’t start the house for six months and the other for a year! That left the third choice. I’ve changed his name in this story so he can’t sue me, but I have to call him something. Hmmmm. let’s just call him “Dick”.
to be continued….