The loan…..groan

This process of building a home has been a long one. Years in the making. It started in 2014 when we hiked through sagebrush on our family’s ranch trying to decide if there was a good spot to place a house. At that time, the deed was still under the previous owner’s name and the land was still zoned for non-residential. After a year of meeting with lawyers, planning commissioners, building department, surveyors, etc. we finally owned the 30 acres free and clear with residential zoning. Then came the ordeal of installing the well.

2014 and 2015 were particularly dry years in our part of the country. We simply did not receive enough precipitation during the winter months, and many ranchers and farmers were eligible for some drought relief via grants for wells for their stock. I was happy that folks could get help with their water situation, but it meant that in the course of a year we were on a waiting list with 7 different well drilling companies. Eleven months after initial contact, we were able to have someone come out and drill a 150 foot well for us. (It was cool that our neighbor came out first and “witched” a good spot first). He was spot on, by the way!

So in year two of our journey- we had land and we had a well (and thanks to my dad and his skidder- we had a culvert and the makings of a road).

From there, most evenings were spent scouring the internet for home plan ideas. We had a local architect draw up some plans too, but nothing felt quite right and most needed major modifications. Fortunately, I came across a plan that had  been recently added to Architectural Designs.  Thank goodness for the farmhouse boom (props to the Gaines’). Before everything was “farmhouse, modern farmhouse, fixer upper”, I always dreamed of a traditional style home with a porch and a country feel. Luckily, the choosing of the house plan, making changes, etc. was relatively quick and easy. There is still a “post” issue that I am not completely happy with (I’ll cover that later).

The year 2016 was spent putting trenching in for the power/phone lines, getting septic approval, and securing a conditional use permit. All of that literally took 7 months.

I guess my point to this, is that I have been pretty easy going and patient as everything has taken lots of time to accomplish. Three years, but who’s counting? Now that we’re in the final stretch, my patience is waning. I have been able to wait everything out, but I am having the most difficult time with the construction loan process. I sent in the most complete and comprehensive loan application. There was not a single piece of information left out. Hundreds of documents painstakingly assembled, reviewed and scanned meticulously. We’ve been preparing for years. No debt (except for a year left of mortgage on our income rental property), excellent credit, 30% cash down payment, etc.  It has taken 26 business days, or five weeks to even get word from our officer about pre-approval qualification. She won’t divulge any information about the status of anything and I always have to initiate contact. I hate “bugging” people. I always assume people are doing what they are supposed to be doing and don’t need me checking in.  I have a feeling that during this process, I will need to be more assertive.

My contractor and his crew are ready to go. He’s pulled all permits and he was hoping to break ground in three weeks.

Realistically though, I have a feeling this loan business will hold us up for weeks, if not months. I hear the appraisal and underwriting takes forever. I am feeling discouraged. Am I just being impatient? Is this loan timeline pretty standard and normal? My loan officer only replies with one word answers, so I doubt I’ll get any reassurance from her.

This is an amazing opportunity, though. I have to keep my head level about how blessed we truly are to be able to build our dream home in the first place. I need to remind myself to be patient and positive. Good things come to those who wait, right?



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