This past month has been a whirlwind in regards to our Lifestyle Change and life in general. It’s literally only been about a month or so since Prof. SSC proposed her idea of our revised Hill Country Lifestyle Change to me. Since then we’ve taken a couple of different weekend trips looking at property. We’ve scoured Zillow and google maps street view (if street views actually exist…) and even more so, we’ve begun looking at house plans. Great googly moogly it’s been busy! Who would’ve thought retirement life planning would be so hectic?
During that time though, we’ve figured out what we find important in our property and it’s not what you’d think. Even though we’re looking around lakes, we don’t necessarily find a lake view as important as we thought. We found that we would take more seclusion over a lake view. Yep, seclusion and that feeling of our own space is way more important to us than being right on the water with a killer view. That’s what led us to decide on the lot we think will be a perfect fit for us. It’s almost 3 acres, heavily treed with mature oaks, and we can put a house on it and have it surrounded by big trees. As of last weekend, we’re under contract on it with a closing date early next month. Now the real fun begins!
House Plans Already?
With our Hill Country Lifestyle Change one key aspect we want is a house that is way more functional smaller than our current McMansion. Don’t get me wrong I love a LOT about our current house, but given that it’s almost 4000 sq. ft., it’s about twice as much space as we need. We’re looking to keep our house under 2200 sq. ft., and our current favorite house plan has us right around 2050 sq. ft. We have some minor tweaking to add to it though and have been working out how best to situate it on the lot.
We have enough naturally cleared space between the oak trees that we should be able to situate it fairly well without taking out any trees at all. If we have to it’s not the end of the world, because there are already so many on the lot, but we would rather not take any trees out. This will be more of a question for our architect and builder though, as the builder recommended one architect whom he calls a “lot whisperer”. Allegedly he has a great knack for figuring out how best to situate a house on a lot to take advantage of whatever the lot has to offer.
An Architect Already?
Even though we haven’t even closed on the lot yet, Prof. SSC is pretty anxious about home building costs. According to one of the builders we’ve spoken to and doing some research online, $120 per sq./ ft. is about standard in this area for a typical house. Since we want somethings to be between builder grade and high end, we are estimating $130/ sq. ft. for our costs. However, this same architect also has a program that will estimate all the materials for any house and according to a builder that’s worked with him before he’s come within 5% of costs each time he’s used him. This leads us to Prof. SSC wanting to know exactly how much the house will cost so she can update spreadsheets and plans accordingly. Which means we need a mostly finalized house plan sooner than later in her mind.
Even though she’s already tweaked our favorite house plan in her home design app, it’s a long cry from what an architect can do. Since she is so uneasy about this, I’ll be contacting him today and talking about how best to get this figured out so we can plan accordingly financially.
Our current spreadsheet calculations have us being able to enact this Lifestyle Change and move out there by 2019 – depending on house cost. You can now see why Prof. SSC is so dang antsy wanting to get everything finalized or at least roughed out cost wise so soon. Another option is to push it back from Summer 2019 to spring 2020. The plus side on this is that I would have some stock options vesting in February – the company switched vesting dates from July to February – woohoo!! Plus, our bonuses (if we get them) come in March, so if it’s only a matter of 6-7 more months to get a significant chunk of change, I’m all for that. Don’t forget, I still like my job, and have fun at it. Sure, that could all change and I get to a “hate it mode” but it hasn’t happened yet, and it’s been almost 3 years now. So if I have to go “less than One More Year” I’m not too worried about it.
When we’ve told this plan to our friends and family, we have had ZERO negative responses. Literally, nothing but support and interest in how we’re going to do it, and even with Prof. SSC’s commute, there has been no pushback. So I want to ask you guys again, “Does this Seem Crazy?!” Are we missing something and our friends and family are just being nice, but as soon as they get in the cars to go home they’re having conversations like, “Can you believe that? There’s no way they’ll pull that off? Why move somewhere so “remote” and create such a big commute AND be gone about 80 days a year? They’re crazy….”
Have we missed something or are we crazy? It seems like everything is falling into place and we haven’t missed anything big that would be a stumbling block. The house cost is our biggest unknown. That and how well Prof. SSC will handle the commute.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it and don’t hold back – positives and negatives, especially any negatives.
Next week I’ll roll out some detailed financial simulations and some Monte Carlo runs to show the breakdown of the behind the scenes financials. But for now, it’s just a high level view of FFLC Phase 1.