Okay, so Denis and I talked a bit more about the house. We’ve decided we like the open office area and would rather have that (with some nice built-in bookshelves on the two solid walls) than a fourth bedroom. We’ll let the bonus room over the garage act as a guest bedroom, even if it doesn’t have a closet. If we have more than one set of family members coming to visit, we’ll make up for that by letting CootieBoy have bunk beds so that CootieGirl can join him and we can let the additional guests sleep in CG’s room during their visit.
This means that we’d make no major structural changes to the house other than the great room option they provide: an expanded great room. Other than that, we’ll stick to their plan and avoid the expense of non-standard changes.
I know I’ve talked before about us building a house, but this time around it seems like it actually may happen in the next couple of years. We’re thisclose to having no debt other than the mortgage. By the end of the summer we’re hoping to be able to start putting money into specific house-building savings fund. Between the land we already own outright (which can be used as part of the downpayment on a construction loan), the equity we (fortunately) still have in our house (it’s still “worth” about what we paid for it in 2006), and any savings we can come up with, we just might be able to build this house and end up with a final mortgage payment pretty close to what we’re paying now.
Denis and I mentioned in passing to each other that it would be interesting to go meet with the homebuilder and go through their pricing process. It’s free to do, and would give us a closer idea of how much we might expect to pay for the house we want to build. Of course, the costs would adjust between now and when we actually build – but it shouldn’t be too drastic of a change. All I know is that Denis and I are now close to being on the same page. We want to build, we want a smaller house, and we don’t want to deal with homeowner’s associations anymore.