Sunday, October 15, 2017

Remember that sand pile I bought?

A lot can happen in two years, but maybe you remember back in January 2015 when I bought a lot in Florida.

I’ve had plans for a LONG time to build on the lot and that moment has finally arrived!  As expected, it turned out to be really difficult to build a house remotely and just the permitting process has been a rollercoaster.  But I’ll spare you the novella and just say It’s been an adventure so far and I am hugely indebted and extremely grateful to my father who has basically taken on the contracting as his second job right in the middle of an incredibly busy and stressful time for him too.

So thanks/sorry Dad!

Ok, where was I? Oh yes, I bought the lot in January 2015 and it took about a month to close.  The exact dates are a bit fuzzy to me now, but I think it’s safe to say I spent about two full years in the preparation/waiting phase. Why so long?  Because, with this crazy lifestyle I wasn’t willing to take on a the debt load of a mortgage until I was sure I wasn’t going to be assigned to DC for my follow on tour after Rome.

Side note: A posting in DC would mean I would be paying for an apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the US ... while simultaneously paying down a mortgage. I’m a big saver and all, but that’s just not a realistic scenario.  Granted, I may be able to eventually rent out the house when I’m not around to use it, but there’s no guarantee that would be a steady enough source of income to mitigate the risk. So I waited until October 2016-ish before greenlighting the next steps.

Of course, in the meantime I picked out a floor plan and had it modified (again, thanks Dad!) to better suit me. I looked at paint colors and appliances and worked hard to pay off the rest of the land loan and save up for the construction process.

Once I knew I was headed to San Paulo and would have a few years to get my finances settled before any potential DC assignments we moved forward and my dad/general contractor obtained the many, many permits necessary for the build.  Since the lot is right on the beach that required a lot of work with the environmental authorities to make sure we weren’t destroying any dune mice habitats and everything was turtle friendly. (The area is apparently a nesting site for sea turtles.) There are still lots of rules we’ll have to follow with the construction and materials but that’s a small price to pay to be living in such a beautiful place.

It also took forever to obtain a construction loan which I’m sure is partly an overreaction to the housing market crash and partly our banker’s uncertainty about working with an overseas homeowner. Had I known how slow that process would be I would have gone with a bigger bank, but in the end it’s done and that’s the important thing.

I promise to keep you updated on the beach house progress now that things are moving along at a faster clip.  In the meantime, here’s a teaser!

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