TinyHouse43's Building Blog

From Texas-sized 2 Tiny House For Three

A Girl Can Never Have Too Many Contingency Plans

The title of this post was my mother’s and my motto with each other, as I’m the Queen of making plans and then having to constantly and often dramatically rearrange EVERYTHING in order to accommodate random last minute changes that seem to inevitably occur. As a result, our other motto was, “C’est la vie,” a phrase I’m sure you’ve noticed I use quite often if you’ve been following our blog or FB for a while now. Life often throws me curve balls, and after I jump back from the plate to avoid getting hit in the gut (sometimes more successfully than others) by an errant pitch, I’m usually simply left exclaiming how it really is just life sometimes.

I tell you that story to tell you this one.

We got royally screwed on the Big House. I mean, like, $20K LESS than we were expecting to make type screwed. As in now we won’t have enough to finish the tiny house and save $5k for emergencies and still have enough to pay off a good chunk of debt type screwed. Nope, we’ll MAYBE clear $10k, which is nothing to snivel at, of course, but a VAST difference to the $32-35K we were expecting after all fees and commissions were paid out. And this, my friends, is because a bunch of base model houses in our immediate vicinity sold for well UNDER market value and dragged our house’s value down with them. The appraisal came in about $2500 LESS than we actually paid for the house six years ago. Worse? The “Cost Method” of appraisal said it would cost $310,896 to buy our lot and build our exact house TODAY. Sadly, though, banks don’t use that model for determining what they’ll pay – they use the “Comparison Method,” which came in a $243,000 because of the low ball sales around us. Talk about sticker shock in reverse! Once all the fees, taxes, and commissions are paid, the two realtors are making more than we are – and that’s WITH our sweet realtor taking a 1% commission cut to help us out. She got screwed on this deal, too, and because the buyers are using an FHA loan (same type we have), we’re stuck with that appraisal for 6mo before it could be challenged. Yeah. We’re moving to Colorado roughly September 21st, so we’re stuck taking what (little) we can get since neither of us wants to own and pay for a house we’re not using while living out of state. NOT. HAPPY.

Now, all my bitching, moaning, and first-world-problems whining aside, there is an upside that the incomparable Macy Miller of MiniMotives kindly reminded me of when I was lamenting this continually devolving situation on our FB page: we won’t have a mortgage much longer, and all that money can be redirected into paying down bills instead!

Yup, once this sucker is gone on July 16th, we’ll be saving $1977/mo in mortgage and about $100/mo for the homeowner’s insurance, and we’ll never have to fork over the $720/yr HOA fees again. We’ll have no more AC repairs of pay for (beyond the roughly $700 we’re having to fork over now after some “board” went bad and stopped sending the remaining 11V of a 24V power source to the outside unit for the upstairs of the house), no more gas to buy for the lawnmower and weed eater, no more air filters to change, no burned out lightbulbs to replace… So much upkeep crap – big and small – that will disappear (fooor-eeeev-errrrr!) once the Big House is firmly in our rear view mirrors, and I’ll get a $2k/mo raise (sort of)! Macy said it took her about 8mo to finish paying off her bills once she got into her tiny house and no longer had to send that money to the mortgage company, and I’m hoping for a similar result. That, my friends, is most definitely something to look forward to, even if we won’t have that instant emergency fund or huge drop in debt we’d been dreaming of (beyond the $215k house note of course). Small victories. I’ll take it!

All that said, though, we are having to re-prioritize the rest of our summer in order to get the tiny house done on time. Without those funds we’re having to eliminate what, for me, was a very important (as well as much-needed and damn well earned!) week of vacation time with my mom’s side of the family on the beaches of South Carolina in July. It’s the last time we’d all be together with ease since we’re moving further west and one aunt and 2 cousins are moving back to Germany. I was really, REALLY looking forward to it, but we can’t afford to lose the time on the tiny house since my inability to help Brandy has put us even further behind, particularly since we now have no extra funds to spend for the travel and accommodations and still have some of the biggest single purchases for the house coming up fast.

I’m still taking the week off, though, mainly because I’m exhausted. I figured I’ll use my “staycation” time to sort through all our clothes and start making those bags for donation that I said I was going to start probably two months ago. Yeah, I know. I’m a slacker. I’m also hoping to crack all our boxes that say “Tiny House” on them so I can weed through the stuff we *think* we’ll need for the THOW and decide if any of it needs to go after all. Even just in the time we’ve been building the house we’re already changing our minds on various things, so I’m certain some stuff we were positive we’d use we likely won’t. Time to shed some ballast around here!

Another step I’m taking to compensate for the extreme change in financial circumstances we weren’t expecting is at first blush going to seem counterintuitive. I’m going to attempt to burn through my paid-time-off in the month of August so that I’m home about half of the month with anywhere from 5-10 days off in a row. I get paid less when I use PTO instead of working a shift because of night shift differentials (and it makes a HUGE difference, believe me), but the point is that I DO still get paid. Brandy needs all the help he can get, and the only way I can really be of any use is to actually be home for multiple days in a row uninterrupted by the need to spend the day sleeping in prep for a shift or after getting off work at 0700 and being ready to pass out by noon. Night shift burns up my free time like crazy, but I’ve done it so long because of how well it pays. I won’t be doing it in Colorado, though, because let’s be honest – do you really think I could get any kind of reasonable sleep during the day in a 200sqft wooden box with a noisy toddler and no walls to block the sound?! Ha, yeah, me either. 😉

The final sacrifice this loss of expected funds (we hope any way!!) is that we *might* have to forgo brining the house with us to the Jamboree. Brandy is anxious about even taking the time away from building to go at ALL, but I’m hoping we’ll be much further along than he currently expects. I told him maybe he could bring some tools and actually work on the house a bit while we’re there if it doesn’t disturb anyone around us. We’ll see on that. Come hell or high water I – at the very least – will be there. Besides being asked and agreeing to babysit the booth of a vendor we adore for a bit while they themselves go exploring the Jamboree, I actually need to head up to the RV park we’re planning to live at over the winter to finalize everything for our stay at some point. I don’t want us to load up and blindly drive there in September without having seen the place in person. Google maps only shows so much, and while I’m in love with the place based on that, I do still want to make sure it’ll all work out. Plus, it’ll give me a chance to test the drive from the RV park to my new hospital on the two different routes Google recommends. Granted it won’t be snowbound while I’m doing it, and therefore not a true representation of the driving conditions in winter there, but it’ll still give me a rough idea of how long it’d take and what interesting things I might find between points A and B.

Not exactly the summer we had planned for a plethora of reasons – my broken foot, less money from the Big House, the need to pay for 4 more weeks of summer camp for R.A.D since our move date got pushed back – but we’ll make due. We both hate being rushed like this, but that seems to be a recurring theme for us. As I said before, c’est la vie!

Now I have to find out if my new bosses will let me come back to Texas between orientation on 9/10 and opening on 10/1, because I really need to be able to help with the last minute house prep and the actual move. That plan, however, will likely need several contingencies of its own based on my track record with pre-planning. Let the finger crossing and “Plan B” prep begin!


P.S. For those wondering where we’ll be staying for the winter in Colorado, I’ve got to make the time to ask permission to post the RV park’s info first. It’s in a smaller town, so I don’t want to presume they want world-wide-web shouting of their willingness to accept tiny houses without asking first. They are, however, a business, so I’m hopeful they’ll be open to a little free promotion. 😉




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