Draw and Budget Update

By this point we had gone through two more draws from our construction loan (out of ten, total). As we were approaching the completion of framing, our budget update looked a little something like this:

budget and draw update

For reasons that don’t bear getting into, the running budget spreadsheet is kind of a mess; you need to combine the negative “contract adjust” numbers with the red “new” numbers in the right-hand column to get a full sense of where we were over-budget. And the negative “contract adjust” numbers were actually areas where we were over-budget on those line items. It’s… not intuitive, let’s say that much.

The main take-aways are that on a $630,000 base budget with a 10% contingency fund, for a total “build” loan amount of $690,000 we had burned all but $8,000 of our contingency fund while about halfway through the build (at least cost-wise). The biggest drivers were (1) extra excavation costs caused by our water-and-clay problems, and (2) sky-high lumber costs, largely thanks to COVID.

There were some silver linings at this stage. Electrical and mechanical work are big numbers that haven’t been paid out yet, but the subcontractors were locked-in, and so were their bids. Shaun was also taking on some of the added costs by eating them in profit and overhead to the tune of about $11,000 to try and bring things in on-budget. He was also handling much of the labor for cavity insulation and windows, which would help in those areas. We also had some breathing room in things like the gas range (which we would be getting for $0 from a friendly neighbor); concrete work, and a few other interior issues where we should be able to find some margin. So things were looking tight but manageable.

Book Reviews

After drudging through some pretty lousy books, I hit on one I like. The Nest Home Design Handbook: This is a nice, fairly light interior design book that goes room-by-room with concrete, actionable advice. It also included some planning advice that I had already found helpful, like sketching rooms out on grid paper and cutting out scale furniture to shuffle around “rooms” without having to redraw everything every time. Kind of like this.

furniture plans