Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Today I stopped by the bank to extend my construction loan. This was an expected part of the process; from the date the loan opened with a nine-month span I was sure it would have to be extended to the full year. I told the bank this originally, so I'm not sure why they set it for nine months. When I asked I was told that it would be easy to extend the loan to a year if necessary.

So I was never concerned about getting this extra three months. But in the last few weeks I have become nervous about whether I can even complete this house within a year. Wood framing has only just begun, and when I look ahead to what's left to do between now and the end of January (including three major holidays) - windows, doors, skylights, roofing, flashing, gutters, porch roof, electrical wiring, lighting, plumbing fixtures and piping, heating/air conditioning and ductwork, insulation, interior finish wood for walls, ceilings, and floors, brick and slate flooring - I get very nervous.

If this was a typical house, MAYBE this would be possible. But every phase of this house seems to require extra time to research materials, iron out all the weird details, and find someone who can actually do it - within budget. It took a full week just to find the right waterproofing product for my masonry walls - for instance. Not to mention the time spent asking the person who can actually do it to take it apart because it's all wrong and to do it again.

But I like this process. It results in a high-quality, fascinating product that everyone learns from. I don't know that there is another way to get unique work done. It's always going to take longer, always cost more in both money and energy, always ask workers to stretch what they know and how they do things. And it's worth it. I have no interest in designing a typical building just so that it will be on time and on budget. Ultimately those are not meaningful goals, and don't inspire me. I always want to create a fascinating, provocative, beautiful place that helps us all get a little closer to each other, to nature and to God. Things like time and money are subservient to this, and God has more than enough of both.

He's already helped me with money beyond what I thought possible (as described in this post), and today I feel that he's done the same with time. I showed up at the bank still nervous of course about having to finish in a year, and starting to feel slightly nervous about whether the bank would even decide to give me the extra three months. But the completed paperwork was soon in front of me to sign, so at least that latter fear was allayed. The lady who processed the loan then said, "We extended it for a year, so the loan will come due next October." I stopped signing and looked at her, "You mean, I have a full year FROM NOW to finish this house?" Yes, she said, explaining that they "just decided" to make it a full year rather than three more months.

Not in my wildest dreams (and they're pretty wild) did I imagine that the bank would give me more than a year to finish. I looked at a lot of construction loan packages early on and not one suggested any possibility of extending beyond a year. Especially in this economy. As I recall, some of them didn't offer more than nine months. I still don't know exactly why this bank decided to give me a full 21 months to complete this house, especially given that it was appraised far short of the total construction cost. I was too excited to ask. But it was pure joy to ask the follow-up question, "So, what if I finish BEFORE the closing date?"

Apropos: framing is progressing nicely. I'll follow this post with a photo-laden one to update on that work.

No comments:

Post a Comment