Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Building Debt Free: Step 1-Pay Cash for Land, Step 2- Start Another International Adoption ;)

We have said from the beginning that we would adopt at least 4 special needs children. With our first two little ones home we thought we would build our home debt free while being open to domestic adoption. If we weren't placed with a child when our house was finished we would start a second international adoption..
The Lord had other plans.. ;)
We started feeling pulled back to the country and the orphanage that we brought Genie and GiGi home from. We were hearing that they weren't finding homes for their special needs children and it was heartbreaking.
We had inquired about several children on Adopt Us Kids and only one case worker responded wanting to see our home study. It was becoming clear that the path for us would lead back to Haiti for two more special needs children from the orphanage where Genie and GiGi had lived.
That left the question "When?"  We surly cant do an international adoption at the same time as building our home. Wrong again. ;) God made it very clear that that is exactly what He wanted us to do.
So we have started filling out forms and getting ready to update our home study. Looking at the budget with the OT the Lord is providing we will be able to cash flow the initial fees for our adoptions while building our home.
Our plan is to sell our current home and use the proceeds to pay for the rest of the adoption expenses. Praying the new house will be livable when this house sells. 
There is a lot that would need to fall into place but we are stepping out in faith and trust that if we are in His will He will provide.
As soon as the snow goes we will be able to get our perk test done and then we can close on our land!! While we wait we are  working to get this house ready to go on the market. Refinishing floors, installing cabinets, finishing up some trim and completing the stone work are some of our weekend projects.. We hope to have this house ready to list by the time we are ready to start building our new home..
Lots on our plates right now but we wouldn't have it any other way..
Bless you all for covering our family in prayer as we step out in faith not only with building our home debt free but also with bringing home two more precious children without debt.. Its going to be an awesome journey..
In His Light and Love~ Goose and Gillian 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Building Our Home Debt Free: Savings Update Week 4 - $10,000!! PTL!!!

~Our beautiful God given land~
As of today we have $10,000 of the $11,000 needed to purchase our land debt free!!! And that's just 4 weeks after we made our first deposit into our savings account!! God is so very good!!
All good things come from the Lord.. We give him all the glory for providing the funds and we are very  thankful. He used our income tax refund for over $6,000 of the funds and the Lord moved Goose into a new position at the mill four weeks ago. He he has been working 70+ hours a week since we started saving. We are very thankful for all the overtime and we are so proud of our hard working leader!! He is a Blessing beyond words to our family in so many ways and his work ethic, just like his other character qualities, sets an amazing example for our children.. 
We still need $1000 towards the cost of our land (read about the land the Lord has provided here ) and $500 towards closing costs. We are budgeted to have the full $11,500 in two weeks. We were planning for it to take 16 weeks to save the $11,500 so we were scheduled to close at the end of June. In two weeks all we will be waiting for is for the snow to go enough for us to get the perk test done. We're hoping that will be the beginning of May.. Once the perk test is complete we can close.
We are just in awe of how all this has come together.. $10,000 in 4 weeks just doesn't happen for us. We are humbled, thankful and Blessed to be on this journey and we can't wait to see what the Lord does next..
Bless you all for your continued prayers as we continue to step out in faith to build our family a home debt free.
In His Light and Love~ Goose and Gillian

Monday, March 31, 2014

Choosing Our Log Home Style

Part of the joy in building our home is the planning and dreaming stage..
We've literally spent hours online looking at log home pictures and falling in love with many of the beautiful exteriors.
When we built our first log home in 2006 we went with a traditional cape style log home 28x40 3 bedrooms with an open floor plan, 2 dormers and a front porch.. Similar to this drawing..

With the spec house we spilt our land into two 7 acre lots and built a shell for a simple and small log cabin.
We sold both of those homes a year or so later so we didn't really have a chance to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Now that we get to experience the building process again (and learn from our previous experiences) we are exploring new design options..
Here are a few of the houses we have fallen in love with over the past couple months of planning..

I think we have covered the full range of different log home styles ;) but each house has something about it that we love..
A few things we have to take into consideration is the fact that Goose will be doing much of the building himself with the help of some of our amazing friends. That leaves us wanting to keep the design simple to build with just a bit of style that wont add months onto the construction time.
We also had our floor plan picked out in advance so the house would have to accommodate the layout we have chosen for the interior.  This is very similar to plan for the first floor of our future home.
We will have a loft over the 3 bedrooms and bathrooms that can be used as a master bedroom if we need the additional space.
We are planning on a full basement (possible daylight) that will be all open play space other than a couple of guest bedrooms and a small bathroom.
We also need to be able to build our home in stages. Our first goal is to get it water tight and livable. for less than 20K. Like our previous log homes we want lots of windows plus a couple sliding glass doors on the gable end. That design ends up being costly so we will have the windows and doors for the gable framed and cut into the logs but we will frame them in initially (fill with insulation and boarded over). Once we are moved in and ready to tackle that part of the house we will remove the temporary framing and add our doors and windows to the gable end.
Same thing with any porches or decks. Those will be added on after as they are not necessary in order to make the house livable but need to be taken into consideration and prepared for while doing the initial building
We have gotten many of our estimates so we know that we wont fluctuate on the house size by much. We are looking at  26 X 48 but also considering 24 x 52. Both come in very similar in total costs. The house style we choose would have to fit with either of these foundation sizes.
Keeping all these things in mind (and knowing that we are getting closer to the time when we need to submit for our building permit) we have been narrowing down our search.
As of today.. (and this is open to change a bit within the next couple weeks ;)  ) this is the style we are wanting to build..
With this style on the gable end and the back shed dormer over the loft with a porch.
We are Blessed just to be able to dream and we are having so much fun looking at all the beautiful styles.. While we wait for the snow to melt and continue to save for our land we get to enjoy the planning stages.. Soon enough we will be working hard on our lot for now we are enjoying and savoring this time right where the Lord has us.
Bless you all for your continued prayers as we step out in faith to realize our dream..
In His Light and Love~ Goose and Gillian 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Breakdown of the Cost to Build Our Home Debt Free

We are currently gathering estimates for building our home debt free.. Our goal is to get a 26 X 48 3 bedroom +loft over a daylight basement log home to the point that it is livable for less than $20,000 ( not including the cost for land/closing). As of right now our estimates have us coming in at $19,250!! We are looking for ways to cut costs for each expense and we have found some great deals..
Mainly the discount Goose gets through his work on lumber and the utility grade logs will be our biggest savings.  Waiting on many of the more expensive non essential items until after we have moved in and starting with less expensive items and upgrading down the road will be a big help to the budget too.
With Goose having been a carpenter for over 20 years he has a lot on insight into ways to lower costs.  He is knowledgeable with foundations, electrical and plumbing  so he will be doing much of the work himself which will save us a lot in those areas too. Where we are not going with a mortgage we can choose our heating system and use a pellet stove rather than a furnace.  
Now that we have an idea of the budget we are going to keep looking for ways to get the prices down even lower. Having built our own home and a spec home in addition to Gooses years working for general contractors and owners we know how quickly a budget can be broken so our goal is to stay on top of the costs and shoot for less expensive items whenever possible.  Craigs list, Uncle Henrys, yard sales and even word of mouth can go a long way to keep building cost down. We are not too proud to put used building materials and fixtures in our home. As we mentioned before most anything can be upgraded down the road.
We are very thankful for the way the Lord is pulling this all together.. Such a fun journey and we want to be sure to enjoy each step of the way..
Debt Free 26X48 Log Home Budget Breakdown
 Floor Sheathing $422
Roof Sheathing $473
Basement Cement $1300
Fox Blocks $270
Rebar $300
Footing $600
Pressure Treated Framing Basement $500
Floor System $1000
Caulking/Glue $700
Interior framing $300
Electrical $500
Shingles $1700
Door $540
Windows $1500
Roof System $2000
Bathroom $600
Plumbing $1000
Pellet Stove $1500
Septic System $4000

Friday, March 21, 2014

Our Debt Free Land ~ Savings: End of Week 2

We made our first deposit into our land fund March 7th. Our tax refund was deposited earlier this week and  then we were able to add to our land savings again today so we now have $8738 of the $11,500 we need to close on our land!!! God is so very good!! We only need $2762 by closing... We are just in awe..

When we first offered on our land our budget showed we could have $11,500 in 16 weeks. Just 2 weeks into savings we have over 3/4ths of the  funds we need..  Its looking like we will have all the funds we need in just 6 weeks instead of 16. Only with God is this possible.
 Goose is still putting in 70+ hours a week while I take care of things at home. Again its only Gods strength and Grace getting us through.. We are very thankful and Blessed to have the opportunity to work over time. This job has been such a Blessing to our family.
God is using the extra hours, the income tax refund and the lack of debt payments (aside from our ~$150/month mortgage) to provide for our family to purchase over 6 acres debt free.. In all the times we talked about building without debt saving for land always gave us pause.. We figured it would take a year (or more) to save for land that would be able to meet our needs (and a few of our wants). Everything about this has confirmed His hand is on it and that we are in His will. Finding this lot with a view, drive way and well, partially cleared, close to Gooses work and one lot back from the lake for $11,000 ($500 for closing) just doesn't happen, even in northern Maine. We are very humbled, thankful and Blessed by this journey..
Bless you all for your continued prayers~
In His Light and Love~ Goose and Gillian 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Savings Update: Week 1 - Over $7,000!! PTL!!!!

This is our first week saving for our land.. We started with a 0 balance but we were able to put aside $750.00 from Gooses check to get us started. We were very thankful to be off to such a good start with our land fund.

A couple days after we set aside the $750 we had our taxes done for 2013. Being self employeed for our whole marriage, up until half way through 2013, we were used to having to pay in but this year we were surprised and Blessed to hear that we would be getting a refund.. But the amount of the refund had us both looking up and thanking the Lord. Our refund this year from our taxes (Over $6000!!!) will bring us to 2/3rds of the way to our goal!!!
That is only possible with God!!!

Once the funds are direct deposited we will update our land fund tab to reflect the new total.. We planned on needing 16 weeks to raise the funds we'd need but our Father doesn't need 16 weeks to provide for our land..

As if that wasn't enough good news..
We bundled up the whole family and went out to the land this weekend to measure the lot and learned  it's 100 ft wider than we originally thought!! Thus leaving us plenty of room with the setbacks to build the style home we want wherever we choose to on the land. We spoke with the code enforcement officer who saw no problem with us obtaining a building permit with the corrected measurements!!
Today Goose spoke with some guys at the mill about the wood that they sell to employees. Its utility grade but still good quality for rafters, floor systems and beams and now that Goose works there we will be able to get it at a discount!!
Thank you Jesus!!!
Which got us thinking about the logs we'd need. When Goose built our previous two log homes (one for us and one as a spec) he used utility grade uncut logs. Log home kits are much easier to put together and the logs are generally free of knots and other imperfections. For us with Goose having built many log homes as a carpenter for other families in addition to two he built for us he can cut the logs and assemble them into whatever style home we choose. We kinda like the more rustic look of the utility grade logs... plus we really LOVE the price. I contacted the log home company Goose usually deals with to see if they have any bundles available. They do so we are looking at paying less than $5000 for all the logs we need to build our 28 X 48 log home.
We are in awe as we sit back and watch all the pieces fall into place.. God is so very good and we are humbled to be on this journey.. Bless you all for your continued prayers!!
In His Light and Love~  Goose and Gillian

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Found: Our Debt Free LAND!!!

We started looking for land over the past couple weeks. As we mentioned in a previous post we started off with a budget of $5,000 by looking at what we could save over the next 16 weeks. Then, Praise God, Goose started a new position with lots of overtime that would allow us to save $10,000.
With that figure in mind we thought about how we could go about finding land that would meet our needs within that price range. We try to make sure our first step is always prayer. Asking our Father to guide us to the perfect spot He has chosen for us.
We then started asking around. We shared on our facebook page and our blog our plan to build debt free and let everyone know what we were looking for in a piece of land. Our requirements were that it be of course buildable, at least 1.5 acres, zoned rural and no subdivision rules.  We wanted a view, partially cleared and southern exposure and we dreamed of apple trees and raspberry bushes.
We thought about any family or friends who may have land that they would be willing to sell and contacted them. We looked online for local lots within our price range. We did find a few options but they were futher away from Gooses work then we wanted to go. So we started looking at lots that we a bit above our price range (~15,000). We took another look at the budget and if we squeezed a bit harder we could get $11,000 for the land. Goose will have to work a few Saturdays anyway so that would bring us to around $11,500 including closing costs.
In that $15,000 price range we found a property that was originally listed for $19,500 and then lowered to $15,900. It was within 6 miles of Gooses work. It was 6.5+ acres with a driveway and well. Partially cleared with an amazing view and plenty of southern exposure in the clearing.

We contacted the realtor and after speaking with her briefly we knew that the Lords hands were in this. The realtor was Christian and encouraged us to pray over the lot and let her know.. Amazing. 
That weekend we visited the lot.. We have lots of snow but we really weren't concerned with the landscape so much as we were the lay out of the lot and the set backs which looked to make the lot unbuildable.. There are railroad tracks that cross the back of the property , a right of way to one side and a main road to the front all requiring their own set backs. Then the lot runs through two towns and ends at third town line so there were a few logistics to work out.
After making some phones calls to the railroad, the state and the code enforcement officers for two towns we learned that what many may have thought was an unbuildable lot would in fact be buildable. Our goal is to build the smallest log home that will fit our needs. Where Goose is building it we can adapt the floor plan to fit what the lot allows so for us the lot might just work.
We contacted the realtor and made an offer.. $9,500 to close in 120 days (the end of June) contingent on title insurance, perk test and building approval. We prayed for favor and trusted in the Lords will.
The owner came back with an offer of $12,500. We would have loved to accept it but we knew the highest we could go would be $11,500 including closing costs. So we countered with $10,500 hoping she would either accept or counter with $11,000. She countered with $11,000 and we accepted gratefully!!!
We've learned  that the owners themselves are Christians. The husband had been a deacon at a local church prior to going to be with the Lord and that the family had raised 10 children. We love how God works..
This all happened in the course of 24 hours.. Amazing. The realtor is writing up the purchase and sale and it should be signed before the weekend.
Looking back to the budget with the sale price of $11,000 that would leave us ~$500 for closing costs.. Knowing that the closing costs on our homes was so much more than $500 we contacted a local lawyer for an estimate. For the closing costs and title insurance his office estimated the total would be $400-475!!!!!!!! This is how our God works!!!!
We made the decision to build debt free when we thought we'd be looking for land for $5000 but we trusted the Lord would be in it. 2 weeks later we are looking at purchasing a 6.5+ acres with a driveway, well, partially cleared with a view within 6 miles of Gooses work, 2 miles from the interstate, one lot back from the lake for $11,000.
Thank you Jesus!!!
God is so good and always so much more than we deserve!!!
Our next steps...
  • Starting up our Land fund!! LOVE!! $11,500 in 16 weeks!!! ~~With man this is impossible; but with God ALL things are possible. Matthew 19:26~~
This Weekend:
  • Verify the measurements for set backs and mark trees for where we want to build.
Within the Next Two Weeks:
  • Code enforcement officers and a representative from the railroad will come out and verify our measurements and give us the go ahead to apply for the building permit (if not than we'd have to  look for another buildable spot on the land. or apply for a variance.) 
  • Have the lawyer start the process to make sure we can get title insurance. 
As Soon as the Snow is Gone:
  • Have a soil test done to make sure we can get a septic system on the lot.

In 16 Weeks Lord Willing!!
  • Close on our land with the cash the Lord provides!!!

We still have much to do and there is a lot left to cover in prayer. We have purchased 7 properties in the past 13 years but offered on over 15. We never let the number of  times a plan doesn't work prevent us from trying again, especially if its something the Lord put on our hearts.. So we are taking the next steps, enjoying the process and we cant wait to see what the Lord does next!!!!
Bless you all for continuing to cover our family in prayer as we take another step towards building our home debt free!!!!
In His Light and Love~ Goose and Gillian

The Baby Steps

The Baby Steps