Updated: Jun 8
Remember in my last building blog when I said that the foundation stage seemed like it would be the most grueling part to me? Well, I might have been wrong. It’s been a while since I’ve given an update, but that’s not for a lack of substantial progress but rather to make sure that I had something substantial to say about it, and chall, I have a LOT to say. But I’ll try to keep it brief and honest.
My main goal was to make sure that the first unit of my duplex at least had a secure roof on before the official start of Hurricane Season. While writing this on the 28th of May, I’m happy to finally say that I did meet this goal, but by a very, very, very small stretch.
“Happy” at this point also seems harder and harder to keep hold of. At every milestone reached, it feels like the end goal is further and further away. With #VaxGirlSummer and the most important day of the year (my birthday) approaching just as quickly as my savings were depleting, it was time to take a step back to reevaluate my strategy going forward. I decided that instead of continuing to pinch pennies through the summer to finish building out of pocket and risk not having enough emergency savings going into hurricane season, I would go back to my original plan to apply for a construction loan.
A few things influenced my decision, mainly as the young people say: I lil brake. I was beginning to become stressed to the point where I was concerned about my health, both physical and mental. I would budget obsessively at every free moment I had so that I could plan to make sure that I had enough money coming in to cover the weekly material and labor costs which were in the thousands every week.
I’ve had more “in over my head” moments than I can count, although I try to allow myself some leeway considering that the cost of construction supplies has risen by 45% since March 2020. This means that the cost of building is exponentially higher than when I signed my sales agreement in late February 2020 and even higher than when I began building in October 2020. So there were definitely a lot of variables out of my control making this much harder than I anticipated when I committed to it, but knowing that hasn’t stopped Imposter Syndrome from having me in a chokehold every other week.
Nonetheless, it’s not as depressing as I may have made it sound thus far. I know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, the brightest light of course being that I’ll eventually be the sole owner of an income producing property and my net worth will soon be in the 6 figure range rather than the 5 figure range initial investment that it took to get here. On that note, my struggling to get to this point out of pocket wasn’t in vain. Since I’ve been using my own money to develop an improved structure on what was once a vacant lot (technically owned by the bank until my land loan is paid off), I’ve now used my own funds to enhance the overall value of the property. The value that I’ve added to the property is known as equity, and having a substantial amount of equity in a property can be useful for reducing the amount of money owed to the bank, making my repayment much easier. I’m still waiting for the appraisal to confirm the current value, but I’m hopeful that my equity will be worth my effort.
As for the actual building itself, which you probably came here to read about… it’s fine. I mentioned in my foundation blog that I’m not doing anything extravagant, just two basic 2-bed 2-bath units. Once the electrical and plumbing pipes were set in the foundation and the foundation was approved by the Ministry of Works, it only took about 5 weeks to have all four walls and the roof all up and cemented. It’s much bigger inside than it looks on the outside, but that just gives me more room to expand on the property later on (which, of course, I’ll be giving updates about here on Major Cay).
Sometimes I really do have to look back at pictures to feel proud of how far I’ve come up to this point, which you can get a glimpse of below. However, since independence was a major goal for me with this project, I don’t think I’ll really feel accomplished until the property is livable or in other words, has doors and windows to keep bugs out and the most important thing for survival: wifi. I am, however, super excited to be getting closer to the decorating stage. Every time I step in the building, I’m mapping out exactly where I want my imaginary furniture and decor to go. In fact, when I get too stressed about the hard labor and materials, I browse decor online to keep me motivated… and then I look at the prices and close the tab.
The next step is to set up the electricity, wait for another inspection by the Ministry of Works, then plumbing and other essential fittings. Fingers crossed that the loan will be approved in time for me to keep on pushing and get my birthday wish of being able to live in my own place by August. It’s safe to say the anticipation is killing me, so if it’s killing you too, you’ll have to keep up with my blogs here on Major Cay to find out where it all ends up and catch some brutally honest construction and investment advice along the way.
This little piece of decor below has great sentimental value for me. I was in a store a few weeks before the pandemic began when I picked this up to buy it for my future home, as a gift of encouragement to myself. At the checkout counter, I got the email from my lawyers saying that the Sales Agreement had been signed by the sellers and it was time to move ahead with the land sale. I now see this little decoration as good luck charm and a symbol of manifestation!