Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I wanted to build a house

Back in the time I was beginning to feel my wings and wanted to have my own building business, I had no idea of banking and finances. I thought building, selling, buying a house was like buying or selling a car. I learned the hard way.


I found a little lot with a shack on it for $3000. I wanted to build a house, and had never built in my life. We tore the shack down and cleared off the lot. Then I learned I needed permission to tear down the shack, ah ha!


“I already tore it down!”

“You are kidding?”

“No sir, I didn’t know I needed permission to unbuild.”

“Okay, don’t let it happen again.”

“Okay I promise. Now can I build a house?”

“Well, maybe. I’m not sure. Oh, that lot is too small to build on.”


(I learned about Zoning & lot size)


“Too small, but wait, let’s see if it is grandfathered in?”


“Grandfathered, means you might be able to do it since the lot was cut out before the law was passed. (pause,checking) Okay you can build, where are the plans?”

“In my head!”

“Not the right place, I need them on paper.”

“Okay, be back tomorrow.”  (Drawing all night)

Next day… “Okay, here they are.”

“Nice drawing, did you do them to scale?”

“Pretty close, I have a semester of technical drawing.”

“That is nice,” (smiles), “but we need certified drawings, by someone accepted by the state of NC. And the widest the house can be is 24ft. Also a surveyor must position it because you do not have an inch to spare.”


I could see things weren’t going to be as simple as I had thought. But of course I worked thru it and had a ball doing it. I did build the house and I did not have a contractor’s license. In NC you can build your own house without a license.

I built the cabinets cut the molding, built the trusses and raised them myself. I did not do the heating and I did not air condition it, because I did not know how.

Snow and leaving town 027

(My first house, 30 years later, the area has went down and this is a messy day, but those are giant oaks out front)

I planted a garden out back, and in the afternoon/evening I tended the garden. I had a great time. During the building time I kept track of my hours from the time I left home until I quit for the day. I finished the house and was the proudest guy in the world. I stuck a for sale sign out front. I waited a whole week and no one bought it. I expected it to sell immediately, it was my creation.

Now to the realtor. “What is your asking price?”

“What are you gonna charge me to sell it?” He said 5%. I figured some and I think I came up with about $30,000. He smiled but didn’t argue. The house sold in a week. If I had waited a day, it would have sold from my for sale sign.

After the closing the lady said, now that I have paid for the house, what is wrong with it? Why so cheap? What Cheap?

I told her, I earned $10 an hour, I am happy with that. I guess it was her time to smile. (Everyone smiling these sly smiles) She was very happy, a new house with Corn, okra and tomatoes growing in a neat garden out back.

Well that was the first one, I had found what I loved to do.

Snow and leaving town 032

(These are some of the later ones, A good bit of improvement, but not half the fun as the first one)

Snow and leaving town 033

Snow and leaving town 031

Snow and leaving town 034

(I was always a hands on Contractor, I loved to drive a nail)

Thanks for coming by the log.

Nite Shipslog


Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952, but he declined. He died April 18, 1955


I would like to park this 1956 T-Bird in front of my house!

1956 thunderbird, THE FORD


Anonymous said...

Hi Jack this reminds me about 10 years ago Grover and I decided to build another storage building in our back yard, yes here we are suppose to get a permit Grover said this is my property and he wasn't going to buy a permit. We have a neighbor who was a city councilman at that time we keep noticing him driving by looking, and I told Grover that they would be out asking him if he had a permit, but we never heard any thing from the city. You have built some pretty homes. You and Sherry have a nice day. Jean

BlueRidge Boomer said...

Where were you when i needed a builder...??!!

shirl72 said...

If we didn't have zoning and code inforcement think how many people would be out of a job. I am
living in a Double Condo you built. It is very
nice and comfortable. Thank goodness we are
having a little cooler weather. Stay cool.


Glenda said...

Great story about your first house, that was some jump into the frying pan!!! You built some beautiful homes--love the 2-story---bet it looks lovely with Christmas decorations.

Anonymous said...

My mind clicks off when I'm reading a diatribe by someone who hasn't done very much of anything but KNOWS EXACTLY how everything should be done.

But you are a doer. You don't need to blog about this theory & that theory(& thankfully, you don't)because you know all about the practical application. You did it. ~Mary

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this glimpse into life itself.

Please have you all a wonderful Wednesday.


Valuable lessons learned for sure. With each new attempt you improved your "lot" in life. (pun intended) Loved seeing all the photos of your progress throughout the years. GREAT JOB.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Our first house was almost like the first you built. We didn't build it but it sure was a great home to start out in. All the homes are very nice. I guess you do love to build homes. We had quite a rain this evening and it has cooled way down and should only be mid 70's here tomorrow. Nice break from the heat. Hope all is well there.

Paula said...

Oh the joys of red tape. We paid $4,000 cash for our first house. It was a sturdy house but not pretty. We fixed it up ourselves one thing at a time without going into debt. A few years ago I sold it for $32,000 and they will have it paid for next May.

Dar said...

Hmmmmm, now we know who to call to help with an addition onto the log cabin....ya game?

Ken Riches said...

It is a sense of accomplishment I am sure. I have helped with Habitat Houses, and done sheds, not quite as exciting, but still satisfying.