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Financial Analysis  April 13th, 2014

What is my dream and why is it important to me

My dream is to build a cottage at the coast where my husband and I already own the piece of land (.55 acres) it will be built on.  This was a purchase we made with money from my inheritance.  It means a lot to me to make this a place that my mother would be proud of and honor her memory there.  Without her contribution, I would not be able to realize this dream.  I also think it would be a legacy that I could  in turn pass on to my children.

I really like the ocean and enjoy long beach walks.  To me there is something special about the sea air and animals and the changing tides and weather patterns.  We are fortunate to be within about a quarter mile from the beach, and will be able to build the cottage with an ocean view from a second or third story access.

Fortunately we are not in the tsunami zone, so I can feel a little more stable in approaching its investment possibilities long term.  I would like to build the cottage using renewable energy with modern sources of ecology-friendly construction so that it is as climate neutral as possible.  I am not sure whether I want it ultra modern or antique-like in appearance.  My tastes are rather eclectic.  My other wishes are for it to have a porch and/or a sun room for plants and rocking chairs or swings or hammocks and a big area work room set up for various sewing projects where I can make quilts and practice embroidery.   The goal is to have the beach cottage be our retirement home  in about 10 years.

How did others accomplish the same dream

In a journal about coastal cottages the end result of the dream is evidenced in photos and decorating ideas. I will need to do further research on building in general and of course how I want it to look inside and outside.  I will study various sources and talk to  local architects and engineers as well as the local county land planning to see how others have accomplished their dream cottages.  Our Realtor is also another good source of information.

Other reading sources I will be looking at are:

TITLE Coastal design : a guide for builders, planners, and home owners / Orrin H. Pilkey, Sr. … [et al.].
PUBLISHER New York : Van Nostrand Reinhold, c1983.

Coastal construction manual : principles and practices … v.3 2005


Space, style, and structure : building in Northwest America / Thomas Vaughan, editor ; Virginia Guest Ferriday, associate editor.

AUTHOR Vaughan, Thomas, 1924-
PUBLISHER Portland, Or. : Oregon Historical Society, 1974.

My husband is a bridge carpenter.  He and his brother contracted out and built another investment property in the same area, so I will use their expertise and experiences in my endeavor.

What barriers and support systems exist

I think the biggest hindrance to my dream is thinking that I am not capable of going forward with this.  It is that part of my mind that likes to say it will take too much money or time or I really don’t need it.  Or that it can’t be done because it will tie me down too much in one place, when maybe what I should be doing is traveling the world instead.  Or that maybe I should be less selfish and work on causes I feel strongly about like promoting world peace by being an activist to help establish the U.S. Department of Peace or work on policy to ignite the United States Institute of Peace.  Or that I should get into politics to address and advocate for family friendly social policies.  I have so many dreams to start and complete and I may not be that driven.

I do have the goal to finish my undergraduate degree online, so that is one barrier to both time and money that I will need to be cautious about.  We would also probably need to hire someone who lives on the coast and is closer to the area than we are to oversee the building construction, since we will most likely going to continue to work at our jobs in the Portland Metro area.

I have many support systems in place.  The property is already septic approved and has road access.  My husband is very knowledgeable about building houses and would be an extra set of eyes and ears for this project, so that I wouldn’t feel taken advantage of  or have the lone responsibility for seeing the construction through to completion.  My sister-in-law and brother-in-law live in the vicinity and would be helpful to remind me of what a great place it is to live and also be closer to to share in visiting and doing things together.   Our credit is respectable, so I think financing would be another support system that would be easy to place.   We are mostly out of debt, so unless the unexpected happens, we are not tied down in that way.

Analyzing my needs and desires and comparing options

I will propose that I don’t really need a beach cottage.  I could as easily put in an RV hookup and park a travel trailer there instead.  I do desire to have a beach cottage there.  These are my two options.  The size of the beach cottage will be the main drive in cost, so square footage options are what will need to be analyzed.

I have set up a financial management page connected with my online banking which is a good way to keep track of most of my income, expenses, assets and liabilities online. Most of my investment and retirement accounts are now synced in one place.   It was not transferable to my blog, so I did an Excel spreadsheet for output and upload.  Both these were good exercises, as I found that I really should be watching the budget more closely and have it documented where I see it anytime I log into my accounts online.  I also found that I should be collecting about $167 more per month loaned money from my three children to stay away from “eating into” my savings account for my monthly budgeting.  It also forces me to look at where I can spend less in certain categories.

My husband and brother contracted the building of an investment beach house in 2007 at the cost of $75 per square foot totaling $212,000.  At that time a more custom home would have been $100 per square foot.  If I were to build a cottage in today’s construction prices or within the next 10 years, I would probably be looking at contracting out for $100 per square foot minimum.  I searched the question online “how much does it cost per square foot to build  Oregon cottage” and found a great article titled How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in Oregon.  In the Portland area a custom house would be about $120 per square foot.  There is an estimator spreadsheet that is included. This will be a great source when looking at final plans.

In summary my personal spreadsheets below have two data option scenarios for building a cottage.  I think using a dedicated software spreadsheet like the above referenced one in the previous paragraph will be a more accurate way to project and vary scenarios when I am ready to attempt this project.  I know I will have to save more money and spend less to make this dream a reality and have a comfortable lifestyle.   This research has me excited to begin my path forward on my dream of a cottage at the coast.

Budget Data

Spreadsheet showing monthly budget before dream

wages income 4113
school loans & 529 plans expense 425
tuition books fees expense 275
auto loan expense 171
auto fuel expense 250
auto insurance expense 210
house insurance expense 96
groceries expense 938
electric expense 350
water expense 52
phone expense 315
trash & recycle expense 55
internet expense 75
clothing expense 15
haircuts expense 15
entertainment expense 938
credit cards expense 100
savings income 5780
investments income 676
retirement income 9482
monthly budget showing preparation for dream scenarios – first column basic cottage route and second column more custom route
wages income 4113 4113
school loans & 529 plans expense 425 425
tuition books fees expense 275 275
auto loan expense 171 171
auto fuel expense 250 250
auto insurance expense 210 210
house insurance expense 96 96
groceries expense 938 938
electric expense 350 350
water expense 52 52
phone expense 315 315
trash & recycle expense 55 55
internet expense 75 75
clothing expense 15 15
haircuts expense 15 15
entertainment expense 938 938
credit cards expense 100 100
savings income 5780 5780
investments income 676 676
retirement income 9482 9482
permit fees expense 50 100
engineer/architect expense 75 150
contractor expense 100 200
fill dirt/equipment expense 25 50
materials expense 200 400
total income 20051 20051


my hubby and son near my future coast cottage

my hubby and son near my future coast cottage © Lindeen-Blakeley, 2014

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