Here’s something everyone should know about building an “outside the box” home that is smaller than the average 1250 square feet per person and environmentally friendly – a home that damages the land as little as possible. Once you’ve found a builder that sees the vision and has the skills to make it a reality…
… you’ve got to convince the permit people at the county and the bank that it won’t:
The county was pretty straightforward, although we found it rather unnerving that we ask questions but don`t see documents. Their word, by email is, (we were promised) golden. Development Officer, Megan Armstrong has been excellent – very patient and helpful throughout.
Tip: If you choose to build a home that doesn’t fit into one of the fixed categories on the county’s books, be certain to keep asking questions until you are very sure that what you want to build is what the Development Officer and Building Inspector understand you want to build. Otherwise, you’ll have wasted lots of everyone’s time and, potential, lots of your money! We’ve been assured by Megan (We’ve got it in writing in an email.) that we can build our single module home so long as we meet the criteria that slots it into the category of a multi-module home.
Building Inspector, Charlie Crocker assures us, (again, via email), that we can build on Postechs instead of a concrete foundation as long as we follow the process and have an Engineer’s stamp. According to Mr. Crocker, our’s will be the first house in Kings County built on Postechs – common in other parts of Canada, but new here. Trail blazing! Fingers crossed that it all works out as it should.
Surprisingly (perhaps we`re naive), it’s the banks that have thrown the most recent wrench into the works. Scotia Bank, our bank and holder of our mortgages for the past 22 years, left us high and dry earlier this week… their reason: they don’t do mini-homes. Categorically, they won’t even look at anything that is pre-fabricated as a single unit. In their corporate minds, it’s trailer-trash and they want no part of it. Very short-sighted and foolish on their part, considering more and more homes are being built this way and we have an excellent credit history and a large amount of money sitting in their vaults (not for much longer).
To the credit of some good people at our branch, they don’t agree with the policy and have even called us to make personally apologies. Thank you, nice people at Scotia Bank, Kentville!
I must mention that early in our journey, we engaged the services of mortgage broker, Dan Turner firstname.lastname@example.org
He has been truly helpful and the one who took our mortgage to Scotia Bank. Next on his list was National Bank, which is open to single module homes. They said they’d happily give us a mortgage if we forget the Postechs and build a concrete foundation. We had heard that banks sometimes dictate the design of your home and there it was.
Sorry, National Bank, we aren’t about to change the modern look of our home and spend an extra $20,000 to knock down all our trees, dig a big hole, and fill it with concrete.
In a generous act of forgoing any opportunity to make money on the time he devoted to us, Dan referred us to a lender that he feels confident will help – the Royal Bank. Sherry Taylor at RBC assures us that the Royal works closely with Kent Homes and is very open to modern, pre-fab, small foot print building. They see it as the wave of the future. (Forward thinking bank!)
To his credit, Jeff at Kent Homes had been telling us to go RBC since the beginning. But, the thing is, we don’t like to drop good people who’ve been helping us. They invest their time and expertise and we want them to be paid for their services. Unfortunately, it can’t always work out that way. We try to be as fair as we can.
So, our forms have been filed, the appraisal done and we are waiting…. We’re counting on you Sherry! Each day’s delay takes us one step closer to this….