We were blissfully ignorant of the workings of the Keys. I was spending my time making design decisions for my “dream home” without the cruel realities.

Our original designer did not tell us he had heart disease and he died during the process. His boss was a thief, stole money and did not finish the design work.

Due to the cost of an ICF house was about $900,000 we decided to go with a more traditional concrete block and metal roof house. $900,000 was more than what we wanted to spend for a dry lot house.

The next design/build guy came in at $650k estimate which was great, all we needed to do was “finish” the drawings. His engineer wanted to us to pay again for the design fees. For the $650k construction cost it was worth it. After his engineer got done “finishing” the drawings the cost of construction was $1 million!

I had to start over with the “find a contractor” process. With hurricanes, a hot construction market and a pandemic it was not easy! Nothing in the Keys is!

I found a contractor who was working with the designer on the designer’s house (a good sign), was working in the neighborhood and had good references. He was responsive, and figured out a way to save money and what work I could do myself.

So we’ve lost 3 years in Marathon’s BPAS process due to this stuff, and more! In the City of Marathon’s BPAS system a lot owner is supposed to earn one point for every year you own the property. With the recession of 2008 the City stopped issuing these points. I do not remember receiving notice of this change. Why is it important? The lot owners with the most points gets to develop their lot. Not knowing who will get the top 12 positions to build there is strong competition. These permits are issues only two times a year. Also, the county is going to stop issuing permits for these lots soon. Not knowing if  we had enough points after assuming we had enough points since 2016, we had to “donate” money to the City to “buy” points to put us over the top!

We were Number One! We over bought points, but wanted to get our BPAS allocation now!

I finally have a contractor (slow moving he is!) and we are finally getting a permit if he can move a little faster. The process to turn an allocation into a permit is different from any approval process known! You must submit all info on your subs, costs, contractors, etc. before you can get a permit. I’m still waiting for the contractor to finish up!

If the contractor does not finish by mid-November we will lose our BPAS allocation, which we have been waiting for since 2006!

After all of this time and additional expenses, prices have gone up due to material shortages and labor shortages. So now we are going with concrete block, metal roof. The price is a lot higher than a few years ago but still less than the ICF we wanted!