I wasn’t expecting to start a tiny home project for myself only four months out of college, but sometimes life brings you a perfect opportunity, and you capitalize on it. This post is about how in less than two weeks, I committed to designing/financing a tiny home and promised to have construction documents ready before the first week of November. Nothing like a dead line to make you get your shi—stuff together.
The North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) has a “Building Trades” course taught by Gregg Helmich. Gregg has a very active Facebook page for his class and it’s really cool to see the different projects they do. Luckily one of my coworkers has his page liked and saw a post he made back on September 5th about looking for people who wanted to finance and have a tiny home built for them.
Right when I got ahold of this information, I called NIACC and left Gregg a voicemail. Me, being an extremely inpatient person when I’m excited about something, I couldn’t wait any longer after an hour of not hearing anything back, especially once there were over 30 shares on his post. I became creepy and looked up his email on the NIACC website directory. I wrote him an obnoxiously detailed email (you can read this email at the end of this post) about myself that could have scared him away, or shown how passionate and interested I was about the project. Thankfully it was the latter of the two. He responded really positively to my enthusiasm and it kind of just picked up from there. He told me he had others contact him about interest, but with my design background and architecture connections, I was the perfect first client for them.
So after a few phone calls I had to prove I could finance the project since I was fresh out of college. I went to my local bank, First Citizens Bank, that my family has banked at for over fifty years. I trust this bank and they know my family, which made the finance part of the project so easy and stress free. Trever Olsen, a lending officer in Osage, pre-approved a 25,000 loan with a written letter I could send to Gregg/NIACC. Trever is really great to work with and answered all my questions fully. First Citizens Bank is a big part of why my tiny dream home is happening so quickly for me and I am extremely thankful.
After I had financial security for this project, it was time to meet face to face with Gregg. On September 18th at 6:45 am Gregg gave me a tour of the shop, we talked building schedule, and I showed him some rough preliminary plans I had drawn up on my lunch hour at work. He answered my questions and concerns, and then he printed out a NIACC agreement contract. That’s when it sunk in. I was handed a real document that was going to blossom my idea into a real project.
To be honest, when I showed up for this meeting, I thought it was an interview to decide if I was the right fit for the project. I was not expecting to leave with a contract in my hand. It’s hard to explain the emotions that ran through my head of complete excitement where I couldn’t sit still and all the nervousness for not knowing what is to come in the future. My coworkers could read the good news/extreme emotional overload on my face at the office that morning. They were all excited for me and that helped me get over all the fear I felt. After a good night of sleep, I woke up the next day ready to take on the tiny home world. After only 13 days, the second phase of my project has begun! Now time to design!
Like the NIACC Building Trades Facebook Page at NIACC Building Trades Facebook Page
Here’s the embarrassing email that I’ll probably regret sharing later in life: Original Message to NIACC