When I escaped the big freeze back home and rented a house in the Florida Keys for 3 months, I was so enamoured with the place that I looked for land I might build on. I figured if I could get a cheap enough plot near the water, I might be able to have a house built in stages, maybe taking 2 or 3 years to complete it. I bought a plot on Ramrod Key, not the empty plot next to the water, but the next one. I thought correctly that the seafront plot was too small to build a house that met current regulations about size and distance from the water. So mine was effectively a waterfront plot, but at a much lower price.
When the plot was mine, I hired a local builder, Maco. I modified a standard design to my specifications, customizing it to make efficient use of space. It had to be on stilts to raise it above hurricane flood level. I went once or twice a year to keep track of progress, and watched it being built. I made payments to Maco as each stage was completed. Then I went and found the builder had done a runner, shutting up shop and disappearing with his debts. I was left with an unfinished house, but fortunately I had not paid for anything not done.
The solution was a neighbour across the canal, also a builder. He offered to finish the job for a fixed sum, and made an excellent job of it. It was about what I would have paid Maco to complete it anyway. Thus on a January day, 33 months after I'd begun it, I moved into my own house in the Florida Keys. I spent many happy times there over the years, and let friends use it when I wasn't there myself.
I fled hurricane Andrew in 1995, and sold the house soon thereafter. I looked at satellite images after hurricane Irma struck in 2017 and was pleased to see that although the area was ravaged and trees uprooted, my old house had stood up well to the storm.