After two weeks of managing everything that comes along with closing and moving into a new house (plus work of course), I’m so happy to be back on here (this time with my stud of a husband)! Thank you all so much for bearing with me.
It’s crazy to think that two weeks ago from today we closed on the house. Man oh man is time flying or what. Not only is it flying but it FLEW! It feels like just a couple of months ago my dad and I were visiting South Carolina to check out this little plot of dirt. Six and a half months later and we’re sitting on our couch that is placed on beautiful floors that were installed on top of concrete that was poured on top of that plot of dirt. That’s pretty mind blowing to us! We love this little home of ours and are really proud of the work that went into making it ours. We can’t say though that the process was all peaches and rainbows. We’ve learned a lot through this home building process so in case some of you out there decide to build a house some day, maybe these lessons that we learned will help you!
When choosing a plot of land, ask to see the floor plan you’re interested in, mapped out on the lot you’re interested in. Now, we have learned that they most likely won’t be able to get you a blueprint of the floor plan on that exact plot (the surveyors come right before they start building which means the lot and floor plan have been decided on by the buyer). We do know though that you should try to get as much information about this in particular as possible. Maybe walk the land with the seller and roughly map out where the house, yard, etc. would be or ask them to give you square footage of what the yard could be, etc. We learned the hard way about this one. We love our floor plan but looking back on it we should’ve asked more specific questions about the yard because once we saw it in person we thought, “Holy cow… This is not as big as we expected.” We were a little bummed about it but now that the fence is up it’s actually not as small as we thought. Would we have changed our decision on the floor plan and lot? After talking about it quite a few times, we really don’t think so but who knows! Maybe we would’ve thought about taking our square footage upward instead of back (our house is one story versus two so it takes up a lot of our lot).
Look into every single building and design option that the builder offers. To give you a little bit of background, Stephen and I were able to decide on almost everything involved with this home. The lot, the floor plan, the roof, siding, door, the floors, the crown molding, you name it. If it’s in the house we most likely chose it. We discussed every single option together before signing any papers. Some of them were quick and easy, “No, we don’t need that” agreements and other ones we had to write out pros and cons lists for. Either way, we went through each and every option together and didn’t bypass anything. This forced us to do a lot of research and kept us from making an impulse decision. A lot of the options we decided not to upgrade at all. We didn’t want to pay extra for things we planned on doing differently anyway for a much less expensive price tag.
The three main factors to consider when choosing between the options – budget, practicality, and design. I’m going to say in no particular order because while each decision we made was based around these factors, sometimes one factor trumped another. It really just depended. The farmhouse sink for example – the design factor obviously won.
If something isn’t offered, ask about it. Our builder was pretty clear about the options that we could choose from. However, we’ve learned through the building process that some people have been able to get options that we didn’t even know existed. We don’t really care because we like everything we picked but it did make us wonder a bit…
As the closing date is quickly approaching, don’t be afraid to put a little pressure on the builders. Stephen and I should’ve done more of this. Since we were literally living right across the street from our house (and the builders knew that) we don’t know if they didn’t feel like they needed to give our house as much attention going into the closing or what the deal was but we were honestly a little upset at our closing. There was just a bunch of little stuff to get done still. A lot of which will be mentioned at our 30 day inspection. We don’t say that to rag on the builder or anything because we do love our home but we also know that they know that they slacked off on it too. Lesson learned – Don’t be afraid to gently put a little pressure on them.
In general, don’t be afraid to ask any questions or speak up about any concerns with your builder during the entire building process. Building a home is not cheap so you shouldn’t feel like they are cutting corners. We did feel that way about some things and we spoke up about them. Like I mentioned, we worked really hard to buy this brand spankin’ new house so if things weren’t going the way we expected them to go, we told them. Now along with that, we think it’s important to mention that there’s no need to be a jerk about it. No one likes working with or for a rude person and chances are you’ll get even less done that way. Make your reasonable expectations clear with your builder but be nice about it!
Trust your gut. We had a couple of friends building their homes at the same time as we were and sometimes it got a bit stressful with everyone talking about what they planned on doing. A lot of the time it made me (Jordan) think “Crap, should we have done that?” but eventually I got to the point where I just had to remember to trust my gut. Like I said, we thought through every decision we made with this little space of ours and we’re really proud to call this home (for the next few years 😉 ).
In case you missed them, here are the February and January home updates! A March update will be coming soon!