Joe and I closed on our brand new home on Monday, July 17, 2017 (literally a month ago tomorrow) and I have to say next to our wedding day it was the best day for us yet! That feeling when we signed the final document and the attorney pulled out those keys… it was just unexplainable. Since then we’ve been getting settled in, reflecting on our journey and gladly welcoming visitors (the best part). Throughout our home building process we’ve gotten questions from people who are searching for a new home and thinking about building, so I thought I’d share our experience and answer the questions for anyone considering going this route.
How long did we search for a home before deciding to build?
We were only searching for maybe a month or two and this was more of a light weight search as I utilized apps like Zillow and Realtor and we looked at a couple homes in person. Searching for homes can be fun but it can also create anxiety and frustration because you may struggle to find what you want in the price range that you want. I was over the home searching process really soon after only looking at a few homes.
Why did we decide to build?
After we didn’t get the home we thought we were supposed to get we decided to go another route and build. We also decided to go for something turn-key (HGTV word) that didn’t need renovations or upgrades. We are both very familiar with building as Joe got a home built several years ago and we (my parents, sister and I) had the home I grew up in in Michigan built. I liked the idea of our first home, our starter home, being built and designed by us and we being the first ones in it. I remember that feeling as a child and wanted to experience that as an adult.
How did we go about choosing a builder?
Honestly, it was the Lord who guided our decision. We had recommendations for builders in the area and one in particular I was set on like last year, but when we were deciding to build we both prayed and ask God to guide our choosing and lead us to the right builder. We decided to check out the builders in the area and we saw homes we liked and would consider but we were waiting for that feeling everyone talks about when you walk into a home and it feels like home. We also wanted something in our budget, that’s very important! LOL We loved the design features and the floor plan in the builder we chose and walking into the floor plan we actually wanted, we had that feeling where it felt like home. So, it was a check for affordability and check for homey feeling 🙂
Did we have a realtor?
We had a realtor when we were looking to buy a house. However, when we decided to build we found the builder on our own and didn’t really need a realtor from that point on. Since there was nothing to negotiate, no back and forth, we didn’t really see a need for a realtor for us. I’ve heard that some people used a realtor, so it’s up to you, but we didn’t see the need for us as everything was pretty cut and dry, anything we didn’t understand it was then made clear to us and it was just a matter of choosing our lot, making our home selections, the home being built and closing.
What was the building process like?
Our building process was very simple which kind of had me nervous because several people who have built home have told me their process was stressful and to “stay on the builder”. I have to say that our process further confirmed that this was all God because everything from beginning to end with the building process was smooth. If there was ever an issue or something that I saw that wasn’t done right, it was either corrected before I could even let them know or it was immediately done when I notified them. We met with our builder and sales agent at every inspection point, did several walk-throughs (I even did my own daily, sometimes twice daily lol). The building process from signing the contract to closing was approximately six months. The actual building was probably 4.5. We were notified when we were about 30 days from closing and then about a week before the actual closing date which got moved up. I would say that was the only stress point for me because I had one date in mind and then it moved up so we kind of had to rush to get some final things done, like the walk through and inspection, but in the end it all worked out.
Anything to look out for when building?
I will say to be very present throughout the building process because there are things that can get overlooked like a certain upgrade or change you made in the design process. When the contractors are working on the home they are going by a certain blueprint and installing whatever products or materials are delivered to your lot, so if something is wrong they may not know right off top. It’s the construction manager who will have all of the details, so if you see something that’s wrong don’t assume that they know, just say something. Even if they say they know and are going to fix it, it’s better you said something sooner than later.
Important tips to share?
- Choose carefully at the design center! The best part aside from closing is choosing your features in your house which is one of the reasons we chose to build. They gave us two weeks to marinate on our decisions before making a final one and I would suggest using that time wisely to check out the paint color, brick color, wood color, etc. and as much as you can in person if possible and online. Pinterest and Houzz are your friends if you can get item/spec numbers and colors for things like paint color, flooring, cabinet color, etc.
- If you choose to get a final inspection done before closing (some people do, some don’t on a newly built home), get it done early. Because our closing date was pushed up we had to scramble to get this done, which ended up not even being necessary. But when you are about 30 days out look into getting your home inspection done.
- As I said before, if you see something that isn’t right, say something. Write notes, take pictures, do whatever you need to do to make sure your home is built right. It may even be helpful to have a friend who knows about homes and what to look for to assist you.
Stay tuned for my “House to Home” series where I will be sharing my home decor and ideas that I am hoping to start soon! In the meantime, if you are building a home or have built your home, I’d love to hear from you! Share with me your story below.