Everyone dreams of owning a home at some point in their life. I grew up living in apartments and never felt like I had my own space. So, when my husband and I decided to start looking for a home, I was pretty much like a kid in a candy store. Of course I did my homework, but I soon realized that the more I researched, the more there was to learn. We actually decided to rent before buying, just to make sure. We were from out of state and wanted to be 100% sure that we liked the neighborhood. Home-buying is a process and a long-term commitment (very long!). We took into consideration the lifestyle we wanted, school districts, cost-of-living and many other things. Before we moved, we had a pretty good idea of what type of housing and where it would be.
First order of business: Pick a location. After all, it’s not like we can just pick up our new home and move it later on. (I mean, maybe we could if we really wanted to and had the financial means to do so but let’s be honest, we, like most others, don’t have that luxury). Our primary consideration when looking for a home was the school our son would attend, public education and college later down the road. I started noticing that the homes zoned for the better schools naturally had a higher price tag. I used several websites to provide insight on the various schools and I compared everything from student/teacher ratios to testing scores on common core subjects. I checked the county’s public school system website, each schools website and other websites to help me make a well informed decision. We finally decided on a public STEM school and moved into the neighborhood! (As renters, of course.)
My family and I then started exploring our new neighborhood. We went to festivals, street fairs and food truck rodeos. We tried out many local restaurants. We even went canoeing! My family likes to stay active, so part of buying a home was making sure we had access to all the things we love to do. The area we moved to was right in between the mountains and the beach so no matter the season, we were only a short road trip away.
After settling into our new apartment we started browsing for a home. I made sure to know what our budget was and used that in combination with the school district to narrow our search. We initially looked at town-homes and finally stumbled across a single-family home that we really thought would fit our needs. I even nicknamed it: Pillar House. At the time we were still only looking, but we decided to apply for a loan just in case we decided to put an offer on a home. Before we could even get a pre-approval letter, Pillar House was off the market! I learned about first-time homebuyer programs and shortly after getting pre-approved for the first-time homebuyers program and a loan, we learned about the possibility of owning a BRAND NEW home. That’s right, new construction! I never thought that would have been possible but as it turned out, we were able to build our home in this new community with all our must-haves, stay within budget and keep our son in his current school. (We learned that we could move within the county and request a transfer to keep our son at the same school). There are pros and cons to new construction, just as there are with pre-exsisiting homes. Older homes, for example, may have lower taxes but you also don’t know how the previous owner (assuming it only had one) took care of the home. You may move in and six months down the road find that several things need repair or replacing. For those reasons we decided to go new construction. I, personally, didn’t want to have to deal with repairs, remodeling or upgrading after moving in.
I walked into the sales office with my husband hoping to get information on the new homes. We walked out a few hours later with a quote and the feeling that this is where we belonged! Over the course of several months we signed our names more times than we could count. We picked out everything from flooring to attic insulation and everything in between. We visited the construction site often to keep up with the progress of our home. Our home is still several weeks from being finished and I’m sure we still have plenty to learn about owning a home. There have been a few hiccups along the way but nothing major. If there is one thing we learned it’s that you can never ask too many questions!
All in all, I’m glad we decided to go with new construction. Overall our experience has been pleasurable and a smooth ride. Now we can focus on decorating and furnishing all our extra space without the preoccupation of major repairs in the near future. We already have numerous DIY home organization and decoration projects planned and a plethora of pins on our Pinterest.