It is always interesting the comments I receive from people when they hear the Husband and I are building a new home. You can usually sort out the people who comment into two groups: those who have built and those who haven’t. The ones who have built look at you and ask what phase you are at while the ones who have never built make faces at why one could possible feel exhausted from such a task. Let me give you what I have learned so far.
*It takes a long time to get to the finished product. I don’t care what type of patience you have or what the grand outcome will be, in a world of instant gratification, you won’t be getting it here. You will have your heart set on a close date so many times just to see it pushed further away on the calendar. You will watch the weather obsessively to see how far the week will set the contractors back. Snow and frozen ground be damned, you will suddenly be willing to take a hair dryer to your land, if it will help.
*You have a lot of decisions to make. White outlet plates or off white? What shape vents on the outside? I never knew there were so many decisions and you don’t make them all at once or even in an order that makes sense. One month you pick out your granite and the next you pick our your tile. Three months later you choose your wall color. It can be completely overwhelming with all of the options. And options you never knew existed start to give you a headache. When I was presented with toilet options I thought about all the people in the world who would kill for just a clean toilet. First world problems much?
*You have time to change your mind on those decisions. This sounds like it should be a positive but it is not. Just when I think I’m good with all the lighting choices, I Google pictures or get on Pinterest and I feel like I need to start over. Especially when you know the option is there to change your mind. This can overwhelm you in a heartbeat. I turned into the person I never thought I would be, the one emailing my builder at midnight on a Friday night with a change order…the third one for the house color…
*One word: Budget. If you are a person who gets to build a home without a budget, I applaud you….and would like to bitch slap you. Normally when you go in to pick things out, such as lighting, you have an allowance. The person helping you will point out the options in your allowance (which are all perfectly fine) and then you look up and around the room and oooooohhh, shiny object! You will need to learn to overt your eyes because all shiny objects that you saw on HGTV/Pinterest are out of your allowance. Thankfully we have a builder who provides outstanding allowances but doesn’t that infinity tub over there suddenly look important?….
*Follow up to budget: Overages. I gave in to a few of those shiny objects (not the tub) and I am now getting the finalized overage sheets from my builder. When you pick things out for months at a time it is easy to do $100 at this place and oh, what is another $200 at this place? The problem is, if you aren’t careful, those add up fast. Our overage total is only $1,300 but we are still below the safety net we gave ourselves for such a situation. I have friends who recently finished at $35,000 over. I would die.
*You are literally creating your home. Our memories started the second we picked out our land. To see it go from literally nothing to a home we will have together is pretty amazing. It is all ours without memories from prior homeowners. There is no ugly wall color from previous children or door scratches from someone else’s dog. It has really been amazing to watch it through Rebecca’s eyes. She took to the studs of the walls one day with a permanent marker and covered her room with her name and drawings. No one will ever know 100 years from now who she is but those walls will hold her name.
* Cost. This one is different for everyone but in the long run this was a cheaper option for us. Another huge helping factor was that the Husband could do some of the work himself. By him doing the dirt work and excavating, that alone saved us $30,000. He also poured all the concrete and then just by him being in the business we were able to haul in a few other favors from other subcontractors. The Husband also happens to be one of our builders subcontractor’s, I can’t tell you how much that has helped.
*Built for your needs. I will say it again, everyone is different. When you are looking to purchase a house that is already built you are settling in a way. You are looking at the fact that you will have to change something, add-on, remove, paint, etc. Sure we are settling by building because I don’t have an unlimited budget but we designed a floor plan for our family. We have the laundry room where we need it, a 1,000 sq ft garage, and an open floor plan. It is truly move in ready and we will know every inch of it.
*You get to pick it all out. I know, this is a bad and a good. I’m not a person who is good at decorating but thankfully I had some help along the way and I hope it pays off. My Husband and I did have fun spending weekends and evenings looking at samples and putting it all together. In the end if we don’t like it we have no one to blame but ourselves. Picking everything out is a task that can kill your marriage or you can turn it into really fun date nights. I know, my 21-year-old self just choked on her vodka reading that last sentence.
All in all this experience hasn’t been as horrible as some people made it out to be. The most important thing is that we will soon have a house to come home to built out of love.