Tuesday came and we headed out to the model house to meet with the sales rep, Jessica. We walked into the house and I was totally overwhelmed. A new house? Me? Build a house? Don’t they know I’m like… 12? But I faked like a was an adult with a job and a paycheck and the ability to buy a house, and we examined House #1 (more on that in a minute). We also walked through another model (House #2) with the teeny tiny great room (veto) and House #3 with the feel of a townhouse (veto x2).
Back to House #1: 3 bed, 2.5 bath great kitchen, great “bonus room” loft for a man cave, great bathroom (with a corner garden tub!), and great price. Not to mention, it was in a great suburb with fantastic schools and the average home price in this neighborhood was well over 300K. Are you starting to get suspicious here? I was. I’ve always lived by the rule: If something seems way too good to be true, it probably is.
And it was. We drove out to the community where we would build to check things out. We were immediately impressed by the impeccable landscaping, the large lots, and the mansions. Then we head over to where we would build. OH. Our house would be directly next to a highway. I don’t mean near a highway. I mean… our house/backyard/fence/highway. Yes… they put a nice fence in and trees for privacy… but still. You get out of the car and all you hear is highway. B loved the house and didn’t think that the highway was that big of a deal. I do live near a firestation now and it doesn’t bother me so, he reasoned, who cares about the noise? It just really bothered me though. I always pay attention to the houses along the highway and wonder who buys them… I just couldn’t be one of those people. We let this remain open as an option, but I was not sold.
We went home for Thanksgiving and came back Sunday in time for a 1pm appointment with a realtor to check out 3 already built houses.
House #4: pretty nice floor plan but brand new purple carpeting? really?
House #5: I really liked it… open floor plan, 4 bed, 2.5 bath, finished basement. B was less impressed. It was at this point he deemed himself over old houses and decided we really can’t go back from looking at models. Warning to all future homebuyers: don’t look at model homes unless you can buy them because there really is no going back!
House #6: sooooooooo old. And ugly. And tiny. so not going to happen.
The next Tuesday we had an appointment with Jessica to see another model at another community. Here we looked at Houses #7 and 8.
As we entered house #7– which she wasn’t even going to show us but it is where the sales office was– I was in love. It had a beautiful open floor plan with a fantastic vaulted great room and connected kitchen. The first floor master was vaulted and it seemed like it was a perfect size for us– about 1900 square feet. The downside is there was really no room for a man cave unless B used the big 3rd bedroom (and it is big.. 19 x 12). But still… we were smitten.
Begrudgingly we entered house #8 already sure we had found our new home. It was still under construction but the drywall was up and you could see what rooms where supposed to be. It was an unusual floor plan– a five level split– and it was huge– almost 2600 square feet! I immediately declared it too big. What the heck would we do all that space? We’d end up in a big empty house with no furniture!! B agreed, although he did love the furnished lower level which would make an ideal man cave.
We met friends for dinner that night and declared that we’d found our home– a mere week after beginning our search! Looks like the December 15 deadline was not as difficult as we’d imagined. I was done looking but I’d already made an appointment to see another house on Thursday and I figured I had better go.
B had to work late and we had no real intention of buying this house #9 so I went alone. Imagine my surprise when I realize that the house I was visiting was an already built house #7!! It was 2 years old with almost every available upgrade– way more than we could afford. Plus a professionally finished basement that was MASSIVE!! The house was built for 248 two years ago + 40K on the basement… and it was listed for 220!! What a steal! Even with the economy it seemed there must be a catch and I soon found it… the back yard! It is TINY. There is a stamped concrete patio extending 10 feet from the house and we had about 10-15 feet beyond that to a community fence. Holy tiny yard.
Despite this I came home to B and declared I’d found our new house. It seemed like kismit… despite the small back yard it had everything else we were looking for including the finished basement! It had hardwood throughout and beautiful granite countertops. I made an appointment for my dad to walk through the house on Saturday to look for any latent problems and an appointment for B to walk through with me the following Tuesday. Pending my dad’s okay and B’s approval we planned to put an offer in Tuesday at the appointment.
Saturday came and the call came in from my dad that he believed the property line only extended 4 feet beyond the patio! We declared this a deal breaker and contacted our realtor. She set to get the survey from the seller’s realtor and we planned to reconvene on Tuesday. On our way back from our trip to Michigan we weighed the options every way we could. B wanted a finished basement. I wanted a decent yard. Throughout it all I was so happy that we could talk calmly through our options and really look out for each others’ interests.
Being ever the accountant, B said he was worried about the resale value of a house with almost no yard. We can finish a basement, he reasoned… we cannot grow a bigger back yard. So when we got back to Columbus we headed to the community with houses #7 and 8 and walked through the model again. We checked out the community in the daylight, then headed to the community with house #9. Undeniably we liked the community with houses #7 and 8 better. B then remembered that there was 1 lot left at the first community with a 15′ deeper lot, and we decided to put a hold on it asap.
At this point we had an appointment to see house #9 on Tuesday, and we had put a hold on a lot to build house #7. Are you lost yet? Unfortunately things only get more complicated from here and this is already far too long! Ironic that this has been the much easier search… but hopefully now it is a bit clearer why I’ve been absent so long!
(to be continued)