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Saturday, December 7, 2013

We're building a house!


Once we got out of debt last year we knew we wanted to start saving for a house. We weren't planning on buying in New Mexico because we knew we wouldn't be there for more than two years. We're renting a house here in Arizona, but only planned to rent for 1 year until we saved some money for a house. We don't know how long we will be here, but we're pretty sure it will be a few years at least. The area around where we live is growing. There are new homes going up everywhere. We talked about how fun it would be to build a house and who knows when we'd get another opportunity to. We had no clue where to start and I had thought it would be very expensive and hard. One day we stopped by a new community just going in and walked through the model homes. After talking to the agent we were pleasantly surprised that it was affordable and in our price range. He went over the process and we said, "that's easy! We can do that." Though not financially ready to pull the trigger yet, we kept looking at other neighborhoods too just to see what was out there. We kept coming back to that first one though. It's the only one that was in a brand new community not developed yet. It's only a few minutes from where we live now and we love the area. We had our eye on a few lots that we would like. They only had a few open at that time and didn't know which ones they'd open next or when. We got on the interest list and waited. Once we had the funds we still hadn't heard any news or updates on the lots. On Saturday I told Ryan to just call and check. The agent told him the lots that were open and it was the one we wanted! We went straight in and pre-qualifed, which held the lot for us. The crazy part is that lot had already been sold but just that morning the buyers backed out. We called at the perfect time before anyone else could swoop in. It's a premium lot right next to a park and green belt so we have no neighbors to the West or North. The lot does cost an extra $8500, so we had to cut out a few things we were wanting in the house to stay on budget, but we know that location is more important and we figured it would pay off down the line when we sell. We went through all the options to get an idea for upgrades and the final cost for pre-qualification. They said that most builders don't do this. We had to make some structural decisions right there that I wasn't expecting, but I'm glad we went through everything so we're not shocked at pricing when we go to the design center. The builder is Shea Homes.

Once pre-qualified we went back last night and signed the contract and paid the deposit. It was there that we had to make some final decisions as far as structure goes so they can send it to the city for permit. We chose exterior style and paint, the walk deck, garage service door and some pre-wiring. Megan was so helpful as we added things and cut things from our wish list to stay on budget. Nothing's final until we go to the design center but it just gives us an idea of what to expect money wise.

We have two weeks to fill out the loan application. In 40 days or so we'll go to the design center and pick out everything. I'm the worst at making decisions so it's going to be a very long day.

11/3 While in the mother's lounge today at church I was talking to Whitney Forsgren. We ran into them at the model home a few weeks ago and they told us they had just signed a contract with a different builder in Queen Creek. I asked her how the process was going and she had a few complaints, most of which were in regards to what came standard in their home. From speaking to her, it sounds like we have a great builder and our home comes with a lot of great standard items including:

8 foot entry doors
9 foot ceilings
Paver Driveways
Stainless Steel appliances
Kitchen island
Granite countertops
Double sinks at master
34" cabinets in baths
Walk-in master shower
Recessed lighting in kitchen
Rocker electrical switches
Covered patio
Yard fence and gate

11/5 Today I met with the low voltage guy at the model home. Ryan had an emergency at work so he couldn't make it. I was nervous to go myself without him to make decisions, but it was pretty painless. The house comes with 5 drop cabling so I had to choose where those went. We also got Satellite Pre-wire, Surround sound package, and flat screen pre-wire. I did call Ryan to confirm everything before I signed though.

11/11 We went through all the electrical today. We confirmed our pre-wire and we also chose our landscaping package. We could choose desert, lush, or flower landscape. They didn't have any pictures and because I don't know the names of any plants or trees she printed off the list so se could look them up and decide what we wanted. I really wanted grass in the front but Ryan didn't want to pay an extra $1000 for it. We are going to meet with the landscaper to design our backyard.

11/14 Today we met with Peter, the landscape guy. We knew we wanted a little grass in the back and I wanted some shrubs along the back for privacy (the park is right behind us) and a fruit tree or two. We looked at the backyards of the model homes to get some ideas and look at some plants/trees we like. We chose paver color, curbing, and rocks. He designed something for us but we're going to have to wait a few months after our house is finished to save up some more money for it.

11/30 Our house has officially broken ground!

12/3 Our design studio appointment was today. Our neighbor was kind enough to watch Hannah all day.  We were there from 9-3. When we walked in they had our names outside the door on a poster. We worked with Natalie and she was really great. Luckily, I pretty much knew what I wanted. We both compromised on a few things to stay within our budget, but overall we got everything we wanted. WE ARE SO EXCITED! They've broken ground so now we just have to wait.

I couldn't contain my excitement! I had butterflies.

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