For the longest time I’ve wanted to build a house. I really love the idea of sitting at a table, floorplans in front of me, figuring out what will work for our family, and then watching those dreams come true.
We bought land in Fort Mill in January 2006 with an eye toward doing just that. At the time we were still living in New Jersey and a move to SC was a long way off. But in April 2006 I found myself packing boxes and getting our house ready to put on the market. By June our house was sold and I was telling my boss we were leaving NJ. By mid-July we were in SC. We weren’t prepared at that time to build, so we began looking into buying a pre-existing house. We found one, and we’ve been in that house since October 2006.
I still periodically would drive by the little 1/2 acre of land that we own free and clear, dreaming of building a house.
As my few faithful readers know, we toured a model home last weekend and fell in love with it. Even Denis was enthused about the space. And so for the past week we’ve been crunching numbers, looking at our budget, figuring out our financial position.
And our position is this: we think we might be building a house!
It won’t be for a while – at the earliest next summer. But we think we’ll be in a place next year to begin clearing the land and getting it ready for construction. There are many factors going in to the actual start date. If the housing market slumps again and we can’t get back what we paid for the house, if we have more emergencies (such as the roof replacement, driveway repair, etc.) that take $$ from our savings, if the land value is not as high as we think it is – all those are things we would use as collateral on the construction loan to get the build going. If those things aren’t in place, then we will have to delay the build.
There’s also the house itself. Can we really afford to build that house? Is the house even within our budget? That’s the most important question, really. Obviously the model home had all the bells and whistles, and we know this. But we’ve decided to meet with the homebuilder in May (only a couple months from now!) and figure out exactly how much that house cost to build. We’ll put down everything we’d want in a “bells and whistles” house and see what the price comes to. And then we’ll whittle it down from there to something that fits within our budget.
We know that the number they show us in May will change by next summer. But at least we’ll know what we’re shooting for. I really want the final mortgage to be what we’re paying now. And if we do it right, I think that’s totally possible. And then we’d be in a house that is more suited to our lifestyle as our kids get older. We don’t need formal dining rooms or living rooms. We need a big open floor plan that can comfortably host 30-40 people during our annual Christmas party. We need a guest room on the main floor so my geriatric parents don’t need to take stairs to go to bed. (Heh – they’re gonna hate I called them geriatric. Hi, Mom!) And the model home we saw last weekend can absolutely do that.
So we’re taking baby steps. This week we figured out what we can afford. In May we’ll find out if the house, as we want to have it, is in our budget. Then we’ll start saving like mad to build up our savings. We’ll begin slowly decluttering the house (oh joy, packing up boxes of stuff again). And perhaps next summer we’ll have the land cleared and prepped for construction. And then we’ll put the house on the market, and see if we get any nibbles. And if we do, we’ll sign a contract to have our dream house built.
But one thing I WON’T do? Move in July. We did that in 2001 and again in 2006 and I swore I’d NEVER move in July again. I think moving into a new house in October would be lovely. Just in time for the holidays.