Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thinking about building a new home? A little advice (#1)

The whole reason I started this blog was to tell the story of how we built our house and how we are turning it into a home. Let me just start by saying that we love our home. It has given us exactly what we needed, space, solitude, energy efficiency... BUT there are a few things that you should know, or a least consider, before making the decision to build a home.

One of the main reasons that we decided to build was that we couldn't find anything we wanted to buy. Also, we happened to come across an affordable development, with MOST of the things that we were looking for as far as location, and a builder that built houses we LOVED. So plus, plus, plus, right?

First piece of advice: if your location of your newly built home only has "most" of the things that you love, make sure that you are okay with settling and going without the things that it doesn't have. In my case, I was moving farther from the water, which is something that I tend to gravitate towards to help calm me when I am stressed or upset.

Our old home had a great state park which is an island in the bay that was within walking distance (under a mile). I spent many an hour or two exploring the woods, the rocky beach, crying, seeking solitude by sitting on the old weather beaten benches overlooking the bay, running the path around the island, etc. This island was my "go to" place.

The new home does not have this wonderful feature (I know, I was COMPLETELY spoiled before). But what it does have is a state park about 4 and 1/2 miles away with access to the ocean. As a result of the move, my runs have gotten much longer (@8 miles) just so I can see the ocean. Maybe this is a perk?

Second piece of advice: don't let them tell you that having a "new house" will take all of your home maintenance worries away. Since buying the house we have discovered that we have to put in an air mitigation system (pretty typical in our area for new construction). Also, I am constantly looking for moisture in our basement. Apparently you have to wait at least a year to find out if your basement has moisture. One of the things I am counting I is being able to remodel the basement into a playroom. This will be an issue if there is moisture In the basement. There are other things that I worry about but I don't want you to think that I am totally neurotic, so I will stop there. Just to be clear, new house does not equal the end to worry.

Third, and final, piece of advice (for today): find a builder that you trust and who does work that you like. If you are someone who wants a craftsman home, but your builder typically builds something else, it may be a good idea to keep looking. Our builder was able to give us great advice on design and finishes as we went. Even though we didn't go with (couldn't afford) them all, the ideas were great and got us thinking. On top of that, our builder is a great guy who we could talk to easily, who listened to us and wanted to do what was right and best for us, and who has continued to help us out when things pop up (see Advice #2).

So, my wrap up for today is location, honest expectations, and trusting your builder, are key to knowing when, and if, you should build a new home. More later!

Happy decision making.
:) A

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