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Plenty of Fish in the Sea

You started out going to one model park and looking at five houses. Maybe you visited a few other communities, a few other houses. You looked at a few below your price range and too many above. Feel like you looked at enough to make a choice? WRONG. Look more. If I learned anything from my house hunting excursion, it was that there are MANY beautiful houses out there. This is not like human relationships, you will fall in love many times. Over and over again, you will think to yourself “THIS IS THE ONE”. I don’t want to be a cynic, but this isn’t like that. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and there is no one soulmate of a house. Builders are good at building houses. That’s why they are builders. That means you are going to fall in love with lots of floor plans. And just when you think you’ve found the one with the perfect kitchen island and the high ceilings that you love, you’re gonna find an even better one with an even bigger kitchen island and even higher ceilings.

So, what I’m saying, is that you can never do enough research. Obviously there is a point to call it quits. But more often than not, you could stand to do one more viewing, even if to eliminate an option from your mind. In the end, the perfect house is not just going to be a floor plan. The perfect house is going to be the perfect floor plan, the perfect incentive package, good building quality, good customer service, a good neighborhood, a great lot, and the right price. I would advise that you don’t settle on any of these things. If you ever consider settling think about how you will be paying for this for the next 30 years of your life.

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Model Home Mirages

Model homes are always fun. They are beautiful and exciting, but honestly, they tell you nothing about the builder and their quality. You cannot compare your finished product to their model home. If you do fall in love with a model home, ask how many upgrades were put into the house. This will also tell you something about the culture of the builder. If they are selling a $350K house with another $350K of upgrades in the model home, most likely they are crooks. Haha no, that’s extreme, but they are definitely pulling a bit of a bait and switch.

You can look at the fit and finishes of the model home, but pay more attention to the floor plan and if it suits all of your structural needs. If it does, check to see if the builder has anything in inventory. Even if it is not the floorplan you are in love with, check out an inventory home, because it will give you a glimpse into their finish quality. Do they have sloppy paint jobs? Do they hang the doors straight? Is the tiling messy and uneven? Is the sealant around the plumbing a mess? That is the first thing. Is the quality any good? Because of course the quality of the model home is going to be immaculate. But the quality of an inventory home will reveal the truth.

The next thing you can check out in an inventory home is how nicely did they do upgrades? Most inventory homes will have a medium amount of upgrades because they want to make it desirable but not to have to overprice and then drop the price and make all the upgrades free to the buyer. So, how well did they choose their upgrades? Did they put any wood flooring in? If so, what is the quality? What does the standard lighting package look like? What about standard plumbing fixtures? Are they good enough for you? Or are you going to want to upgrade them when you build your own?

Now that you have browsed some of the inventory, how do you feel about the house? Do you still feel like they are a quality builder who are going to give you the house of your dreams? Or do you feel like you are going to have to pay double the starting price in upgrades just to get it how you want?

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Build vs Build

If you are reading this to figure out whether you should build or buy your first new home, this is not going to be very helpful to you. My husband, Tommy, and I decided to build for many reasons and honestly didn’t even think about buying. I grew up in southwest Houston where building is commonplace, affordable, and relatively easy. My parents built their house from scratch and it has always been a dream of mine. So in the build vs buy stage of our journey, we had extremely selective hearing and we pretty much skipped that stage altogether and went with build.

I am not going to make an even argument here. I’m not going to list the pros and cons because what would be the point of that after I already made my choice. I’m just going to list all the good things about building your own house:

1.) It’s brand new. That’s right. No one has ever lived in it before. No smokers who insist that they have kept everything odorless. No cats who “never claw at the carpet”. No murderers whose wives “made them do it”.

2.) It’s your perfect home. You don’t have to settle for a granite countertop that is too dark. You get to pick the exact one you want. You get to pick the lighting, the floors, the fixtures, the paint, the brick, everything.

3.) It’s fun! The whole process is something that many people never get to do. You’ll get to pick out your plot of land and watch your house grow from just a slab of concrete into what you will call your home. Picking tiles is fun guys! Right? Yea!

I’m sure there are some equally good reasons to buy instead. So if that’s what you did then good for you!

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