in home

A Lot to Consider

The lot is not the most important thing. There are many nice lots and if you are in a well planned community, you will probably be happy wherever you are. However, some lots are nicer than others, which is why there are lot premiums. A premium could be put on the lot because it’s in a cul-de-sac or because it’s bigger or because it’s on the lake or golf course. The range for these premiums is huge. For our particular development, lots ranged from 0 to $40k.

Lot Size

There are also standard lot sizes. When you are building, the section you build in will have a specific lot size which is the measurement of the front of the lot which can be something like 50’ 60’ 70’ 80’ and so on and so forth and everything in between. In a suburban master-planned community, they will usually only build a certain size house  on each sized lot. For example, you can’t build a small 1800 sq ft house on a 80’ lot just because you want to have a massive backyard. Therefore, your backyard size is going to matter based on the plan that you put on the lot and which lot size you build on. Another reason cul-de-sacs and larger lots are at a premium is that you will be able to build the same size house and end up with a bigger back yard.

Also consider traffic. Cul-de-sacs are considered the best because you won’t get much traffic. The only people driving on that road will be your neighbors and people who are lost. So you’ll have much less noise AND your lot will probably be larger because the lots fan out in the back.


Open view fences, wood fences, and brick walls. These are a few examples of what you might be stuck with when you buy a lot. If you are moving into a master-planned community like we did, you will have no say in this matter whatsoever except by which lot you pick. Some communities like to have corner lots open to public view. Some communities like to have all fences that are facing public areas like roads, parks, or lakes, open to public view. So if you have a dog that can get through wrought iron fences or can jump them, or you just prefer your privacy, you are going to want to ask your builder about this.


In master planned communities, your property is most likely applicable to some kind of easement which means there will be a portion of your yard that you cannot build any permanent structures on. This is mostly relevant if you ever consider building a pool.

So while the lot is not the most important thing, there is still a lot to consider. We ended up with a cul-de-sac lot where we only have a neighbor on one side and our lot premium was only $4k. And one of our walls is a brick wall maintained by the development! Score!


in home

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.

in home

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!