Why we’re building instead of buying

Some of you may be wondering why we opted to build instead of buying a house that’s a few years old.  Believe me, we thought long and hard about it before arriving at the decision to build.

Our most recent house, purchased in September 2011 and sold in July 2012. (image by me)

We recently moved from a city to a smaller town.  In our former hometown, it wasn’t terribly hard to find a nice house in a good neighborhood.  And while it’s taken time to find the right house in the past, the situation in our new town is pitiful.

We only had a few “must have” requirements for a house.  It had to be 4 bedrooms (or 3 bedrooms with a bonus room).  It had to be at least 2500 square feet in size.  It had to have up to date finishes (tile instead of linoleum, granite instead of formica, so forth and so on).  It had to be in either a fantastic neighborhood or an in demand school district (because limiting ourselves to just the in demand school district cut the number of listings down to almost nothing).

The problem?  We could only seem to get some, not all, of our must haves in every house we saw.  If the size and neighborhood/school district were right, the interior hadn’t been updated since the Reagan administration.  Or if the size and interior were right, the neighborhood left much to be desired .  Sure, I saw a couple of houses that, if updated, would have suited us.  But the sticking point for me was that those houses were already priced near the top of our $325000 budget and then they needed a ton of work!  I can’t justify paying that much for a house, then having to put even more money into it to bring it up to date.  I’ve done the remodeling thing once before on our very first house, and I swore I would never buy another fixer upper again.

So after nearly two months of searching (and two rejected offers on houses we did like), we broke down and met with a builder.  We showed him the plans for our previous house (see photo above) along with a list of things we wanted to change.  We’ve agreed on a budget for the build and our builder has sent everything to the Realtor to have contracts drawn up.  Once those are signed, the fun starts.