Monday, December 19, 2016

The Big Move - Deciding to Build

In 2006, Chris and I bought our first house (from here on to be referred to as the "Shiloh House" as it is located on Shiloh Rd). It was a fairly modest three bedroom, two bathroom house located on a half acre just outside of city limits. It was a new construction, but at just over 1200 square feet, it certainly wasn't large (by American standards anyway). It was a great house for us, but as our family grew it began to feel a little tight. I wrote a post here that outlines the reasons we decided to stay in our Shiloh house even after the twins were born. 

Even at the writing of that post, we had a long-term goal of moving to a larger house around the time the twins turned three years old. Moving was something we had discussed at length, prayed about, and saved for. We would casually watch real estate in the area, and just always kept our eyes open for something that fit our needs. Around the time that the twins turned one (February 2016), Chris became pretty adamant that he wanted to move sooner than we had discussed . . . like before the end of the summer. At first, I wasn't sure about it. Honestly, I was comfortable in our house and wasn't in a hurry to make a change. Chris, however, felt that the timing was right for us to move, and {after some convincing} I got on board. 

Our primary goals in moving included 1) having four bedrooms so that Brianna and Brenson no longer had to share, 2) having a larger dining space so that we didn't have to pull our table out from the wall for every meal, and 3) increasing our family living space (preferrably in the form of a bonus room). 

Like I said, we had been watching real estate and had a good idea of the neighborhoods in which we wanted to house hunt. We were certain that we didn't want to increase Chris's commute to work or our drive to church, and had prayed a lot about staying in the same school district (and even the same elementary school) that we were already in. We were pretty sure we wanted to stay in our same town, although we did consider a few houses in neighboring towns.

We started our search by going to several open houses on Sunday afternoons at the end of February and beginning of March. We didn't want to work with a realtor quite yet, but we wanted to get a feel for different houses in our price range. Walking through houses really helped us refine what we thought we wanted, as well as narrow down neighborhoods pretty quickly. 

A new construction wasn't really on our radar, but we had walked through a house in the middle of February that was being built in a neighborhood called The Woodlands about a mile from our Shiloh house. We both instantly liked the neighborhood, and buying a house there would mean Brianna would stay at her current school (which became more of a priority for us as we got further in this process). The layout of the house was exactly what we wanted, but we initially dismissed the idea of moving to that neighborhood for several reasons. First, we weren't sure what the price point for that house was, and having a house built didn't appeal to either of us at all. Also, there were a few things about the floor plan we walked through that we really didn't like. Chris had called the builder and spoken with him briefly, but I think we just wanted to keep our options open for a while and not immediately jump into something. 

However, as time passed and as we continued to go to open houses and look at real estate online, we found ourselves always coming back to the idea of having a house built in The Woodlands. Finally, toward the end of March, Chris set up a meeting with the builder. We had A LOT of questions we wanted answered before we were ready to even consider having a house built. 

During our initial meeting with the builder, we walked through the same house that had piqued our interest in the neighborhood in the first place. We left that initial meeting with a lot of things to think and pray about, but we found ourselves leaning toward having a house built in The Woodlands. 

We met with the builder again about ten days later (very end of March), and corresponded with many questions through email and text. We continued to pray about everything, and about the second week of April made the decision to move forward with building. 

The floorplan we chose is a variation of the floorplan of the initial house we walked through. We just felt like it met our checklist of needs and wants so well. Below is the basic floorplan that we modified. 

Main level
Upper level

The major modifications we made included adding square footage down the center of the house on both levels, adding a shower and closet to the upstairs bathroom, and making some changes to the master bathroom. With the modifications we made, the completed house would be just over 2500 square feet . . . over twice the size of our Shiloh house!

Our builder still had about a dozen or so lots open in The Woodlands at this time, so we also had the task of choosing our lot. There were a few lots that we could easily eliminate (such as ones that back up directly to the neighborhood pond), and for various other reasons we narrowed our choices down to three lots fairly quickly. To decide between those lots, we visited the neighborhood at different times, walking around and standing in each space with our family. Once we did that, the choice was clear to us. On April 11th, we signed papers for construction to begin during the first week in May. 

April 12, 2016
This is the lot we chose. It's about 3/4 of an acre. 

April 22, 2016
Our lot during a different time of day.

It was so exciting for all of us to watch the construction of our house each step of the way. We drove by the neighborhood on our way to and from many trips to town including on the way to and from Brianna's school. We literally saw the daily changes to our lot and house. 

May 9, 2016
The beginning stages of the pad and temporary driveway have been laid. 

May 12, 2016 (morning)
The arrival of the porta-potty meant things were about to get serious!

May 12, 2016 (afternoon)
When we saw this crane at our lot on the way home from picking Brianna up from school, Brenson started squealing with excitement! 

May 13, 2016
The footing is poured!

May 17, 2016
The forms are up!

May 24, 2016
The tension cables for the concrete are in, along with the plumbing and moisture barrier. 

June 2, 2016
The foundation is poured!

To be continued . . . 

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

Do you have an underground basement or storm cellar? Excited to hear more about home building adventures.