Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Starting the decision to build

I'll start with a bit about the family.  We have two boys, ages 10 and 8, and have been living in the same cramped three bedroom ranch for 11 years now and bursting at the seams.  We need more space!!!  I've spent well over a year looking at homes online to see what's out there in the market.  Its amazing how few homes are fully updated in the price range we're looking at.  It's the same exact floor plan and 1980s kitchen in every single house.  Every now and then one will catch my eye, but for the most part, the same old thing.  So, I started looking at what can you get with a new build.  I used to be turned off by the people who would build a new home further out at the edge of the suburbs, adding more infrastructure cost and taking down more trees in an area with a declining population.  Why do that when we have an abundence of existing homes available?  Well, the selfish side of me sees why.  You can get a brand new home, with an amazing modern layout, top of the line finishes all for the same price as an existing home that hasn't been updated since the Reagan administration, and who knows what type of problems that existing home would have.

I looked at all the builders out there and decided Ryan Homes is the right choice.  Of course, you mention that to someone and they feel the need to warn you about the dangers of building with Ryan.  Jump on Google and yeah you'll run into a couple dissatisfied people.  However, seeing all these blogs out there, I've seen so many more people who love their home, which is a sigh of relief for me.

Anyways, I had my heart set on one neighborhood because it only added a few minutes to my commute to work, was a nice small neighborhood, highly rated school district and close to a state park and beach.  Took a drive through to be disappointed.....there were only a few lots left.  So, I called up the sales rep and he told me they anticipate being completely sold out by the start of summer and they are not doing a second phase.   Bummer.  So, I asked him about my second choice (which happens to be in the same town).  Again, plan on selling out all the lots by the start of summer.  That neighborhood is being run by another developer who allows Ryan to build on the lots.  It's up to the developer if they do a second phase or not.  The land is there, it's just a matter of the market demand. 

So, started looking at the third option.  It's located a bit further north from the city, so adds more of a commute to work and located pretty close to the Niagara Falls airport and air force base.  Luckily, that airport isn't used anywhere near as much as the Buffalo airport, so its not like there are flights every 3 minutes landing and taking off.  Plus, it's not that close.  School district is still pretty good, not as highly ranked as my first choice, but still up there pretty high.  Over the weekend we drove the development.  There's a huge beautiful lake the lots are right up against, which I'd love!!!  Can you imagine walking out the back door onto the patio and overlooking a lake!   There appear to be a lot of lots available.  Hmm, a lot of lots.  I should have worded that better.  The neighborhood had tons of kids out playing, which is great.  Currently, our street has our boys and a girl down the street and that's about it.  I swear the average age on my street is 85.  Of course, we had to be sure everything necessary was close by.....Target, Wegmans, Tim Hortons.  Yep, all there!  We tried out the commute to work.  Hitting every green light, on a Sunday afternoon, it only added another 12 minutes.  I'll have to give it a run in the morning hitting some reds.  But, 12 minutes, yeah I can live with that.

We were up in the air between the Florence and Venice.  The Venice had larger bedrooms, but more of a cost.  The Florence, of course, smaller bedrooms and lower price.  The first floor layouts were pretty much identical between the two, so it comes down to the upstairs.  The master bedroom of the Florence was great, big and a huge walk in closet.  That'll be a wonderful change from the wife and I sharing one small closet.  So, is it worth another 10 grand so the boys have bigger bedrooms?  The Florence has the option for the loft upstairs, which I think is really cool.  A few weeks ago we walked through a Florence model.  It had the morning room and gourmet island in the kitchen.  We loved it!  The morning room is an absolute must!  I have heard so many people say it, and I agree, they're right, the morning room makes the house!  We were thrilled with the downstairs, so went upstairs to check it out.  The loft being open to the hallway and the stairs made the upstairs appear to be larger and brighter.  I really liked it.  It would be a great spot for a computer and a small tv as another living space.  I really liked it.  The two other bedrooms yes were small, but still a bit bigger than the bedroom the boys share at home now.  They both seemed happy with them.  The master bedroom and bath......was perfect.

So, we know what model we want, what major options we want, what location we want.  If our second choice location decides to do another phase, great, if not, we'll be ok with the third choice.  So now, the plan is to continue to fix up and spruce up things in our current home and keep saving up money.  The plan is to put down our deposit in November or December, start building and hopefully be in next spring....less than a year away.  Maybe I'm jumping the gun here, but I'm a planner and need to know exactly how everything will work out far in advance.