Friday, May 25, 2012

How did you guys decide to build a house?

One of the more frequently asked questions that we get is "How did you guys decide to build a house?"  People are curious about the process, and how a family on a modest income is able to undertake such an endeavor.

Here's how it all fell into place: We had been looking for several years in an area just outside of Seattle.  Good schools, easy access to work, within walking/cycling distance to the store, bank, Starbucks and public transit.  I spent almost every night on local real estate websites looking for the perfect house to pop up, within our budget.

As you can guess, that never happened - and if anything came close, it was "pending sale" within 24 hours.  Just when I started to lose patience, the perfect scenario came along.

What did happen was sort of crazy.  I had driven down 7th Street many times, where I saw a "For Sale By Owner" sign.  On a whim, I decided that I would call the owner, who happened to live several states away.  To make a long story short, we were the first family that he actually even considered selling the lot to.  His grandfather had built the original dwelling on the plat at the turn of the century, and said plat was later subdivided into 4 lots.  Since he had grown up on the original plat, he had a strong emotional connection to the land and wasn't ready to let go until he met us.

It was important for him to know that in buying the land, this would be our forever home.  I envisioned a house with a big front porch, a place where our guests could kick off their shoes, pick apples in the backyard and a place to celebrate family and friends.

Long story short: We ended up buying the lot, with the realization that buying land and building a custom home would be less expensive than buying a current listing.

Up next: Step 1, designing your home with an architect.

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