My ex-husband and I decided to build a house back in 2001. We picked the neighborhood, the floor plan, but the type of home that we built was somewhat of a “package” deal…they gave us the package, and we only had to choose a few upgrades, if we wanted (upgraded carpet, garage door opener, and that was about it). Fast forward to January of 2021, and the home building process was SO MUCH DIFFERENT!!!!! And I could not wait to get started!!!!!
I got the call that my first home buying appointment would be virtual (yes, that dang pandemic), and I would need to review the workbook prior to my 3 hour appointment. Just let them know if I had any questions…they were emailing me the workbook! I excitedly checked my email and WOAH….the workbook was about 100 pages! I was choosing just about everything! I had already picked out the floor plan, but basically, everything else was open for options! I had my budget and I was ready to go!
Now to say I made choices, changed my choices, and changed my choices again was definitely an understatement! There were just so many sparkly things to choose from! How was I ever going to make a decision????? That is when I decided to do what any good home designer would do, get inspiration from anywhere and everywhere! I began by researching Pinterest and Houzz, and of course, watching HGTV…I was looking for that exact look I wanted for my new home. I did some virtual home tours and thought about design choices I have done in the past. What did I love about each place/picture I found…what didn’t I like…and what would make me feel absolutely at home when it was all done! This process helped me tremendously!
Then, I started reaching out to my peeps…my parents, my daughter, and my friends to see what things could we do together that I could save money on. You know, sometimes you can achieve the look you want without spending the amount builders will charge you. This helped me as I began to prioritize what I needed/wanted that could not be an easy fix later on (like the 9 foot ceilings).
Once I had done my homework, I was ready to sit down and make my lists. As any good planner would do, I had a list A, list B, and list “here are the fun things I will add if I still have money left over”! Well, my friends, here is my list below!
- 9 foot ceilings – which allowed for 8 foot doors and 42 inch cabinets
- Vinyl wood plank flooring
- Subway tile back splash
- Stainless appliances
- Granite counters in the kitchen
- Rectangle undermount bathroom sinks
- Elongated bathroom toilets
- Coach lights at the garage
- Garage door opener
- Upgraded brick
- Upgraded interior doors
- Upgraded kitchen faucet
- Pendent lights above the kitchen island
- AND….my splurge….a stainless apron sink in the kitchen
With the items that come with the home, I know this will make me very happy! What I still will need to add as I move in and it becomes mine are ceiling fans and additional ceiling lights, various paint colors per room, cabinet hardware, and a back patio (I will need time deciding on this design for sure).
After my first design appointment, then I had the privilege of visiting the design studio in person! Oh boy! Now I was in my element! I am so glad, however, I spent the time researching and making my lists, as this can be a very overwhelming process. I did not make too many changes in my choices, but I did decide on flooring and faucets during this visit. But to be truthful, if I had not done my homework before, I would have definitely went over budget!
So, here are my lessons learned in this part of my home building experience. Know that this can be an overwhelming process and you definitely need to do your homework. Having an idea of what I could not live without and what my bottom line price point was helped me stay right on track. Also, trust your instincts. You know what you like…and this is your home. You have to live there day in and day out…make your choices based on what you want! And finally, understand that there are things you can do later or on your own that will help you save money in the end. You can google how to do almost anything these days, and I am sure if you offer your friends cold beer or a bottle of wine, they will do anything to help you make your home just how you want it by tweaking the little things. Focus your money on the things you cannot change later (like those extended ceilings).
I am happy to say I only went over budget by $30. And that was due to the kitchen sink, which really was a splurge! Now, as I begin thinking about design choices for furniture and other accessories, I feel that the canvas is ready for me to begin making art! Stay tuned for my exciting decorating adventures!
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