Friday, May 30, 2014

A dream home...Part Dos

Last we left off with our decision to build a home in Savannah, Tx. 
The neighborhood made of dreams.....Okay, too dramatic?
We went in knowing what we wanted. It's hard to go into building a home with a non-custom builder knowing exactly what you want. When you work with a neighborhood builder, for the most part they hand you a list of plans to choose from and you pick one.
When we sat down at Delores' desk and she pulled out the 3100 plan, which she claimed in her cute accent would work for us, the clouds parted. It was just perfect...Everything on our list of must-haves was checked, and there were more structural options than I thought possible with one of these types of mass builders.
Aint she cute...

This plan is over 3100 square feet, which I realize is way too large for just the two of us, but we want a home we can grow into and honestly houses in Texas are bigger.
*And for all my Kansas readers, remember that there are no basements in Texas, so a 3100 square foot home is about the same as a 2000 square foot two story home, with a finished basement, so it's not too large. 
The house will not be done until around Christmas time...meaning for a couple months we will most likely be living in a hotel or a small apartment...not ideal at all. In fact, the other plan we liked as well was going to be ready in time for us to move right in, when we headed down. We decided it was worth the sacrifice in the end, to get the home we want in the neighborhood we had dreamt of. 
It has 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a loft/gameroom/media room. The kitchen is huge, which was one of my top priorities, and the secondary room sizes are really large. We added a few things immediately after hearing they were possibilities, such as the balcony (Race has been obsessed with balconies, since the first time we drove down to Texas, I imagine him as a princess "letting down his hair") and a "morning room," which for us Kansas people is basically a sun room that is open to the living space. And because of our rock star of a Realtor (and my undoubtedly charming self), we actually got those two upgrades for the price of one...jackpot. The "Flex space" will have glass french doors, and be the office/study.
We opted out of all other structural upgrades, since we were trying to stay within/below our budget, but honestly the list of options you can choose from goes on and on. 
Our next step is to go to the "showroom" and pick all of the design aspects out...definitely the most exciting part for a design charged gal like myself. I will share those details as soon as we're done...Wish us luck.
And because posts with no color bum me out, here's a picture I took in the neighborhood....
Ahh Savannah...Heaven.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A dream home...

So as of last weekend we are under contract on a big 'ol pile of dirt....a dream come true, I tell ya.
I've gone back and forth on whether to share this on the blog, because so many things could go wrong in the next few months that could change everything. 
We haven't sold our home yet (it's actually only been 25 days, so we're not worried....yet), we chose to put a contingency on the contract on our new house. Meaning that they will build our house, but if we decide to back out because our home hasn't sold, we can do so without being penalized and they can sell OUR dream house to someone else....not an option I even want to think about at this point.
Then there is life in general, that could get in the way. We don't close on our house until the day it's finished, meaning that if something happened in the next six months to Race's job or anything else that could threaten our finances, bye bye dream home.
Because of these reasons I was not planning on sharing our new home with the blog world, and then I thought...
In the end, I know it will probably be the most stressful 6+ months of my young life, but I also know that if I can share in that process, I could probably ease someone else's anxiety that is going through the same thing and maybe help them through the process.
Besides, I'm bursting with excitement to share it with someone.
On to the fun stuff...
We had things narrowed down to two plans, in two different neighborhoods on our last trip to Dallas:
Plan 1-Also known as the one with the average "giant" lot...

The lot was large for the area (lots are so small in the "380 corridor" of Dallas, compared to what we are used to in our current area, so here in Kansas this lot would have been kind of meh, but there in the area we loved, it was a very large lot). It had an amazing media room, a two story entryway that really opened up the house, and I loved the kitchen. It was only 4 miles to the beach/marina, which was definitely the biggest pro for the neighborhood. 
On the other hand...
Plan 1's base price was on the lower end of our budget, but their upgrades were really high priced. As anyone that has ever built a house knows, the base price is just that, a base. If you want to add doors and windows, it takes a lot more money. They weren't willing at all to let us change things out. We were stuck with the lights, floors, and paint (yes even paint) that they always used, without paying a large sum of upgrades fees. Any upgrades at all would have put our low end budget house above our max budget. There was absolutely no way we could make structural changes to the plan...
Basically the builder wasn't in the mood for negotiating or allowing us to make any changes.
 While the neighborhood was pretty, it was nothing phenomenal. The house itself was great, but the family room was a bit on the small side. We would lose a study (or have to give up a dining room for one with no doors), which was a must have, since Race will work from home sometimes, and I will all the time. The only lot that would accommodate this plan had a large electrical box in the front, which they claimed they could hide with a shrub...I don't buy it.
Plan 2-Also known as the most amazing neighborhood you will ever drive through in your entire life...ever.
The beautiful neighborhood and palm tree lined streets had me at hello...I mean look:

Let me brag...for just a second....
Savannah, is what they consider a "resort style community," something that just doesn't exist here in Kansas. The neighborhood has it's own resort style pool, that includes an adult only pool (with a bar), and a water park. There are both indoor and outdoor tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, a baseball field, 5 playgrounds, and an activities director that plans everything from "Mom's Night Out" to movie in the park (they were showing Frozen when we were there). A full gym, that includes a sauna and hot tub. There is a juice bar, coffee bar, neighborhood theater, library, billiards room, and rooms to rent for parties in the club house. There is a neighborhood dog park, bike trails, and walking trails. There are 5 lakes throughout the neighborhood with paddle boats, and fishing. You can take classes from jujutsu to yoga, and they even have classes to learn new languages, crafts, or cooking at the clubhouse.
The schools are in the top 50 in the country and within the neighborhood (we could actually walk future baby G's to school someday) and the houses are gorgeous.
The plan had everything we wanted: four bedrooms, 3 baths, an office AND dining room. There was no media room in this plan, but it had a huge gameroom/ loft upstairs that could easily be configured into one. This neighborhood is more like 7 miles from the marina/beach (still a very easy drive/bike ride) but it is several miles CLOSER to the city and Race's work. The house shows a base price online at $50,000 less than it actually is because prices in the area are going up so much (which says something about the growing economy in the area), but luckily was still near the low end of our budget. It was several hundred square feet bigger, and they were willing to negotiate.
On the other hand...
The lots are really minuscule. It seems to be pretty normal in this area, and no one else batted an eye at how small they were, but for us it was a serious bummer. The houses are also pretty close together (which has been an issue in every neighborhood in the corridor we've been looking in). These two downsides though are also probably why we can even afford to live in this neighborhood.
And the winner is...Drum roll please...
Obviously we chose Savannah. In the end, we decided the amenities in this neighborhood, the opportunities for us and our future kids to meet people, and the love we have for this house and the beautiful neighborhood compared to the other one, certainly made up for the small yard. It's definitely not the right choice for everyone, but it was the right choice for us. 
I'm going to save our new floor plan and the changes we made for my next post, since this one is wordy enough as it is....So stick around this week and I will definitely share all the details soon.
In the meantime, I'll leave you with this cheesy/blurry/rainy Iphone pic ;)

Peace friends...