When my husband and I first got married, we moved into a 2 bed room apartment with plans to start looking for house. We knew we wanted a house we could grow into that had a backyard and ideally, a pool. Other than that, we weren’t exactly sure what we were looking for and gave our realtor 3 options for a house:
Option 1– a fully updated house that was move-in ready. In order to be in the area we wanted this was going to be a tall-order to stay within our budget and meet all of our wants.
Option 2 – a house to renovate. Like everyone that watches HGTV, I had the renovation-bug and dreamed of tearing down walls and making a house into our own. They make it look pretty easy on TV, find an old house with good “bones” and have a magical transformation into a beautiful house. I love older houses with so much character but the thought of the unknown and uncertainly of what is behind the walls is very scary when you’re trying to stay within a budget.
Option 3 – building a custom home. This was a little crazier of a concept at first. It was something we had discussed a time or two but weren’t really sure the numbers behind it would work. The idea was to find an old small house on a good size lot. Then after finding a custom home builder, tear the old house down and build new. We had seen this done a lot in our area but it was definitely something we did more research on before we were comfortable with the idea.
So we told our realtor these options and the price points for each along with our preferred area. We knew we wanted to be in Winter Park and narrowed it down to a few elementary schools we really liked. After touring a number of houses, nothing felt right and could meet all of our needs.
Finally, one morning a new listing came up and it was the perfect house for option three. It was in great school districts, a smaller house built in the 1950s that hadn’t been updated, and it was on a big lot! To top things off, we had family just down the street! We felt it was the one and went in with a strong offer. It’s a good thing too because we later found out we had bid against two or three custom home builders who were looking to do the same thing as us. This decision was the first step and little did we know what we were getting ourselves into!