Do you have your heart set on building your dream home? When you are looking for a home, it's best to look at all sides of things to decide what is best for you. There are a lot of things to consider when you are looking for the right place for you and your family. Here are a few things to ponder while you check out all your options!
Where do you want to live? - When you are looking to build (or buy) a new (or newer) home, you need to determine the location first. Do you have a particular area, town or community that just speaks to you? You have heard over and over again "location, location, location!". This is so important. If you have a beautiful new house, but live in a horrible area that has all the things you hate, it won't matter how new and pretty your home is. Same is true for the opposite. If you have an old, outdated home, but love your community, neighbors and surroundings, then your quality of life (though in a house that may drive you nuts) will still be higher than the former scenario I mentioned. New and shiny things can sometimes cloud our better judgment as to what will really matter in the long run. New eventually gets old, then you will be in an outdated place that is in a community or area you don't like. Double whammies. So if you are looking for a piece of property--keep that in mind. Maybe an old "fixer upper" house in a great area will be better for you.
How do you want to live? - If you are considering building, you need to think of how you and your family want to live your lives. If you want to have quite a bit of land and privacy, an average size lot in a new subdivision may not work for you. No trees for privacy possibly and close homes will not be your ideal situation even if the house is perfect. Also, in some newer developments, there are guidelines or HOAs (Home Owner Associations) that may have guidelines you may need to follow, so even if you have a building lot that has a couple of acres, you may not be able to have a pole barn and a goat on the property anyway, if that is what you want. So be sure the place you pick will fit your lifestyle.
What is most important to you - substance or style? - This one is going to be tricky because you have to really look at yourself as a person and know who you really are. That doesn't mean if you pick "style" you are shallow and if you pick "substance" you are a deep, well rounded human being. What it means is, we all know our limits as to what we can and can't live without. Be really honest with yourself. Some things we can live with for a long time if they aren't stylish or new, but some things are a deal breaker. This is different for different people. I love watching Alaska reality shows! I love them from my couch, in my house with running water, indoor plumbing and wifi! I don't look down on others and how they want to live (in fact I see a quality of life in other areas that I admire watching them) but I know how miserable I would be without some of those things. Some of this learning about myself has taken years of trial and error and sometimes it has cost me a pretty penny to find out what was (or wasn't) going to work for me--both emotionally and financially. So take good inventory and see what your "deal breakers" are. If you are going to cringe every time you pull into the driveway of your home, it won't be a healthy, happy, way to live.
What does your family think? - Okay people. You have a dream of an all white kitchen...with all white cabinets...and an all white living room with a gorgeous white sofa and a beautiful expensive, colorful rug...... and everyone will love living in this clean, bright place with you! Will they? Ask them! If they have gotten used to living in a more comfortable (washable) place, living somewhere like that might just cause a lot of anxiety for them and for you! Everyone in a family has to live together and your new home should be something for everyone. With kids, a lot of things they won't know what they want or don't until you are there. But, put yourself in their shoes... If you are taking them away from their favorite neighborhood and then also making their home a museum, that is a lot for them to deal with at once! You can't live your life making all your choices based on what your kids want (because, let's face it, those choices are constantly changing) but asking them and seeing what they like and love will mean a lot to them and give you some great insight. Some things you might see as a negative in a home, might be THE thing they love the most. Adding something they love might not be your cup of tea, but, if they are happy, then sometimes, it makes everyone's lives a little better!
How do you know what you can afford? - This not only takes knowing what your finances are, but also asking an expert (like a Realtor!) to help you find out from the right sources as to what building a home will cost. They will know who to send you to, and also help you know some of the right questions to ask them. If you have never built a home before, there are a lot of things you may not know that come into play when you do. Once, my husband and I were looking at a building lot, outside of our small town and it wasn't a very expensive lot. We figured we could afford it and also afford a certain amount of money towards a house. However, since it wasn't IN town, there were a lot of costs that were going to go into just getting that land ready to build a home on! No city water or sewer meant adding a septic system. There was going to be cost in getting it surveyed and since the little subdivision road wasn't a "town" road, it was up to the people that lived in that subdivision to care for the road! That would be not only an ongoing cost, but maybe a problem in bad weather too! On top of that, it was a big lot so care for the land after the house would be built was going to cost us in equipment...like a big tractor riding mower because a push mower wouldn't get the whole job done too easily. After we found out about a lot of things, we decided it wasn't best for us. Make sure you do your homework to see if you really CAN afford that new place.
Weighing it all together - Now this blog may have made you feel discouraged about looking for something NEW. I hope not! For some, it will be the best way to go to finally have a space that will reflect not only their lifestyle, but give them something to feel proud of for years to come. For some, it might actually be the most cost efficient choice, depending on the needs their family may have. Older homes sometimes lack the accessibilty for those who may have handicaps, and actually having a newer home might not cost as much as altering an older home for your loved one. Also, there are all sorts of different kinds of "products" as far as home loans go these days, you have no idea what you may be able to do. I always dreamed of renovating a home and figured unless I was made of money, that would never happen, but, I found out there is a way for us to do that! So now I will have a new obsession to write about in the weeks to come! Sometimes it just takes a little time to find out what your really want, need and can afford to live with! Sometimes the wait makes those things that much sweeter on the other side!