Building vs Buying

“Are you planning to keep a journal of all this? This building a house and homestead thing?”
“Yeah, something like that.”

Admittedly, I had no idea how much I would enjoy writing and keeping track of my thought process through this entire ordeal. (Although, as I type this, our home still doesn’t have walls, so there is a LONG way to go and I may change my mind.) But getting everything onto paper is also a way of sharing the stress and hopefully, easing the stress for one of you. Hopefully I agonize over a decision so later, you don’t have to.

We decided to build a house after looking for our perfect home for over 6 months and only finding things that we would need to compromise on. The location, the amount of land, the number of stairs, the interior finishings…. every home we looked at, including the ones we put offers on, were compromising something. We weren’t willing to compromise on the big stuff –we NEED a one-level home, we NEED some land, we NEED it to be irritant-free—but my husband is not a handyman and everything we found needed handiwork. The cost of hiring someone to fix things for us added up quickly. And we still felt like we were compromising on something.

So, we jumped with two feet into the process of building a house. We made a list and I started drawing. I managed to get everything we wanted into about 1800 sq ft. Hubby hated it. So I drew another version and we arrived at something we both liked. After another 3 months of meetings with two different custom building companies, we learned that I am NOT an architect and what I thought was 1800 sq ft was actually over 2000 sq ft once they added in wall thickness. And the finishes we requested were in their “Upper” pricing levels. So we started cutting things. No fireplace. No front porch. Cheaper kitchen cabinets. Laminate countertops. No pocket doors. Smaller hallway. Smaller doorways. No mudroom. Smaller laundry room. Smaller bedrooms. Smaller shower. Lower ceilings in the basement. Pretty soon, we had a house that neither of us liked any more (and we were still over budget). I gave up. (This is before we started having to edit:)

Hubby talked me into going to look at a ranch house that had been on the market for about a month and they had just dropped the price. It was a new house that seemed to have all the features we needed and would only need a few easy changes (it had carpet in the bedrooms and no exterior storage). It didn’t have every thing on our list (no fireplace, the floors were bamboo, the bedrooms were small), but it was pretty close. We walked through and decided that for being under our budget, we could make it work! We ended up making an offer on that house. They didn’t choose our offer. Again. We asked our realtor (ok, hubby wants credit for this one… HE asked our realtor) to contact the sellers and see if they would be open to building for a client.

The short answer is YES. You can read the long version here.

So here we are! We are building a house that is under 2000 sq ft. On 5 acres. With no interior stairs. And a wonderful walk in shower. And a fireplace. And a laundry room near the bedrooms. And a pantry. And hardwood floors. And a front porch. And a basement with 9 ft walls. And lots of lighting. And a bigger kitchen than I thought I could have WITH custom cabinetry. And wider doorways. And a HUGE master closet. And decent sized bedrooms. And I could absolutely keep going… because this house answered so many prayers. One of the themes in my life is that when I give up, God is finally able to work without me getting in His way. I tend to forget to surrender my own plans and desires. I tend to forget that “I know the plans I have FOR you,” (Jeremiah 29:11, emphasis mine). Not, “I have good ideas for you but, I will do what you want me to do.” Ok, got it God. Let’s do this.

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