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pittsburghmarc 08-08-2011 07:39 PM

We're Building Our Dream Home
Hello to anyone who cares to follow. I will be posting/reporting/sharing/venting for the next 12 months at this spot. Follow our family as we hopefully bring our dream house to fruition.

The thought of moving first entered my head in October of 2010. I was working pretty hard at my career at the time and during stressful periods, my thoughts would wonder to a bigger, better house. The house where we currently live is very nice, but getting smaller by the day as my two daughters grow up.

My wife was open to the idea and we started to explore different scenarios. Obviously building is expensive so we first thought of moving to an exixting "newer" house. We love the community in which we live and it has arguably the best school district in the state. So we knew we wanted to stay in this township.

The houses on the market at the time (and still) are nice, but don't have the open floor plan that is popular today which we want. Sure we could renovate, but here's the rub...we found out recently that we have another child on the way! :cool1: So, the last thing we want to do is move into a new howe with an infant and have major construction going on for the next 6 months. Including all bathrooms, kitchen and wall removal. So we decided to build.

We talked to 3 different builders in two different communities. But today, after long and sometimes difficult discussion, we have finally decided on our lot! It's a corner lot on a very nice 40% developed street.

So that's it. We're on our way. I know there will be headaches and heartaches along the way, but putting them here may be good therapy. Stay posted.


pklein09 08-09-2011 06:29 AM

Meant to post on this thread, but my cup of tea has not kicked in yet! Best of luck! :thumbsup2

pittsburghmarc 08-12-2011 09:43 PM

After DW and I decided on a lot last week, I waited a week to sign the papers. I knew today was the decision day. After consulting with some people whose opinions I respect, today was the day to sign.

I had the realtor's email saved with the attachment. So at 8:00 tonight I went to print, sign and mail.

First attempt to print...jammed. Second response. Third attempt...out of ink. Now I'm very superstitious. Something is telling me this isn't meant to be.

My wife got me calmed down. She's usually the conservative one. But signing the lot agreement on a major investment, she didn't hesitate to give me the final nudge.

So it's in the mail. Signed lot agreement and a $15,000 check. :)

What have we agreed to? Well this $15,000 secures the lot and the architect's first and second floor plan. As well as the front elivation. We can still walk away and get $14,000 back.

Stay tuned.

pittsburghmarc 08-16-2011 09:49 PM

In order to come up with some of our downpayment, we will need to pull the equity out of our current house. Something called a bridge loan. This will account for about 60% of our downpayment. The rest will come from savings.

So yes, we are in the scary position of having to sell our current house before we can close on our new home. This is the issue we are most concerned about. However, one nice thing, the realtor we will be listing our house with is the wife of the builder of our new house. So if we have trouble selling our home, she can tell her husband to slow or stop the building of the new house. He currently is building about 5 other homes.

Our current home will definatly show best in the spring. We have a great lot with great landscaping and an in-ground pool. The realtor suggests listing our home for sale 4 months before the completion of the new home. Timing should be perfect. We hope our new home will be completed around August of next year.

DisneyFairytale 08-22-2011 11:19 AM

Oh that should be a fun thread. Definitely going to need some pictures!

pittsburghmarc 08-29-2011 08:04 PM

Meeting the architect
Today DW and I met with the builder and the architect. We have been working with the builder, who also is the land owner, since the beginning of the year. But today was the first time we met the architect.

First the builder, Jay. I like this guy. Second generation home builder in the area and seems to really know about quality construction. Besides that, he seems like a fun guy. Laughs at his own jokes, doesn't take himself too seriously. The type of guy that seems to already have had two drinks before you arrived. Squints when he laughs and laughs at a drop of a hat.

The architect Richard is the opposite of Jay. Quiet, definitely thinks before he speaks. A little less polished than I was hoping. But still seems nice.

DW and I spent about 1 1/2 hours with Jay and Richard. We gave them our vision of the basement, first, and second floors. Exterior design and look of the house will come next. Richard has to draw the inside, then design the exterior around that.

First floor master, office, dining room, kitchen, family room, mud room and powder room. No living room.

Second floor has 3 bedrooms, laundry and study/computer room for the kids.

Basement has game room, bar, wine room, unfinished storage and a guest suite.

Some issues we got stuck on...
  • second laudry room on first floor?
  • extra bathroom in basement?

But the biggest problem (okay borderline argument) was about the dining room table. We currently have a round, very dark, tuscan dining table. We love it. We should, it cost enough. OK, so we just came back from Honeymoon in Italy and really went overboard in designing our dining room when we returned. Call it honeymoon hangover. Anyhow, our current dining room is beautiful but not sure if it will be usable in the new house since it is so dark and Tuscan.

What does this have to do with floor plans? A round table needs a square room. So Richard wanted to know. At least we don't have to make that decision today. So table this argument...I mean discussion for later.

Well, we're on our way. It's scary but exciting. I now have to do some work with the bank to start our home equity loan, so that will probably when you hear from me next.

baby1disney 08-30-2011 08:49 PM

OOOOOO!!!! Italy is one of my favorite countries!!! I hope someday I can make it there!!! Good luck with the house!!!

pittsburghmarc 09-20-2011 09:58 PM

Started the application for the home equity line of credit. Should take a couple of weeks. Again, this allows us to pull equity from our current house so we can begin building our new house.

We also received the first drawings of the first and second floors. Some very nice things and Jay had some good input immediately to improve them. But, DW and I have some concerns.

I'll try to post the revised plans when I get them.

vickalamode 09-20-2011 10:09 PM

Can't wait to see some progress on your thread :) Sounds exciting

pittsburghmarc 09-28-2011 10:24 PM

Still waiting for the plan revisions. I have a strong feeling in order to get the square footage we want in the kitchen, we may have to sacrifice other first floor living space.

Also, DW and I are disagreeing about the importance of 10 ft. ceilings on the first floor. I feel pretty strongly that we should plan on this additional expense. In our price range, 10 ft. ceilings are expected. And I'm thinking about resale.

We should be getting ballpark idea of price for the house and the lot in a few days as well. As we add upgrades the price will come more into focus.

LindaBabe 10-03-2011 06:50 AM

If you're looking for opinions, I would put the laundry room on the second floor, where you generate most of it. That's big in high end new construction in this area. Mine is on the main floor but I *wish* it was upstairs. NO way would I have it in the basement.

Forever a Princess 10-03-2011 08:47 PM

So exciting! Can't wait to see pictures. :cool1:

pittsburghmarc 10-05-2011 12:40 AM


Originally Posted by LindaBabe (Post 42828787)
If you're looking for opinions, I would put the laundry room on the second floor, where you generate most of it. That's big in high end new construction in this area. Mine is on the main floor but I *wish* it was upstairs. NO way would I have it in the basement.

I'm pretty sure we're going with full laundry on the second floor, and a smaller stacked washer/dryer on the first floor for DW and I.

bunnymkc 10-05-2011 02:42 PM

Pictures!! Can't wait...

jeffmilw 10-20-2011 05:27 PM

Building a home can be an exciting thing!!

Enjoy the time spent... and especially the final product!!

Don't forget about us when you have the housewarming party!!!


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