I hope these tips help you pick our your own colors without the fear of indecision! And on a side note we have lived with these colors for over six months now and I absolutely LOVE them, so there must be some method to my madness 😉
Where were we?
Oh yes, we just bought a house.
The month was March. The flowers were blooming. The birds were singing. Everything was covered with a thick glaze of yellow pollen. And Matt and I decided to build our first house. You know, the usual.
Honestly I never really thought that custom building a home was an option. Only rich and famous people did that. You know, the kind of people who had bowling alleys and indoor pools with slides from the second floor. (Although no, neither of those was an option with our builder and yes, I’m sure you do actually have to be rich to build them.) The builder in our neighborhood is Mungo Homes, which just happened to be a company headquartered in Columbia, SC where we had just moved from. We actually knew people who had built with them and they have a wonderful reputation. Not to mention that Ray Tanner, USC’s two-time national championship winning baseball head coach (at the time) was a spokesperson for them. (We LOVE South Carolina baseball!)
with friends after a USC baseball game
So we met with their realtor, picked out a floor plan, chose our lot, put our money down, and they started building.
Except they didn’t. It turns out the lot we picked that we thought was in Phase 1 of the development was actually in Phase 2. Which means it was not hooked up to the water & sewer lines… which means it failed the pre-construction inspection. So after a lot of tears & frustration and being told our timeline for getting sewer was ‘indefinite’ we chose to move our house to a different lot. It actually added a total of three months delay on the builder’s timeline. Originally we would have been able to move into our house right when our apartment lease was up in August. However due to the confusion and a record rainfall that summer we were pushed back to a move in date right before Thanksgiving. I was actually supposed to host Matt’s family for Thanksgiving in our new house but my mother-in-law graciously volunteered to have it at her place. I mean, it is kind of hard to cook & serve a turkey when you’re not even sure where all your dishes are.
the new lot
Those three months felt like forever. I would like to take a moment to say that Mungo was great through the whole debacle. It wasn’t their fault for the sewer mixup, that was a developer issue. And they were really flexible working with us to make things go as smoothly as possible. So even though it wasn’t a fun experience we would wholeheartedly recommend Mungo to anyone looking to build. After all they couldn’t help things outside of their control and they did an amazing job helping us where they could.
We went with the James floor plan (now renamed Jamison) which was 3 bed, 2.5 bath, with a bonus room. It really is such an efficient use of space and doesn’t waste a single square inch with landings, formal dining rooms, weird nooks. Although if you like those things, great, they just weren’t important to us. More important was the open concept; you can see all the downstairs living space from the front door. And remember that counter top I hugged when we walked through the models? Yeah that was the James’ giant kitchen island which is literally as long as I am tall. Gah.or.geous. We were pretty picky with the upgrades we chose in our house and put our money into things we knew would be easier to do on the front end. So we went for granite and hardwood.
what an awesome sight!
We (finally) moved in with the help of a lot of awesome friends mid November. So we have been here almost five months and it’s safe to say we LOVE this house. I might be a little whiny about all the extra space I have to clean but it’s totally worth it. Honestly we feel blessed for the delay because it put us in an even better spot that we originally picked out.
a huge backyard for a subdivision. also we desperately need landscaping.
We have a pizza slice-shaped cul-de-sac lot with a gi-nor-meous backyard which is great for the fur babies. They are building on our original lot and although I miss the mature trees framing the back of it I can tell how much smaller their backyard is going to be. Secondly we have awesome neighbors who are inviting and generous and we would have missed out on them living farther up the street. And thirdly I like our new street name better. That might be a silly one but seriously it’s true.
So that’s our house hunting story. And now the real fun begins!
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It all started in the summer of 2012. Matt and I were living in a tiny roach-friendly apartment in the sweltering city of Columbia, SC. I was working fulltime and he had just graduated with his Master’s in Accountancy and was studying fulltime for the dreaded CPA exam. Matt had accepted a job with a CPA firm in Spartanburg in the fall and we knew we would be moving back to the Upstate area. I’m not sure what sparked the idea (maybe it was the cramped quarters and unwanted house ‘guests’) but naively we wondered ‘what if we bought a house instead of moving into another apartment?’
So we started dreaming. We made a list of all the things we would want in our first place. We (well Matt) began running the numbers to see what we could afford. We thought for sure house hunting (and finding) was something we could do in three months and two hours away.
Then Matt got the call. His future firm needed him in August, not October, and could we make that work? So frantically we put the house dreams on the back burner and began searching for an apartment. We found one (with space! without roaches!) and moved – all within about a month.
Looking back that change of plans was such a blessing. It gave us the time to save money (back then Matt wasn’t even getting a paycheck yet), get to know the area where we would be living, and really define what we wanted.
dreaming about our new house down by the river in Columbia
Fast forward to Spring 2013. We adopted a rescue Boston Terrier named Sophie, I got a new job, and Matt was full swing into his first tax season. Zillow.com became my new best friend as I tried to fill my time being home alone by searching for houses. We had narrowed down the area in which we wanted to live to a tiny ‘town’ about halfway between our two workplaces. I’m pretty sure I looked online at every for-sale home within a ten-mile radius and there just wasn’t much out there. On the rare occasion Matt had an afternoon off we would drive around exploring the few existing neighborhoods and picking out our favorites. The Sunday after his March 15th deadline I drug him to an open house I had seen on Zillow. The house was older and not really in our price range but I was antsy so we went. And what we found was a house at the top of our budget that still needed new floors, a roof, and an A/C unit. And frankly that was our experience everywhere we looked. Pricey houses that needed work. We weren’t afraid of a little labor but our lack of experience and the idea of a money pit scared us.
However that open house wasn’t a total waste of time because the friendly realtor who was hosting pointed us to a couple of neighborhoods in the area we hadn’t discovered before. We drove through one of those she recommended that day and discovered they were actually building a new phase of homes there. ‘Just for funsies’ we decided to walk-through a few of the complete for-sale homes they had open and that’s when it happened. I.fell.in.LOVE. Seriously, I might have swooned and hugged the beautiful granite counters in one of the kitchens. The houses were gorgeous: all bright, shiny, and new. (Of course they load the spec houses with all the upgrades so it’s hard not to love them.) I walked out of there and I told Matt that was it, I wanted a new house. Luckily my husband is not as distracted by shiny things as I am decided to actually look at the numbers. So I crossed my fingers and lo and behold he figured it out. With the right constraints we could afford the kind of house we wanted, in the area we wanted, and best of all in would be NEW! There would be no leaking roofs or broken A/Cs to worry about which was music to our ears and money in our pockets. We wouldn’t be scared stiff by our lack of handy-man knowledge (I can use a hammer and power drill but that’s about the extent of it) and just learn slowly as we went. My favorite perk was that we could pick and choose the layout, design features, & upgrades that we liked best and start of with a clean, beautiful, and functional (albeit blank) canvas.
So we did it. We bought a house.
Stay tuned for more as the new house chronicles continue.
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