I liked the idea of having a place I could call my own, put my stamp on and decorate in my style to my heart's content. I had considered buying a house when I lived in North Carolina, but renting was so much cheaper and cost effective that I never got so far as to seriously talk with a realtor.
After moving to Florida buying versus renting made more sense. Where I'm located it's cheaper to buy instead of rent and I'm building equity in something. The home search and start of the building process was pretty easy and uneventful. Towards the end is where the drama kicked in Fro this make sense, let me start from the beginning.
(Note: Names of the builder and those involved have been purposefully omitted.)
I initially started my home search looking at existing homes knowing and thinking I'd have to do some type of renovations, but wanting to be able to live in the house and double pay rent and a mortgage. After a few months of looking at existing homes I realized that renovations were not for me. And because of how old the homes in my budget were or how unkempt I wouldn't be able to avoid renovations unless I looked at homes that were a couple of years old or less.
This led me to consider and look at new builds. I'd always heard bad things about building a new home - it's never done on time, they're poorly built and something always needs to be fixed. What I never heard where the benefits of lower maintenance upfront and I could select finishes that were more my taste and style.
The neighborhood I selected I actually stumbled on when looking at a house in the neighborhood beside it. After signing the paperwork I was verbally taken over the building process and that were working towards an end of May closing/move-in date. The building wouldn't give me an exact date or schedule despite me asking but the end of May worked for me because my lease ended early June. Now this should have been my first clue. They didn't have a written process to share with me or a written schedule. And they wouldn't commit to a date, not even to a specific week.
Throughout the process I kept asking and my realtor also kept asking if we were still on track for an end of May move-in and we both kept getting a resounding yes. That is until the end of May got closer. There was a delay in the builder getting the electric meter for my house that then revealed the house wasn't done and they couldn't give a date for when it would.
So I contacted the builder corporate office and let them know about this delay and how it was impacting me. What I ended up finding out is the schedule the builder had been working against the whole time had a mid-June close date. Because this schedule or mid-June date weren't shared with me and they kept telling my I'd be able to move-in the end of May I had put in my 60 days notice at my apartment complex and my apartment had be rented out to someone else.
This meant I was going to virtually be homeless. I was also going to be out extra money because I'd have to move my belongings twice and store them. I'd also have to find a place to live for a couple of weeks. I think I raised enough of a fuss about this and they realized the error they made, so they paid for my entire move. I was also able to stay with a family friend who lives in the area.
Throughout the three or so weeks all of this went down I kept thinking and saying to myself this was the stupidest decision I'd ever made. Not the worse decision, but the stupidest. I started to hate the house and regretted ever seeing the neighborhood and signing the contract.
Everyday I had several thoughts rolling around in my mind - Why did I think I could buy a house? Why didn't I listen to all those people who said to never buy a brand new house? I should never have trusted this builder. I never should have done this; my life would be so much easier if I had just rented for the rest of my life. I even spent several hours combing the rentals in my area and visited a few apartment complexes convinced my dream of home ownership would not come to be.
Well I did end up being able to move in thought I had to push the builder over the finish line. While I can't call myself an expert on home buying, even first-time home buying, I did learn several things from this experience and would do things differently if I had to do it all over again.
I'd like to share my learnings with you in this new series. Everyone's home buying experience is different, but hopefully you'll be able to glean something from mine that can be helpful for you. So I've put together a four part series sharing what I learned during the process for buying a new brand new home. I'll be sharing
- How I decided I wanted to buy a house
- Tips on how to find the best realtor for you
- Tips for buying a new home construction
- 7 things to do after you move into your new house