Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Building A Home

I have been meaning to start a more consistent post dedicated to the fun yet (I hear) stressful process of building a new house but clearly haven't done it yet. It's a long process and I think pretty interesting....hope you do too!

I was trying to come up with a cute name for these posts but that hasn't happened yet (open to suggestions) so I will keep thinking on that....until then I will catch everyone up!

Taking you back...

We had always planned to stay in our current house (which we LOVE)  for five years and then knew we would probably need more space. This past January we reevaluated our five year plan and changed it to four :) With the baby on the way and the space already closing in with all of Ryan's toys we figured why not. We decided we could at least get our house on the market and see what was out there.  We took the months of January & February to get it ready to go on the market. After finding a realtor we put it on the market early March.

So the house was listed and we had showings - now to see what was out there. We did a lot of looking online so we knew what existing homes were available but we also wanted to see some of the new construction that was going up. It really only took that one day of looking around for us to realize what we wanted to do - and that was to build.  There just wasn't anything we loved and we felt that at the price point we were looking at it was worth more to us to create something that we loved versus settling on something that was already existing.

We always considered building as an option and actually even knew who we wanted to use as our builder. After looking at some new builds around and getting a sense of some of the other builders in the area it made our decision even easier.  We met with Jeff Baron of Jeff Baron Homes and knew he would be the perfect builder for us.  He actually built our neighbors house and we really have loved everything else of his that we have seen. Everyone who has used him only has wonderful things to say about him and the building experience. He does everything completely custom and really listens to what you want. Sold.

So the first step was actually to find a lot to build on. Easier said than done I might add - there isn't much land available in the area where we want to be so our options were limited. Luckily our realtor had the inside scoop on an awesome lot that actually happens to be only three blocks down from Kevin's sisters family. We have always loved their street...and the fact that the lots are HUGE were a major plus. It wasn't so easy though...it took about two months of going back and forth to finally secure it. Let's just say the owner wasn't as excited about having to sell it.

Oh and did I mention that there is an existing house on that lot? Yup - and a renter. So now we are landlords. When we closed on May 30th we gave the renter a 90-day notice to terminate the lease - so he has until August 31st to relocate. We actually needed those 90 days to 'create' a house to build - so timing worked out perfectly.

Once we finally closed on the lot we began working with our builder on plans for the house. In our planning meeting with Jeff we discussed the total budget, square footage, needs/wants, and overall style of the house. Kevin and I had been looking around and one of the styles that popped for us is Hill Country Modern. What does that mean? Well, we love the Texas Hill Country stone, layouts (not a cookie-cutter box on box type floor plan) as well as the warmth it portrays, but also enjoy some of the more modern clean lines and neutral colors...but nothing too sterile or cold. It's really what you want to make of it I think. Heck, I probably will mix in a few other styles...but that is the overall feel we were going for. Once he had everything he needed Jeff took everything to the architect to create to preliminary sketches for us. It took about two weeks to get the first concept and from there we tweaked until we got exactly what we wanted.  I think there were a total of about five revisions. Once we agreed on the final floor plan (early August) our builder took about two weeks to bid out the jobs - basically building the budget.

Below are the initial sketches....we really loved the overall concept (and have stuck with it) but A LOT has changed since these were drawn. I haven't decided if I want to post the finalized plans yet...maybe at a later date.

Where we are NOW

So on August 12th we meet with the Jeff & Ryan to discuss how everything netted out. This meeting was long and very detailed. Again, it doesn't include the final final costs for everything since there are no final decisions on materials, hardware, flooring, fixtures, ect - Jeff had to used average costs. Some things we will probably spend less on and some things we will probably spend more on but for now there is just an estimated place holder so that we have something to take to the bank.

It took about a week for us to digest it all and make sure there weren't any major changes we needed to make before we approved it. Once we approved it, it was submitted to the bank for approval. And that's where it is now :)  This process is expected to take about three weeks.

In the meantime Jeff has already scheduled demolition of the current 'Vandy' (nickname for new house) house to occur between the 7th and 15th of September. I hope it happens on a morning where I can take Ryan over there to watch - I think he would love to see all the cool construction trucks working!

Although we don't have official approval from the bank we did have to make one of our first house design decisions last week - the windows!  Our house has A LOT of them. I believe we have FORTY-EIGHT windows and NINE exterior doors - talk about some natural light. Makes me excited. Usually it doesn't happen this way but the window company was running a sale and it saved us a substantial amount of money to go ahead and buy now versus waiting until later.

Anyhow, makes things real when you have to decide on style and color for windows...before you officially decide on exterior colors/materials. We have an idea of the colors and materials we want to use for the exterior so we feel pretty confident in our window decisions...we ended up deciding on windows that are very similar to the house below (also one of Jeff's builds).  The pattern on the windows is called Prairie and the color is Chestnut Bronze. Doesn't really sound hill country or modern, huh? lol
So that's where we are for now. Hoping to hear back from the bank in a few weeks and if all goes as planned we should be breaking ground around September 24th! Lot's more decisions to make a long the way so I will keep everyone updated!


  1. We are glad that you had a wonderful experience with this builder. We had the complete opposite with Jeff Baron of JB Homes. He led us around by the nose for the better part of 8 months with the promise of a home on a corner lot that he represented for a local real estate investor. We had plans from his architect, a pool designed by a reputable vendor, and financing lined up with a local Texas bank. We became suspicious when, at the 7 month mark, we were contacted by the gentleman handling our loan. He was concerned as to whether or not the project was going to happen. Up to this point we had been patient because of the lot price we had been quoted by the builder. We, through our friend in the real estate business, contacted the builder and were assured the bid had been sent out to vendors so we could get pricing for the project. We were given a date that the result would be in. When, once again, this date flew by we deemed the builder to be Dishonest and decided to discontinue this merry go round of emotion. If you are going to do business with him, make sure you have it in writing or you will end up like we did with no lot, no house, and the commensurate price increases we have watched occur in 3/4 of a year. There is a lot more to the story but this should give you a good idea as to how he chose to treat decent hard working people at his convenience. I know this sounds like sour grapes. It kind of is. Just be forewarned.

  2. Bcubed....who are you?! We also are dealing with a terrible situation regarding Jeff Baron and JB Homes. This gives me some comfort knowing we are not alone.


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