Monday, April 29

Finding a lot

If you are like a few of our friends, you will put one offer in on the house of your dreams and get it. End of story. If you are like Lance and I, your search for a home or a lot will take several months and be quite the roller coaster of emotions. Finding a lot wasn't easy and there were certainly some tears along the way (from me, not Lance) but now that we own our lot I would say it was entirely worth it!

The market for homes and especially lots is really odd right now. Because of the bad economy, developers stopped developing for the most part. Which means improved lots were few and far between. When we initially started looking and found nothing desirable in our price range, we started exploring other avenues and tried to think outside the box. Here are a few of things we did and that you might consider if you are looking for land as well:

  • Purchasing a couple acres of undeveloped land and developing it. This option is a lot easier if you know someone who can develop, but if not just look around! Talk to friends and family and see if anyone knows of a developer that might be willing to partner with you. You can save A LOT of money going this route- to the tune of 50-100k. It may seem intimidating at first, but don't limit yourself to what is "normal".
  • Hitting the ground. Lance and I spent a lot of time driving around the neighborhoods we liked. There were a surprising amount of lots that were for sale, but weren't listed on the MLS. 
  • Search the classifieds. We spent a lot of time searching KSL, our local classified website. The lots and homes listed there were typically a few thousand dollars cheaper because the seller wasn't having to pay a commission to a real estate agent. 
  • Search land records. Most cities and counties have all of their land records available to the public online. Our county even had an ipad app that was easy to navigate and would show parcel numbers and the owner's name real time. We browsed the areas we loved and sent out letters, asking if anyone would be interested in selling their land. 
  • Spread the word. You'd be surprised how helpful friends and family are when they find out you are looking for a home or land. You never know who might come across the lot of your dreams! This is how we ultimately found our lot; a good friend in our neighborhood was in contact with a few investors that were willing to sell their lots off-market. 
Again, this journey of building a home was entirely foreign to me in the beginning and my hope is that someone else can learn from our experience.

Wednesday, April 24

Free Cupcakes

On Saturday, Lance and I decided on a whim to make a video for this little contest. The winner receives free cupcakes for a year! Crew is at the perfect age where he will repeat anything you say and he is so animated about it- so we figured it would be a fun little family activity for us.

Our video really is the best one, but then we found out the winner is decided by the amount of views, comments and likes- I really hate to promote things like this, but the video really is a fun watch and it's only 45 seconds. Please help us win :)

Make sure to leave a comment or a "like".

Thanks a million!

Friday, April 12

A lot

A couple months ago my cousin came into the kitchen while my Dad and I were talking. Here's how the conversation went from there:

Me: "We were just talking about our new house and the offer we put in."
Spence: "Oh! Nice. How many square feet is it?"
Me: "It's a lot"
Spence: (awkwardly) "Oh... ok."
Me: "No, no! It's a lot, as in a piece of land."

Haha. Maybe it's one of those things you have to be there for, but I cannot get over how hilarious this exchange was. Mostly because asking how many square feet someone's house is is usually an awkward question in and of itself; asking it implies you are close enough with the person that they wouldn't mind answering honestly, or that you are socially uninhibited and just ask what you want (which I actually love in a person, btw :). So then, to get a vague answer in reply would take the awkwardness to a whole new level, which it did, until I clarified and we had a great laugh about it.

Anyways, this entire explanation is for a reason and that reason is to say that we bought a lot! Yessiree, after 6 or so months of vigilant looking, 5 offers, countless counter offers and lots of time spent cruising online and in person, we are now the proud owners of a lot right by the Sleepy Ridge golf course in Orem, Utah! We've owned the lot for a couple of months now and have been busy with all the preparations to begin building, but I have felt torn about wether or not I wanted to share with the world at large (aka this blog).

After talking to a few friends about it, I've decided there are a few different schools of thought on the subject: one is that blogs tend to show the shiny, perfect side of life and posting about building a brand new house may be construed as bragging, or may make others feel sad/frustrated that they are not in that stage of life yet. The other school of thought is that the experience of building a home is one many of you may undertake in the future, and the knowledge and experience we are gaining through the process can help other people along the way.

I'm still feeling a bit torn, but have decided to share our journey building a house here on the blog. Please know that my intent would never be to make anyone feel badly- instead, I hope you can gain something from our experience! The blogs I follow that have shared the process are invaluable to me! And because my dad, who is a retired contractor, will be building the house for us, we will have an exceptional amount of control over what goes into the home and an incredible amount of work to make it all happen.

So, with no further adieu, here is the sketch of our new house:

We are set to break ground sometime in the next 10 days and we couldn't be more thrilled! It has been so much work already and I will be sharing separate posts on some of those details.

If you have any thoughts on sharing vs oversharing on blogs, please leave a comment! I would love to hear your thoughts on it.