How It All Happened

We weren’t even looking for a new house.

We were just looking for something to do on a Saturday when we remembered the Parade of Homes was going on. We go to the Parade most years, us being the type of people who think it’s fun to tour fancy homes, get decorating ideas that we almost never use, and mentally assemble all of our favorite pieces of all of our favorite houses into one phenomenal Dream House.

Midway through the day we stopped at a house in a newer neighborhood. It was the only Parade home in the neighborhood, but just down the street was a group of models from another builder. These models weren’t part of the Parade, but we weren’t going to pass up the opportunity to tour 5 houses rather than just 1 before driving 15 minutes to the next Parade home.

We walked into the first of the 4 models and really liked it…except it had this weird living room area right off the entry that seemed totally awkward. The rest of the house, though, was nice. Very open, very livable. The next model was similar, only a bit larger. It still had a weirdo living room, and as we walked through we had our usual home-touring conversations.

“This is nice, but I really wish there was a loft upstairs.”

“This is nice, but remember that nice big corner tub that one house had in the master bath?”

“This is nice, but, seriously, what is the deal with that awkward living room by the front door?”

And then we walked into the third house, and it was as though someone heard all of our “This is nice, but…” ideas and incorporated them into one real-life Dream Home.

It had a loft. It had a big corner tub in the master bath. And, as icing on the cake, the horrible awkward living room had been replaced with a beautiful study, complete with built-in shelves. Everything about it just felt so good. So comfortable. So us.

We’d had to walk through the builder’s office on our way into the models, and on our way we’d gotten a quick rundown of the square footage and pricing of each of the homes. As we wandered through this model, lingering in each room, reveling in how much we liked it, we exclaimed in disbelief about how something this nice could be so affordable.

We were in love.

But, like I said, we weren’t looking for a new house. So we carried on with our day, doing a quick tour the fourth model (way too big and formal for our tastes) and moving on to the next stop on the Parade of Homes.

After seeing The House, though, not even the most extravagant Parade Homes held our interest for long. Suddenly we were comparing everything to the model we’d fallen in love with, and the tone of our conversation had changed to “Too bad it doesn’t have a loft like that other house,” and “This master bedroom is nowhere near as nice,” and even “Laundry off the kitchen? Really? It made so much more sense in the other house to have the laundry upstairs where all the bedrooms are.”

Late in the day we came across another version of the model we loved in a different neighborhood. We walked in with high hopes, and we were not disappointed. Of course, being an official Parade Home, this one had a lot more bells and whistles like granite countertops, high-end appliances, and a jetted tub, all of which made it nearly double the price of the house we’d seen earlier in the day. But the floor plan was the same, and we loved it just as much.

In a break between comments about how great the house was, I went out on a limb and suggested, “It kinda makes me want to talk to somebody about what it would take to make this house ours.” Much to my relief, Tim was thinking along the same lines, so we talked to the sales rep. stationed by the door and learned more about our options.

We spent the rest of the day trying to wrap our heads around the idea of building a new home and deciding whether this was something we really could do.  After all, it’s not every day you fall so in love with a house that you go from “not even looking” to “how can we make this house ours?” in a matter of hours.

On Sunday we went back to the original model home and met with a sales rep. to seriously discuss our options. We weighed the pros and cons of the available lots and drew up an estimate on what the home would cost with the upgrades we wanted. Then we went home to evaluate how much work it would take to get our current house ready to sell.

By Monday, our minds were all but made up. We loved the house. We loved the neighborhood. And our current house could be market-ready with a couple weeks’ hard work. We took one more trip out to visit the model and the neighborhood (that’s three visits in three days for those of you keeping track) to make sure we were 100% confident in our decision. At one point Tim commented about how every time we came the new neighborhood, any hesitation he felt about moving went out the window. And with that, the decision was made.

The following Saturday — exactly one week after we first set foot in the model home — we had Realtors to sell our current house, a lender to fund our new house, and a signed contract to build our very own Dream Home.