Ignore the grainy iPhone photos.. you get the point though.
Jason and I talked about buying a house years before we actually did so, we debated the pros and cons of owning a home with the fact that we travel all the time and would not see much of it. We talked a lot about where we would settle with both of us being from different places and if the purchase of our first home would most likely be our forever home.
We knew off the bat that this would be a starter home and the things that we were looking for and the area we had decided to look in would be what we wanted for our life right now and not necessarily where we saw our life going. After a ton of talking and debate we knew that we wanted to be in the south. Jason didn't want to go any further south than North Carolina so that knocked out our only other consideration, Tennessee! We absolutely love North Carolina and decided that before going to Alaska we would rent an apartment here on our off time and really explore the area and where we had considered buying a home.
The short time we spent here (5 months) at that time really put into perspective where we would buy, areas that we considered to be what we were looking for in regards to convenience, safety and price range. We realized very quickly in our searching that although the prices were extremely reasonable (being from the North housing prices in the South to me are DIRT CHEAP) but we couldn't find what we wanted. It was probably unreasonable to go into things thinking that we would find a home in our price range, in the area we liked with everything that we wanted, but what can I say!
After tons of looking we decided that it only made sense to look into building our own home and when we did it became very apparent that we could get exactly what we were looking for if we built and in a very similar price range. We met with every builder in Raleigh, I kid you not. We explored all the model homes and checked out all the layouts that would be available to us and after a TON of research and time we found the PERFECT layout in the right neighborhood, then we decided it wasn't the right time and we went to Alaska. Ha!
I know what you're thinking, why would we find everything we were looking for and then not jump on it? At that time we were leaving for Alaska and that isn't exactly a hop, skip and a jump from North Carolina and we wanted to be around for the building process. We wanted to see what was going on and know that things were being done well so we decided to wait and hoped that when we came back all the same opportunities would be available to us. It was scary at the time having found everything that we wanted and not sure if it would be here when we got back but we left here confident that we were making the right decision for us. In the end it truly was, there was no way we could have been able to come back for mandatory walk thrus and such, we would have missed out on being around for the excitement that comes along with building a new home.
We spent 14 months in Alaska and throughout that time we stayed in contact with KB Homes, our chosen builder and what was new and up and coming as well as what had stayed the same. Throughout our time in the arctic we did not make a trip back to the lower 48 at anytime. When we arrived back we made the drive from Seattle to North Carolina to see friends who were expecting a baby at anytime and to visit with the builders and see what had changed in the time we were away. We were pleasantly surprised to find the new area they were building in was everything we were looking for and they offered more floor plans. We viewed another floor plan that was within the size range we were considering and we totally fell in love, it was bigger than the previous "perfect" house we had viewed, it was the exact floor plan we had wanted from the beginning and there was nothing we would have wanted to change. The floor plan was over 100 square feet bigger than the one we had previously decided on and the exact same price, it was a no brainer! While we had such limited time in North Carolina at that point we viewed lots, spent countless hours with sales reps and in the end we left North Carolina without having signed the deal.
I wont lie at this point I was heart broken, Jason wasn't sure and although I so badly wanted him to be he just felt that something wasn't right. Maybe it was the time constraint for such a big decision but in the end we left with no certainty when we would be back and if what we wanted would still be available.
We went to Maine, Ontario and then made the big drive to Saskatchewan, this entire time I sat silently torn that we had made a big mistake walking away. I didn't say anything as I didn't want Jason to feel pressured but it definitely weighed on me. I knew when the time was right it would happen and I just had to hold onto that but this was definitely a tough time. When we arrived in the hell hole that is Estevan I was even more convinced that if we were going to suffer through horrible jobs than we were also going to have to have something to look forward to. The transition into that place and job was nothing short of disastrous! Throughout our first week or two there Jason started making comments such as "well if we had bought that house..", "well if had a house..." and at first I didn't push the situation but I had to wonder why he would make those comments if there wasn't a touch of regret on his part as well.
Finally about two weeks in we seriously talked about it and called the builder. Things moved really quickly and although it didn't start off fabulously we figured most of it was technical errors and we would be on our way.
With this particular job we had the luxury of having a week off every month and that allowed us to fly to Ontario to see family and then drive down to North Carolina to check on the build. I wont lie from the beginning we felt there was quite a bit of incompetence on the part of the builder but I think we overlooked it on account that we were so excited about the house and what the final product would be. Jason had extensive frustrations and I kept assuring him that the final product would be worth it.
I will say the entire build process what nothing but a hassle, possibly because we were so far away but mostly because nothing ever seemed to play out the way it was suppose to. We were not impressed with the craftsmanship, the condition of the site and home throughout the build and as time went on we really began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into and wondered would the final product really be worth it.
Fast forward to the end of the build, Jason had been extended and the house was no where near being completed for the closing date we had anticipated. At this point we had considered walking away multiple times but had come this far. We were assured everything would be taken care of and too our standards, the day before closing we were 100% sure that would not be the case and were very unsure what would take place.
The superintendent we were dealing with was very honest and basically said that his boss said they were to close on the house because sadly they were willing to sacrifice quality to meet a quota. We really liked Tony and he assured us that he would make sure the work would be done after closing and he would personally over see it. At this point we had to leave to go back to Estevan, we took Tony's word and signed the papers.. we were officially home owners.
I will admit that although the process SUCKED the second we walked out of the lawyers office with the keys I was elated. We had been married a couple of years, we had traveled all over but this was such a huge accomplishment, a step towards our future and whatever it may bring. We had a little bit of furniture delivered and we headed back to Estevan to get our things. When we arrived back there Jason was extended so the trip home we had planned became a drive straight through as fast as you could to get here and drop me and our stuff off and then Jason to get back, so it was up to me to deal with what was now being considered warranty items on our home.
It was literally a disaster I kid you not, they came in and made more of a mess than was originally here and didn't address half of it, round one ended with Jason calling the superintendent and telling them he wanted everyone out of the house and he would be home and deal with it in a few weeks. So during this time more furniture was delivered painting was done and visitors arrived. Sadly while Jason was away his grandfather unexpectedly passed away and therefore he ended up leaving work early, we met in Maine for the funeral and then headed home. As tons of our stuff had been stored at Jason's parents for years and we had both flown to Maine we just rented a Uhaul truck and made the trip back to NC.
This puts us at the end of October last year, and the fight began.. all we have done for the last year is fight with them to basically get what we paid for, for them to do their job, and to make our home what they promised. We spent a good bit of time at home through the end of last year, beginning of this year. Jason made a few solo trips for work but for the most part we were here. I honestly feel like the entire time we were here so were they, in the house, making a mess, working on something, dropping by, emailing back and forth, nasty phone calls.. it was a mess to say the least.
Here we are one year later, which is the final warranty inspection that will result in the builder being responsible for the items we are not happy with. I will say that some of the items on our list (which is about 20 pages) are items that would have happened due to the house settling and such, but most of it is shotty work and poor craftsmanship. We have fought and argued and emailed and basically gotten no where, left defeated. Jason has yelled and anyone who knows him knows he is not a yeller, but that has also failed to get results. I truly feel even at this point no one cares.
I don't feel we were treated with respect, I don't feel they should be proud of the product they produced and although we love our home our first home buying experience and year of home ownership has been a feat.
But I digress...
In the end we love our home, in this last year we have made some of the most amazing memories and every time I have to leave it is with tears and regret. This is our home, this is where our stuff is, we may not get to live here all the time but this is home.
I look forward to this phase of things ending, as it soon will due to our one year of ownership. I look forward to the years we will have this house and the memories we will make as our lives change. Would I change things if I could, maybe. I'm not much for regret but this process has been hard, long and really challenging, having said that we faced it together as a team and being able to call this place ours almost makes the hassle worth it.
I wish that I could tell you that KB Homes is someone to considering building a home with, but its not. Honestly save yourself the money and time and find someone else. We truly did research, although I don't feel like our situation is unique having talked to our neighbors. Buying your first home really is an amazing thing, don't let them ruin it for you.
I am happy to call this place home, I look so forward to coming here and the days (maybe, if ever) we will live here full time. I look forward to the way our lives will change and grow in this home and the new memories we will make. I have enjoyed nothing more than decorating and personalizing this place, I love that when you walk in the house you get a sense of who we were as we have never personalized an apartment because they are always temporary.
In the end I truly cant believe its been a year already, I guess time really does fly! We are home now and I am soaking up every single second of it. The deck is one of my favorite parts of the house and we have put it to good use as much as we can. This house is so much more for us than just a house and for that I will always be grateful.
I am sorry I didn't get here yesterday, again we are soaking up every second of being here knowing that today they were going to start work. I plan to get back on a regular blogging schedule again so stay turned for all that is coming this week.
Also lets just put it out there.. THIS WEEK REGULAR SEASON FOOTBALL BEGINS!!! WOOHOO!!!