Thursday, May 26, 2011

Answering Those Questions:

So, a lot of you have been asking the question, "Why build, instead of buy?" Here's my answer.

In Virginia, an older home with some need for TLC would be an awesome investment. You'd have those great wood floors, gorgeous molding, staircases with drama, beautiful "bones", etc., and you could come out on top by fixing up bathrooms and kitchen. My friend, Hosanna, has a home like that. However, in Washington state (at least, in this city).....we don't have "lovely old homes in need of TLC." We have homes built in the 70's or 80's in need of TLC. They're almost all "doublewide" type homes, too...Washington is famous for its low-roofed, ranch-style, porchless types. They remind me of glorified campers.

I suspect the reason for that has to do with Washington *ahem* not having been settled until more doesn't have the "colonial era" homes that Virginia does. Plus, it was settled by hippies...who live in campers. LOL!

There are very few things in our area (Lacey, WA) on the market right now for around $200,000 (our spending limit) that offer 3 bedrooms, an area (den) to teach piano in, and a lot of promise for beautiful upgrades (and hopefully, a yard). Here are some links showing you what's for sale in our desired location that is within our price range:

Link 1  Leaves a little room price-wise for some upgrades, but will still always look like a doublewide on the outside
Link 2 Has a fairly nice upgraded kitchen (not my style), but a very tiny back yard, and some weird, outdated features, such as the wall of wood paneling in the living room. Also, the exterior is less than beautiful, too.
Link 3 Another house, near the square footage of the one we're going to build, and closer to 200K. Leaves money for only a couple upgrades, and still leaves us with a tiny backyard, and.....a red doublewide.

None of these would give us much equity if we put some upgrades into them. Even with new windows and flooring and cabinets, scrubbed & polished & painted---you still have a low profile, ranch-style, not-very-pretty home. Sadly. All of them. We have been watching this trend continue for months, now. Then.......we found Adair Homes.

Adair Homes offers a few selections within our price range. They're not a custom-home company. They are a "Costco" of home building supply. With their home-building scheme, we are encouraged to do a lot of the work in the building and lot preparation ourselves. This saves us money, project by project, and gives us a brand new home at the end, complete with a lot the size we picked. We are NOT encouraged to draw up our own home plan and change things as we go. We had around 4 plans to pick from, and we went with the 1643 (square ft.) plan.

We expect to invest around $220,000 in the actual supplies, land, and labor, and end up with a 1643 sf home on 1/3 acre lot appraised at around $300,000. This is based on the data we read about others who had completed projects with Adair. When we finish our home, we'll have spent the same amount we would have ended up spending with a "fixer-upper" only we have not just an "ok" kitchen, or "refinished wood flooring" but a hand-picked kitchen, a modern open floor-plan, a studio for 2 pianos, and brand new Shaw wood floors.

Granted, we will be working our butts off, just as one might if one purchased an older home and put upgrades in it. BUT we will have a VERY NEW AND MODERN home to sell (should we choose to) in 5-10 years. It will be nice to move into a brand newly-built home after having put the "sweat equity" into building it rather than moving into a place that require months of work, bit by bit, putting up with the mess as we go.

Know this, however, East Coasters: were we to be able to find a deal like THIS ONE or THIS ONE or THIS ONE (OMG, OMG!!)  or THIS ONE ............well, let me just say.....we'd have bought it already, and be working on it RIGHT NOW. I mean.....we bought a subscription to "This Old House"!! It's my blood. I grew up in an old home. I am not kidding when I say, "The 1634 by Adair is NOT my dream home." But, it's a good investment for this area. If we needed to move for some reason....we have a lot of good stuff to show for our work. We expect, in 7 years, to have a pretty bangin' newer, beautiful, modern home to sell.

ANYHOW. Without further ado, here is the final choice (I know it's different from Facebook's post, but...we're still vacillating.) ..... 

The only change we will be making is to build a wall on the left just as you walk in the front door to enclose that "sitting room" into a studio for my 2 (hopefully 2, by then) pianos. The lot we picked is on a busier street...hopefully a good location to put a sign up for my business.

Final Announcement:

We put an offer on the land today. :D :D :D :D

1 comment:

Hosanna said...

Oh wow. I didn't know Washington was so devoid of decent homes to buy. In terms of investments, I guess you're doing the wisest thing! It's kind of hard for me to wrap my mind around - for someone like me who has only ever lived in A - Florida, B - North Carolina, and C - Virginia, I guess I was thinking that everywhere had foreclosed homes on the cheap like Lisi and Jeremiah's, and great older homes with potential, like this area - for super SUPER good dealios. I guess now I have to wonder ..... why the heck stay in Washington?! LOL. (Just kidding...... I know you guys have your reasons/plans direction from God on that matter.) :D