Diary of a First-Time Home Builder

MelissaWelcome to the diary of a first-time home builder. Meet Melissa! Melissa is building a custom home down here in the Houston area. Melissa is a total sport and will be chronicling the ups and downs of her home-building experience from the perspective of a home owning/building newbie! Every two weeks Melissa will answer a questionnaire and we invite you to submit your questions in the comments below! If you’re contemplating taking on such a project yourself what questions do you have? If you’ve built your own home and been through this process what advice do you have to give? What would you have done differently? Where did you compromise? What was the best decision you made?


Chapter 1 – Taking the Plunge!

How long have you been home searching?

We started looking close to the end of December 2014 online to get an idea of where the newer homes were being built. After narrowing down areas we liked we would visit 2-3 neighborhoods on the weekends in January and February.

Why build and not buy an existing home?

I don’t want to sound too picky but existing homes have so many finishes that I just don’t care for. I prefer tile to carpet; I like certain types of fixtures over others. This is true for any home buyer. I don’t plan to move any time soon and I don’t want to spend months fixing things in an existing home when I can buy a new home according to my specifications. I can put my budget to work for me in a new home in a way I can’t in an existing home.

After looking at a lot of inventory homes and finding that there was always carpet. We ran the numbers and found it was about the same price to build from scratch and get all the little details we wanted.

What was the deciding factor to go ahead and take the plunge and start your build?

All of the houses were starting to look alike. We got to the point where it was a matter of just sitting down and just picking one. The area we picked checked off the most things on our wish list.

What are you most excited about?

Moving in and decorating


Home Exterior – Brick and Stone

What are your greatest concerns about building a home?

Staying on budget and schedule.

What was it like signing the papers to buy your property?

People weren’t kidding when they tell you there are a mountain of papers to sign. It is very scary signing preliminary papers because there is no going back after that. There were moments of being overwhelmed by all the numbers, terms and disclaimers. I was very lucky to have my realtor with me to go page by page making sure I understood everything.


Home Sweet Home!

How long will the building process last?

After the contract has been executed and all the finishing’s are picked out it will take approximately five months to build.

At this point in the process is there anything that’s been a true surprise to you?

The amount of things that aren’t considered standard. Light switches, the hook-up for the dryer… The under-mounted sink. Maybe I’m just naive but I kind of thought some of these things would be standard.


So many upgrades…

On a scale of 1 – 5 (5 being the highest) what’s your excitement level at this point in your project? What’s your anxiety level?

Excitement – 4
Anxiety – 5

Check out Chapter 2 – Sinking In!

DON'T MISS OUT! Get Texas Home and Garden email updates. SIGN UP