Once we picked out the floor plan we wanted we had to pick a lot. And that was not easy. It was slim pickings. If we had just realized this was the home for us a year ago we could have been on a nice cul de sac or have a wooded lot. But here were our options:
- one of three lots with tiny back yards that backed up to a fence. Beyond this fence lie some old lots in an old neighborhood. Behind one of the three lots was a too close, old, unsightly home. YEESH. The lot furthest from that was a maybe. But the yard! We’re talking about 10 feet from the house to the fence.
- A lot which was triangular shaped. The yard would be a very small awkward triangle and we couldn’t picture fencing it for Zable.
- Another choice was a lot backing up to a steep hill with almost no level yard. It also appeared to be at risk for flooding if something catastrophic happened.
- The other 2 lots were next to each other. 5D would have back yards on both of its sides as well as 3 other backyards in its backyard. It looked like once all the fences were built it could be a hexagon of fence surrounding it, pretty awkward looking to say the least. The positives were that it faced a less busy street and that its yard was smaller but more level.
- 4D backed up to a 5D’s side yard. The home would face a strange way considering that no other homes near it would face the way it did. It looked like the house should’ve sat facing the same way as 5D. But of course that wasn’t something we could change. Due to that though, the back yard was massive compared to the other options. However, the grade was slightly downhill and it had a pretty significant ditch sitting in the back of the yard with a drainage grate. On top of that, 4D had a lot premium of $4k since it was a corner lot.
After a week of studying plats, walking the lots and dragging our parents around we had all come to the same decision – lot 4D was the best option. Before we signed off on the contract we needed to firm up all of our structural options. We added a 3rd bathroom upstairs which meant that my walk in closet would be a little smaller. We dreamed of adding a double shower to the master bath and later found out they were adding an 8’ shower to the options which worked perfectly.
Other upgrades we chose were adding a fireplace, an exterior door from the garage and a second vanity in the second bath. The big decisions, aka expensive ones, were whether to add an unfinished third floor ($17k) and whether to upgrade the exterior facade ($12k).
I pushed for the third floor because I wanted that option for storage mainly and we both loved the bungalow elevation which gave us the craftsman features as well as a sizable front porch. I had figured out what each house in our section of the neighborhood paid per square foot and we knew going into the meeting to sign the contract we needed some serious money taken off if we were to get all the items we wanted for a decent price per square foot. The builder offered 10k in options. After some awkward long pauses without speaking we got them to knock another 5k off and they lowered the lot premium to 2k. If we hadn’t have gotten so much off we probably would have dropped the bungalow elevation but with the extra money off we decided to go for it. We also got them to reserve our lot for 60 days. That meant we could sell our house and not be worried that we’d lose our lot in the meantime.