Model Homes

The other day MJ and I went looking at a new home community being built near our neighborhood.  Are we in the market for a house?  No, absolutely not.  I love our house.  I never want to move ever, even though my husband has already decided that someday we will.  Today is not that day, but I've had a thing for looking at model homes ever since I was a kid.  I was the one always begging my mom to stop and look at model homes anytime I saw a sign with an arrow pointing this way, for no other reason than because I loved the perfect decor, and imagining what it would be like to have my very own model home some day.  Being there at the model homes, by the same builder as our house brought back so many memories from our home buying journey.  The price sheet.  That new home smell.  The beautiful decor and brand new everything.  This time, it was just for fun, but back then we wanted a house so badly and looking at model homes was the same thing as looking at what we couldn't have.
Model Home viewing 2016-Love this room!!!!
I thought I would enjoy house hunting, but I didn't.  It didn't consist of leisurely strolling through perfectly staged model homes and picking out the one we want.  It was stressful.  It consisted of spending every waking moment scouring listings, viewing homes, and sometimes feeling like an intruder marching through people's homes while they quietly sit on the couch watching TV.  We only did it for about three months, but I could already see how time consuming and how impossible it was actually going to be.  A lot of people were still scared to buy, but there were enough buyers taking advantage of low prices, that you had to get there fast.  No matter how fast you got there, or how much over asking you might be willing to pay the cash offers were winning it all.  MJ was between jobs.  While not the ideal situation for getting financed, it helped that he had extra time during the weekday while I was at work.   After seeing disappointing house after disappointing house, I was exhausted and I was over it.  One day, it was a cluttered house that smelled like moldy cat.  Another day, it was a house missing the front part of it's stove.  It was starting to look like we had a choice between a fixer upper or a move-in ready condo, but we didn't want to do a lot of work and we didn't want a condo.  We found a large low priced, home with stately columns inside that we liked enough even though it needed work, but I don't even think we could find out the status.

One Sunday after viewing homes with our realtor, we decided to stop by a new home community close to where we were living just for the heck of it.  She'd mentioned it, but we didn't bring her with us, because it really wasn't an option.  We just wanted to look.  We went into the office that routes you to the model homes.  They handed us a printout of prices, and it was exactly as I expected.  Too much.  We marveled at the beautiful decor and breathed in the fresh new home smell.  It was exactly what we wanted, if only we could.  Upstairs laundry room, half bath downstairs, and double sinks in the master bathroom.  There were three models and each one, was a little bit smaller than the next, but they were all gorgeous.  I could see myself living in any one of them.  "Well, it would be nice.  But we can't afford it," I said with a sigh when we walked out.  It would be a miracle if we found a home at all, let alone a new one.

We continued searching MLS listings every day, and wondered if we would ever find the right one, let alone by our fast approaching wedding date.  We were crammed in a 400 square foot studio, planning our wedding, and house hunting.  Money was flying out of our bank accounts at an alarming rate and I was stressed beyond belief.  We put in an offer on a nice condo.  We didn't like the apartment style parking situation outside, or the high HOA fees but our options were limited.  We were also nervous about the commute, but we were running out of time and like most people in California on a tight budget we'd have to take what we could get.

It was MJ's idea.  "You know what?  Maybe we should consider the new build."  We wouldn't have to battle it out with ten other buyers.  By the time we paid hefty HOA fees at a condo, or paid over asking just to get in, we might be better off.  It was more than what I wanted us to spend, but I agreed.  We rushed over to the new build, and made a quick decision to do another credit check by the preferred lender so we could get in on the current phase pricing. 
The model of our house
A few days later we signed the final contract, and it was ours.  But what had we done?  The base price got us a builder basic square box with walls.  We hadn't even been to the design studio yet.  There were still hurdles that we didn't even know we'd have to jump through, but it was the moment the house was officially ours.  Nervous but excited, we went over to the model home again and viewed it with a different set of eyes.  Before, it was "Oh how nice, I wish," and a glimpse of something we couldn't have.  This time was different.  It wasn't just something we wished for, it was something that we had.  We'll have room for a king size bed in the master, and an oh my gosh walk in closet.  I ran my hand over the cool stark white bathroom counters and could hardly believe it. I was so excited.  "We did it," I said to him.  We hugged and kissed in the entry way, and it was a triumphant and happy moment for both of us.
Our growing neighborhood in 2010
We chose flooring and kitchen cabinets at the design studio.  We visited the ditches, which became the wood frame, which became our house every week.  After a few setbacks, we finally secured funding.  Back and forth we went to the model homes measuring rooms, and visualizing where everything would go as we shopped for furniture.  Three months later, and we had our very own model home.  Well, not exactly.  We couldn't afford all the upgrades, so we had to do some of them later.  It is not as exquisitely decorated.  Believe me I tried!   We don't live in a magazine ad, but we have lived there happily ever after for almost six years, and it all started with a walk through a model home.  Just for the heck of it.

Our home buying journey


Amanda @ said...

I love looking at other people's houses! Especially ones around where I live. I'm in a townhouse now and I've always wondered how every one else has their places set up, since they are all identical layouts.

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

Love looking at model homes! My dream job would be an interior designer for those homes <3
Green Fashionista

Carly Blogs Here said...

I always liked looking at model homes or going to open houses when I was growing up too. One of my friends is in the process of a new build and has had some of the same thought process or realizing you pay for the house but then all the upgrades are extra, etc. It sounds like this was the perfect choice for you guys and I'm sure it's so nice to be there from the beginning of the neighborhood coming together.

Tomes Edition said...

Only last weekend we did the same thing and found our "dream home". We love looking at model homes to give us an idea when we are actually ready to buy.

Tia @ HoPo said...

I got chills thinking about your home experience like it was ours when we first moved in 2013. The "I don't know if we can do this" to "we did it!" is truly amazing. And sure, we compromised on decor somewhat, but the property? Can't be beat!! You can always decorate's the bones that matter and it looks like you got exactly what you wanted.

Renae said...

I love going to look at model homes, I even take my kids to this day and we go look at them. We love, it-We tend to go look at dream homes and we even go into gated communities and walk around some of the homes that are being built.

Faith said...

I haven't really checked out model homes but I love open houses because I love seeing inside people's homes. It feels kinda cool to see if the outside of the home matches what you imagine the inside to look. I'm always tempted to look for open houses even when I'm not in the market for a house, etc.

It's funny that I can remember your house buying process. Kinda mind boggling that I've been following you for so long. I've actually "known" you longer than some real life friends, lol.

I hope you have a great birthday weekend!

Abby Abby said...

I love looking at houses too! I just love seeing how people design and decorate them.


Lindsay said...

My hubby and I are just starting to consider house hunting! It's a huge mess of emotions...excitement, nerves, frustration, dissapointment!
I'm glad you guys found what suits you well! I can only hope we will find something in the near-ish future.

Ashley R said...

Model homes are definitely gorgeous! Such a fun story of how you ended up in your house. :)

Catherine Gacad said...

what an inspiring story! life always seems to work out.

Kathy C said...

Congrats!! What an awesome start to a very fun journey!

Carla said...

I enjoyed reading this story. Really tells the story of what happens when you just step out on faith. And lately I've been doing that.

The housing process is interesting. It took me back to when I was looking for a home and how fun, yet frustrating, it was. Probably because of current living situation I was in with a horrible landlord.

I think eventually I'd like to build. Maybe Texas or Colorado. I'm not sure yet. But I know if I build, it will most likely be the area I plan to remain for the rest of my life.