Our House Building Journey…

We have been dreaming of home ownership for 2 decades.  But we had tons and tons of student loans and debt.  We plugged away for years paying that down. Finally a couple years ago we made a plan to save our down payment.  Then, our kids went to the orthodontist and there went the plan!  All our money earmarked for house savings were going into our kids mouths.

A year ago we made yet another plan to save for our down payment.  We hit lots of road bumps along the way because of the tanked economy and Jason constantly getting paid late.  However, in late February we had met our minimum agreed upon goal of savings to start looking at homes.

We had already long since decided what neighborhood we wanted to live in, that we wanted to build, and that we wanted a basement suite we could rent out.  So we were well on our way.  We knew the non negotiable things we wanted and the negotiable ones.  In fact we knew the exact house we wanted to build!

So, late February there was a huge open house for the new neighborhood we wanted to build in.  We had just met our minimum savings goal and had some more money coming in from some old outstanding monies owed us from child tax benefit.  As well we knew we would be getting a decent refund on our tax return.

So, we went to the open house.  We had already narrowed down our builder to Jayman.  A choice I haven’t regretted for a second so far!

However, when we went into the show home of the model we had our hearts set on, it was WAY above our budget.  It had all the bells and whistles and every upgrade available.  The upgrades were to a tune of about $130,000.  Even without a single upgrade we wouldn’t have enough money in our budget to develop the basement.

However, the other show home they had was a smaller version with almost no bells and whistles.  It was the basic package, with only 2 upgrades.  The upgrades were a bigger kitchen and a center bonus room.  The kitchen was perfect and the center bonus room wasn’t.  We wanted the standard front bonus room because it would be a bedroom for 2 of our girls.

The price was right.  They could develop the basement for us and we would still remain in budget.  It was the house for us.  We decided in a month we would come back and start the process of buying one.

However, that month timeline changed when we talked to the saleswoman.  Robyn told us that CMHA interest rates were going up on the following Wednesday (10 days).  This was Saturday.  Also there was only 1 more lot left in phase 1 of the smaller (and cheaper) size.  So we decided right then to move forward and see if we could get approved for a mortgage.

We met with Jordan the Jayman mortgage broker on the spot and started the process. It took 10 days to get approval.  But we got it and saved almost $2000 on the rate increase.

Next we had to let Jayman know what we wanted for the basement development.  So we did this and waited a couple weeks and got some plans for the development.  Jayman did a great job and we only had minor changes.  Mostly we wanted a tub downstairs so they changed it from a luxury shower to a tub shower combo.

Then we had to wait to get into design center where you choose your exterior and interior finishes.  Our appointment was 8 weeks after we started the whole process.

By the time our appointment came we had visited every Jayman show home in North Calgary.  We knew exactly what we liked and didn’t.  And in fact, we had simply confirmed that we did really love the show home.  We went into our appointment with a solid budget and a very good idea of exactly what we wanted.

We knew we wanted pretty much everything but the kitchen sink and faucet.

So, when our appointment came we were prepared.

Our first of four meetings was with their interior design company. The gal was to show us window coverings.  We were both stressed out!  We didn’t know how much money we would be spending other places, so we were quite hesitant to spend any here.  But even here we knew exactly what we wanted.  We have south facing windows so the house will get quite hot and we knew we needed to deal with that.  We told her to only show us heat saving options.  We considered 3.  But quickly narrowed it down to one.  It was the one we had originally wanted anyways.  Although window coverings were on our list to get we didn’t know if our mortgage would have room for them.  So we got the quote, knowing we could always reject it at final sign off.

We then were to move onto exteriors, but the couple in front of us were having trouble making decisions.  So instead we had a break and were brought warm oven fresh cookies.  Delicious.

The electrical consultant came early so they sent us to him.  Jason whizzed through the appointment adding wiring for 2 mounted TVs and several future outdoor cameras.

Then we went to exteriors.  We took maybe 20 minutes to make our choices. Although later we would discover that the developer had rejected the entire thing.  However, our consultant remedied the situation by talking to them directly and finding out what the problem was.  Apparently our neighbors had already chosen grey and they felt it was too much.  So we changed our trim color from grey to white and our 3 smart panels from black to white and it was approved.  We didn’t even have to go in again.

Then we had a half hour before lunch.  They served delicious salad and Coco Brooks pizzas.  We took the half hour extra break to browse through the options for the interior.

Following lunch we met Kim, our interior designer.  We told her to get the show home binder and we began.  We started with the kitchen  sink because we had already chosen a sink and faucet from their showroom.  The sink it turned out wouldn’t work with our laminate counters.  But we had an option 2.  So we went with that instead.  And incidentally saved about  $1500.  We ended up changing the carpet to a darker color and removing carpet from the great room.

Then I added a bunch of shelves to the laundry room and pantry to maximize storage.

Finally, I asked if they could possibly enlarge the linen closet in the bonus room to make a real closet for the girls.  She went to check on that and came back asking if we wanted a door on the bonus room.  So for $500 we got a door and for $96 a large closet.

A week later we signed off on our upgrades.  Now we wait.  We wait for the final drawings to be made and then a final meeting before the ground is finally broken.

I am super happy so far with Jayman homes.  Every step of the way they have been excellent.  They have treated us like family and helped us make good choices and stay on budget.

Stay tuned for more updates…more when they break ground…


The Long Break…

I have not written in a long time.  There are several reasons for this.  First we got new phones a couple months ago and my WordPress wasn’t set up.  This just made blogging not easy…so I didn’t do it.  As well following breaking my foot and zero weight bearing and all the craziness that came with that.  I just didn’t feel like writing or really have anything to write about.  And finally homeschooling our youngest and driving school bus and family just don’t leave much spare time!  But I will try to write more often.