Buying our first home – it came with so much excitement, nerves, a little bit of stress and a lot of learning! When my husband Dan and I decided to take the leap and buy our first home, we never imagined we would end up building.
Throughout the process of building our first home we were pleasantly surprised to find it was affordable for a first-time homebuyer. We also quickly realized there were many benefits to buying new including picking a floor plan that fit our family’s needs, the long-term cost savings because of its energy efficiency and selecting finishes suited for our style. In fact, we loved our first new construction home so much that when my husband got a job in Kenai, we went through the build process all over again.
I would encourage other millennials shopping for a new home to consider new construction for the following reasons:
It’s more affordable than you think
The first step on our way to homeownership was to narrow down the neighborhoods in Anchorage we loved and then settle on a price range we could afford. We quickly discovered there was very limited inventory, especially because we knew we didn’t want to undertake the hassle and work of a remodel. But as first-time homebuyers, new construction seemed like it would take a lot of work and we didn’t know if we could even do it within our price range.
However, when we attended an open house for an under construction townhome in Government Hill, we were excited to learn it was a home we could actually afford. We put in an offer, but somebody beat us to it. However, when we discovered there was an empty lot nearby we could build the same floor plan on – we took a chance, and went for it.
Energy efficiency will save you money
The energy efficient options of new construction were a huge selling point for us on both our homes, especially with my husband Dan, since he is an engineer. Our first home in Anchorage had an Energy Star rating of five and we received a new construction energy rebate. Our second home has an Energy Star rating of six. By purchasing new, energy efficient homes, we are able to save in the long run on our energy bills.
Picking the finishes is awesome
We learned that it’s easier than you think to stick to a budget, even with all the overwhelming options of picking finishes. During our first build, our builder set our budget and alerted vendors of our price range. When we visited local shops to pick out finishes like carpets, flooring, cabinets and lighting, everyone including us, knew our price range and we were able to select options within our budget to keep us on track. As a graphic designer, with a budding interest in interior design, I really enjoyed the process of selecting finishes that fit my style. It’s really fun to look around your home and see that everything reflects your taste and personality.
There will be bumps in the road, but you’re not alone
We’d been told by friends that with any new construction project there are always delays and bumps in the road, so armed with that information, we felt prepared when unexpected things happened. For example, on our first build, we had planned on a big deck however despite the plan, lot size constraints kept pushing the deck smaller and smaller. Throughout the entire build process, our builders were really good about answering our questions and keeping us informed.
Waiting is annoying, but worth it
I would say waiting is the hardest part of building. Finding leases to fit your moving move-in date can be a challenge. It’s also mentally challenging to live in a state of limbo, with some of your stuff unpacked and some of your belongings still in boxes. But once we were in our new homes, designed from the ground up with input from us, we were in love.
Buyers love new
Having a new home helped when it came time to move. We lived, and loved, our first home for three years and I was really sad to say goodbye. However, when it came time to sell, because of our neighborhood, price, energy efficiency and the newness of our home, it sold quickly even in a tougher economy.
We would, and did, do it all over again!
We took the lessons of our first build to our second, and I love our new home in Kenai. It once again reflects our personality and it’s fun to know we helped make this house our home. After living in two new construction homes, with finishes hand-picked by us, I think if we ever choose to move again, we’ll build for a third time. We’ve learned when you work with a builder and get to design the home for you, it makes any wait worth it.