My husband Ryan and I decided to start looking for a home to buy about 5 months before the end of our lease. I asked around for realtor recommendations, and we quickly found someone to work with. Initially, our search was time-sensitive because we did not want to renew a lease. We wanted to start putting our monthly payment towards an actual mortgage. We wanted the money we spent each month on housing to stay ours.
Everyone hears that renting is "throwing money away." We believe this to be true. Even though my husband could potentially be required to relocate in a few years, if we at least start "buying and selling," instead of just renting, the monthly payments we make every month will be going towards equity and not towards someone else's mortgage payment. When you rent, you get nothing in return. Especially as we matured and started looking for rentals that were more expensive to begin with, the best time to become homeowners was clearly as soon as possible.
Charlotte has several historical, close-in neighborhoods and a few suburbs. For our search, we wanted to stay in South Charlotte. In addition to our ideal location we also considered schools, nearby amenities, and age of the home.
How did we decide new construction was right for us?
We were never intimidated by a good old-fashioned DIY project. My father has certainly shown me that most anything can be "updated" and fixed to your liking, being that he used to be a successful commercial tile contractor and built and recently remodeled my parents' forever home. I actually prefer the look of older, established neighborhoods with mature landscaping compared to new developments. For a while we were looking to find a cute, charming ranch in an established neighborhood. Even if it needed some updating, I knew I could make it our own.
But, you can't change square footage. You can't (easily) change floor plan. You can't change the fact that in the 50s a neighborhood wasn't built with power lines underground and there are electrical power lines lines running right through the backyard of that cute, charming ranch. Garages were not common either, and we wanted a garage. We were disappointed in many of the ranches we saw. To live "close-in" to the city, we found we would pay a higher premium price, and get an older, less efficient home with a poor school system. Charlotte has a "lottery" system for its public schools, where you can elect to attend a public magnet school instead of your assigned public school, but it is not something I looked into much. We do not have kids but for the chance we stay in this home to raise them to school-age, good schools would be a great thing to have. Not to mention we would quickly outgrow a home we could have afforded to purchase "close-in." However, older homes in this area do have bigger yards and potentially more space between the homes compared to the suburbs. There were always pros/cons to each aspect of our decision making process. The important thing to remember was that we could never 'have it all,' but we could get close.
There is one particular suburb of Charlotte we focused our search in, but the homes were at least 20 years older compared to our new construction home. By building new construction, we get the "latest and greatest" in home building. For example, we'll have a tankless water heater system with unlimited hot water. We could do a load of hot laundry, wash dishes, and take hot showers in both bathrooms and never run out of hot water. And, to build new we will only be about 15 minutes away from the established suburb we were first looking in, with all the shopping and restaurants. The schools are also top-rated where we will be living. Building new ended up being the right decision for us in the Charlotte market.
We are so excited to begin our journey in home-ownership and to watch our new neighborhood continue to grow! Have you ever considered new construction?