The Story Behind Why We Decided to Build Our Dream Home

Our personal story.

Your story is probably different from ours – I would love to hear about it in the comments below! I am sharing our story in the hopes that it helps others along the journey to finding their dream home.The decision to build our dream home didn’t come lightly. When we initially starting planning for our dream home we discussed building and even looked into the cost of land, what types of lots were available, and other information pertinent to deciding to build. My husband and I had always wanted to build but something always prevented it such as: we couldn’t afford it, couldn’t find land to build on, etc. So in the beginning we decided that buying our dream home-made more sense and was preferable to building.  Building would mean an additional year of living 1 hour away from work (for me), at least another year before we could consider adding to our family, and a whole lot of time and effort spent planning the home. Buying just seemed easier, quicker, and more logical.

Blessings in Disguise

Buying a prebuilt dream home just was not meant to be for us. When our apartment lease was about to be up after our first year in Arizona we went looking for houses. I would guess we visited around 20 houses before changing our minds on what we were looking for. We even put an offer on one we really loved! The offer was not accepted by the owners; which was ultimately a blessing in disguise. After the offer fell through we decided to purchase a smaller, less expensive house we could turn into a rental later.  This was one of the best decisions we ever made! Our rental was a perfect little “starter’ home and we were able to save additional money to put towards the real home of our dreams.

The Final Outcome

After our rental we ended up purchasing a house to flip that we moved into. This house is one hour (or often times longer) away from my work location. Initially the plan was to only stay here for 6-12 months. Here we are 2 years later – still in the same flip house.  About 16 months in to living in our current house we started looking for our dream home. We searched and searched for 6 months for the house of our dreams. We spent numerous weekends looking at houses, going to open houses, and just driving different neighborhoods. After many unsuccessful hours spent trying to find our dream home we decided again to try looking into building and search for lots instead.

Finding Our Lot

The first day we looked at lots for building we found where our new home was going to be built! Everything fell into place and we knew we could follow our dreams of building. It was like a big shout from God telling us to BUILD our dream home. It only took a few prayers and a couple of serious discussions to determine this was the best choice for us! During our discussion we came up with the reasons below for building our dream home and they’re how we knew building was the best choice for us.

5 Reasons to Build a Dream home

To be completely transparent, some of our reasons are linked directly with my husband’s job. He is a general contractor so our budget for buying and building were very similar (although building was still slightly more expensive due to the cost of land in AZ). Also, secondary to that he can use our custom-built home as an example in his portfolio in the future. However, while these played a role in our decision, they were not in the top 5 biggest reasons we decided to build instead of buy. Of course your spouse doesn’t have to be a contractor to build your dream home! You can still decided to build instead of buy for the 5 reasons I’ve listed below.

Reasons to build your dream home

Reason #1 – Your Dream Home Doesn’t Exist

Have you been looking for your dream home with no success? Do you feel as if you have looked into every possible resource for buying a home and have still come up empty-handed? Building might be a good option for you if that’s the case! You may find several houses that you could settle for; but your dream home is hopefully a place you’ll live in for decades. No one wants to settle for 30 years!

We couldn’t find our dream home without additional issues or things we didn’t like. I was starting to become frustrated and feeling defeated. We looked a several houses that seemed to fit the picture of what we wanted but they each had something that either concerned us (such as needing a new $30k roof), annoyed us (why were sunken living rooms ever a thing? It’s like you’re asking to be tripped in your own home), or lacked our “must haves”. Ultimately we couldn’t find a house we loved and wanted to make our forever home even though we searched for 6 months. We did find a ton of great ideas that we wanted to incorporate into our dream home; click here to learn how to find awesome ideas for your dream home too.

Reason #2 – You Want it All

A dream home should have all of your Must Haves. You want 6 bedrooms – it needs 6 bedrooms. You want a porch for a swing to sit on and read – it needs that porch! Your Must Haves can be a long list or a short list. They are personal and completely up to you. But your dream home should have each and every one or at least a way to create them if possible.

We are being very picky about our dream home. We want everything on our “must haves” list. Sacrificing something just because someone else didn’t think of it when they built their home just wasn’t okay with us. Planning our forever home has been a year process of discussing, searching, and defining our dreams. Instead of narrowing down our desires this has increased them and caused them to be deeply rooted.

We have big plans for our home. We want it to be able to meet our needs now and wants for the future. Our plans for our dream home include: enough space for out-of-state family to visit, a pool to keep us cool during Arizona summers and entertain guests, and the most amazing walk-in shower we can dream of in our master bath. Prebuilt homes didn’t leave room for our imagination to come to fruition.

Reason #3 – Being Realistic About Remodeling

Some people love to remodel or have house projects. If you are that type of person then you may be able to purchase a home that needs work and turn it into your dream home. This can be a great strategy for those looking to save some money up front. Just be realistic about the remodeling projects and what they might cost. Not only in terms of money but in time as well.

Several home we looked at needed work done or would have to be remodeled to meet our Must Haves. We didn’t want to remodel. Even though My husband’s business would allow us to remodel anything we wanted. We both decided we really aren’t up for redoing a house after moving in. I’m really looking forward to decorating considering I haven’t even hung up a picture in 2 years. But didn’t want to have to deal with a bunch of remodeling projects.

We also learned that some houses just can’t be turned into what you want after spending an hour trying to figure out how we would put pantry in a house that had everything else on our Must Haves list. (Trust me, it wouldn’t have fit. We desperately wanted it to). So if you do plan to purchase a fixer upper, spend some time in the house to make sure your dreams can be turned into reality before signing on the dotted line.

Reason #4 – Time is in Your Favor

Building a house takes time. The building process – from breaking ground to moving in – typically takes 9-16 months on average depending if it’s a custom build or a production build.  But that doesn’t include the time it takes to find a general contractor and architect, picking out or creating plans, having surveys completed, and all the other things that come prior to being able to break ground. Plus once your plans are complete but before you can break ground they have to be approved by the city or county you plan to build in.  Basically its a lengthy process and you need extra time if you plan to build.

We have time. Although I would love to be closer to work (my 1 hour each way commute means I spend 8+ hours a week driving in 4 days) and I would love to have a functional yard. We aren’t in a rush. Our current home has all the necessities but not all our wants. And if spending another year here means getting all the dreams in our dream home I okay with it. Plus I’m used to sacrificing to reach my goals.

Before deciding to build your dream home make sure you have the extra time before you need or have to move into it. Also, consider the extra time it takes to create plans and pick out paint, flooring, windows, cabinetry, etc. That is also extra hours you will have to be able to devote to planning your dream home.

Reason #5 – It Works with Your Budget

It is important to look at the cost of building versus buying in your area. Land costs vary widely across the U.S. The cost per square foot of a build versus buying prebuilt also differs around the nation. You will want to cost compare and determine what works best for your budget or which you can afford. Sometimes, you may be able to afford either and the other 4 reasons may end up holding more weight for your decision. It’s important to look at the big picture and the long-term outcome of your build or buy decision.

As I mentioned earlier, we knew we could build our dream without increasing our budget too much so the finances were a smaller part of our decision. Then the more we discussed it the more and more building made sense for us. But everyone’s outcome will be personal.

Write Your List of Pros and Cons

A helpful way to discuss whether you want to build or buy is creating a pros and cons list. Many people are familiar with this concept.  I would encourage you to take it one step farther and score your pros and cons on an importance scale of 1 (low importance)-5 (high importance).  Each items gets a score. You then add up the pros and cons and see which list has the higher number. This can help put your pros and cons into perspective. Here is another post on 5 questions to ask yourself before deciding to build that can also assist with your decision making!

I wish you the best on building your dream home. Please share any additional reasons you found to build your dream home in the comments below!

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