Thursday, March 24, 2016

Not-so-green Prints

There's nothing green about choosing house plans!

As you walk into each and every display home, you're greeted with a low-pressure, fully analytical smile, from the sales person's assistant as they thrust a display brochure in your hands.  In this split second encounter, I'm sure they're assessing whether you're a potential customer or tyre-kicker.  We're becoming skilled at timing our entry and exit when the converted garage, I mean sales office, is full, and staff are distracted.  High-pressure, salesy types are never, never, never going to win me over.

I love me a good bit of research.  Most decisions are arrived at after considering pretty much every option possible.  When we searched for our current home, I dragged the man through just about every display home in the Melbourne metro area.  It's either awesome or sad, you choose which, that I can still recall most of them too.

So why would this time be any different?

A new display village is evolving not far from us, so when the first home opened, of course we had to check it out.  And it's beautiful.  Open, flowing layout.  Full of light and decorated in colours we like. Theatre.  4 bedrooms, with a logical layout to create treatment rooms from the back two - the whole reason we went for a corner block.  Day 1, HOUSE #1, and I'm in love.  Already.  Price it up, eager and very helpful young guy.

Price = yowsers!  For a 28sq house?  But yes, we do need higher ceilings and doors and fancy windows, and a colorbond roof, and double shower.  In the 7 years since we'd gone through this process, I'd somehow forgotten that just about everything is an extra.  Yes, we want to downsize both the home and the amount of money we owe on it, but are we ready to downgrade too?  Time for spreadsheeting, pro and con lists, and a good hard look at the way we live and what it is we REALLY need from this new home.

It doesn't add up.  Why are we doing this?  We may as well stay where we are and not go through the stress and hassle of moving and building and moving again.  Either the house will be crappy or the mortgage will be the same.  Meltdown #1 takes the stage.

To cheer me up, the man suggests we go look at some displays further afield.  Day 2, HOUSE #2, and the man is in love.  Okay, before we invest more time in this, let's get the pricing structure, inclusions, yadda yadda upfront.  Really?  For 30 squares?  With colorbond, and...  Let's go have a closer look?

It's good.  Parts of it are great.  The kitchen is strange though, and the bathroom is internal with no window.  Sure, no one uses the bathroom right now, but it feels funny.  And not ha ha.  So, so spacious though.  And light.  It IS the 35 square version on display though.  So we spend the night measuring and pacing out the room sizes based on what we have now.  It's good.  Five less squares though.  How is that going to feel?

HOUSE #3, and we're both in love.  No clumsiness in the floor plan. Rear entrance and a foyer type space for treatment rooms.  Theatre at the front.  Great kitchen and open feel.  This really works.  Price it up.  Yep, it's in our range. But the display, again, is a 35 square.  That's a lot of space to lose.  Do you have a 30 square under construction we could see?  Yes?  Awesome!  Only it's not so awesome in the flesh.  It's a lot of rooms from 30 squares, and they feel pretty small.  Gahhhhh!  Lots of rooms may be good for re-sale, but we're not going into this with an out clause.

Another day, more displays.  They're all starting to look the same.  A collection of boxes running from a long hallway.  Where's the ka-boom?  There's supposed to be an earth-shattering ka-boom!

I don't know why we decided to do this, but we re-visited a display village that we were pretty familiar with.  We'd visited all of the main players there.  Maybe we'd missed something?  On the next row back, you know, where the B-listers hang out, there was one we'd never been in.  Let's just.... OH WOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW.  It wasn't exactly a ka-boom.  More like a "Hi honey, I'm home" type of feeling. It was different.  Very different.  Not everyone's cuppa, but we didn't want to leave.

HOUSE #4 - We put this one through it's paces.
Does it work for us?  As a Remedial Therapy clinic? How would we live in this space?  Is there enough room?  Enough rooms? What if we... and if we could... ?  Is that a possibility?  We've poured over the plans every spare minute we've had.  Met with their super helpful consultant.  Met the owner of the business.  If there's a downside to building a semi-custom home designed just for us, through a smaller, local builder, then I hope we find it before Saturday.

I'm ready to toss the piles of new home brochures we've accumulated into the recycling bin, lock this baby in, lay down some dollars and go for it.

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