Somewhere between that thought and signing the contract, I changed my mind and we embarked on an adventure of building a new home that took us from then until literally just last week.
I did have a wonderfully helpful blog post written out for you, advising of some of the things that we loved and some of the things that we disliked about building a new home. Then we moved and I lost my laptop amongst our approximately 3,432 packing boxes and spent seven ridiculous days sealing the plaster of and painting our home. This brought me to a new frame of mind where I would like to share the following with you, my dear friends:
THE SEVEN STAGES OF BUILDING A NEW HOME
In every process of building a new home, humans will experience seven different stages. Some people attribute these stages to grief. I have also figured out that they apply incredibly well to building a new home.
First comes the SHOCK.
First, there is shock and a disbelief that you are even considering this. One minute, you’re looking at homes for fun new bathroom renovation ideas, the next minute you’re cosied up in the display home dining room with a sales representative and a bundle of seasonal house and land package deals, picked just for you. “Are we really meeting with a builder?”, you’ll ask. Yes. Yes, you are. And it can be alarming when you sit down and realise that you’ve already decided where you’ll put your pot plants.
“But wait, isn’t building a new home expensive? There is no way we can afford this!” And yep, you’re right. Houses are expensive. You’ll go home after that meeting, you’ll sit there and think of all the negatives, all of the logical reasons to not build. “I’ve complained about our current house for 14 years, but you know what? Let’s have six children in this 2-by-1. People do it! I can do it! Imagine if we lived in an apartment in New York! That would be worse! We got this, let’s stay here forever!”, you’ll convince yourself, as you set the table which is actually located in one of those bedrooms that had to be converted to a dining room because there is no dining room. Yeah. Go on. What were you saying?
Next, ANGER can take hold.
Okay, you’re doing it. You have come around to the idea that you would love to have a toilet that isn’t located inside the kitchen. Now you’re looking at prices. “I’ll just look at this brochu- WHAT THE HELL. WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE JUST TO BUY SOMEWHERE TO SLEEP AT NIGHT?! AND THE MORTGAGE INTEREST?! SURE, IT’S AT AN ALL-TIME LOW BUT WHY IS IT STILL SO DAMN MUCH?! THAT’S IT! I’M LIVING IN A LARGE PACKING BOX! OR A STORAGE UNIT! OR A CUBBY HOUSE!” Ever heard of that program called Tiny Houses? You mocked the exhaustingly small living spaces up until this moment but dayuuuuum it’s looking good now.
But don’t worry, BARGAINING is here!
Pre-start is a long, drawn-out session or two where you pick out all of your fittings, fixtures, paint colours and sign your divorce papers. Don’t worry, that is a terrible cliche joke – it’s not as daunting as it looks. Promise. If you have a good sales rep, they will help you through this part, for those who are visually impaired (both in sight and sometimes in taste) like myself. The real struggle is staying within budget. These are desperate times, friends. Most of us can’t have all of the optional extras. Do you want the extended laundry bench or the wider al fresco area? Would you like the bigger wardrobes or the spacious kitchen overhead cupboards? In the end, you’ll be bargaining over an extra $45 electrical outlet, which is smart and savvy, but probably not worth the time spent in the $400,000 scheme of things.
Oh no, here comes DEPRESSION…
It’s real. You’ve signed the contract papers for the house, your mortgage broker has signed the dotted line and those dollah dollahz on the paperwork are now real coins and notes. Did you know you have to pay that back?! Whaaaat? That $45 electrical outlet, which seemed like nothing at the time, is now a solid 11 coffees worth of product coming out of your pocket. As you sign away your life savings against a currently hypothetical house, it sets in: you’ve done it. There’s no going back. Go home and eat that punnet of Ben & Jerry’s. It’s the last one you can afford for the next 30 years.
And then, the TESTING.
Alright, you’re out of your pyjamas and facing facts. You’ve gone and built the house, and now it needs to be checked over, with final stages of preparation needing to begin. Going through the house, checking all of the plans to make sure they match the building in front of you… looking over the budget again and again to make sure you’ve accommodated for all of the items you’ve not been invested in for the last 11 months… planning for trucks and movers and sealing and painting and the hundreds of sacrificial visits to furniture stores to look at all of the beautiful things and only choosing what you need… or really, really want… and we’re back to bargaining. Do I want the functional, much-needed couches or that stunning lamp that makes the room look just perfect but also costs more than both couches put together even at 30% off but it’s such a beautiful lamp and truly just think of all the reading and resting and atmosphere I’ll create with that amazing piece of furniture? It’s a testing time, for sure. (I got the couches.)
After 322 days of living out of home, with our first pregnancy, and then with a growing baby, beating all odds of family stereotypes and cliche marriage puns and with nobody harmed in the making, we have moved back into our new home – literally just six days ago – with a stronger marriage, a closely knit extended family, full hearts and an almost nine month old. The first full mortgage payment comes out next month and life has pretty much returned back to normal. What even just happened? Where were we? Where did all these boxes come from? Did I really forget to ask for a door on that bathroom? Oh well. Life is sweet and can now carry on. Same same, but completely different.
Building a new home. Would I do it again?
In an instant.
But don’t ask me to paint your house if you would like us to remain friends.