My husband Mike and I were on the hunt — which I dubbed “Operation ReloSouth” — for the perfect location to build our retirement home. We found it — a no-snow, lower cost, more relaxed area of the country near water — in Hampton Lake SC. And this is our story.
Finding a buildable lot in a dream location — Hampton Lake SC — took us a few years and a lot of road trips and plane flights South. Don’t rush your own search. Enjoy the adventure! That said? If you find a lot that makes your heart melt? Buy it!
Mike and I are very happy with our lake view lot and how the front yard (for the yet-to-be-built house) pretty much faces due South. With the rear yard (and stunning lake) facing North, we’re pretty sure we can hang out in our backyard and not catch fire during the blisteringly hot, humid S.C. summers. Alternatively, we can come and stay with you when it’s too toasty in SC!
Mike and I toured a number of model homes in Hampton Lake. We talked with the builder’s reps and explored different style homes large and small. If you, like us, are looking for a builder, do yourself a favor and make a list of the dozen or so drop-dead things you MUST HAVE in your new home before you start looking a models or begin working with an architect on a custom-designed home. And know what you can afford to spend on your dream house. No sense falling in love with a home that is out of your price range, right?
Your must-have list will vary from ours. Why? Because we are quirky. And so are you. These are the questions we asked ourselves as we toured the model homes:
- Is there enough room for at least two people to walk through the front door and stand in the main hallway comfortably? Mike and I seem to be joined at the hip sometimes. Or maybe that’s just being married for more than 35 years!
- Is there a master bedroom suite that includes a bathroom with walk-in shower, two sinks and a toilet not situated inside a tiny windowless closet-type room? Does the suite have a large walk-in closet?
- Is there at least one guest room with its own bath?
- Is there a well-located half bath for guests?
- Is the layout open concept to suit our casual lifestyle (and my need to see who’s coming toward me at a given moment)?
- Is the kitchen large enough for Mike and me to pass each other comfortably? This is a critical question for me because it seems like every time I turn around Mike is thisclose to me (see #1 above).
- I love to cook. Mike hates to cook, but he loves to eat so…Does the kitchen offer a great layout and can I get top-of-the-line appliances, especially a stove, in the allocated space?
- Is there a large pantry?
- Is the dining area large enough to accommodate six adults (Mike, me, our two kids and their significant others) and still have space for a high chair (God willing!) someday?
- Is there office space for Mike?
- Is there a dreamy sewing room for me?
- Is there a separate laundry room large enough to also accommodate 2 large litter boxes and 6 cat bowls (this is not a typo, my friends)?
- Is there space for a covered/screened patio where we can hang out during the hot, humid S.C. summers without me getting chewed up and spit out by the no-see-ums and mosquitoes?
It quickly became apparent to Mike and me that we needed a 2,000 or so square foot home to “fit” our “must haves.” That narrowed our search. We fell in love with the Low Country home style. That narrowed our search. We also realized pretty quickly that some builders/homes cost more money than our budget allows. So that narrowed our search even more. If you keep at it, folks, the choice becomes pretty apparent! Finding a builder isn’t that difficult!
During our couple-year period of looking at model homes we kept coming back to one builder: David Weekley Homes. And one particular model home: The Pawley. The model is right-sized enough to suit our way of living and our lot size. And it ticked all the boxes on our must-have list.
Up Next: The Day We Changed Our Minds