A Homeowner’s Journey: Living A Toll Life

The adventure to find your dream home doesn’t always take you down the path you’d expect. We’re honored to share the journey of one Toll Brothers homeowner (@backstagehomeblog) from trying to find a house for her family to fit into, to creating a house that fit them.

“I’m never moving.”

I swore this to my husband dozens of times over the 12 years we lived in our first home. He would try to explain all the reasons we should move (we need a basement, a bigger backyard, our daughter needs more space…) and I would still repeat my mantra. I loved our house. It was OUR house. The place we came home to as a married couple. The place we brought our newborn daughter home to and the only place she has ever known as home. How could we leave it? That house was a member of our family.  Nope.  Not moving.

But my husband can be extremely persistent. And before I knew it, I had agreed to tour a house for sale nearby. As we were driving there, it felt awful. It felt as if we were being disloyal to our house. But we went in and looked around. It was cute, but definitely not worth moving out of our beloved home for. My husband agreed. Great! Not moving. Excellent.

But he kept being persistent and we kept looking. We found a lot of places that were very nice, but nothing that checked all the boxes. Nothing that felt good enough to make me want to move. But then it happened. The house I nicknamed “my dream house” years ago, suddenly underwent a hefty price reduction and became a possibility. Oh my gosh. I think I might want to move.

We scrambled and put in an unconventional offer contingent upon the sale of our home which wasn’t even on the market yet. We included in the offer a heartfelt letter from me gushing about how much I’ve always loved this house. We did all we could do. Then we waited.

“I can’t believe it, but you got the house!” our real estate agent exclaimed through my husband’s cell phone. We were absolutely elated. But our joy didn’t last long at all. I’ll spare all the details, but within the next 24 hours (through no fault of our own) another offer was in and ours was out. Just like that, my dream house was gone.  We were devastated and very bitter. I reluctantly agreed to keep our house on the market, and Mr. Persistent kept searching for our plan B. We spent hours on real estate sites and at open houses, but nothing could compare to my dream house. Good. I didn’t want to move anyway.

Then, My husband came to me with an advertisement for Monmouth Chase. I immediately told him he was crazy. We hadn’t gotten any offers on our house yet and there was no way our budget would allow us to build. Right? But before I knew it, we were at the Sales Office in one of the most beautiful homes I had ever seen in real life. I was still bitter about our previous experience, but I kept an open mind. Quickly I realized I had found my new dream house.

That night we poured over shiny brochures excited about all the possibilities. We went from trying to fit into a house, to creating a house to fit us. We didn’t have to settle for a plan B after all. We could personalize a brand new home to include everything we needed. All of our bitterness was quickly replaced by excitement. The best part was that no one could steal this house from under us. That sense of security felt amazing.

The next day, we put down a deposit on a beautiful corner lot. Soon after, it was time to select a model. I’m not going to lie and say this was an easy decision. But after much deliberation, many lists, and countless virtual tours, we decided upon the Hopewell New England. Then came our first trip to the Design Studio (insert angelic singing here).

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The Toll Brothers Design Studio…like real life Pinterest (without the recipes and the kittens).😍 After we signed our contract on 2/16/17, our Design Consultant (who was AMAZING, by the way) called us to set up three appointments that would be three hours each. They mentioned that we might have to book a fourth appointment, which we were sure we wouldn't need because we knew exactly what we wanted…we were wrong.😂 There are so many choices at the Design Center that it could definitely feel overwhelming. But Toll Brothers has everything categorized into Levels- the higher the level, the higher the upgrade charge. So as soon as we decided what we were willing to spend on each area, our choices were minimized which made deciding much easier. See what we chose in my following posts…

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The Design Studio was utopia. It was real-life Pinterest. We thoroughly enjoyed every visit. We had our very own Design Consultant, Lauren, who guided us through the entire process providing excellent suggestions when we needed them. We weren’t going to one store for kitchen cabinets and another for flooring. Everything was right there. There was so much to choose from but the choices were not so abundant that making decisions became overwhelming. We kept our budget in mind for each category, and our decisions came easy. We were pretty sad when our Design Studio time was over. But we knew there was more excitement to come.

On July 5th, 2017, Toll Brothers broke ground on our new home. I never thought I would be so excited to see a hole in the dirt. It was an awesome feeling to know that the building of our home was underway. And we wouldn’t have to manage any of it. We didn’t have to worry if a crew was late, materials didn’t arrive as scheduled, or the weather wasn’t cooperating. We could just sit back and watch it all happen knowing that Toll Brothers had it handled. From day one, our Construction Manager, Dennis, and Project Manager, Henry, gave us confidence that we would have nothing to worry about.

“How’s the house coming?” friends and family would ask fully expecting their question to be met with stressful sighs, eye rolls, and horror stories. But we always had nothing but good things to say. Our build went extremely smoothly from beginning to end. We received weekly calls from our Construction Manager to update us on the progress and answer any questions we had, which was absolutely awesome. And we lived so close that we could drive by frequently (I’m almost embarrassed to say how frequently) to see the progress as well. It was such a great experience for us as a family. And although our impatience made it feel like it took forever, our home was ready for us on March 1st, 2018, a mere 8 months after ground was broken. We absolutely love it! Needless to say, I’m never moving again.

Author Bio: Kathy lives in Central NJ with her husband, Doug, and her 10-year-old daughter, Sophia. She has a BA in Music from Seton Hall University and currently works as the lead singer in a cover band.

See more on her Instagram.

 

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