While our vacation condo in Sunriver was on the market this spring, we began to look at options on how we could make our long time dream of living in Central Oregon come true. It didn’t take us long to realize that we really didn’t want to make our future retirement home in a resort-type community where 80% of the homes were potentially noisy vacation rentals, so it became clear that what we were looking to find didn’t actually exist in Sunriver. As much as we loved Sunriver, we decided to broaden our scope and looked into the Bend housing market.
Our realtor began sending us links to homes for sale that met our criteria, and of course I started an online search in earnest myself. After several weeks of viewing photos, researching neighborhoods, and watching virtual tours online, we set up an appointment with our realtor to go see several homes. While we really liked the location of one or two of the neighborhoods she showed us, we also found that most of the homes would need a major remodel. There was one home that was just perfect on the inside, but it backed up to an existing road that we knew would only increase with traffic as the number of homes in the area multiplied. It was after viewing this home that our realtor suggested we consider building our next home.
Having built a starter home many years ago in Beaverton, we were reminded of the pains involved in doing so. And we were sure not all that interested in doing it again. However, after weeks more of looking at homes for sale in Bend, still nothing made us want to move ahead with the purchase of an existing home. So once again we started to embrace the potential idea of building.
About the same time this spring, we were invited to dinner at the home of some high school friends of mine who had already made the transition from Beaverton to Bend. The contractor who built their Bend home was well known in the Northwest and had already built several developments throughout Oregon and Washington. We shared with our friends that we were considering building a home, and they shared how happy they had been with the builder.
I started researching the developments done by this builder, and it took only a matter of hours to find their newest developments in Bend. We drove through one of their neighborhoods in the South part of the city and we realized that the location was not only convenient to the downtown area and a number of amenities, but it also offered a characteristic that I had personally been wanting to find in our new neighborhood: walkability. It was only a 10-minute walk to the local grocery store, coffee shop, athletic club, pizza place, mailbox office, and one of our favorite Mexican restaurants! The neighborhood was also positioned along the Deschutes River, so access to the Deschutes River Trail was just a few blocks away. We could walk or bike directly into the Old Mill part of town along the river!
The lots were a bit larger in this neighborhood than most others we’d seen, and so we reached out to one of the builder’s realtors to give us a tour of some of their model homes. We felt they were beautiful, well built, and nicely appointed, but the few that had already been built along one side of this new development were also adjacent to homes from an older neighborhood. Those existing homes seemed to look right into the backyards (and windows) of the new homes. We like a bit of privacy, so we didn’t think we’d be happy with the purchase of one of the available models. But we did find a floor plan we really liked, and we even toured the same floor plan days later in another one of their developments in Hillsboro.
Since we were really excited about this development and the new homes that were being built, we looked at the available lots. It didn’t take us very long to make an offer on one that backed up to a natural area. There was a little extra drama with the seller, another buyer, and some very intense days associated with making the transaction happen, but our deal eventually went through and by the first part of July we owned a lot!
Since that time we have contracted with the builder, done the surveying, and made our building permit applications to the City of Bend, the Neighborhood Association, and the Deschutes Waterway. And then our long wait began…
But now, after two and a half months awaiting permit approvals, we are excited to announce that our project has just been approved and we will be breaking ground in mid/late-October. The plan is for the new home to be completed by mid-next spring.
Dan isn’t done with work yet (he has at least 2 more years to go), so this won’t be our permanent home for awhile, but we are definitely looking forward to starting some new traditions and “the beginning of a new era.”
NOTE: Stay tuned for more posts. My plan is to document progress of the house in photos as it comes along.