• karissawinstead

Building our dream home


Last year, my husband and I finished building our dream home. Though the process was expensive and tedious, it was well worth it in the end. As a real estate agent, I knew 2019-2020 was a seller’s market and it still is. This makes it hard for buyers looking to find their dream home. We looked at a few houses in the area that we were interested in, but there was nothing out there that fit our needs. We were wanting this to be our last move and forever home. So, we decided to take advantage of the market and sell our house for top dollar and look into the building process.

Of course, to build a house, you need land. We wanted a minimum of 3 acres and wanted to be close to our families. We searched for a while but couldn’t find anything we really loved. Luckily, my grandmother was generous enough to give us 3 acres of some 40+ acres of land that she owns (thanks Nanny!). It was being used as a pasture for my dad‘s cows and horses. The view is amazing, it’s not too close to neighbors, and it was flat. The perfect spot to build our house! The land was surveyed off and deeded over to us. We then put our house on the market and received an offer in just nine days. After receiving an offer, we then began the loan process to build.



Fast forward a few weeks and we closed on our home and got the loan to begin building. We broke ground a few weeks later and in the meantime I began looking for bargains for supplies.

I would drive around to different stores to price compare and also take advantage of sales such as Black Friday. We were able to get our kitchen appliances a lot cheaper because of that. I would also drive to salvage stores in Knoxville to find deals on vanities, doors, tile, etc.I found that buying the stuff before we needed it helped out because I bought it when it was on sale.


We decided to build an 1800 square-foot home. It's all one level, with an attic, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, open concept with a two car garage and an office.

You don’t realize how much goes into a house and all of the decisions you are going to have to make until you start building. Things like what do you want your baseboards to look like, what kind of light covers do you want... small little details that you wouldn’t really think about. Most of the time you need to come up with an answer pretty quickly, so it got a little stressful at times.

We ended up renting an apartment while our house was being built. Going from a large four bedroom, three bathroom house to a tiny apartment is definitely an adjustment. Luckily, we had family members who allowed us to store a lot of our belongings. But living on the top floor with a toddler and no garage was tough. It definitely added onto the stress, but also motivated us to stay on top of our builder to make sure the work was being done in a timely manner.

We did hit some speed bumps when it came to the contractors not always showing up on time, weather delays, going over budget and building during a global pandemic. The coronavirus hit during the last couple of months of our build, delaying some of our items arriving and it also jacked up prices. Another issue was going over budget. One of my biggest faults is budgeting - I’ve never been good at it. At first it was easy keeping up with what we were spending. But the more things we purchased and the more work that was done it got out of control. My biggest suggestion would be to find a builder who helps you keep track of your budget. One thing that happened to us was we were being told the whole time we were in budget, then at the end we were shocked to see our final bill was anything within budget. Luckily, we had back-up money just in case that happened.

Overall, it took about 9 months to complete our home. In future blogs, I will break down more speed bumps we hit along the way. I will also focus on each of the rooms in our house. You’ll see what products I chose and the local companies I worked with to buy them. In the meantime, if you are thinking of building a home and have questions, I'm happy to answer them! I'm not a professional by any means, but I am happy to share my experience. Also, if you are looking to purchase land to build on, please reach out to me! I would love to represent you as your real estate agent to help you find that perfect fit.


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