Senior Market Manager Kelly Rowland has spent 18 years guiding Drees buyers through the home building process and has definitely learned a trick or two to create a seamless journey. Although, Kelly recently embarked on a new home adventure of her own. While Kelly typically sells homes in Drees neighborhoods, she decided the perfect site for her forever home was outside of a traditional community.
She partnered with the Drees Build on Your Lot team to bring her vision to life. This program allows homebuyers the opportunity to build on their own lot, in a custom community or via an infill opportunity in a historic neighborhood. And if you don’t already own your lot, Drees can buy it for you.
Even though Kelly has a breadth of experience selling Drees homes within communities, going through the Build on the Lot process and living the build herself was an eye-opening experience for her. Read her lessons learned and see what new insights she’ll be sharing with future buyers.
What floor plan did you choose, and what attracted you to this design?
I chose the Elmsley because it offered one-level living. I love the soaring ceilings it features in the family room, owner’s suite and outdoor living area. I was especially drawn to the huge walk-in closets in the owner’s suite and the closet’s direct access to the family ready room. Additionally, every bedroom offers an en-suite setup, which is perfect for friends and family who are visiting!
As you have watched your home’s design come to life, what have been your favorite spaces and features?
My favorite features are the soaring ceilings, which showcase striking cedar beams, as well as the floor-to-ceiling windows that allow sunshine to pour into the home. The outdoor living area – with its vaulted ceilings and room for both seating and dining areas – is amazing too. It was also fun to see the kitchen come to life, especially the expansive island. I designed it to look like a beautiful piece of furniture with additional storage under the overhang.
Additionally, my family ready room is a beloved space with an added desk and extra cabinetry that rises all the way to the ceiling. To top it off, I love, love, love the moody Galaxy Grey color cabinets with gold accent hardware!
Lastly, seeing my owner’s suite bath come to life was very special too, as I customized the space with a makeup vanity that turned out amazing!
What did you enjoy most about the building process?
Really everything! From customization, to designing, through building … it was such a joy to see everything come to life! If I had to pick the most memorable time, I would have to say right before the drywall went in. When everything was in frame and all the rooms were taking shape, I was able to write beautiful scriptures, affirmations and blessings. My loved ones even added notes too, which meant so much to me. When reviewing the messages, I found the sweetest of surprises … a very heartfelt blessing left by a colleague that surprised me and brought me to tears.
As an employee and Drees homeowner yourself, what advice would you give others who are interested in building a home?
Communication is key. It is so important to have patience and trust your Drees team. There are going to be things that come up, but it is how those things are addressed that really is a true testament. I had a seasoned professional with me every step of the way, from my First Equity Mortgage loan officer who kept me informed throughout the process, to my Market Manager and Builder, all the way to the Warranty rep after closing. I received weekly emails on the progress and even “baby” pictures of my home when I was too busy to stop by. When you see something or have a concern, voice that to your Market Manager and Builder. They are there for you!
Also, take time to “smell the wood” at framing and pre-drywall. Take time to video your home at pre-drywall, so you can see what is behind the walls before they go up. Take it all in and enjoy the beauty in each of the exciting phases. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime event!
You typically sell Drees homes within a community. Is there anything that surprised you about the Build on Your Lot process?
If you are building on your own lot, remember to factor in site costs in addition to your land cost and the base price of the home. Site costs are related to preparing the land for the actual home. For example, expenses can be related to running utilities to the home and certain hoops that you have to jump through in order to get a certificate of occupancy like a rain garden or a mandatory sidewalk fee. That is why it is so important to meet with your seasoned Drees rep on the potential home site and have them assess the property before you make a commitment. Building on your own lot is different than building in a community, and the Drees team can walk you through that.
Now that you have settled into your new home, what would you share with buyers as important lessons learned?
Here are some specific “live and learn” moments that come to mind:
– Consider irrigation, especially if you have a busy lifestyle. I lost a few landscape jewels and am now having to pay out of pocket when I could have taken advantage of these low interest rates and had irrigation rolled into the mortgage.
– Consider insulated garage doors. They are a total game changer and really work. The cost of this is minimal and it has a huge impact on the climate of the garage space.
– Consider additional concrete for guest parking. It is not something you think about until you actually live there. I wish I would have added additional parking. Again, I think it would have been smart to add into my loan.
– Consider additional hose bibs and really think through their locations. I love to garden and wish I had thought this through a little more.
– Also, consider adding an oversized shampoo niche in your showers. I did not add it because I thought it would clutter the area, but it really has the potential to make a nice statement. It is beautiful to use the flooring tile in the shower niche for a great pop of pattern. Splurge a little on this feature. You will be glad you did!
Overall though, my biggest advice would be to live out as many moments in your mind in your floor plan of choice. Consider daily living and special moments like entertaining. Really think through how you will live your life in your new home and this will help guide your selections, structurally and design-wise. Share these thoughts with your Market Manager, Design Consultant and Builder.
Kelly is starting to settle in and truly bring her brand new home to life. You can follow along with her daily home building adventures on Instagram (@kellyrowlanddreamhomes).