Rating the Suburbs 2011: New Construction

Brett and Beth Wilson, Bainbridge Township

Brett and Beth Wilson were newlyweds in their 20s when they bought their first home — a 2,000-square-foot colonial in Auburn Township — without kids to consider in their home choice.

Nine years later, they're parents of a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, and they have much different criteria for a house.

"We wanted more space, ... a three-car garage and a mudroom," says Beth Wilson. "[With kids] it became apparent those were essentials."

The Wilsons started their search in neighboring Bainbridge Township, appealing for its good schools, easy access to downtown and proximity to friends and family.

But each of the 10 existing homes they toured came up lacking: no mudroom or no three-car garage or a tiny backyard. "They were gorgeous homes, [but these] would have been major compromises ... that we would have come to regret," Wilson says.

As they began to consider new construction, their real estate agent pointed them toward Canyon Woods, a private community of custom homes priced between $700,000 and $1 million.

"We'd looked at Canyon Woods before, but we thought there wasn't any way we could afford it," Wilson says.

Canyon Woods' developer had pulled out after building fewer than a dozen homes, selling the remaining lots to Pulte Homes. The move opened the door to homebuyers like the Wilsons, with models starting in the high $300,000s.

"We picked a lot and put down a deposit two weeks later," Wilson says.

New construction offered the Wilsons the power of choice: an open floor plan that covers 3,400 square feet, a covered front porch overlooking a cul-de-sac, hardwood throughout the first floor, and a kitchen ideal for entertaining with a sunroom addition, space to move around its island and a double oven.

And, of course, the mudroom and three-car garage.

"Choosing the style of certain things meant we didn't have to redo anything a prior owner had chosen," Wilson says. "It was ours from the outset."

Home Inspection

Sold for: $423,800
Base price: $379,990
Time on the market: N/A

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