Judy and Jack Bennett, a retired couple who relocated to the Wilmington area in 2013, are building their second custom home with Herrington Homes. A retired bookkeeper, Judy has invited us to be a part of their custom home building experience to learn what to expect throughout the process. They are currently building their second home in the Sea Grove Community in Carolina Beach, six blocks from the ocean.
In an interview with Wilmington Today, Judy got us up to speed with how she came to live in the area and her choice to build with Herrington Homes (both times).
WT: Why did you move to Wilmington?
JB: We read about Wilmington in different articles and it appeared to be an excellent destination to retire but we had never visited before. I had retired as a bookkeeper and my husband was expected to retire as a truck driver that same year. Having spent our life in upstate New York, we were tired of the cold and wanted to live near the water but assumed we would not be able to afford it.
WT: Once you decided to move to Wilmington, what was your first step?
JB: We met our realtor, Karen Reese with Intracoastal Real Estate, online while looking at homes and let her know what we were looking for and our budget. Karen took us for a drive through the Sea Grove community in Carolina Beach and we fell in love with the area and neighborhood. Our first and second custom homes built here are both in the Sea Grove Community. We love the white porches and coastal vibe with the charm of Charleston, one of our favorite places to visit. Our first cottage on Pin Fish Lane was actually featured on the Intracoastal Realty commercial.
WT: How did you decide on Herrington Homes as your Custom Home Builder?
JB: They came highly recommended by our realtor and after our first meeting with Mary and Craig Johnson, I knew why they were recommended. They have been a pleasure to work with since our first meeting.
WT: Had you ever build a custom home before you moved here?
JB: Yes, our home in New York was a custom build.
WT: What did you talk about in your first meetings with Herrington Homes?
A: We’ve had two first meetings with them, one for our first home in 2013 and one for our second which is in the process of being built right now. We showed them our lot, our budget, and the list of things we desired in our new home. Herrington Homes showed us several possibilities for a layout and we eventually went with a cottage home that was modified from their existing designs to meet our wants and needs. Because it’s a custom home, we could move walls and windows and see what we want and tweak it a little bit.
WT: What is it like working with Herrington Homes on a custom home?
JB: Getting started can be very overwhelming when you realize how many decisions have to be made (paint colors, jar poles, light fixtures, door knobs, etc.) but Craig and Mary Johnson are true professionals. While we were much more sure about things we didn’t want versus the things we did want, we relied heavily on Mary’s design experience and expertise because she can identify things that I might not even be looking for. Craig is an expert builder and has a solid understanding of the building process from beginning to end. They have been very patient, helpful, and very communicative so we always feel heard and informed. They are very involved in the day to day process and always make time to answer our questions. The process is actually fun.
WT: What was your experience like with Herrington Homes versus your experience in New York?
JB: It has been a completely different and much more enjoyable process building here versus our builder in New York. The first cottage we built with Herrington Homes we were still living in New York while it was being built so the majority of the process was done virtually through email, text, videos, and phone conversations. Even with the distance, I still felt very much informed throughout the building process.
WT: Why did you decide to build another custom home in the Sea Grove area?
JB: Even though we loved our 1700 square foot cottage, it was just not big enough to host all the new friends we made after moving here! We wanted a new home with a more open floor plan for entertaining guests. This was not a problem we had anticipated but we are grateful to have it. After we put our cottage up for sale (it sold in a little over two months), we’ve been renting a condo from friends while we get the new house built.
WT: Where are you at in the process for your new custom home?
JB: We’ve chosen a lot, the architecture review board approved our layout, the lot was cleared the end of October 2016 and they are already going gangbusters on building the house.
WT: When will your newest custom home be move-in ready?
JB: We expect to move in in March of 2017.
This is part one in a series. In part 2, we catch up with the progress Herrington Homes has made as of the beginning of 2017.
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