We like the modern amenities, but hate the lack of charm of nearby tear-downs. Could we get what we want in a custom build within our budget?
Through a combination of hard work and a lot of luck, my wife and I find ourselves with the money to buy a very nice house in the Boston area. Our dream is to find an old farmhouse with a bit of land and renovate, leaving all the charm but giving us modern amenities. But, that situation, in a town with good schools within an hour commute of Cambridge would cost twice our budget.
So what to do instead? To our chagrin, we went to an open house over the weekend and found a lot to like in a place like this
Pros of that house:
* New construction. We're growing tired of our 1930s house in Belmont. The creaking, falling apart baseboard heaters, the crumbling porch, the low ceilings, lack of a second shower, tiny, unusable garage, lack of insulation or ventilation and awkward floor plan. New construction would fix most of those issues.
* Big, but not massive. We're feeling cramped in our current place with a baby, a toddler, the twoof us, and my sister-in-law living in 2000 square feet of broken up living space. 4000 square feet is almost certainly too much, but having a bit more room for my in-laws, who visit frequently from out of state, would make everyone happier. We may also have another kid, and having a room for a nanny would be convenient too.
* I'd be breaking a lot of promises to my 23 year old self about McMansions.
* That house has a bit of charm (lots of light, decent looking exterior, French-ish kitchen) but it is mostly bland and built around convenience.
So, finally, to my question. For a budget of roughly $1.3-1.5M, could we find a piece of land and build a custom 3000 SF home with amenities we want (nice kitchen, open-ish floor plan, tdl windows, patio/deck, 2-3 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, 1-2 car garage, opportunity to finish the basement) with some charm and character. In Lexington, I expect we'd pay $500-700K just for the land. In Belmont, there don't seem to be many lots that would work (either too small or too big). Is this possible? I'm worried developers buy up tear-down properties without them ever going on the market. I'm also worried that you can't really trade square footage for quality, as quality costs a lot more than the square footage. I'd love to see example of people who have done this in near-in Boston suburbs.