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Winter Garden Here We Come: Part 1

Buying a home can be both intimidating and overwhelming. It was for us when we purchased our first home back in 1999. We never thought that we could afford it. It was not until we researched the options that we were able to make smarter informed decisions about a better future for our family. We are now in the process of buying our fourth dream home and in the next four to five months, we’ll share our home buying experience with you.

Hi, I am Enrique. In full disclosure, I work at Partners Federal Credit Union as the Design and Brand Manager. My husband and I both have made our careers here at Disney since 1994. Last May, we decided to sell our home near Magic Kingdom where we had been happily living for 10 years in order to bring my mother to live with us. She had just turned 75 still working as an English professor and was ready to retire. We researched various options and found some homes in the area with separate apartments above garages that would work for her. We also looked at homes with divided layouts and even duplexes. The reality was that prices for the most acceptable options we had seen were outside of our budget.

We took a weekend a few weeks ago to visit new area communities being built in Winter Garden close to Disney and walked many model homes with our real estate agent. Once we identified the builder and model we liked, we visited them again to view them with more discerning eyes. We looked at the type of neighborhood, distance to work, proximity to shopping and entertainment venues, traffic patterns, noise, quality of materials and finishes in the construction and interiors, lot sizes, space between homes, keeping of public areas (pools, recreation, gardens, etc.), and even how many cars were actually parked on the street.
Home Mortgage - Model House
We made an appointment to meet with our agent and a builder sales person who was able to give us more information on available lots, prices and construction time frames. We went home and discussed the possible options available based on our timeline and decided on a very nice two-story home with a large common area on the first floor and equally large yard that backed into a conservation zone. The second floor was nicely divided into two wings that felt separate enough for my mother to have her independence while affording my husband and I equal space for our privacy. We would be so close to the Magic Kingdom, that we would be able to see and hear the fireworks every night. How exciting!

Our next step was to get a loan pre-approval, but where could we go for that? Hmm, it was a given, we contacted our mortgage advisor at Partners. We were able to get a pre-qualification letter to bring to the builder. This letter could not only solidify a contract with the builder, but also confirm an idea of what we could realistically afford.
We are excited to share this home buying journey with you and invite you to come back in the next four to five months as we go through the whole process of buying and building our next new dream home! In the next entry, I’ll tell you what happened when we went to sign the contract.