Colleen Kuerth and her family recently moved into their new Lennar home at Carolina Reserve in Indian Land, SC. A busy wife and mother of two small children, Colleen shares her experiences and advice on purchasing a new home, making the big move, and getting her family settled and comfortable in their new Lennar home.
How did you select your new home and community?
We recently had relocated to the Charlotte, NC area from Northern Vermont and were looking for a home where we could raise our two boys and be part of a friendly, active community. This area is experiencing tremendous growth so there were many new developments to choose from, but we were having a hard time finding just the right mix of what we were looking for.
It was important to us that we had kid friendly amenities, either a corner or wooded homesite, a short commute for my husband, a close-knit community of neighbors, and be within our budget. We looked at many places that had maybe one or two of those elements, but it wasn’t until we looked at Carolina Reserve that we found everything we wanted in one place.
It is a smaller development than most of the others we looked at, the amenities are amazing and within walking distance from our home, and the home site we found was at the end of a cul-de-sac and has woods on two sides. The home being built on the property was the perfect size for us and the price was below our budget! After we learned that the woods behind the home would never be developed, and reviewed all of the extras included in the home, we were sold!
Do you have any tips for a smooth closing?
Our closing could not have gone any smoother! Both our Lennar New Home Consultant and UAMC (Universal American Mortgage Company) Loan Processor were amazing. They helped keep us on track with everything that needed to be done prior to closing and answered all our questions, no matter how trivial they were.
The best advice I can give is to ask questions. If there is anything that you are confused about in the loan process (and there is plenty that is confusing!) do not hesitate to contact your lender for advice or help. It is a tedious and often frustrating process that involves a lot of paperwork and gathering of documents, so the earlier you can get started the better. We were lucky that our UAMC Loan Processor, Trish, was very proactive in getting us started on gathering everything well in advance. It seemed silly to me, at first, that she wanted us to send them things more than two months before our closing, but in the end I realized just how helpful that was. It saved us from ever feeling scrambled or hurried, and we never had to stress out about getting something in on time.
We were not planning on moving in to our home until a week after our closing, as we were having the rooms painted first, but we were so excited that we decided to have dinner there that evening. Our closing went until 5:00 and the kids were back at the apartment with a babysitter, but we were determined to do it anyway. We only stayed for a little over an hour and had to stand at the island in the kitchen to eat our food, but it was worth it. The boys ran around the empty downstairs with their toy cars, and we even brought our dog, Koda so he could explore the home too!
You just recently moved into your new home. Any advice for a stress-free move?
This was our first time moving since having kids and we chose to hire a couple of movers to help. Best decision ever! There is no way that we could have done this by ourselves. Since we don’t really have any family nearby and haven’t made any friends yet, we didn’t have anyone to ask for help. I am so glad we decided to hire someone else to do the heavy lifting. It gave me the freedom to focus on entertaining the kids and keeping them out of the way.
It is very overwhelming to move into a new home, so it is best to take your time and not try to tackle everything at once. We focused on what was most important first – our beds and kitchen basics. The first day was long, hard work and we were too tired to really open many boxes. I had taken our bedding and just stuffed it into a few plastic trash bags, so that it was easy to find and easy to get out once the beds were put together.
We ordered pizza for lunch the day we moved in, and I asked them for extra paper plates, plastic silverware, and napkins so I didn’t have to worry about finding those things right away. I would definitely recommend getting a package of disposable items ahead of time. And don’t forget the toilet paper! There is nothing worse than going to use your brand new bathroom for the first time and realizing you don’t have any yet – especially with kids!
I also packed most of our clothes into suitcases so that they would be easy to find and access. It was several days before we got around to setting up the dressers and closets – and I am still opening boxes of clothes I had packed away! – so we basically lived out of those suitcases.
Do you have any plans for decorating your new home?
Our plan for our home is to create a space that reflects who we are as a family and is functional for our everyday activities. We each have our own creative hobbies and the kids are very active (read: messy!), so we need a home that can stand up to all of our activities, has storage for everything, but still looks pretty. I like everything to have a “home” and I don’t like clutter, so a lot of the ideas I have gathered on Pinterest are about smart and attractive organizing.
I would describe my style as equal parts casual, modern, and fun. I love using inspiration from nature as a backdrop, but with pops of pattern and color. And everything needs to be kid friendly. My husband pretty much gives me free reign in the decorating department, which makes me one lucky gal!
What’s your favorite part of your home and community?
I would definitely say my favorite part of our home is the walk in pantry. It is one of the things that sold me on the home to begin with. I love being able to organize and store so many things right off the kitchen where it is easy to access and utilize. Since our home doesn’t have a basement (like many in this area) it has been critical for storing all of our miscellaneous stuff. It also leaves the cupboards in the kitchen free for all of my cooking gadgets!
It is harder to sum up what we like best about the community, because there is so much we love about it! My husband loves that his commute is only 10 minutes since his previous commute was 45 minutes. We both love the friendliness of everyone we have met here so far and their interest in getting to know us. There is an obvious desire for closeness and friendship here, which is something we lacked in our previous neighborhood. With all of the amenities and the social events, it would be hard not to make friends here!
We have two sons, Elijah who is 4, and Noah who is 1 1/2. Noah is pretty oblivious to the fact that we have a new home or that we even moved at all, but he does love the large open space downstairs for running and zooming his cars. Elijah is excited to have his own room (they shared a room in Vermont) and can not wait for the pool to open. Every day it is above 45 degrees he asks, “Maybe the pool will be open today?”!
What do you like best about living in the Charlotte area?
Where we lived in Vermont there was not a lot of things to do that interested us. It was great for outdoorsy people, but with two small children, it was hard to find fun events and attractions for us to enjoy as a family. It has been the absolute opposite experience for us in Charlotte. Most weekends we have a hard time choosing between activities and there is so much kid-friendly stuff, a lot of which is either free or inexpensive, that we never have a hard time finding something to entertain the kids.
We love having necessities, like the grocery store, within minutes of our home, and having multiple options of places to shop and explore. We used to have to drive 20+ minutes to get food, and now we have a grocery store, drug store, restaurants, and more, less than 5 minutes away! But where our neighborhood is located does not feel too urban or like we live in a city. There are woods and you can see the stars in the sky. There is very little traffic or noise, and there is plenty of wildlife. It really is the best of both worlds!
We’re so happy to welcome the Kuerths to the Lennar family! Have you recently moved into a new home? Let us know your experiences and tips in the comments below.