Returning to Perry Township, Michelle and Joe Whitmer looked at existing homes but decided to build.
The good news for Joe and Michelle Whitmer was that Joe had been hired as a teacher and coach in Perry Local Schools. The couple are Perry High School graduates.
They would need to be in place for the August start of the school year but first the Whitmers had to sell their home near Mansfield and find another here. They were surprised by a quick sale — it took only two weeks to find a buyer — but then the search for a home here began in earnest.
“We looked and looked,” recalled Michelle, 34, an X-ray technician who works part-time while raising their sons, Kaden, 4, and Carter,1. “We had a budget we wanted to stay in and we wanted to be in the Perry school system.”
Existing homes they looked at failed to meet their needs or their budget. They considered renting short-term.
“But, finally, we decided why not bite the bullet and build?” Michelle said.
The Whitmers are one of the more than 280 Stark County families who got a permit to build a new home last year. Local builders say housing starts picked up in 2012 and are expected to be even better this year.
The Stevie Avenue SW lot the Whitmer family found just happened to be a mere five minutes from both sets of grandparents and a 7-minute commute for Joe Whitmer, 35.
The Whitmers chose Wayne Homes to build their two-story, 2,181-square-foot home. Until March, when they expect to move in, the family lives with his parents.
“We paid attention to our interest rates and got a 3.75 percent construction loan. We learn as we go. But we were lucky to make a profit on our last home,” Joe Whitmer said.
Except for vinyl in the laundry room and two and a half baths and wood flooring in the kitchen, foyer and dining room, the four-bedroom home will be carpeted, some of it upgraded in high-traffic areas.
When building, choices and changes sometimes are accompanied by unanticipated consequences.
“One small thing we noticed were the basement blocks. If I had been there, I would have asked for a two-block window. And my wife wanted some lighting in the master bathroom so we added a window,” he said. “Now we’re looking at the roof of our garage. But those really are minor things.
“What’s sweet is the location, so close to our parents,” Whitmer said. “And I always wanted to take the boys with me when I’m coaching. I want to raise them to be gym rats so this is going to be perfect.”