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Finding your Perfect Match

By: Mary Cheatham King / 13 Apr 2023
Finding your Perfect Match

Finding your perfect match is not easy. It's a process that involves many elements: connection, attraction, inspiration and ideals. This applies to more than romantic relationships; we long to find the partner — and the property— of our dreams!

From childhood and beyond, we've pictured our future home in our heads, drawing it in primary-colored crayons. We've made mood boards— maybe even designed them down to the last detail, depending on who you are (and there's an app for that, too!).

But where the rubber meets the road, buying land to build on is a bona fide fantastic option, and it just might make your dreams come true!

To illustrate how fantasy can become reality, we talked to our very own Meg Gravley, Director of Marketing here at MCKRE, and Meg's perfect partner match, Shawn Millsap, who happens to be a local builder.

When Meg and Shawn first came face to face, it was at a big event with a lot of people. Their eyes kept meeting over the heads of the crowd as they quickly discovered (much to their amusement) they were the two tallest in the room! Their eyes continued to lock, and they soon found out they were connected by much more than their impressive stature!

We sat down with them both to learn about how they made the decision to buy in Beaufort — and why they chose to purchase land to build rather than opt for a move-in-ready home.

Q & A

What was your first step in the process of buying property here on the coast?

It's funny, we weren't even looking, at least not seriously, and wouldn't even check the "vacant land box" when scrolling through properties (a shared hobby over here!). But when Shawn found a piece of land out of the blue on Zillow, we drove to look at it that night and both had that gut feeling that it was "the one."

So purchasing land clearly wasn't your first choice….tell us how it happened!

With Shawn's background in building (first with a production builder in Raleigh and now with the wonderful SF Ballou) — and my love for all things home & design— we knew we would build eventually, but we didn't know the opportunity would come as soon as it did. 

Did you find the property before the building plans, or did you have a house design in mind all along?

We visited the lot several times and walked the land, daydreaming about what a future house layout could look like. Thanks to his experience in the construction field, Shawn drew up plans in a matter of hours! I was insanely impressed, immediately on board, and grateful we share the same sense of style! After a few more phone calls and a bit of research with the Town of Beaufort, we put in our offer!

Was the process of making this purchase more complicated than you anticipated?

As a first-time homebuyer for me, the lending process was a bit overwhelming. There were a lot of moving parts, but with a lot of support from our agents, we made it to the end!  Kelly, Annie, Makenzie (and, of course, Mary Cheatham!!) were our saving graces...literally. They went above and beyond to make sure we were staying informed and — most importantly — sane :) 

What elements about the process surprised you most?

Well, the most surprising part about all of this is how doable a scenario like this can be for people who might not THINK they have the means to achieve it.

What is most exciting to you about building vs. buying an existing home?

The coolest thing to us is being a part of the process (literally) from the ground up. We're going to be putting in a TON of sweat equity and will have an immense amount of pride and satisfaction after all is said and done. 

Any custom features you are DYING to implement?

We both spend most of our time outside throwing the ball for Bean (our pup!), hanging out with friends and family, or just enjoying the fresh air, so we will be creating a really cozy outdoor area. Down the road, we're super excited about implementing the little things: a really cool joint coffee/wet bar, cute little doggie details (ex: a water spout over the water bowl for easy fill-up!) and a screened-in porch. And, of course, big windows so we can take in the water views as much as possible. The lot is on the North River and looks out at Harkers Island in the distance. 

Any advice you can share?

We listened to our gut, did our research, shopped around for lenders who could work with our budget, and went for it! You can do the same! Get creative, y'all! 

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