Homeowner: Know what you want

Staff writer

Alan and Susie Hett moved into their new home on Remington Road north of Marion in December. Susie Hett served as the contractor — a savings of 25 percent, she said — and drew up the floor plan.

Hett said others considering building a new home should spend time thinking about what they want the house to include so as not to interfere with construction after the walls are in place.

“My builder loved working with me,” she said. “He knew exactly what I wanted before going in. I got along well with all the contractors because they knew what I wanted.”

A bank loan provided 80 percent of the cost. The Hetts were required to provide the other 20 percent out of their own pockets.

Hett said they started working on the project using their own 20 percent before the bank loan was approved. It took three months for appraisers to find a similar new house and acreage. There were none in Marion County, but they found one in McPherson County.

Construction on the house began on June 1, 2011.

Disaster struck on the night of June 15 when an 80 mile per hour windstorm twisted and destroyed the walls and roof the day after the roof structure was completed.

“We had to start all over,” Hett said.

Fortunately, they had insurance on the construction process, which covered the cost of rebuilding. Hett said after the tornado struck Joplin in May 2011, she went out and purchased construction insurance. Several weeks later, it was a Godsend.

“If you start in March, April, or May, you can expect rain delays,” Hett said. “But as long as you don’t have a deadline, you will be OK.”

Another tip Hett has for homebuilders is to study carefully where electricity will be needed. After the walls went up and before the house was wired, she went through the house to determine where appliances and electronic items would be, and she marked the location of each electric outlet.

The Hetts purchased the land on which the house sits from Alan’s father, Willard. Susie Hett used the expertise provided by her father-in-law to witch for water. They drilled a well and struck water at 125 feet.

To qualify for the five-year property tax rebates available under the Marion County Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, the Hetts were required, prior to construction, to submit house plans to the county, plan for sewer and water systems, and have their water tested. They also had to estimate what the cost would be and approximate finish time.

The Hetts used local contractors and suppliers for almost everything. Being faced with poor crops and a tight budget, they were forced to go out-of-county for some things that proved too expensive locally. However, that was only after they sought multiple local bids on such things as flooring, carpeting, and garage doors.

“I was trying to cut corners,” Hett said.

Another way she cut corners was by doing the wood staining and wall painting herself.

The house has an open floor plan and many windows.

“It’s all about the view,” Hett said. “I have one solid wall of glass windows and doors overlooking the Cottonwood River Valley. It’s my dream home.”

A 40-foot deck also overlooks the valley.

A native of Louisiana, Hett incorporated several southern plantation-style features such as big white columns on a wide front porch.

The Hetts are enjoying their new home.

“There’s not one thing I would do differently,” Susie Hett said.

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