Meet Camilo and Kenneth
With international material delays and employment shortages affecting the construction industry, this past year has been hard on folks who are in the process of building homes. The unpredictability has been frustrating for everyone, and we’re grateful to all of our buyers and partners who have been so patient during this difficult time!
Camilo Sanchez is an Easton Park resident who experienced these construction delays firsthand. At the end of August, he and his boyfriend Kenneth and their dog Topo Chico finally moved into their new home in Skyline Park. We got Camilo on the phone to hear about the journey.
EP: Thanks so much for doing this! So tell us, how did you first find Easton Park?
CS: I actually built a home in 2018 at Vista Point, the KB community just west of Easton. At the time I had looked at Easton, but it was still in its first phase and it was a little bit beyond my price range. But I continued to keep an eye on Easton Park. With that first home, I leased out the other rooms of the house to tenants who became my friends, and that let me save money so I could buy this house. So in 2020 when I was ready for the next step, I called up my same realtor. I said I was happy to look at other houses anywhere, but we came to Easton first and I signed a contract that first day.
EP: That’s wonderful! Was there a certain floor plan or builder that you found?
CS: I fell in love with Pacesetter Piazza II. It’s one of the Urban Courtyard homes where four homes share one driveway area. The yard is on the side, and it has the flexibility of the ADU above the garage. So right now, I can bring my roommates with me, and then later if I want to use it myself or rent it out to someone else, I can. When I saw that floor plan, right there and then I said, “What do I have to sign to move forward?!”
EP: It sounds like it was perfect for you! When did all this happen?
CS: This was in March of 2020, so right before the pandemic started and America went into shutdown. I had had to put down a big deposit, and it was difficult because no one knew what effect the pandemic was going to have on us. My parents and friends all heavily recommended that I pull out of the house, but I didn’t. And given what the market has done since then—all the prices have gone way up—I made a good choice.
EP: No kidding! What was the building process like?
CS: They weren’t able to start digging until November of 2020. I lived so close and I would come by often, and for months and months I’d just see an empty lot. In the meantime, I had the design appointment in June or July. I was really anxious to see the options I had chosen start coming to life. When they finally did, I was like, what did I even choose?! Luckily I still liked it all—I was pleasantly surprised.
EP: Did the builder do a good job of keeping you in the loop?
CS: I understand it’s really difficult to do business in such an unprecedented time, and they did the best they could. They didn’t know what was going to happen or when they could get supplies from their vendors. This was right in the peak of the pandemic. But once they started building, it was great—I got a weekly update.
EP: So how long did the construction phase last?
CS: I had gone through it all before when I was building my first home, so I expected some delays. I still feel like I was really fortunate. With the construction phase, Pacesetter was super flexible, and they were able to do things that weren’t originally part of the floor plan. For example, in the kitchen, the island was supposed to be 4 or 5 feet, but I worked with the sales team, design team, and architects to have it extended to be 12 feet. Now we don’t even need a dinner table! And with the kitchen sink, they only had ones with a stainless-steel apron front, but they got us a porcelain one instead.
EP: Now that you’re moved in, have you gotten to meet your new neighbors yet, or is it still too soon?
CS: It’s a little overwhelming, because this is such a big community! I haven’t seen the same people twice when I walk our dog. Funnily enough, on the neighborhood app, someone posted asking if someone could take care of their dog while they’re out of town, and I offered. Then when the woman sent her address, it was the house right behind us! The last house in our quad is still under construction, but I’m hoping when everyone is moved in we can get together and connect all the houses with string lights. We’ve met a couple neighbors who live next door, and they seem really friendly. And my boyfriend Kenneth loves how everyone says hi—he can’t believe everyone is this nice here!
EP Have you gotten to go to The Union?
CS: Yes, because once you sign your contract, you can start using The Union, and it’s beautiful! Kenneth said, “Will we ever leave the neighborhood?” The Union itself sells the neighborhood—it validates my decision to move here! I have a friend who just moved to Austin and bought a house at a smaller community up in Lake Travis, and when she saw The Union, she said, “I messed up, I should have bought here!”