Sunday, November 24, 2013

Countdown to closing!

We're T-minus 12 days to closing on our house! With Black Friday coming up, we're scoping out the best deals possible and planning our fridge and washer & dryer purchases. Best Buy, here we come!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Who's got a rate lock? This guy, and girl, and toddler and baby!

Many of you current homeowners and soon to be homeowners understand the anxiety that goes with locking in your rate. Do I lock in today and it could be lower tomorrow? Or worst, if I don't lock in, then the rates rise!

Well I'm happy to say we jumped off of the rate lock merry-go-round and I think it was just at the right time. For the last week, I stared at the rates on the lender's web site (and no it was not NVR). And they were going down. We planned to lock our rate today but looking at the trend that was taking place we could not wait any longer.

The rates began to creep up only a small tick but not much at all. But seeing this two days in a row, we decided to lock immediately. And I have to say I'm glad we did. The next day it was up .2% and by the end of the day .225%. It has not lowered yet and I have to say I am over-thrilled with the rate we received. :-)

Now I will take a moment to say something about why we didn't go with NVR. At the time we officially decided to move on from them, our drywall was hung and we still did not have an approval. We decided to go with SunTrust as our lender of choice. From the time we started our initial conversation with them until the time we had our approval, it took them all of two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Something NVR had not done in 3.5 months. I have no bitter feelings, but the truth of the matter is their process is flawed and to be such a well-regarded builder, they should be ashamed with the way in which the mortgage arm of the company operates.

Nonetheless, working with our Loan Officer at SunTrust has been a true blessing and to make matters even better, our rate with SunTrust was a whole .4% lower than what we were offered by NVR.

Now down to the home stretch of completing the home and making that closing date :-)


Friday, November 1, 2013

Lightening Speed

What can I say, we went from no progress to tons of progress in 2 weeks! Since our last post, it seems like our house went from a wood frame to a real house in the blink of an eye.

Done so far:
Electrical work
Asphault poured for driveway, sidewalks, patio
Columns installed
Stair rails installed
Kitchen cabinets installed
Bathroom vanities installed
Surround tile installed in the bathrooms

Siding is supposed to begin today. And...we have an estimated final walkthrough of 12/4 and we've locked in our interest rate! Whew!

All good news, right? Yes, but we've had a few hiccups along the way. Good thing my husband is Type A and checks on the house way more often than I do.

So yesterday, he did a random stop-by in the middle of the workday (which we highly suggest since they're working all day and when you see it, it's done). He walked in on the tile guys installing cabinets and tile. And what do you know? Our cabinet hardware was WRONG (nickel was installed and it should have been bronze) and our upstairs bathroom had the WRONG tile installed. All of those items were correct on our worksheet that the project manager had, but nobody bothered to check locations before installing.

You'd think that's what the project manager is for, correct? You know, to verify that the items delivered were the actual items ordered? Or that the tile you are getting ready to install really does belong in that room?

Maybe it's just me to think it should be that organized...

Anyway, our advice is to do random drop-ins. You might catch something wrong in time to fix it before it ruins a closing date.

Enjoy some of our pics and more to come!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wood, Frame, Windows…. Action!

So it’s been way too long since we last made a post, but a lot has indeed been going on. While we still have not received an approval from NVR—another topic another day, or maybe later in this post—we have secured a loan with SunTrust so I will not harp… (Maybe I will at the end, let’s see how this post goes.)
To the good news: Progress is being made. The house is coming along quite well and I have to say I’m more than pleased with the progress.
The Wood: On our journey back from a wedding, we came back to see that our lumber had been delivered. This was a welcome sight. One of our neighbors to be (NTB) informed us that the wood had been there since Friday. We returned home on Sunday. In my head I was thinking, “Why waste a perfectly good Saturday, framing could have started :-)?” In reality I knew this would not have been the case. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact the wood would sit for the entire week, and weekend, and halfway through the next week. I guess it’s hard to find good framers when there are multiple houses being built in the same community, at the same time. Our PM did explain that they do only work with a few trusted companies so at times the framing could be delayed. But nonetheless, I drove over there almost every day to see the same pile of wood still sitting. But I did see something a tad bit more alarming…
Our floor outlets were not in the right place! I could tell this from the car looking at the poured foundation. Finally I decided to walk onto the foundation and sure enough, it was incorrect. It was off by four feet. That’s not good. I called the PM. Wait, let me digress!
I called the Ryan office, which then would place a call to the PM whom I didn’t hear from for three days… A tad bit disappointed in this routing system as it is very inefficient. Finally after I went in and spoke with the Sales Rep, I did hear from the PM the next day. He assured us that this could be fixed during framing, primarily because I don’t think he believed it was off, and once I saw it framed I would think it was okay. But no, the outlets where they are would be sitting in the middle of the living room, useless to our plans. So I reassured him that they still needed to be moved. We will be showing him the correct location in our pre-drywall meeting tomorrow.
The Framing: I have to say I was utterly amazed at how fast the framing happened. And after stalking my lot and wood for a week and a half, I decided I would stalk a portion of the building process. Not because I think they would do something wrong, and trust me, if you have not seen framers in action before and you are overly concerned that they would do something wrong,  DO NOT go watch them frame your house!!!! You may have a heart attack!
The reason I went is because I was curious as I have never seen a house framed before. It was amazing to say the least. What I didn’t understand, even though they told us beforehand, is that most of the wood is put together at the facility prior to shipping to the lot. The crane took pre-put-together (I know it’s not a word, I just made it one), wood towards the foundation, and the framers guided the structure into place, hammered a few nails and it stood erect; I couldn’t believe it! In one day they had our entire first floor done and started laying the floor for the second floor. It was a treat to see. My job started getting in the way so I could not stay and watch them frame the entire house. But if I could have, I would have.
The Windows: On Wednesday of last week, we had our meeting with Guardian to walk through the house for the low voltage wiring. The details may end up being a separate post. At the time of the walkthrough, the house was completely standing and the majority of the roof had been added. My sister came into town so we went back over to the house on Saturday evening show her the house and to check on the progress. To our surprise, and happiness, the shingles had been added to the roof, the house had been wrapped and the windows were put in, too. This was an unexpected but pleasant surprise. Having the windows in the house just gave this sense of a home that wasn’t completely there when they were missing. It’s coming together nicely.
Words of Wisdom:
1.     Keep in mind that anything constructed is not perfect, but at the same time, expect high quality. There were a few things that we noticed that simply needed to be fixed. I’m happy to see that it was taken care of prior to us needing to bring them up with the PM, but don’t hesitate if it’s something that could cause issues after the house is built (The floor outlets in the wrong place for example.)
2.     For your pre-drywall meeting, be sure to take your camera and a tape measure. You should take pictures of every wall in your house prior to the drywall going up. I have heard from people I trust that this has saved them many times after their homes were built by knowing what’s behind the walls and where.
3.     Be sure to clearly indicate where things go if it’s not part of original floor plan. There has been one issue that was put in place (floor outlets) and one adverted (eye ball lights in the bonus room).  Help the PM, because had we not caught the former and had another conversation about the latter, we would not have been happy with the decisions that were made. Communication is key!
4.     Continue to be flexible. I know this is hard to say and harder to do. But building a house is a process. This is a job that a ton of people are behind and for the most part, I’m sure they want to do a good job. Stay level-headed because in the end, you are the one who will be living in the home for the next <insert number> years :-).

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?

A whole lot if it's on our lot.

That's right, we have wood! Our lumber arrived earlier than expected and the framing will start soon! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Metal Trash Bin On Our Lot

A few things have happened since our last post. 

Lets skip over some of the details and start with the fact there is a metal trash bin on our lot. So you know what that means, ground has been broken. However we still are not out of the woods completely because we have not even received our approval yet. It's hard to be excited about the fact they have started our house since they have not even approved the loan. While I'm optimistic it'll happen, you never know. 

And because of this whole NVR waiting process, we have decided to reach out to Sun Trust. We submitted the application on Friday and the VP of the loan department is handling this personally. We expect an answer early next week. 

Nonetheless, our PM called us on Friday to let us know the foundation was done, and that the slab and plumbing will be done next week. 

It's again a bitter sweet moment because we have to be out of town for five days next week so we will miss some of the work being done. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Two weeks have passed and...

Two weeks have passed since our last post and still have not heard back from NVR. What we have heard is we are to have our pre construction meeting this week. I hope that this is a sign we are close to a resolution on the financing. As they typically say, no news is good news. I'm just hoping this is the case. 

What is good about not having a decision made is I have not been pouring over the floor plan everyday. But I think that will soon change once we do get the go ahead. Actually, I think I will go pick up the documents now in preparation for the pre construction meeting. I know, sick. But I have to be ready for when the call does come

Power to the floor plan!!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Another long delay

So we received a call from our sales rep today that they wanted to combine two of our change orders into one. Typically I wouldn't be irritated but today I was since we still have not heard back from our loan processor to answer one simple question... Are we in underwriting yet. 

In speaking with our sales rep she stated the status say "processing" but of course that provides no information. Our sales rep did say they expect our house to start the first week in September and that if we haven't heard anything that could be good news

Here's to waiting two more weeks!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What can I say?

Over the past few weeks we have been waiting on NVR to approve our loan, but we haven't made it to underwriting yet. Kind of frustrating with the long waiting, but as you know this is to be expected with Ryan. So I'm keeping my frustration at a minimum.

But I didn't start this post to just vent, I did come to hopefully provide some useful information. 

During the down time, I've been figuring ways to ensure when we do our walkthroughs we have a plan of attack to make sure everything is done and in its proper place. In a previous post I talked about creating a spreadsheet of where everything is to be placed. I know some people are more visual so I suggest a free software that allows you to upload your floor plan and decorate as you please. That software is Sweet Home 3D. For people who are great in the arts this tool has many upsides. For those like me who are not that artistic from a visual standpoint, it will get the job done. I have uploaded some samples of what ours would look like using the software. 

The reason I'm doing this is now that I have looked at the plan in 3D, it's helped me to realize I may want to put the tv outlets in different places. 

Hopefully this helps some of you.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Back at last

So what has been going on?

Since our last entry:

1.       We have had four change requests

2.       We had a knockdown, drag out spat with Rite Rug

3.       We had a scare that our house may not fit on the lot… Math says yes, my eyes are still saying no… :)

4.       Received a call from our loan processor, we are getting closer to going to underwriting. A few things to resolve beforehand

5.       We’ve visited the model two more times (which resulted in a few more change orders)

6.       Still disappointed we cannot have the tile as the shower floor instead of the default

7.       Gave up the jets in the owner’s bathroom… Probably the right decision

8.       Stared at the floor plan again… though I said I was not looking at it any longer

9.       Reread all the paperwork for what we have asked for in the house

10.   Created a document for room by room requests in addition to where we would like to have our outlets and other prewiring (I would recommend this to ensure when you are walking through with the PM you have a good sense of what is supposed to be where and if it’s not right, fix it immediately)

11.   Found a nifty piece of information from reading through other blogs about Roxul’s Safe ‘N’ Sound… May seriously have to invest in this.

12.   Found out that I can obsess over this. Every day I walk into the house, I look for my Ryan three ring binder… I think I need help…

The wait on NVR , which is to be expected, is still a wait. But once they give the okay to break ground, expect to see more and more pics!

And now for the Rite Rug choices (finally correct):

First floor guest bedroom shower tile & carpet 

Standard laundry room vinyl

Master bath tile

Whole house carpet

Kids' bath tile

Kitchen tile against granite & counter choices

Hardwood (foyer, kitchen, morning room & hallway)