Friday, December 30, 2011

Taking Advantage of the mild December weather

Besides the pillars, painting the door black, and pouring the drivewalk/porch/sidewalk - the exterior looks almost done. Wasn't expecting to see shutters, trim, and all siding done yesterday. I love it!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Drywall done

Drywall is up everywhere (even the basement)! I haven't been able to look at it in the daylight, but here are some phone pics my husband took of the kitchen/morning room, family room and master bedroom. Also, the brick and siding have been done, and we picked out a new king bed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


We got brick this week - we wanted a lighter brick all along, but I was worried that the brick we picked was too light.

On the first day of brick,it looked so dark and nothing like we picked (see cell phone pic.). By the time they were done, it looked perfect and we love it. We were worried after day 1!

They are ready to drywall - the materials are already in every room.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rate locked and some pics from pre-drywall phase

Locked into rate today - glad to have that decision behind me. Thanks to Gina, sgt rich and tammigirl for their input - it was kind of nerve wracking to make that decision in advance but I knew I'd be happy with anything under 4%.

We locked in at 3.875% for 30 yr conventional. Could've bought down for 3.75%, but it would've taken 10 yrs for the decrease in monthly payments to cover increase in the closing costs. I'm a CPA in real estate - so numbers games like that are fun for me (ha, i know that is sad).

Brick was started today, insulation tomorrow. Drywall next week after Christmas. Here are some pics
From the weekend before the predrywall meeting:

Pre-drywall meeting and rate lock question

We had our predrywall meeting yesterday (12/20) - it took about 1.5 hours, and I went through the whole house with the Project Supervisor. Learned a lot about the house - he showed me what every cord was for, whole they sealed the house, and gave me a timeline of things to come. Everything looks good - a couple issues and new things I learned below.

I didn't take a single picture during the meeting - I was too busy listening to everything else. It was so interesting to learn everything about the house. We never planned on building, but this location/price point was something we couldn't pass up. So glad we did this experience because of everything I am learning about how the house is built and set up.

3rd party inspection - 1/25 3pm
Demonstration - 1/27 8am
Closing day - 1/31 - 1pm walkthrough and 2pm closing

I wish the closing day was a few days earlier, but we will deal with it. Looks like we will be moving on Super Bowl weekend - and the Super Bowl is in town this year (we live in a suburb of Indy). So that could be an interesting weekend. Plus, I'm a CPA, so January is bad for me - we were aiming to close before Christmas (so I am JEALOUS of those of you closing soon), but due to the backup with the permits and the sale of our house, we were pushed back. Oh well, we will be so glad to be in our new house.

New things I learned and issues:
-House comes with a dehumidifier. I knew the house didn't come with a battery back up sump pump (and I am planning to get one right after closing). I figured I'd buy a dehumidifier too at that point, so that was a nice bonus
-There was one switch plug (aka half hot) in the family room - and it controls the outlet where the TV will be plugged in. PM said that was a very strange place in the room for the switch plug. It will be moved to the wall where the furniture will be per PM
-The full bathroom in the basement has a lower ceiling (think the height of the bulkheads in the basements). That's unfortunate but unavoidable with the framing of the house and location of the supports.
-The location of the HVAC and water heater are unfortunate but can't be moved. They are both set up across from each other in the unfinished area of the basement, and basically form a little blockage to the storage area. You can get through between the two, but it is a little tight. Disappointed by this.

Any tips on rate lock? Or maybe put in the comments what rate you got - I am curious what others got recently. Something below 4 would get me really excited for 30 yr fixed. Does anybody take a gamble and just wait and see how the rate changes every day? My mortgage rep emailed me yesterday and say she'd call me mid-morning today about locking the rate.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pre-drywall meeting Scheduled

Our house finally looks like a house! This is the fun part of home building. Our pre drywall meeting is next Tuesday 12/20. Closing is set for end of January - i should have an actual date next week, so I can make a ticker

We've been able to walk through once - it just stinks that it is dark at 5pm once we get off work. Only issue is that we are waiting on a home office window - the one originally delivered was The wrong size.

Here are some pics of the exterior, and one of my son checking out the family room.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Framing progress

We finally have something that looks like a house on our lot! It seems like most bloggers comment that framing is so fast and done in a handful of days. That hasn't been our experience. It seems like it's taking forever.

Pm emailed 11/23 and said framing would start that weekend after thanksgiving and we'd see lots of progress in the next week. But we saw nothing - maybe 2 hrs of work.

The next week, we did see progress - it's taken 10 days (;plus the first 7 days of nothing) but they've done all the framing and windows and it looks awesome. Roofing looks next.

I think waiting has been more difficult because it's Christmas and we are in a temporary home and it's kind of depressing, but we are glad to see progress! Hoping to get a closing date soon. Or even a pre drywall date. Ha. Here are some pictures - first floor started on 11/29 and the most recent pic is from 12-9. We hope to walk through the house this weekend.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Getting ready to frame

Can't believe we are almost to the point of framing - we are very excited to see our house take form - that anticipation is killing us. Our land has been graded and the lumber arrived today. It is raining today, and we will be in Chicago from wed-Sunday - so I wonder what we will miss, if anything. Here's some pictures of out lot/lumber, and a house I found with the color brick we will have - it's a Jefferson, I think - in a nearby neighborhood. We will have almond trim and black . doors/shutters. Happy thanksgiving to everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Garage and basement poured

Our waterproofing and initial plumbing is done - and they poured the garage and basement foundation. The house does look small - and it's the reverse floorplan of the model and we can't picture the layout yet.

The weather doesn't look very nice for the next week, so I'm betting framing will start after thanksgiving. No delivery of lumber yet either, but hopefully soon.

Here's the basement and morning room cut-out in back:

3 car front load garage

More basement - not sure what side this is - I'm all turned around since we are building a reverse floorplan of the Vic Falls

Where the front porch will be

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Form work is off

They took the form work off, and we have walls! I can't wait to see it - my husband went to see it and took this picture - the close part of the picture is the 3 car front-load garage.

I'll have to get over there soon (it's only 5 minutes away from our temporary house), but my 3 year old had her tonsils/adenoids removed this week, and I haven't been able to get there in daylight.

We are so lucky to have my parent's house to stay at - they don't live there full-time, so its essentially a furnished, but un-lived-in 3 bedroom ranch to stay in. There are definitely things we miss about our old home - and makes me really glad we picked certain upgrades with Ryan, and sad that I didn't pick others.

Upgrades I'm glad we did:
-Upgraded kitchen faucet to pull-out version - my parent's house doesn't have a pull-out faucet, and both my husband and I have been caught trying to pull out the faucet to no avail.
-Victoria Falls floorplan with full basement - this isn't really an 'option' but I can't wait to have seperate common areas (first floor/basement) from the bedrooms (2nd floor). Right now, my parents house has a split floorplan - and all the bedrooms border the great room - which means you can hear my husband watch "The Walking Dead" and "American Horror Story" from all the bedroom as we are trying to go to sleep. HA.

Upgrades I wish we did:
-Granite - Ryan's granite price seemed high, but for convenience, I wish I'd done it. My parents have standard Formica, and its no fun - it looks beat up and dirty no matter how I clean it. We had Corian at our old house - and I'd never get that again - it scratched too easily. We were spoiled with Corian, though - I thought I'd be fine with Formica for awhile, but now I don't think so
-Ceramic tile in bathrooms - we had tile in our bathrooms in our old house, and my parents have vinyl. It feels so cold and sticky (which probably means I need to mop...haha).

Hopefully I'll have more pictures soon!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Footers and closing (on old house) recap

We closed on our old house yesterday 11/8 - and they also poured the footers on the new house. It's good to finally see some progress! We'd released the contingency on the new house over 6 weeks ago - to try to minimize the time we have to live in a temporary location (plus, we qualified for both mortgages anyways). So at least they broke ground by the time we closed. It's so fun to watch these changes.

Closing was...eventful. It was crazy - my realtor said this was one of the worst he's seen - all thanks to the weasel of a loan officer that the buyers used.

Timeline -
Closing was set for 11/8 @ 4pm - 45 days after offer
11/4 - loan officer says closing might need to be delayed for 'lender review'
11/7 (night) - lender says it will be fine to close as scheduled
11/8 - 10:30am - lender tells realtors they might need 10 more days to review, closing may be postponed
11/8 - 2:30pm - closing is supposedly back on, but loan approval isn't final yet. My realtor made the call that we (realtor/husband/me) would not go to the title company until final approval was received, and communicated this to the buyers
11/8 - 4pm - realtor calls me and says to head to title company - approval not technically received but supposedly forthcoming
11/8 - 4:20 - we show up, buyers are a little testy that we are 'late'. Settlement statement 'draft' given to realtors - several mistakes found.
11/8 - 5:10 - we sit in the closing room with buyers/realtors and WAIT. Finally, at 5:10, loan officer comes in and title company has papers ready to sign
11/8 - 5:30 - we finish signing - title company realizes buyer has made their check out to the wrong company. Apparently, loan officer told them wrong name. They have to run to bank to get check fixed before 6. At this point, we all left with the intention of wrapping up the next day by 8:30am
11/9 - 11am - finally, all checks and funds were wired, and I got my check.

I'd like to say we learned a lesson from that experience - but I'm drawing a blank... Maybe NEVER use that weasel loan officer? Wasn't my doing to begin with. I really feel sorry for the buyers.

But that's done, and now this blog can focus on the more exciting part - building our new home!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ground breaking

Today was a stressful day of waiting - we were set to close on our house on 11/8, but were told closing might be delayed a few days. Plus, we'd had no word about our new house.

But we got word late in the day that closing is back on, and they dug the basement today. We went out to see it today - very cool! Fingers crossed tomorrow goes well. We moved out last week, and our living at my parents. We are sad to leave our first house.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Preconstruction meeting

We had our precon meeting today - our lot was finally staked and we got to see the land survey and the dimensions and easements. The meeting went well - our pm seems good and easy to work with. We went over all our choices and there were a couple things we needed to clarify or changed -

1. The recessed lighting on the pm's list didn't match our selections
2. The flooring in the basement bathroom wasn't ordered/selected bc we did the flooring selections before we decided to add the bathroom
3. The flooring of the house diagram showed the old wood laminate before the last change order

Sounds like we will break ground in 2 weeks - can't wait.

I also talked to nvr to change my down payment amount and get them documentation of the payments I have made to Ryan so far. It seems like lots of Ryan bloggers have had bad experiences, but so far so good - I'd even go so far to say that they've been great. The level of documentation they ask for is high - but I understand why mortgage co's have to be so diligent these days

Here are some pics of my lot -the back of my lot is behind the tree line

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pre-Construction Date Scheduled and New Selections

It's been a long couple weeks of waiting, but the pre-construction date is scheduled for Wed 10/26, and ground-breaking 11/7. That's several weeks behind what we were originally told, but supposedly our delivery date hasn't changed (2/3/11 - far away).

We removed our contingency on 9/21, got an offer on our current house on 9/24 and are set to close on our current house on 11/8.

There was an issue with the permits - the Town came back and said that they would not approve our permit unless we flipped the house plan. We weren't thrilled, but knew that if we didn't agree, and picked a different lot, then it would take even longer, and at this point, we don't want to waste anymore time.

As the waiting drug on (and my impending move #1 creeps up), I started to panic and second guess my selections - mainly my kitchen cabinets. I wanted to be happy with my cabinets for a long time and wasn't sure my Andover Maple Spice selection fit the bill.

I asked if I could upgrade to the Scottsdale Maple Cognac (even though my final change date was long past), and Ryan agreed and didn't charge me any extra - which probably has something to do with the fact I was also complaining about the amount of time the permits were taking.

They also let me change the color of my laminate floors - so I am very happy with them for allowing me to do that so late.

Here's my Maple Cognac cabinets with the laminate counters and laminate floors, and the MB flooring/cabinet.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

More selections

We are waiting on permits now - so nothing new to report on the new home front. But I found some pictures of our flooring selection meeting - not the greatest pictures in the world, but we did the best we could with a 1 and 2 year old in tow.

Here is our cabinet (andover maple), laminate wood floor for kitchen/foyer/morning room, countertop (Formica called labrador granite), and carpet (a level II frieze-type) for the rest of the house. On the right side, you can kind of see the side of the cabinet in our master bathroom, and the vinyl we picked to go with it.

Here's a picture of the vinyl we picked for the other bathrooms/laundry room (a standard vinyl), and the carpet next to it is standard carpet for the basement.

We are looking at a mid-to-late October ground-breaking date, and a mid/late January or early February close. They said early February at first, but now may be talking about pushing us up (I'd like to get my hopes up but probably not a good idea!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Contingency released!

We have went over the timeline, talked to our realtor and decided to pull our contingency with Ryan and start building. If we start now, estimated completion is beginning of February. We have several very interested buyers for our current house, but nothing is a done deal yet. We had already gotten approved with NVR for both the new mortgage and our old mortgage (just in case), so we have to sign a couple papers, deliver a check, and we are off!

Our main concern was getting the basement foundation poured before winter. Given the current timeline, ground-breaking will be 2nd week of October - which is better than December/January in the Midwest.

We are very excited! Will post ground-breaking pics once we have them...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Big decisions made

We are building a Victoria Falls with Ryan Homes - we are on contingent contract right now - its been about 30 days, and we are just waiting on some action on our current home before lifting the contingency and starting to build.

We live in a 3 br/2 ba ranch right now - its been on the market a month - the first two weeks were DEAD, then action has picked up substantially and we have great feedback. After another good showing today, I decided to start this blog to document our progress.

We had done a lot of work on our current home - built in 1988 - and we ultimately decided that we wanted to start fresh with a new house for our next house - where we plan to live for a long time. In the past 5 years, we have replaced roof, siding, gutters, HVAC, water heater, garbage disposal, all light fixtures, flooring, faucets, solid surface countertops. Some upgrades were our choice, some were regular home wear/tear type stuff (HVAC). Nonetheless, we did not want to go into another 10-20 year old house and have to pay all that stuff again in 5 years.

We found a good neighborhood with a location we like - and picked a tree-lined lot with a decent backyard. The sales rep has been very helpful so far.

We are building:
Victoria Falls - Elevation C - Sandstone brick with dark tan siding and almond trim/garage
3 car garage (front load)
Full finished basement with full bathroom and media room
Morning room
42 inch maple cabinets (andover maple spice)
Gourmet Island
Labrador Formica (we'll do granite later - the cost with Ryan was too high/inflated)
Home office option
4' extension to family room
Light package B
Master bedroom tray ceiling
Laminate woods in main living area on 1st floor
Level 2 carpet and 6 or 8 lb padding (except standard in basement)

We are very excited to eventually watch it being built. There is a Victoria Falls elevation C going up across the neighborhood from us, so its awesome to see what it will look like.

Some pics:

Our lot-

What our backyard will look like - the part within the plastic/staking but back to the trees (we are on the far side of the house in the picture - a Bainbridge):

Another Victoria Falls - Elevation C - going up in our community: