Saturday, March 30, 2013

One day until showtime!

Nothing much has happened in the last couple of weeks, just very impatiently waiting for our start date.  Because today is such a pretty weather day here (finally, some spring-like weather!), we went by the lot so I could take some final pictures before our start day Monday.

We drove up and I found a copy of our site plan just laying on the rock driveway (with a rock holding it down). Hmmm, wonder what they will do if it rains before they start digging and the plans are ruined???  Of course I picked it up, read through it then walked around the lot with them in my hand.  My husband said I looked like I wanted a hard hat and was ready to get to work :)

Here are pictures taken while standing at the back of our lot.  I keep telling myself  we're getting a great house and the yard does not matter, but I really hope that turns out to be the case....

future neighbor's Victoria Falls (elev C) being built...

Here's the ONLY thing I'll miss about our current house -  the view out of the back windows:

When driving the neighborhood today I noticed something that bothered me.  All of the Avalons I have seen before have a functioning window in the master bath (on the front of the house over the garage) and that window has shutters.  There is an Avalon a couple houses down the street that was just completed in January and the window is one that does not open and there's no shutters.  Just a window in the middle of a big expanse of brick.  Not only is it really plain from the outside, but I was hoping for a functioning window so I could circulate the air in the bathroom...  I didn't even think to ask PM/SR about that window because as I've mentioned every other Avalon has the windows I thought I was getting.  I know Ryan changes their offerings a lot, but to me it's kind of silly to have a big window that you can't open (especially in a bathroom).   It may be too late to put in a special request to get the right window, but I've got an email in to my SR to confirm type of window.  If it's not what I thought I was getting, I'll be asking PM if he can get it changed for me :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Start date - plus new granite choice

Today we received word from our SR that our start date has been set....  For APRIL 1st.....

Not the March 25th I was really hoping for, but at least I've been given a date and SR seemed pretty confident that there was not any reason to think it could be delayed further...

Today we went to put in what will probably be our final change order (due to the Guardian changes) and I also changed my granite selection.  We went down into the design room and SR showed us new samples of granite.  I got very excited to see they had the St Cecilia Light; it is perfect - exactly what I wanted.  However they also had a new color called Burlywood.  This was a nice mid-tone color and the sample looked great with the espresso cabinets and cherry floor.  As much as I wanted the St Cecilia Light, my husband was there and (unusual for him) expressed a strong preference for the Burlywood, so I gave in and went with the Burlywood.  I believe I can try and lighten the kitchen by using a nice light, warm backsplash and colorful accessories.

Here's a pic I could find online; in person it is a quite a bit lighter and had some definite warm tones in it.
Burlywood granite

Never having heard of or seen Burlywood, of course I came right home to Google it :).  Not many results came up,so it must not be very popular.  Uh, that could be good or bad..  I know some granite is known by more than one name but I can't find any AKAs for Burlywood.  Looks like I will be surprised when they install our granite!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Shopping for settlement

Well, I can't shop for furniture, textiles or accessories yet (you know, the fun stuff), but I can shop for something...  Title companies, homeowner's insurance and a Realtor to work with the rental of our current home.  Good times!  LOL

I have decided that I am going to shop around for a title/settlement company, just to make sure I'm not overpaying by using NVR Settlement.  All I'm looking for is a reliable company with really reasonable costs.  I realize if I use an outside company it may cause confusion for NVR mortgage and I will have to be extremely proactive to manage the deal, but I have heard there is some room for negotiation in the closing fees and we definitely need to save money everywhere we can.

As far as a Realtor for our current house, I've interviewed two property management companies and am leaning towards one, but have some reservations.  I'm still doing research to determine if we just take a leap of faith and find a really awesome Realtor to get the house marketed and leased but then do the property management thing ourselves.  Yes, a bad idea - I know.  But property management is another monthly bill and the amount we will  be able to get in rent does not even cover our mortgage...  I would love to do it ourselves for about 6 months or so just to help build our savings back up, then turn the house over to a property manager.  Still debating....

For those who have already closed, did any of you go with your own title/closing provider when using NVR mortgage?  How did that work out?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Letting out my inner 2 year old - allowing myself this selfish, whining post :)

I apologize - yes, I did read this post and know how ridiculous it is.  Feel free to skip if you're easily annoyed.  But I am doing this blog in part to document my thoughts through this process, and good or bad, these are my thoughts at this particular time.

The little patience I did have is officially used up. We are still waiting on a start date and my excitement has been blown by the delay. I'm almost to the point of being so frustrated that I'm mad. Want them to start already!!!!  As of today, there is a chance that we may start March 25, but won't know for sure until next week.  We signed our contract January 6th; I know it really wasn't Ryan's fault that the building permit got held up, but I worked hard to try and push it along when I realized it was a problem.  I would figure Ryan would be decent enough to prioritize our build now and do what they had to do and get us started immediately.
We're running into a time crunch now.  We really need to be moved out by July 1st, so our current home is ready for tenant occupancy on that date.  Financially, we need to have renters start paying rent for July.  I know some find temporary housing in situations like this, and we could stay with my parents, but we can't can't afford to pay movers twice or for temporary storage for our furniture.  We also don't have the connections or manpower to move ourselves to try and save money.

We are cutting it close now, if we are fortunate enough to have them start on March 25th.  There will not be room for any of the inevitible delays with construction, inspections, darn NVR mortgage, or certificates of occupancy...  I was comfortable with a build schedule predicting end of May/beginning of June completion because that left plenty of time and I would not have to stress about the building time.  Now I know I'll have to worry and keep ahead of everything to try and facilitate things running smoothly.

**NO - positive thinking - I have to believe it WILL work out and we WILL start on or before March 25th.  I have to have faith that we will still get a super low interest rate and be able to rent our current home for the amount of money we need (and be out by July 1st).**

I do know that it will happen soon, and everything will be better when it does start, but still.

One bit of good news - I got my Guardian change (still don't know why we're paying $1,680 just to get cable wire run through the house but at least now were not paying for things we won't use).  

Of course, I've been given too much time to think (and, ok, I'm me) so there are a few "coulda/shoulda/wouldas" that keep popping up.  However at this point the only thing I really think I could /should change is to switch to the standard laminate so I can pick my own color and slab of granite.  So afraid I will cry when the Luna Pearl is installed because it's not what I'm looking for.  Plus, $5400 is a LOT to spend on something I'm having MAJOR doubts about, and it's straight out of pocket and not in the mortgage.

But I can't risk annoying Ryan by asking for the change order to delete the granite; can't risk getting our start date delayed even more, so I'm stuck...

Honestly, I'm truly thankful we are able to build this beautiful house and when it starts, I will focus on the good and not keep thinking about the things I wanted or should have done different. I feel really bad whining about start dates, lot selection, granite and the pricing for what limited upgrades are available when I really DO realize we are very fortunate to be able to have this house.  I think it's just this wait that's getting to me.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Finally... :)

After 41 days and a few phone calls made trying to get the county moving, our building permit was finally approved this morning!  Now the ball's in Ryan's court - we want our hole...  SR is out until Thursday but hopefully she will have some news then (I did email her to give her a heads up on the approval).

I know this is not the only hurdle/delay I will probably experience on this journey but it just seemed like an unnecessary one... 

Guardian changes:  I need to modify my Guardian cable wiring a little (very minor changes like removing one of the flat panel pre-wires, adding 1 cable outlet and moving the location of one cable outlet).  I wrote to my Guardian rep who told me that I may need to have a Ryan Manager's approval to make the change because it was outside of the 30-day "change deadline".  My SR has not yet told me that I'm beyond the point of making updates (but I'm guessing it's close because construction should be starting soon).  I really need these changes made - too expensive to not get this right.

Has anyone had success in making any Guardian changes close to or in the early stages of construction??

The last change I'm debating is whether I go with granite through Ryan (and not get to pick my slab) or let Ryan install the included laminate and get the granite on my own.  I guess I need to decide ASAP!