The Building Blog: Part 15

We Are Homeowners

At last, we are officially homeowners. Construction was officially completed on February 21st, and we closed on the 25th.

Refrigerator Madness, Ctd.

In Part 14, I mentioned the consternation we faced regarding purchasing our refrigerator. Fortunately, we got the go-ahead from our loan officer later that day to buy the fridge, since all the paperwork was completed, and nothing would change between then and when we closed.

We went to Best Buy, found the fridge we wanted and got it ordered. They were able to deliver it relatively quickly, but we chose to receive it on Friday, March 1st, so I could be there to take delivery. We also picked up our Nest thermostat at the same time.

With those purchases made, I was finally able to relax a bit, and prepare myself for the closing on Monday morning.

Closing Complications

Saturday, I went to the bank and got a cashier’s check for the closing. Unfortunately, I had the check made out to the wrong company. When checking over everything, I realized that I had asked for it to be paid to “American Title Company”, instead of “First American Title Company”. By the time I recognized this error, it was Monday morning, and I had little time to get it fixed.

On our way to closing (we left early, fortunately) I stopped by the bank and had them re-issue the check with the correct name on it. As I left the bank and got in the car, our loan officer was on the phone with Jenny notifying us the amount had increased by $125. Having JUST exchanged the check, I asked if we could pay the remainder with another form of payment; fortunately a personal check was acceptable. So payment was resolved, and we were heading for closing once again.

Then we received a call telling us they had double-booked our closing appointment. They asked if they could move us to 11am, which I agreed to–it was certainly a better option than having to do it another day altogether. So we stopped at a nearby Lowe’s and looked around for about an hour, then again headed back to the closing office.

Once there, we went through the obligatory KB Home surveys, asking about our experience, and then settled in to sign paperwork. We began promptly at 11am, and within about an hour, had finished signing all the paperwork (less than I expected, actually).

Then the waiting began.

When closing, the mortgage company has to review all the paperwork after signing, before they’ll send the funds to the title company, who releases our keys to us. This process is generally what takes so long at a closing. Though ours felt like forever, it was really only a couple of hours, as they went back and forth over forms, and had us sign a couple of other forms. The biggest problem was that both Jenny and I were starving. Jenny had eaten a tiny breakfast earlier, but I had skipped breakfast altogether, not expecting to be there as long as we were. I was ready to leave and eat, then come back to finish the closing–that’s how hungry I was.

With no fanfare whatsoever, the receptionist finally called us up to the desk, and handed us a small packet with 3 keys in it–and that was it. Just like that, we were homeowners. We left, and immediately went to grab a bite to eat, scarfing it down, and rushing to get out of there, so we could run the rest of our errands.

The rest of the day was spent traveling to various areas: our new Post Office, where we received our mailbox keys, the sales office, where we picked up our lease-buyout check, then Home Depot and Lowe’s, where we picked up window blinds, paint samples, and other various items we needed for the house. Eventually we dropped everything off, and just kind of enjoyed the fact that we were finally finished with the waiting.

The Work Begins

Now that the building process was complete, we were able to shift our attention to the business of moving in and making our house the way we want it. It’s no small task, and we’ve got several projects we plan to tackle over the next couple years.

With the fridge delivery scheduled, I was able to begin the process of scheduling other services we needed, such as:

  • AT&T U-verse internet installation
  • Garage Door Opener installation
  • Grass sod for the back yard
  • Movers
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Natural Gas
  • Address change with the postal service
  • Address change for driver’s license, credit cards, bank accounts, etc.

With those things done, we are all set for the movers to arrive on Sunday at 10am. Now we just have to focus on actually getting packed and being ready for them. We have lots to get done this week, and are working hard to get prepared.

Work So Far

We plan to paint pretty much the entire house, since we really don’t like the white walls we have now. Our first goal is to get two specific walls painted, which are the kitchen, where the fridge will go (so we don’t have to worry about moving it later), and the master bedroom, where our bed will go (again, so we don’t have to move it later.) The rest of the rooms can be painted later.

So far, we’ve accomplished a fair bit of this work:

  • Installed the Nest thermostat
  • Painted the fridge wall in the kitchen (waiting for paint to dry and touch-ups)
  • Chosen the color for the accent wall in the master bedroom (will be painted on Friday)
  • Mounted window blinds on all windows on the first floor (except for the sliding glass doors)

On Wednesday, the first portion of the grass for our backyard arrived, and we now have about half of the yard sodded. The remainder will be installed today, so it will soon be ready for the dogs. We’re excited to bring them over and introduce them to their new home.

Friday will be a busy day, as I’ve got numerous deliveries, installations, etc. happening–all while trying to get the master bedroom wall painted, window blinds hung, and more masking and painting, where possible. Next week I’m on vacation (thankfully), so I’ll be able to get a lot more done, but it’s going to be a busy week for me; I’m sure the time will fly by.

So the Building Blog is complete, yet I plan to post one more entry–after we get moved in. Yes, the house is built, and the process is completed, but until we’re living there, the story isn’t quite over. We still need to know how it feels to live in our new KB Home, and that hasn’t happened yet. Soon though.

The Building Blog: Part 14

Last-Minute Chaos

After nearly six months of watching our house be built, it is finally completed. You’d think everything should go smoothly, but that’s far from the case. The past 24 hours have been hectic, as we worked to get the house finished and closing scheduled.

When we started the building process, we were always told that closing would happen on Monday, February 25th, which was just a few days away.

The chaos began on Wednesday. The bathroom above the tub in the master bathroom has always supposed to be obscured. Since the window went in, I’ve been telling the construction manager that it was the wrong window, and that it would need to be replaced. He said that it would be, but here we were just a few days away from closing, and we still had the wrong window. That one item was literally holding up the entire process.

After getting in touch with the vendor, they were supposed to have the window come in on Friday, and installed sometime that day. The concern was we didn’t know what TIME on Friday it would be installed. We expected to be able to sign off on construction sometime over the weekend, in order to meet the Monday closing date.

We therefore scheduled our walk-through and home orientation for Thursday evening, which would give them all day Friday to fix any remaining issues, and then we could sign-off on construction over the weekend.

Enter the craziness…

The title company called and left a message on our home machine, so I called them back. Their first response was that they were told the house wouldn’t be ready until next week, which would delay the closing. I advised that everything was supposed to be finished on Friday, and that we were expecting to close on Monday the 25th. Apparently the title company had us scheduled for Friday the 22nd, so we moved the appointment to the 25th, as we had originally expected.

When we arrived at the house on Thursday evening to do our orientation, we spoke with the construction manager, who had also been going through some wackiness. KB Home’s corporate office called and told him we were closing on the 22nd, so he was scrambling to find a solution for our window so we could close. Apparently, the window vendor received the correct window, but it was scratched, and they had to re-order it. There was no guarantee it would come in in time for us to close, so they worked out a window “exchange”, so to speak, where they took an obscured window from another house under construction and swapped them out. That was expected to happen on Friday, so again, the plans hadn’t really changed, and we were in good shape for Monday closing.

The glass arrived while we were doing our walk-through, and was installed in time for us to sign-off on the construction. So as of Thursday, February 21st, the house was finished!

Refrigerator Madness

With the purchase of our home, we’re also going to need a refrigerator. We already have a washer and dryer, and we’ve been window-shopping fridges for a while. We’re planning to buy our fridge from Best Buy, where we have a credit card with good terms. Unfortunately, we’ve been advised not to make the purchase until at least the day of closing. Not necessarily a bad thing, right?

It wasn’t a problem until Best Buy had their President’s Day sale, which would give us 30% off the fridge we want–something like $900 off the price. But the sale ends on the 23rd, and we don’t close until the 25th.

So I figured, hey, if they were already planning us to close on the 22nd, maybe we could move it to later in the day? This would let us close, buy the fridge while it’s on sale, and give us a couple extra days to do things to the house before we move in. Jenny got the okay to leave work early, if necessary, so I called the title company, who said they could close us at 5pm, contingent upon the lender having someone available to review the paperwork. A few minutes later they called back to say that nobody would be available to review it until Monday anyway, so we’re back to closing on the 25th, as originally, and then re-confirmed.

So now we’re planning to go to Best Buy tonight and see if they have the fridge we want, and if so, if we can work something out to get the sale price, but not have it charged until Monday. I don’t have a lot of hope that they’ll do something as awesome as that, but I suppose it’s possible, however minuscule the chance.

So we’ll close on Monday the 25th, and move in as soon as we can after that. Then the real work begins…

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The Building Blog: Part 13

Frustrations Mount

With less than a week until closing, the house isn’t finished yet. The past week has seen little change, and has been a frustrating few days.

Last weekend, Jenny’s parents came over to see the house, and we immediately smelled natural gas. The smell appeared to be coming from the range, so obviously we were fairly concerned; the last thing we wanted was something to happen to the house to delay things. Prior to smelling the gas, I sent a list of items that still needed addressed to our construction manager on the 13th, but got no response. For several days, nothing from our list was addressed, and I was growing increasingly frustrated as the days ticked by. We filled out a form with the sales office, and advised that we needed to get things going, as we’re scheduled to close soon, and we can’t sign off on the construction yet. They won’t allow us to close until we’ve accepted the construction via a walk-through, which we’ve yet to even get scheduled.

Finally, in the past couple days, we’ve gotten some progress. We stopped in and spoke with our salesperson on Monday, which marked the one-week-till-closing mark, and he said we’d hear something from the construction manager on Tuesday for sure. Sure enough, I got a voicemail, and was assured that everything would be ready, though we still don’t have a walk-through appointment scheduled yet.

I made my daily visit to the house yesterday, and saw that a number of items had been addressed–most importantly the smell of gas had disappeared–though so did our burners on the range. Though there are still quite a few items remaining, it finally looks like we’ll be ready for a walk-through in the next couple days (hopefully), and still on schedule to close on the 25th.

This Building Blog series has been about documenting the building process (good and bad), and that’s what I’ve tried to do. This post may sound like somewhat of a rant, which isn’t my intention, but is designed to reflect the experience we’ve had. Everyone we’ve talked to at KB has made it a point to tell us that they want us to be able to give them a 10-rating when asked; our sales-person has earned it, but so far, the construction team has not. We’ll see if they can redeem themselves by the time we are asked to rate them.

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The Building Blog: Part 12

All But Finished

The clock is really ticking now. With less than 2 weeks left until we close on the house, we’re focusing on small details now, rather than large ones. The carpet has been installed, appliances have arrived, and everything is really looking very good. The largest item left is the staining of our wood stair rails, and front door, which is already in progress. We’re literally on to fit-and-finish items remaining, which will hopefully take up the next few days, and see the house completed.

It’s been a lot of fun watching everything come together with the house, and with it nearing completion, it’s hard to believe that we’ll soon be living there. Jenny and I are both excited to get moved in, and start working on making the home our own. We know it’s going to take time, but it’s going to be well worth the effort. Just the idea that we won’t have to move again is intoxicating. We’ve moved five times in a little over five years, and we’re most definitely ready to put an end to that trend; it’s time we put our roots down for the foreseeable future.

Feels Like Home

The other day, as I looked around the house, I felt something I hadn’t before–the overwhelming desire to stay–I didn’t want to leave. It’s the first time I’ve felt that way about the house, but it really has started to feel like home. Perhaps it’s the carpet installation that finally turned the corner, but I can truly imagine now that this is my home. I told Jenny this, but she also felt it a couple days later when we went to the house to inspect things.

We’re both very anxious to get the closing finished, get our move-in-necessary items scheduled, and get moved into our new home. Yes, there’s still a lot to do, but we’re ready. Now we just have to count down the days.

The Building Blog: Part 11

The Home Stretch

My, how things have changed! The house is coming along nicely now, and quite frankly, is nearly complete. The past 10 days have seen some pretty major additions to the home, as well as quite a bit of house-related paperwork, etc.

The house is scheduled to be finished by February 18th, which is just under three weeks away. However, by early next week, all but the finishing touches will be complete. Our carpet will be installed this week, doorknobs handles will be installed this week, and Monday next week, our appliances will be delivered and installed. After that, it’s just items we need corrected so we can sign off during our walkthrough on the 18th!

Construction Updates

The last Building Blog detailed the installation of the vinyl flooring, tile in the bathrooms, and the stair railings. There was a problem with our tile that still has to be corrected (more on that later), but the past few days has seen some rather major additions that make the home actually livable.

On January 29th, our trees were planted in the front yard. Because we have a corner lot, we got 2 additional trees in the side yard (most lots only have a single tree in the front.) The very next day, our lawn was sodded, and we had grass, as well as landscaping around the walk to our front door. Rocks and small shrubs will likely give way to something else later on, but for now, it’s nice to have something there. The backyard was also fenced in the same day, so for the first time, we got to see what our backyard will truly feel like–it’s pretty large, actually.

And of course, things moved rapidly after that as well. Over the course of the next few days, the following were completed:

  • Granite countertops installed.
  • Medicine cabinet in the Master Bathroom was installed.
  • Shower enclosure was installed.
  • Sinks, faucets, and toilets were installed.
  • Lighting fixtures are installed.
  • A/C Unit installed.
  • Water heater was installed.
  • Front door arrived and was installed.

In regards to the tile issue in the Master Bathroom, after speaking with the construction supervisor, there are changes to be made, but not as extensive as I initially wanted. It turns out that there have been a lot of customer complaints about the half-wall between the shower and tub getting wet and deteriorating, due to moisture from the shower stall creeping along the edge, and making contact with the drywall. As a result, they’ve begun putting tile completely around that half-wall, which provides better protection. This makes sense, and so the only changes that need to be done are to clean up some of the trim to make it match the rest of the tiling. I’m not 100% satisfied with this, and still prefer the look of the model, but I understand the necessity of doing it the way they have. I’d much rather have it look a little odd (to my eye; Jenny seems to be fine with it), than to experience issues with maintenance, or the possibility of mold/moisture problems.

So with all this done, this leaves a very short list of items left to complete, which include:

  • Correction of tile installation in the master bathroom.
  • Door handles and knobs need to be installed.
  • Carpet needs to be installed.
  • Appliances must be delivered and installed.
  • Drywall patching and final texture and paint needs to be applied.
  • Window in Master Bathroom needs replacing (supposed to be an obscured window).
  • Window pane in the Master Bedroom is broken and must be replaced.
  • Final trim and painting.
  • Power-wash of back porch, garage, and driveway.
  • Final cleanup.

Within just a few short days, the house will be almost 100% complete, and ahead of schedule. At that point, we can submit a list of final items we’d like addressed before we sign off on construction, and ready ourselves for closing.

Financial Picture

Speaking of closing, we’re nearly ready for that as well. Our financial picture looks good, not only for closing, but for after, as we have many items that need addressed rather immediately, even before we move in. Within just a few days (hopefully), we’ll have everything ready, and will be essentially waiting around for the days to pass. We’re both eager and ready to get past the closing, and to start the process of moving into our new home. In fact, we’re already packing.

Vacation Scheduled

With so many things to do, especially once we close, it’s a foregone conclusion that we’ll need to take time off work to accomodate everything. Jenny and I both have vacation time scheduled for next month, though not necessarily at the same time.

We’re both off on the 18th for what should be our walkthrough and sign-off on the construction, as well as the 25th, which of course is our closing date. The 25th will be extremely busy for us, since we have plenty of things to do immediately after closing on the house.

As for our vacations, I’m taking off March 4th – 8th, which will hopefully allow me to work on unpacking, and settings things up in the house, and Jenny’s off a couple weeks later to presumably do the same.

Post-Closing Activities

At this point, the most frustrating thing is having to wait until we close to do just about anything. We can’t schedule a moving date, or deliveries, or make any purchases until after we’ve closed–for the reason that until we sign those papers, the house isn’t actually ours. If anything goes wrong at closing–which isn’t unheard of–we don’t want to find ourselves in a position of having counted our chickens before they hatched (so to speak).

Immediately after closing, however, we have plenty to do:

  • We need to select and purchase a refrigerator. We already have an empty Best Buy credit card, so will use that for this purpose, with the goal of paying it off within the 18 months, and avoiding any interest. Once we’ve bought it, we can schedule the delivery. This will be done the day of closing (hopefully).
  • Purchase and install window blinds for the entire house. We plan to purchase very cheap blinds initially, with the goal of replacing several per month with better ones, until the entire house is completed. We’ve learned that window blinds are actually fairly expensive–at least for the ones we want.
  • Purchase a garage door opener, and schedule installation.
  • Place an order for grass sod for the backyard. This will need to be delivered and installed before we can move the dogs into the house, since the backyard is currently dirt/mud and sand–not conductive to puppies who like to play outside, and then jump on the bed when they come back in.
  • Place the order for electric service to be activated.
  • Place an order for Internet service to be connected.
  • Once all of the above is handled, we can schedule the movers.
  • And of course, we need to finish packing.

And after moving in, we can begin the arduous process of painting the house to our preferences. There’s simply too many white walls right now for our tastes.

We have our work cut out for us, though we’re excited about all of it. Fortunately, everything is proceeding exactly as planned and will hopefully continue to do so. Though for some, it seems that this has gone very quickly, but for Jenny and I, it seems like we’ve dedicated a very long time to this process. In some ways, we have, since we started shopping before September of 2012, and officially began the process on Sept. 15th. It’ll be going on six months since we signed the paperwork when we finally move in–an eternity when you’re watching the progress every day.

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