Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Still waiting ... Updates: Non-standard changes, NVR

Although not much happened (we have finalized our flooring and cable options and still waiting for our permit from the county), it's been a week since my last post so I thought of writing about some updates:

Non-standard changes
I don't know if this applies to our community only, but I just found out that there is a minimum $300 administrative fee for non-standard changes. We were surprised (shocked) and a bit upset about this, so our SR apologized that she did not know this (being fairly new with RH) and thus wasn't able to give us the benefit of that knowledge upfront. She said that she thought she had properly set the expectation that there would be some sort of charge for these requests. Yes, some sort of charge, but for actual costs (materials and labor), and not $300 for putting R-13 insulation (yes that's what they will use for soundproofing) in one wall between master and bonus rooms. So we ended up declining the soundproofing ($300) and the basement to attic conduit ($750). I hope we won't regret our decision.

Right after our non-standard request to move the basement exit to the right side of the house (pic below), I changed my mind and wanted the exit to be on the left side of the house behind the driveway.  So I emailed our SR and explained to her how it's more practical to have the basement exit behind the driveway, and that hopefully it's not too late to make the changes. The good thing is, moving the exit to the side has already been approved ($300). And we can specify the exact location where we want it. Yay! This is great because moving the exit to the side means that there would be an extra rear window (where the standard exit would be), so it becomes more acceptable to pay $300.

Original side exit request
New side exit request similar to this - behind the driveway but on the left side of the house (reversed)

NVR (lack of) Update
Since our loan application on January 26th, I have not spoken with my Loan Officer, even when I have emailed her more than 3 times already. I did have some questions that I emailed her but she hadn't replied to those questions yet (still waiting for her to email back). Loan Processor contacted me on Feb 14th to check whether we have any other accounts (retirement, savings, etc) that we would like to add in our loan application before it goes to underwriting. It would be nice to have a bigger downpayment, but unfortunately that's it lol :)

Any comments about NVR? I have been comparing the GFE from NVR with the settlement statement from our current home and I am seeing charges that seem redundant in the NVR closing costs estimate so I am not happy about that :(

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Non-standard requests update

We heard back from our SR that all our non-standard requests found here have been approved so I have updated that page to reflect the associated costs with these non-standard requests. We were not happy with the price for the conduit from the basement to attic. Does $750 for a 2" PVC conduit sound reasonable?

Friday, February 14, 2014

How much is your HOA fee?

I received the electronic copy of the disclosure from our HOA and I have been reading about things that we can and mostly CAN'T do in our house. We are limited to only certain types of fences (they discourage putting up a fence in the first place), mailboxes and other structures. There are very strict rules in any modifications that we plan to do in our house and would have to go through a rigourous application process with the Architectural Committee. Good thing we opted for the 3-car garage so we don't need to build a shed right away. However, we plan to build our own deck so I am not looking forward to that.

We currently live in a neighborhood that has minimal fee ($60 per year or $5 monthly), while the neighborhood for our new build collects an HOA fee of $850 per year or $70 per month. Wow! I knew it was going to be around that amount when we signed the contract, but still I feel like it's too much (still ranting). The only amenities are a small playground, pool and the clubhouse that you can rent.  The reason I feel annoyed is because I know of a nice golf course community here in our current area that has so many more amenities like pool and clubhouse, walking and biking trails, tennis and basketball courts, baseball field, commercial area/stores, elementary school, security cameras in the neighborhood and roads and very impressive landscaping and maintenance (maintenance people are picking up trash literally every time I drive in that area), etc and homeowners are only paying $50 per month.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Options finalized

We met with our SR today to finalize our structural and non-structural options. We also submitted our non-standard requests (we only had 4). It's difficult for DH to get off work so we won't be meeting with the flooring designer until Feb 20th. Our cable selections will be done through email and phone conversations.

I will include a new tab which will list all the options we chose and requests we have submitted. We ended up removing many of our original options in order to accommodate our change from 2-car to 3-car side entry garage. That was an expensive upgrade but hopefully worth it.

We drove around and took a picture of our lot, flanked by future neighbors. No bells and whistles (not lakefront, do not back to woods, not in cul-de-sac), but it is OURS (almost). Feels so real now.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Search for a home

Just a bit of background...

In January 2013, we explored the possibility of building a Ryan home in our current city, but no basement homes due to city codes. Aaargh!! DH is firmly set on having a basement in our next home. We found out that RH was building basement homes in a great community about 45 minutes away from our place. Naah, that is farther than we'd hoped for.  Plus, we love love our current home. It is updated and is a good fit for our family of 3. However, when friends and family come over or when DS plays indoor soccer in the living room/great room (lol), I always wished I had more space.

A year later, January 2014, we finally caved in and visited the 45-min drive RH community. Two weeks later and numerous back and forth call/email with our SR, we signed the contract. It's official! We will have more space by early Summer 2014! The Palermo we will build is double the square footage of our current home (that's not even including the basement when we finish it).

Our first home? We still love it so we'll try to keep it too as a rental property. Looking for possible tenants...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The (Sold) sign is up

So here it is, we're finally first-time builders. We bought our first (resale) home about 8 years ago, and now we're so excited to start this journey in building our own home! Hopefully more "ups" than "downs" in the process.