Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shutters Painted

Finally some pictures to show.  Nothing earth shattering but progress!  Shutters are painted "Old Colonial Red" and the replacement trim piece over the Living Room window came in and was installed.  Trim & front door still needs to be painted.

See comments below the threshold pics, I have questions for you bloggos.

Little pieces of blue tape all over the place.  Presumably for final touch-ups.

Threshold between upstairs laundry and  hall carpet.  The flash makes the carpet and tile look much darker than it really is.

Now this is the wooden threshold between the basement stairs and kitchen tile.  There is also wooden threshold between the kitchen tile and family room carpet.  Does this strike any of you as odd?  I'm looking into it now, but I'm almost certain I had a conversation with the PM about marble thresholds being put in.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Closing Costs

What's up party people?  Got our Estimated Settlement Charges today and they were are line with what we were expecting.  The charges may change very slightly but we're pretty close.  Our Realtor gave me a call to review and make sure I understood everything.  She was impressed that the title company would be confident enough (14 days out) that the costs are correct and that they wouldn't send them out this early unless they were pretty confident everything is set.

It just hit me that we're doing our Final Walk-through with our PM next Friday.  It's practically here!  We're at a good pace for packing but this kinda makes me realize how soon it's really coming!

Don't blame me for the turtle, it's the beset I could come up with with no effort.  No, I didn't draw it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Counting Down

Just about 15 days before closing.  We had a wedding Saturday and Irene came through fairly uneventfully.  We lost power for about 12-hours which gave us great motivation to make progress with organizing & packing.  Haven't been up to the house since the 'storm' but don't expect there to be any trouble.  Hopefully the basement stayed dry.  Starting to develop the plan for the actual move as well as the pre-move projects we want to get done before the  moving truck comes with all the furniture.

Here is a short list of things we want to accomplish between closing & the move (2 1/2 days).  I'm taking a few days off work so hopefully

  • Garage
    • Sand Drywall / Joint Compound
    • Primer / Paint
    • Prep floor for concrete epoxy
    • Paint floor epoxy w/ sprinkle stuff
    • Utility Sink Prep
    • Garage Door Opener (Doubt we'll get this far)
  • Bedroom
    • Chair rail (Hopefully)
    • Paint
    • Install Ceiling fan
  • Kitchen & Bathrooms
    • Seal Granite
    • Seal Grout
  • Family Room
    • Install in-ceiling surround sound speakers

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fridge & Paint

Refrigerator delivered.  Painters are doing stain and walls.  Not much to show from an update standpoint.  I didn't notice this before, but it looks like the new cabinet door was put in (next to fridge).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Comcast vs. Verizon

For Cable / Internet / phone in our neighborhood, we can get Comcast or Verizon.  It's nice to have a few choices.  I have Comcast 'Xfinity' and overall we like it.  We have a phone at our apartment, but don't use it, for anything.  So for the house, we're going to just get Cable & Internet.

 I called Comcast first and was in for a surprise.  As soon as I called, I could tell it was a circus.  They had it all, clowns, big shoes and a red nose.  The price for the 1st year is decent.  You pay extra for a DVR and they give you a digital converter box free for the 2nd & 3rd TV.  Cool right?  Enter the clown car.  After the 1st year, the price shoots up 56% (yes.  Fifty Six Percent).  They had some dopey promotion for the 1st 3 months where it's pretty cheap.  I'm not interested in a teaser rate, I'm interested in a good rate over time.  Even the sales rep couldn't explain why it was such a joke.  I told him I'm going to call Verizon and lock in at a better rate.  He didn't seem to mind.

Onto Verizon.  The service looks comparable if not better.  Most things are par or better, I increased the internet speed as I may be working from home more often.  The monthly rate was fair.  After one year, it goes up $5-$10.  They're giving me a $100 gift card, free install, free wireless router (like I need more...) etc.  The only hiccup is that they need to run a credit check before scheduling install.  Their advice was to wait after my mortgage stuff is finalized before moving forward.  Fair enough.  I'm going to have plenty of projects around the house, and won't need TV to distract me from hanging ceiling fans etc.

PS - I personally think that Verizon's On-Demand is sub-par compared to Comcast, but it's not such a big deal in comparison to the cost difference.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Panaramic Pics

Spoke with our PM on Friday.  He was in the hallway of our house looking for the creaking floor, which was occurring prior to the hardwood being installed.  Over the phone, I tried to explain where the noise was coming from and he couldn't find it.  I went up Saturday, found the noise, made a video from my cell of the noise.  I also taped a small piece of paper to the area the noise comes from.

I stole this idea from another blogger.  There is an 350 degree panaramic app for my phone, let's you take pictures of  multiple areas and it combines them.  Sometime it works, sometimes it puts things in the wrong place.  Click on them to see them better.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Overall Update

  • House Progress
    • Cleaning people were finishing up when I arrived.  They had removed a lot of the random construction trash / odds & ends.  The granite & cabinets looked cleaner.  
    • Cardboard over the hardwood was removed.
    • I had reported a creaky joist / floor in the 1st floor hall by the closet.  It was fairly loud and easy to find.  The PM said it would be taken care of before flooring went in...  I don't know how they're going to fix it now, the ideal thing would have been to fix it while it was just sub-flooring.  I believe a few well placed screws would have solved the problem.  Now that the hardwood is down, I'm not sure how they're going to fix it.  Waiting to hear back from the PM.
  • Mortgage Progress
    • Got a call from the loan officers assistant who is collecting the documentation.  They needed some updated statements.  Also, had to re-do a couple of forms because of quality lost in a fax.  Nothing big.  The phone call was probably about 40-minutes long.
    • They ran our credit and we came up 1-point shy of hitting the next threshold for a better rebate point.  Our loan officer ran a credit simulator and found that if we pay off two items (a smaller student loan, and the current balance on a credit card) that they could run a rapid-rescore to recalculate our credit score.  Hopefully this works and all goes to plan, if not we have a little less debt to pay off.  We're not talking thousands of dollars.
    • Closing is on-schedule, which is good because I've got all these crazy plans for the few days before the actual move.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lot's of Updates

Back from vacation, stopped by the house on the way back.  There was a contractor doing drywall touch-ups when we came.  Lot of progress.  Carpeting and hardwood in, not much to show because it's all covered by plastic or cardboard.  In the kitchen, appliances and granite are in.  Plumbing fixtures throughout the house installed.  Anyway, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mortgage Rate Lock

Starting 60-Days from closing, you are able to lock your mortgage rate in.  We got our date about a week after drywall went up and our PM coordinated this for us.  From this point, I started getting daily emails from the loan officer with rates.  The rates provided are based on a 60-Day Lock.  Every day, I got 2-4 rates with a rebate/points associated with each rate.  Below are fake numbers and do not reflect the real market or the numbers we locked in at.  I suspect your rates will vary based on your credit situation as well as the loan type & term you chose.  Ours is based off of a Conventional 30-Year Fixed Rate.  Your rates will be impacted by your credit score.  If your credit score goes up or down, this will affect the rebate / points situation depending on how much of a swing you have.

60-Day Lock - These #'s are fiction and are here for demonstrative purposes
4.25% and -0.50% points
4.35% and 0.50% rebate
4.50% and 0.875% rebate
4.75% and 1.250% rebate
***All with 1.00% loan origination fee (one of the incentives at contract was a point off of closing, so this doesn't apply to us)

30-Day Lock
Same rates as above.
Add 0.375% Rebate

Rebate or Points is a % based on the loan amount.  If it is 'points', you need to pay the mortgage company to get this rate.  If it is a Rebate, the mortgage company will pay you that amount to take the rate.  Your goal should be to take the lowest actual rate you can afford.  If you absolutely need money at closing, you may have to take a higher rate and the higher rebate that goes along with it.  Warning:  Taking the higher rebate at closing may be nice then, but will literally cost you 10's of thousands over the course of the loan and you'll have a higher monthly payment with a higher interest rate.

If you feel rates will trend down, consider waiting until the 30-Day Lock is available as it will mean less money at closing.  If rates are trending up (or you have reason to believe they won't stay down) waiting for the 30-Day Lock could end up hurting you.  I tracked the rates since I started receiving them, it is entirely possible for the rebate/point to swing more .500% in a given day.  Waiting for the 30-Days is nice, but only do it if you believe rates will stay the same or go down.

I took a big gamble with the Debt Ceiling issue going on in the political world.  Several friends recommended I lock in ASAP because the rates would shoot up if the ceiling wasn't raised or if Moody's downgraded the U.S.'s debt rating.  Fortunately, I have a contact with very good insight in the market and all things financial.  His advice was to wait it out and if things start trending up for a few days, jump in and lock.  He told me that the driving forces for mortgage interest rates are the Treasury Note rates,  unemployment figures and the economy in general (GDP).  All of which were not going to change drastically in 30-days.  Job's numbers were the only number to go up and it was not enough to indicate the economy is doing better.

In the time I started tracking, the rates themselves rarely changed, they did decrease 2x.  The rate decreased about 0.25%.  What does fluctuate on a daily basis is the the points rebate situation.  This usually goes up or down or sometimes stays the same.  I highly recommend creating a spreadsheet for tracking these numbers to see if there is a trend and how the points / rebates affect your closing.  We received a GFE (Good faith estimate) which factored in a certain rebate amount, so I've been planning to come up with that certain amount for closing.  Depending on where the rates settle for your lock, will determine if you will need more or less money at closing.  Also note that if your credit score enters another bracket, you could get a nice little bonus there too in the form of rebate.  Vise-versa if your score goes down however.

Last thing.  Monitor your credit score throughout this time.  We had an issue with a bank that we didn't even know about until our credit score went down (drastically).  We contacted the bank, took care of the issue, raised hell for poor communication and had them remove the negative aspects from our credit report.  If we didn't get this resolved, it could have cost us literally thousands at closing.  Be a hawk on your credit report and bills throughout this time.

If anyone wants to know the exact #'s we locked in at, or would like a copy of the tracking spreadsheet I used, feel free to message or email me!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Last Update (for real this time!) Before Vacation

Wasn't planning on heading up tonight but I had dinner with a friend I offered to show him the house.  Didn't have my camera with me, so these are from the iPhone.

So this is truly the last post for about a week, unless the PM sends some pictures worth posting, TBD.

Topsoil layer added to back & most of the front.  Also rest of front porch looks like it went in today.

Excited to see the rest of the marble & fireplace trim in.  Looks great!  Looking forward to the carpet going in as well.  Think we made some good choices there.

"Standard" Ryan Home's Chandelier.  Will suffice, not worth spending those dollars with the builder.

Picture sucks, sorry. I really like the fixture they put in for our dinette. Also looks like the trim people did a lot more work, finishing the remaining window sills and the supports for the breakfast bar.


Hey all,

Probably won't be posting the rest of this week, I'll be on vacation with my wife.  If our PM sends us pictures, I may post them, he said granite should be in while we're gone!  See ya in a little while.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Driveway & Tile 2

Figured I'd take another trip up before lockout happens.  The tile work has completed.  Couldn't get floor pictures of the kitchen because all the tile is covered up.  Was able to snag an image of the tile in the powder room (Same as kitchen, mudroom).  Everything else pretty straightforward.

Owner's bath soak-in

Owner's bath Shower

Hallway / Railing from Loft


Kitchen / Mudroom / Powder Room tile.  For some reason, the flash makes it look darker, more brown than it really is.  Will look sharp in though :).

Nice view of the open floorplan.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tile Freakout!

As I was looking at the pictures of the tile in the kitchen, I started to think it didn't look right.  It looks too dark / brown.  It was really bothering me, so much so I drove 44 miles back to the house.  As point I'm convinced the wrong tile is being put it.  I find a box for the kitchen tile, and it said SD94 Dorian Grey, the correct tile.  So why does it look so brown?

Left Picture: Tile under fluorescent lighting
Right Picture: Same tile under normal light-bulb, less bright too.

Apparently, the tile looks completely different depending on the type of lighting used.  When I took the pictures earlier at the house (see post "Tile 1") the workers had a single halogen work light, on the floor as ambient light.  Combine that and the flash for fill, and the tile looked really dark and even brown.

I'm really glad I went back up to find out one way or the other what was going on.  We selected recessed lighting in the kitchen, so brightness shouldn't be an issue.  The tint of the bulbs might be.  Not sure yet.  Just glad the right tile is going in!

PS - I owe my PM an apology for the flurry of freak-out texts.

Tile 1

Hey everyone.  Went up to the house later today, when I got there, it was getting dark and the workers inside were still going strong.  After waiting for a while, I figured I would go in for pictures, and if there was too much going on, I'd head out.  The contractors there were doing tile in both full baths & the kitchen.  Only snapped a few pictures so I could get out of their way.  They were really nice, looked like they were doing nice work too!  Tile looked nice! See for yourself.

Owner's bath - Shower

Owner's  Bath - Soak in Tub (Sorry it's not the best picture, didn't want to be in the way)
LOVE the accent tile!

Hall Bath - Tub Tile & Ivy Listello (pre-grout)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cabinets & Trim 1

Ok people, I gotta catch up to you all with your trim and cabinets!  Here we go...

Kitchen cabinets bathroom vanities / mirrors installed.  Railings, Floor & Door trim around the whole house.  The marble base for the fireplace is staged.  Couple doors on the cabinets were busted, so I guess this happens often and they'll have new doors on.  Was also really nice to see the trim package we paid extra for.  I might have skipped this and done it myself, but it looks nice.  Just not sure it was worth the $216 (don't quote me, but that amount sticks out).  On the exterior, the column for the porch is in.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sidewalk & Porch

Hey e-neighbors!  Didn't plan on going up today but was in the area for something else, so I figured I would stop by.  The sidewalk & porch cement were done today.  Our neighbors are watering their lawn so our house is getting a shower.  I didn't even notice the sidewalk until walking away from the house when I realized there was something solid there that wasn't there before (yea, I'm losing it)

If you notice, there is no trim piece over the 1st floor window.  I believe this is because the piece that originally came was mangled and probably had to be thrown out.  They're probably waiting for the new piece to come.  I think I recall a piece of trim in the garage pretty beat up along with some cracked up shutters.

As far as inside the house, looks like the final touches on the  drywall were completed today.  It's nice and sanded down.  Also, for the 1st time the floors were cleaned up pretty good.  Had our update with our PM today and the schedule for this week is as follows:

(I could have these mixed up so don't hold me to it)

Monday - Drywall final sand / finish
Tuesday - Walls sprayed with Primer
Wednesday - Cabinets In
Thursday - Trim In
Friday - Tile (really?  already?)  wow