Thursday, July 31, 2014

An Update on New House Construction

I’ve been bad about providing updates on the construction of the house, so you’ll get an earful with this post, and then I will do a better job with the updates.

Building a house is a long process. I honestly did not think it would take this long. And we are still only in the planning phases! A co-worker of mine built a custom home and she gave me the best advice… it’s never too early to start the process.

I talked to her back when we were just looking at land. I wanted to pick her brain about the entire process. She said she spent three years working with her builder before they even broke ground. Looks like we are on the same path!

We had always toyed with the idea of building a house large enough for my parents to move in with us, and to have more kids. I researched floorplans and found one I loved and modified. I submitted my floorplan to a couple builders with our budget. Many told us it couldn’t be done.

Original Floorplan altered to meet our needs

My package I sent to builders included everything! What paint colors I wanted, cabinet details, flooring, brick colors, etc. I learned a small fact about the amount of corners on your house adds cost. My floorplan had A LOT of corners, so I went back to the drawing board.

A little less corners, but still too many.

I revised my plan to something that was totally me. I designed my house! (The pictures I have posted are NOT our final house plans. We started from scratch on the final design.) I wouldn’t have to pay an architect for something... however, that thought became invalid. A builder we were talking closely with provided us the name of three draftsmen / home designers. I called each one of them.


The first guy just told me his price and told me to stop by his home office at my convenience. His price at $0.90 per square foot scared me away and I never met him. The second guy named a similar price, but he gave me feedback to my design without having to pay him. He was not tactful in the way he delivered his comments, and at one point I silently cried on the other end of the phone, but I listened to his criticism and made some changes. The third name on the list, was a woman. I immediately liked her and her price. She charged $0.35 per square foot and knocked it down to $0.30 if you used one of her preferred builders (which we were). She took my design and made it better! She added things I did not think about. She used my pictures of things I liked, and incorporated them. Things I didn’t even know were important for her to know, she used. I showed her the outside of a house we liked and told her I knew our floorplan was not the same at all, but if she could make it look like that in some way, I’d be happy.

Exterior we liked. House too big.

And she did! And guess what the cool part is? She does it all by hand! She does not use a program. I did not realize this until after the fact. At least the changes I asked her to make were small! But, wow! Her skill blew me away.

Getting the final prints from her did take longer than expected. She had some family issues come up and that caused a delay. But the product that she gave us was worth it. We met with her the first week of January, and didn’t get our final prints until May 30th. However, we had seen the 1st revision on February 5th and the second revision the week after. But we were anxious for the builder to get his hands on it to make us a budget quote.

Porch style we liked.

 We met with the builder on June 4th and he made mention he hoped our budget grew! We had wiggle room, but it didn’t grow. We left that meeting with a promise to get us a detailed budget we could take to the bank “soon.” Two days later, I emailed the builder to clarify his definition of “soon.” He stated it would be “at least a week or so.”   I counted down the days. My mom was placing bets on when the builder would call. I was hopeful. The builder had been so attentive with helping us stay in contact with the designer and her progress, that I knew he would be working hard to get us correct estimates.

In the middle of waiting, I contacted our HOA office. We had a problem. I was originally told that I could pick a builder not on the approved builders list for the neighborhood and get the new builder added easily. I was calling to tell the HOA who I selected as a builder and was told I could no longer pick someone not on the list. I thought I had clout; I thought my builder had clout. I contacted the builder to use his, and he was later approved to build in the neighborhood. Crisis averted. The HOA office just needed him to provide some paperwork.

Part of my mom’s bet was that I couldn’t contact the builder in order for him to meet my date I picked. And I didn’t. I just contacted him about the HOA issue to see if he had submitted his paperwork to the HOA office. He immediately called me and said he was working it and was sorry he was taking so long with the cost estimate. His office had just moved and he had no good excuse. This was June 30th. He asked if Mr. JCrew and I had any plans for the July 4th weekend. He had a few numbers to finish up and then we could meet. I said we were available all weekend. He then left it that he would call to let us know. We never received a call. I even emailed July 3rd to clarify what he meant by asking if we were staying in town and that we were still available to meet. I have still not ever heard back from that email.

I was disappointed, but quickly moved on. We had our back up builders waiting in the wings to talk to. And they were already on the approve builder’s list. Our first builder led us to our amazing designer, so if that was his role in the whole process, I am grateful.

The next builder on the list we called was able to meet with us on a Sunday. We met with him and his wife on July 13th and they have already impressed us. They were going to a home building convention two days after we met, and they were already promising to tell us if they could build our house within our budget within two days. I did have to email them to ask, but we got the green light. With a few changes we had mentioned at our meeting, they could build our house within our budget. He then gave us a realistic time frame of 3-4 weeks to generate a detailed budget we could take to our bank. Mr. Crew is getting anxious because of rates. We’re really in no hurry other than we don’t want to miss out on interest rates.

So, here we are… in the 3-4 week waiting time period. We have already had multiple accounts of communication so, we know they are working. I am considering it a birthday present. I don’t want to be anxiously waiting. I just know that I will not hear from them while I am still 31. It helps me stay mellow.

As time is passing, I am looking at more and more details and finalizing selections. As I’ve looked more into pictures the builder provided, the more I find out how much I like him. He built a showcase home in the 2010 Parade of Homes. I didn’t know it was his house until I saw pictures. I took a lot of pictures at his showcase home and put them in my package as things I wanted in the new home. I don’t know if he recognized his house or not. But to me, it’s another “God wink” that we are in the right direction.

We selected our lot in March 2013, and here we are July 2014 and still have not broken ground. There are so many things that pop up. I thought I was prepared and had planned for it all, but it is a learning process. I hope I haven’t bored you with details, but it’s where we are in the process for now.

We’ve never had a hard timeline, and for that I am grateful. Everything that is happening is happening with a purpose. The purpose may not be known, but we will see it eventually. 

1 comment:

  1. I had the same experience when I was planning to buil my house, lucky for me that I found a trusted and not very costly House Contractors in the Philippines.


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