Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Obligatory Family Pic with the "Sold" Sign

It definitely took a while....from 12.26.15 to 3.31.16 to be exact. But here it finally is. The so-exciting family pic on our lot with the "Sold" sign.


The Fabs, of "The Fabs Build a Rome" Fame.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Is Death by Mortgage Paperwork a Thing?

Received an email from HomeSide (NVR) last night stating:

"Congratulations! Your loan has been conditionally approved by the underwriter. Items required to be provided by you are listed below."

Proceeded by yet another insanely long list of document requirements. Some of them are obvious and expected carryovers - for example, monthly bank statements, Homeowner's Insurance Policy, 2016 tax returns; while other requests were....a little special.

Other Ryan Home build peeps - is this the "Official" approval? Because it was very non-eventful. From reading other blogs, I thought there would be a call / letter / email....something?

Hubs has called our (4th) rep. three times already to ask important questions about moving forward, and to provide updated information (most important - the FINAL total cost from Ryan, because their numbers are based on an old total). Each time she has promised to "call him back before she leaves at 4 pm". Spoiler Alert: she has never called him back.

I'll spare you the full list, but point out a couple of the most frustrating items this go-round:

8. Copy of the final CD that is signed by you and by the seller for the sale of your current home.

No clue what this is. Our agent has no clue what this is. If the woman would call my husband back, perhaps we could get clarification so that we can provide this item.

9. Signed, dated letter from the person that shows as the joint account holder on your TD Bank accounts stating you have 100% access to those funds.

Have already sent this 2x. Nothing has changed. I just keep re-sending the same document like a crazy person.

11. Signed, dated letter to explain the following address that is noted as current within the time frame of residences listed on the application: 101 Tyler Ct. Comment if you owned or rented and approximate dates.

We rented a basement apartment from friends from 2000 - 2003, before we were even married. Why they could possibly need this information from SIXTEEN YEARS ago, I cannot begin to fathom.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

We Have a Start Date!

Start date scheduled for April 24. How did we get here!!???
I can't believe it's finally time to schedule our pre-construction meeting. I was in shock when I saw the email from our SR last night. Wasn't expecting it for another few weeks. Sent our SR over some dates/times to choose from. Our PM is apparently running 2 developments, and is in ours on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Open issues (AKA - what keeps me up at night):
1. NVR/Homeside mortgage final approval
2. Pending request for basement powder room (only rough-in and full bath were offered, but apparently the new plans allow for a powder room?)
3. Buyer's appraisal on our current house still pending - ordered as of 3.31, but not yet scheduled.

Can't quite figure out if I'm more nervous or excited that this is about to be "real".

Update: Apparently the basement powder room floorplan Hubs found online was actually OLD, rather than new. SR explained that they stopped offering it a year or so ago, since the cost difference between powder room and full bath was only $400. It didn't make sense to offer. Hubs has been speaking with a plumber friend and was told to make sure we have a vent pipe up and out the roof with the rough-in. Our question back to SR was if this pipe isn't included in the rough-in, can it be, and at what cost?

Update to the Update: vent in "the stack" is standard with basement bath rough-ins.

Stay tuned.

Monday, March 21, 2016

It Helps to Think of it as a Scavenger Hunt

We received our third? fourth? email from Homeside guessed it! More documents!
We're also on our fourth NV mortgage contact. In case you're keeping track...
1. Jonathan - initial NV mortgage meeting 
2. Sam - NV(?) loan officer
3. Bridgid - Homeside - Sam's assistant
4. Debby - Homeside - loan processor

I *think* Sam, Bridgid, and Debby do actually all work on the same team, as there seems to be interaction between them. 
I also received an automated notice this morning (3.21) that our loan has officially moved from "Processing" to "Underwriting".  Yay for progress.

Here's the scavenger hunt list of requested documents from the 3.18 email: 

1.       Copy of CD signed by seller and by you for the sale of your current home (when available).

2.       Within 30 days of closing we will need updated income and asset documents.

3.       Name and phone number for the insurance agent you will be using for the subject property (when you have finalized a policy).

4.       Copy of 2015 tax returns after 04/15/16.

5.       Signed, dated letter from Hubs stating you have 100% access to the funds in the joint bank account(s).

6.       Copy of January to February and February to March statements for your Bank account.

7.       Will need statements from present each month thru closing to verify the funds as you save them (as available).

8.       Copy of bonus check being used for close and proof it has been deposited to your bank account and that it is in available funds and not pending (when available).

9.       Copy of 401k statement showing the loan withdraw that is being used for close, copy of the check, updated statement showing balance after the withdraw and proof that it has been deposited to your bank account and is available and not pending (when available).

10.   Age of your dependent noted on the application and on tax returns (this is needed to add the correct age of the dependent to the loan application).

This is intense. I completely understand why they need all of this, but it's like a part-time job to chase all of this stuff down. I wish there was just a standard list at the beginning and we could work on it all up front. It's frustrating to think we're finished for a while, and then find out the hunt continues. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Waiting is the Hardest Part

So, here's the issue if you have a long wait time between signing your contract with Ryan and actually breaking ground.....
You have WAY too much time to think and re-think and question your structural and design choices.
If you're one of the lucky sign>pick>build people, bless you. You'll have to tell me how you handle it. Maybe the excitement of the build progress helps temper the regret and questioning?
I keep driving through our development, and the Rome-filled development 20 minutes away, reading other Ryan blogs, and end up with more and more ideas.
I have a problem. The first step is admitting it.

Since we're still making changes (yay- more DocuSign!) with the just-approved custom front stoop request, I figured I should just lay all of my other concerns out there to our insanely patient SR.

Here's what we threw at her:

  • Addition of ceiling fan rough-ins in study and family room (originally had only 1 in morning room). 
  • Addition of recessed lights in family room (4? 6? Any recommendations?)
  • Exterior selection change request - more on that below
These are in addition to the other changes we've already made post-selection deadline.
  • Add extra window in living room
  • Add trim package 3
  • Add upgraded kitchen faucet
  • Probably a couple more I can't recall right now

Exterior Selections
I was happy with my picks. I really was. Then I started stalking driving around the development. Somehow we had missed that along our street, the color range goes: 
- Irish Thistle
- Spanish Olive
- Irish Thistle (us) 

This would maybe be OK ("the green corner gang!"), except that last night I noticed that the Irish Thistle has the exact same stone and shutters that we chose. Different model and door color. 
But it's REALLY bugging me. Maybe I'm also being paranoid, but I want to make friends with our new neighbors, not piss them off by choosing their same house colors just two doors down. I would be annoyed if someone did that, so I'll make the same assumption for them. 

I emailed our SR to approve the porch change order, and asked a casual question about the exterior colors this morning. She's away, so probably won't get back to me until Monday. If she's still checking email, she'll have the whole weekend to calm down enough to not kill me. :)
Cross your fingers that it's not too late. I'll just be here....coming up with a new color scheme in case she's feeling kind.

3/29/16 update to exterior color panic: We got the OK to go to model to re-choose colors, but it had to be THAT DAY, because everything was being ordered the next morning after their weekly (?) meeting. Have I mentioned that our SR is awesome?
I was ready to change all selections - picked out Graphite Gray siding, black shutters, Marooned door, and a grey stone (can't remember name).
Then Hubs struck again.
He apparently can't live without Irish Thistle. So "the green corner gang" will be a thing. Sigh.

One nagging concern - the Ridgestone Chardonnay stone we picked looks gorgeous on the sample - but it appears to have random yellow stone mixed in on the finished houses in the development. I mean REALLY REALLY YELLOW.

Just add it to my list of crazy, paranoid worries and re-thinking.

Ridgestone Chardonnay - BAD

Ridgestone Chardonnay - GOOD

Elevation C Meldown....Resolved

Good News!
SR sent us over the custom change form with a plan to address the front porch freakout.
The proposed fix:

1. Extend front stoop from 3' to 7' - flush with garage
2. Covered porch with column (extension of garage roof line)
3. Includes 2 recessed lights

Grand total.....$3,995 - OUCH.

Cheapest solution would have been to back down to the "free" elevation B - saving $2k
Mid-range solution - add porch to elevation C for $8k(?)
Mid-range solution - upgrade to elevation D for $8k(?)
High-end solution - upgrade to elevation E for $12k

So all in all, I guess the price is reasonable to solve the problem and not spend a fortune. The recessed lights are a little bonus I'm excited about. The Hubs has come down from his spazz-out, and all is right in the world.

Pics are below - a little tricky to see, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Elevation C Meltdown

There is a Rome elevation C nearing completion next door to the model in our development. We thought it would be great to see a Rome without the model-home pimp-outs, and in our elevation for the first time. I decide we should take advantage of this, and ask our SR for a walk-through.

Hubs melts down when he sees the front "porch". We're talking almost-tantrum-like-freak-out. (Side note, we have a 3-year old, I know my tantrums).  I will say his reaction was encouraged by back pain, as he had tweaked it that morning. Says we've hit a deal-breaker.
His concerns:

  1. Thin/unattractive column positioned strangely in the middle/back of the front stoop (supporting the 2 foot bump-out of elevation C.)
  2. Virtually no coverage overhead for anyone standing at the front door
  3. Overall disappointing/cheap/unwelcoming/ unimpressive front entrance look/feel
I see his point, but not at his, we'll say "passion level."

We continue the inside tour, then go back to the model with our SR and explore pricing of other elevations vs. porch addition. Basically we spin in circles. Other elevations would blow the already blown budget. 

  1. We go back to the "free" elevation B, but then we loose the bump-out and second window in the living room. 
  2. We could add a porch to an elevation B or our C for ($8k? Price still unclear).
  3. We suck it up and upgrade our elevation to something else entirely.
  4. SR goes back to production team/office and makes another custom request for some sort of porch covering compromise. This is tricky because we're technically far past structural change deadlines, and price is $?
We're going with option #4 and crossing our fingers. I sent over a pic. of a Venice model I found that appears to have the same bump-out and has a roof extension from the garage over the front stoop. Hopefully this is a viable and affordable solution. 
Example of a standard C front entrance
(Ryan Homes Take 2)
Venice with roof extension over front stoop

Friday, March 11, 2016

Selling Current House: We're Officially Under Contract!

We received three offers on our current house, within 5 days of listing. Insanity.
Ultimately chose the offer $1k over asking with a closing date in July! If this works out, we'll only be homeless for a month or so. AMAZINGNESS.

Current concerns:
1. Accepted buyer comes with FHA loan. This means an extra-tough inspection/assessment, on top of the standard inspection and assessment.
2. The timing on the FHA inspection is not standard. Could come this week, could be in a month +, then turn-around on the report could be another long wait.
3. Appraising lower than agreed sale price.This is what keeps me up at night.
4. The FHA appraisal sticks with the house for 4 months. That means if the deal falls apart due to low appraisal or anything else, we really can't go back on the market until thisclose to closing on the new house.
5. Comps in our development are crap. We've gutted the house and updated everything. We overimproved for our neighborhood and realize that....and understand that we will see none of that money back that in this sale. However, no other units have sold that come anywhere close to the location and updates of ours. To say nothing of the new $$$ HVAC and water heater.So there really isn't anything realistically comparable. I'm just praying the assessor realizes this.

Has anyone else run into an FHA buyer, and/or an assessment lower than sale price? How did it work out for you?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Selling our Current House

This post is crazy. So, we took what felt like a million years prepping our house for listing. There wasn't that much to do, in reality, but all the small stuff adds up, particularly when the hubs works 7 days-a-week with limited free time.

Our realtor warned us to expect a quick sale (his bet - 5 days), but the hubs decided his paranoia about having two mortgages was stronger, so we pushed forward.

  • Listed on Wednesday afternoon, 3.2.16. 
  • Two showings on Friday, 3.4.16.
  • Three showings on Saturday, 3.5.16.
  • Open house with 15 (!) parties coming through on Sunday, 3.6.16.
  • 1st offer - Sunday evening ($7,000 under asking, 30 day close)
  • Two more offers expected tonight.

This would all be wonderful....except that we're not breaking ground until May. Delivery expected in AUGUST.  We are going to be homeless for months.

Ideally, we would wrangle a 90-day close. Maybe even with a rent-back?
Not entirely sure how those agreements work, but I definitely don't want to pay more than we do for our mortgage now.

We have had a few kind and wonderful friends offer us their basements/spare rooms if homelessness becomes a reality. If tonight's offers look good, I think it's time to have real conversations with a couple of those friends about the reality of those casual offers. My feeling is that both are "real", but we'll need to talk logistics, timing, rent, etc. I'm also guessing the savings offered by friend "rental" will be hugely helpful to our financial situation. Side note, thanks to whoever's blog provided the cold-hard reminder that we can't have a rental apartment run our credit, or risk mortgage approval problems!

Hubs is also investigating the option of pushing up our ground-breaking from May with our SR, should all of the mortgage stuff be squared away soon. We'll see how that conversation goes.
I also received my bonus letter last week, so we're providing documentation of my 2016 salary and 2015 bonus. Hopefully all for the good of our final approval.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Selling Current House: The listing is....coming soon.

Our realtor will be over this afternoon to take the listing photos. We've been scrambling for days to get everything ready, and there's still more to be done. Hopefully it photographs well in its current state, and we'll have time to finish all the touch-ups and deep cleaning work that didn't get finished in time.

With all of this madness, we've been slacking on the paperwork parade. We owe the underwriters several more documents, but verbal prognosis for approval "looks good". Ha.

It's more than a little terrifying to think that we will be homeless if our house sells quickly, and GOD FORBID our financing falls apart. Hope our friends with basements are ready for some long-term house-guests...

3.2.16 Update: We are LIVE and the MLS is open for business!  Fingers crossed for buyers who are dying for a 90-day close and may even be open to a rent-back. Because homelessness is never fun.
Should I tempt fate and start looking for short-term rentals in the area?