Sunday, April 26, 2015

4/26/15 - Basement Molds and Progress!

Today my wife and I took one of our regular weekend trips and went up to IKEA in Woodbridge VA for the day to look around and pick up a few things for the new house.  Since we were basically going right by the site of our future home,  we figured we would stop by just for the heck of it and see if anything was any different.  Much to our surprise we turned down our soon to be street and discovered that they had all the molds up to pour the walls for the basement.  It was quite a shock to see how different it looked compared to 48 hours ago.  Hopefully the next time we get by there we will find even more progress.  

It's all starting to feel real now!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

4/24/15 - We've Got Footers!!

Today I managed to leave out of work for lunch a few minutes early and since I hadn't been up to check on the house in a week I figured I'd make the drive to see what was going on.   We had received an e-mail from our PM on Monday saying that the county had taken longer than expected for the building permits but that they had them and were hoping to make some progress this week.  

I pulled up to this!

It appears that the footers are in and the molds are onsite for the basement walls. Hopefully progress will continue on as planned!!!

Meanwhile we are slowing getting the house packed up and ready for the move.  It's kind of sad seeing this place so empty. 

Our kitchen currently. 

Boxes on top of boxes all waiting to go to storage. 

More to come!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

4/13/15 - We Broke Ground!

It's a little crazy to stand here and think that this big hole in the ground will give rise to our new home.  Super excited to watch it go up.  I'm sure the time will fly now.

62 days until we have to be out of our current house.  Gulp!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

4/7/15 - Pre Construction Meeting

Today was our pre-construction meeting to go over all of the details for our new house.  We met with our Project Manager, Ryan Martin at the model home in our community where we were able to sit down and go over all of the details and all of our (many) questions.

The first thing that we went over was the contact information for him and what we felt was the preferred method of contact for us.  Both my wife and I are usually pretty busy during the day, so we told him that email was probably the best way as it gives us a chance to go over it when we have a free moment as well as giving us something to look back at later if we have any questions.  Then we went over the basic layout of the house, the lot and our elevation selection.  When we first started out we had selected Elevation A, and ended up changing that along the way to Elevation B so as to not match the house on the adjacent lot.   One of the things that we wanted with the new Elevation was a covered front porch which we found out after the fact was something that they weren't doing any longer.  We were very pleased to hear from our PM that he is going to make sure we can have that as we were originally told.  This is a big relief to us as we really prefer both the look and the convenience of the porch and are happy to hear that we will be able to have it. 

Once we went over that he showed us our plot map that shows the setbacks and lot size and he explained the Resource Protection Area (RPA) that backs up to our property.  Everything was pretty straightforward there, we knew in advanced about the RPA and our only real concern was if that would affect the location of the property fence we intended to put up after closing and we were told that he would work with us to make sure it was all done properly to take advantage of all the space that we can use.  We also plan to add a deck after closing as well, so we figure we can have a contractor come in and take care of that all at once.

From there we went over the Master Selection Sheet that basically outlines everything that is going into the house.  A lot of it was information that really only applies to the builder, but it also covers our optional selections and upgrades, windows, etc.  We had a few questions about certain options and selections and even decided to take out an optional window that we had originally asked for but later decided didn't really add anything to the space.  We were pleased to see that just about everything that we had requested was included in his paperwork, minus a few last minutes changes that we had made regarding our appliance package and a few little things that he went ahead and wrote in notations to make sure it was addressed.  We still have a few "non-standard" requests that we would like to have or at least get a little more information on, and we went over that with Ryan and he told us he'd get an email out to our SR so that we could get the few remaining loose ends tied up.  

They are:

-Full sized window in finished exercise room
-Service door from garage 
-Utility sink in garage
-Tankless water heater location (currently in garage, would like moved or to switch back to tank)
-Extra exhaust fan in master bathroom
-Extra insulation around laundry room

Those are most of them anyway,  I'm sure I'm forgetting a few little things, but to be honest nothing on that list or that we spoke to him about that I can't remember are anywhere close to a "deal breaker"  they are simply extras that we enjoy having if they aren't impossible to do or expensive to do.  Once we went through all that, we talked about the lighting locations, and the outlet locations, where we wanted our fan rough-ins and so on.  All pretty typical and painless stuff lol.

When we had finished going over everything Ryan took us out and walked us down to our lot to show us the general placement of the house and the property lines and go over the timetable that would take place from here on out.  

In total the meeting took about an hour and 45 minutes and that was with my wife and I going over our very detailed list and asking him a million questions.  Ryan was very helpful and patient in going over everything and really helped to put us at ease that he was going to do his part to make sure that we were happy with our home and that all of our questions and concerns were addressed.  We continue to be extremely happy with this whole process and with all of the different people that we've felt with so far.  We are very anxious to see our home come together and very happy to have such wonderful people to assist us along the way.

Construction should start in the next few days.  Stay tuned for a million pictures as our home goes up!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

4/6/15 - Quick NVR Update

This is a pretty short update, but I just wanted to give credit where credit is due.  My wife and I got our approval from NVR underwriting this past Friday for our loan and we had a few questions regarding the wording on some of the paperwork and a few other little things.  We figured that they were nothing to be concerned about, but since this isn't something that we've been through before I wanted to reach out to our contacts at NVR for a little clarification.

I sent Tiffany an email this morning giving her the basic info on our concerns and am very pleased to say that she got back to me within the hour going over the answers I was asking about and letting me know that she had forwarded my email to Shane (our other contact at NVR) to double check that we were all on the same page and to have him get back with me to verify it all.  It wasn't 45 min later and I received an email from Shane verifying everything as well as giving me a little more information to make sure I knew exactly what was going on.  We exchanged a few emails back and forth and I let him know that my wife had something else that she wanted to go over with him as well and would he mind giving her a call when he had a free moment.  A little while later my wife gets a call from him and he takes the time to go over the entire document line by line and makes sure that she understands everything and that all her questions are answered.

Its very nice to see that there are people out there that are willing to take the time to be there for us for what I am sure are fairly common issues to them but are the type of things that keep us awake tonight worrying about.

Big thanks to NVR and to Shane Heskett, Tiffany Powers and Jennifer Robertson, you've made this a very pleasant experience so far and it is greatly appreciated by us!

Our Pre-Construction Meeting is Tomorrow!!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

4/3/15 - Approval!!!!!! SO Excited!!!


 So happy to say that we got the call from NVR today that our mortgage was approved.   We were fairly certain that we were in the clear with them, but the waiting game still lead to many sleepless nights.

I have to say that our experience so far with NVR has been very positive.   We've found both Shane Heskett and Tiffany Powers with NVR to be very helpful and easy to work with.  From our first sit down with Shane to the few items we went over with Tiffany everything has been very straightforward and easy to manage.  Buying a house is a very stressful thing, and it's nice to work with people that make the process go as smooth as it can.

We also got the call today from Ryan our project manager to set up our pre construction meeting for next week.  I couldn't help but drive by our lot to today and was super excited to see that changes are already taking place. I know from reading other blogs that once they start building it all moves very fast and I can't wait to see our home go up.

I'm meeting with Steve at Structured Cable of VA tomorrow to figure out all the low voltage wiring and am definitely looking forward to that.  Stay tuned for an update once that's all done!

4/2/15 - Structured Cable of VA

This was probably the part of the configuration and selections process that I was looking forward to the most.  My wife told me she didn't even need to go to this appointment because she wouldn't know what we were talking about anyway, so I got free reign here.

My appointment was with Steve Catindig at the location in Williamsburg.  He was incredibly helpful in taking the time to walk me through everything as well as explaining all the options and giving me a little input as well without being the least bit pushy.  We had been talking back and forth over e-mail for the last two weeks or so and since I'd been able to go over my floorpan and most of my decisions ahead of time I figured this meeting would go pretty quickly.  In the end I was there for almost two hours :)  What can I say, I like to talk and I love techie things.  I'm surprised it didn't take longer lol!

The first thing that we went through was the actual structured wiring aspect of the build.  What connections I wanted (cable/data/etc) and what rooms I wanted them in.  Our specific model includes 4 hook ups standard with anything beyond that being an option and an additional cost.  We decided that it would be best to go ahead and put in the connections we wanted ahead of time rather than trying to hack everything up later on to add to it.  We chose to do cable hookups in all the bedrooms as well as the great room, basement and the garage.  We did hardwired data connections in the great room, master bedroom, bedroom 3 (kid's room) and bedroom 4 (office) with the master connection box down in the basement.  We spend a good bit of time watching Netflix and using Apple TV so having a direct data connection is ideal at those viewing locations and having data connections on all three floors will make it easy to configure wireless routers to give us good wifi throughout the whole house.

The next thing we went over is the audio/home theater setup we wanted.  We plan to use our basement as a theater room/ primary den so I wanted to make sure I had it wired ahead of time for home theater as getting to anything in the basement once the house is finished is virtually impossible. We also wanted some sort of audio in the kitchen/morning room and provisions to add audio on the deck once it's built for entertaining.   I hadn't completely made up my mind on how I wanted to setup the surround sound in the basement as there are a lot of different options and equipment types so I relieved heavily on Steve's advice here.  He let me hear a Demo setup that they had setup there which used Klipsch in-ceiling speakers for the home theater and after just a few minutes of listening I was completely sold.  Being able to have room filling sound without having to have the floor space taken up by big cumbersome speakers is very appealing to me and after hearing the setup they have there I was convinced.  So were are having them do a complete pre-wire for in-ceiling surround sound, with us adding the speakers ourselves once we close and get settled in.

As for the audio in the kitchen and deck I went with a set of Klipsch  (better) speakers in the kitchen with Structured Cable providing the speakers and doing the install with a wall mounted volume control.   They had all three speaker options at the store for me to hear and it was absolutely worth the upgrade price to get the "better" speakers out of the good, better, best choices.   I also am having them do a prewire out to the back of the house for deck speakers with a pre-wire for a volume control by the back door, and all of this to be wired down to the basement to connect to the audio system there.

With all the exciting things picked out it was time to get to the last part of the meeting, the security system.  We currently have a fairly nice system in our house now, the we had installed about a year ago and had decided that we wanted to have a nice system in the new house as well for peace of mind.  After talking through the options we Steve I decided on the 2gig setup for all of the options and upgrade potential that it offers.  It gives us all the alarm functionality that we are looking for but also supports Z-Wave to give up the ability to add in some home automation stuff later down the road.  Not to mention it looks awesome as well!

So that's basically the last of our selections to be made on the house.  We have our pre-construction meeting this coming Tuesday and we are anxiously awaiting the ground breaking and the beautiful home to rise from that hole in the ground. Once construction starts you will all get to see lots of pictures instead of all this typing!

I also made a quick stop off at a furniture place in Williamsburg to pick up our first piece of furniture for the new house, a formal dining room set!!  I saw it at Aladdin Consignment and fell in love with it.  It comes with 8 chairs and a table with a removable leaf all done in a dark expresso finish that will look fantastic in our new dining room.  Best part is, it was a fantastic price.  Cant beat that!

More to come!!!