Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Finally moving in the right direction

Two weeks ago on Thursday we had our Pre-Construction Meeting.

Yep, finally.  We are finally moving forward with this house.

Well, sort of.  We still don't have a start date (no permits yet), so therefore our PM couldn't give us an end date.  But, at least we're heading towards contruction, at glacial speed. 

The meeting went well, with both us and the SR catching a few things that needed fixing on the PM's paperwork.  We had to sign yet another change order to help fix these issues (I think we're at 10 total change orders now, which I'm sure is not the worst they've seen).  And our PM was a little surprised by all our changes and upgrades - we have added about 58 recessed lights, in addition to the kitchen and finished basement packages.  In fact, we had to get an upgraded 200 amp service for the house because of all the extra lights.  Our PM said he told the electricians to "be ready," they might be spending 2 or 3 days in our house on lighting alone!  We marked out on the plans where the majority of them will go, but we will be doing a walk-through with the electricians when that time comes to finalize light placement.  I hope I don't regret having 9' ceilings when it comes time to change all those damned bulbs! 

Overall, things went very smoothly.  Looking at the topography map, I was a little surprised that we would have as much potentially usable backyard as we will (about 80' from the back of our house to the riparian deed-restricted area), since the 4' extension on our main garage pushed the house back a bit more from the road.  I say "potentially" because the usability all depends on how the final grade goes.  We're hoping they'll be able to slightly flatten out the backyard right near the house, and then allow a more steep drop further out in the yard, but that may not be possible.  I'm cautiously optimistic (that's been pretty much my motto this whole time).  I hope, if RH can't do that for us, that we can remedy it ourselves with the landscaping.  One (of only a few) downsides is that our driveway slopes down toward the house for the majority of the drive.  About 8' from the garage, it slopes in the opposite direction (as per code, to keep water away from the house), and there is a french drain at the lowest point to help clear the water away.  I'm not sure how that is going to work, especially in the winter, but it's the price we will pay for this lot.  Speaking of winter, since we are a winter build, there are certain things that they can't do for us right away (the other downsides).  Namely, put in a driveway, finish the final grade, and paint the outside trim pieces around the windows and doors.  Our "must deliver by" date for those items is June 30th.  Umm, seems a little late in the season to wait for a drive and final outside painting, but the PM says that's the date set by RH and he hopes it won't be that late.  We have to wait for the driveway and grading before we can put in a lawn/landscaping, so I hope the HOA won't gig us for that.  My husband said, "They're just gonna have to deal with it."

Our lot was staked, so we got to walk it after the meeting.  That was fun, although we said the standard: "This looks way too small!"  Of course, our SR and PM laughed and told us that everyone says that.  In fact, they both recounted stories of owners who called in a panic after the foundation was poured or framing started, telling them to stop construction because they were building the wrong house!  Hilarious!  But, after seeing our stakes I can totally believe it.  I'm hoping the stakes stay put for a while, since I'd like to go back out during the day when there's a lot more light (we were out there around 4 or 5 pm).  And, I would like to show my family, if they make it up here in time.  Of course, the PM said the stakes would stay as long as wandering neighborhood children didn't decide to use them as makeshift swords.  Hmm, I had never even thought about that - vandals already!  There isn't even any concrete or plywood to deface yet!  ;-)

I'm happy so far with the PM.  He's offered to help us out on a few things that I was stressed about, and I really appreciate that.  He's different from the gentleman we met way back in May, as that PM has gotten a promotion and now oversees a lot more projects.  Seems to be par for the course, according to this blogosphere.  I just hope we don't have a drastic change at some critical point in this building process.  I guess if it happens, it happens.  Most of everyone else on these blogs has dealt with that as well, without too much trouble.  Our PM also gave us his cell phone number (Yay!) but we can only call during the business hours of 7:30am - 4:00pm (Boo!).  It's totally understandable to have it like that, but honestly it's a foreign concept to a person whose job requires semi-regular home call, and who's married to a self-employed IT consultant who gets called regularly on weekends, holidays, and during "vacations."  (That's in quotes because when you own your own business, there's no such thing as a vacation.)  I'm rather jealous of "business hour" lifestyles.

Finally, to end, here's a pic of our awesome orange stakes.  My favorite thing so far is the tiny tree in the backyard.  Luckily, it's in the deed-restricted area, so our PM said it would likely stay and not be disturbed.  We will be able to see that little tree from most views from the back of the house.  Yay!

Our yard with stakes - I think I'm facing into the mouth of the two car garage.


  1. I know you will be so happy once those permits come through! The waiting is so agonizing; however, at least they were willing to have the pre construction meeting.

    We had to wait before we could move forward. We did the same thing--put lights everywhere I could think of which will also take 2-3 days for wiring. Our PM has everything laid out for our meeting tomorrow. I plan to do the same thing with my choices drawn out on the floor plan since the revisions are not reflected on his sheet.


    1. Thanks!

      I think it's a good idea to put lights everywhere - so much easier to do it now before the drywall goes up than later after everything's hidden. But, I also just really like recessed lights! It does make me a bit nervous that not all our changes are marked on the PM's plans, but as long as someone remembers them... :)

  2. Looks like they do your pre-construction meetings early. We had to wait until permits and everything were in and then we ended up breaking ground the day after our pre-construction meeting.

    Wow... your house is going to light up the whole block with all of those lights! =)

    1. We were told that they sometimes do the pre-construction meetings before the permits are in hand so that they can immediately get started whenever the permits do show up. I don't know if it's a common occurrence, or just occasional.

      And I don't really want to think about our future electric bill!

  3. WOW! 58 recessed lights! I thought we were bad at 30 recessed lights plus kitchen and basement recessed lighting packages. Your house will look great with all that lighting.

  4. What happened with the appraisal? Did you get one that passed, or does it still not quite happen yet? I noticed in our contract there's a clause that says if the appraisal doesn't go through the buyer has to make up the difference in cash, and when I protested there was quite a discussion, though they claim the appraisals aren't really at risk where we are

    1. So, what happened was the appraisal came back at the exact number that we were quoted a month before said appraisal was actually completed. Somewhat suspicious, but fine, whatever. Makes no difference anyway since that appraisal has either already expired (over 120 days) or will expire WAY before we close. Great. So, now we will require a new appraisal before closing. Double great, since that'll be in February/March (right after the slowest housing season of the year) and most of the comps we used for this appraisal will be out of date (greater than 6 months since they sold). So...we will see what happens then. We will NOT be making up the difference if the new appraisal is less - which will be a huge headache/fight/situation with RH that I don't want to think about right now. In other words, all of my current excitement about the house may turn to seriously sour grapes at closing. Especially if we're homeless. Stay tuned!