Sunday, January 25, 2015

Week 9 - Preparing to Break Ground

Not much new to report this week, we're just waiting for ground to break!  We went for a drive to see our lot this weekend (even though we know nothing is scheduled to happen until next week).  It was a neat surprise to see some construction equipment parked on our lot, even if just to see something different and to get even more excited about what is to come!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week 8 - Pre-Construction Meeting

On Monday we had our pre-construction meeting.  It was nice to meet our project manager; he was friendly and informative.  We went through the blueprints and initialed a lot of stuff.  It is a shame that you can't get a copy of those, just for the novelty factor, but apparently at some point someone had a copy and gave it to another builder to build outside of Ryan Homes so now you can only get a quick peek at the pre-construction meeting!

Our build is still on schedule as to what we were told when we first chose our lot; our house should be ready for closing mid-May, and ground will be broken the week after next barring any major weather issues.  Our project manager assured us that possible weather delays are built into the schedule, so while they technically have a ton of leeway with the completion time, they expect to remain on schedule, especially since our community has many other builds to go following ours.  He also told us that we can expect biweekly updates from him, usually on Fridays, and that we are free to contact him with any questions or if we want to see the house up close (absolutely no visiting unsupervised in our community for liability reasons).

We also took a look at our lot again today - everything has been cleared and readied for ground breaking!  We are looking forward to following the progress over the next couple of months.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Week 7 - NVR Approval

This week we got a call (followed by a package of paperwork) alerting us to our official NVR approval (though it isn't really that official - since we don't close for several months, I'm pretty sure we have to go through the entire process again closer to the end).  We also were able to speak to our underwriter for the first time, and we are very pleased with him!  It has been frustrating to continue to have little to no communication or response from our loan officer so far, though he was very friendly and helpful the one time we were able to speak with him.  The underwriter has also been very friendly and helpful, but with the added bonus of prompt responses, which we value greatly!

We will continue to gather the paperwork we anticipate needing closer to closing, and we hope to avoid some of the delays and annoyances others have mentioned by getting in as much as we can as early as we can.

We also finally were able to finalize our backsplash and bathroom listello choices.  We are very happy to have finally found what we know we are sure we want and to have just about all of the other paperwork finalized now that we can finish up all change orders.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Week 6 - NVR Initial Info

We finally received our "overnighted" package from NVR on Monday (we had been told it was sent last Wednesday, but the package clearly showed it was sent on Friday for the next business day).  There was a ton of paperwork to go over.  We scheduled a phone meeting with our NVR guy for that Monday evening to go through it all together, but he never called.  We let our sales rep know, and then we heard from our NVR guy first thing the next morning.  He was very apologetic and rescheduled a phone meeting with us for Friday.  We spent a lot of the week researching what everything in the mortgage paperwork meant since this is our first mortgage.  When we finally did talk to him on Friday, we found him to be very friendly, helpful, and straightforward, and, as we have been a little leary given the almost nonexistent communication, we were pleasantly surprised.  The good faith estimate from NVR is pretty good; the rate is great, but the closing costs are a lot higher than we were expecting, largely due to living in a high tax area and the very high NVR administrative costs.

Prior to finding our Strauss, we had been pre-approved by a small bank recommended by our realtor.  The small bank greatly impressed us; we were able to speak directly to the VP who personally handled all of our information, was very communicative and prompt with information, and was immensely helpful with explaining our likely options to us.  When we surprisingly found the Strauss, we were offered the common incentive of $12,000 for a finished basement if we went with NVR.  We shared this information with our realtor, who was pretty sure the small bank wouldn't be able to beat that (since not using NVR would mean a $12,000 higher purchase price), but she asked if she could share the information with the VP anyway.  Surprisingly, we heard from her the next day with the message that the VP would like to try to beat the $12,000 incentive.  We had a phone meeting with him after our meeting with our NVR guy, and he sent us his good faith estimate with a great rate that did actually end up beating NVR's offer slightly, even with the additional $12,000 tacked on to the purchase price.  We were pleasantly surprised.  Our sales rep said that NVR works very smoothly with Ryan Homes, and that despite our initial disappointment in our NVR loan officer's communication, he was really one of the best and it was just a crazy time.  He also told us that NVR would probably fight to keep us since our credit is excellent, so we will contact them tomorrow to make them aware of the offer from the small bank to see if they can at least meet it.

Since there is so much time before we close, nothing mortgage-wise is actually final yet, so we still have a long time wait to see what the actual rates and costs end up being.