Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 20 - Pre-Drywall Meeting

We began this week with our Pre-Drywall Meeting - our first look INSIDE the house!  Our PM walked us through the entire house, pointing out what had been done so far, what was happening next, and where everything would be.  It was very exciting to stand inside each room of our home.  We took a LOT of pictures (we made separate page for them since this post ended up being really long already) and got a lot of good info.  Our PM was very very patient and really let us take our time picturing our family in each room.

We also ended up with an unexpected second walkthrough in the middle of the week.  We had been told when we first met with our Guardian rep (who we loved) at the beginning of the selection process that he would join us at our pre-drywall walkthrough to mark out the placements of all of the Guardian stuff (for us, just a few cable and data outlets and the security system).  We hadn't heard from him in a while, but we assumed this was still the plan.  Just to be sure, we reached out to him about a week before the pre-drywall meeting - no response.  We called the Guardian main office and had to leave a message - also no response.  We went to the pre-drywall meeting and our PM asked us if we had already figured out all of the placements with Guardian.  We said we had expected our guy that day, so he said he'd call him and figure it out - except he used a name we didn't recognize.  Turns out our guy quit, which is why we never heard back, though we're not sure why the Guardian main office didn't call us back.  Anyway, we got a call from the new guy around 3pm midweek telling us they'd be installing the Guardian stuff by Friday, so we had to come by around 8pm that night (?!?) to mark out the placement.  We found the short notice really stressful and honestly really aggravating given our schedule and young child, but he was clear that it was the only time that would really work.  (Apparently new guy has had to take over for 3 different people who've quit recently and is currently covering 3 states worth of Ryan clients.)  We showed up at our meeting - scheduled on a dark rainy night around 8pm, ready to be pretty annoyed, but the guy was so nice and so friendly (and so clearly overworked) that we couldn't really be upset.  We had a flashlight tour of the house to decide where all of the Guardian stuff would go.  We had already decided on everything but where the cable would go in the entry level fourth bedroom, and that we knew would be our hardest decision since we hadn't decided on the layout of the room and had had trouble really picturing it since there have never been any completed ones to look at anywhere near us.  While walking around we also got to see all of the progress made just in the two days since our pre-drywall meeting.  Most noticeable was some significant plumbing work, two bathtubs in place, and the third bathtub sitting in the middle of the 4th bedroom.  Once all of our decisions were made, new Guardian guy suggested we get a video of the interior and acted as the "lighting guy" using his phone as a flashlight/spotlight.  It was pretty hilarious and pretty cool.  All in all, the fun and the extra night time walkthrough were well worth the inconvenience.

When it came time for our regular weekly visit, we found we couldn't get too close because workers were actively working on our house.  The outside doesn't look too different from last week except that the weatherproofing is complete.  We could see through the windows that there was someone on a ladder inside our son's bedroom working on something, which was pretty cool.  We got an update from our PM on Friday telling us that there has really been a parade of workers in this week: plumbers, electricians, the Guardian guys, and the HVAC team.  Our PM would like to have the rough plumbing inspection at the beginning of this coming week and the final plumbing inspection about a week after that.  He also told us that plan for the upcoming week was to begin installing the shingles outside while beginning to put up the drywall inside.

One final update - we've been dealing with a lot of confusion both personally and with NVR regarding our closing date.  NVR was never contacted that we were even delayed, so we got our 60-day notice when we knew we weren't there yet.  It also meant we started receiving the daily rate-lock options but didn't actually know if we were close enough to lock yet or not.  We couldn't get anyone to commit to a date or even a range really beyond "almost definitely" not after July 15, which would have been two months after our initially scheduled closing date.  Luckily, we were able to speak with the building manager ourselves (at the advice of our underwriter) the morning of the pre-drywall meeting.  Not only was she extremely friendly and helpful, she also had a date for us!  She told us we are in the books for build completion and pre-settlement during the last week of May and closing on June 6th, but that since that is a Saturday, it would most likely actually be during the week sometime between June 1st and 5th.  She said that all of the expected June settlement families in our neighborhood would receive our official dates and official letters regarding this by the end of April.  She also told us that we were definitely safe to lock in our rates (since we were now safely actually about 60 days out and the lock agreement is for 90 days), which was very exciting news since just that day we had best rates available since we had begun tracking the daily rates.  So, we have also locked our rate, and it's a great one!  We are very excited to have crossed one more item off of the to-do list and to be one step closer to our home!  (Interestingly, at the end of our pre-drywall meeting, our PM said he didn't have an official date, but he thought we'd probably see build completion and our pre-settlement meeting during the first week of June with our closing likely being held the second week of June, and that he'd check with the building manager to be sure.  We told him we had actually just spoken with her and she had said all of that would be about a week earlier.  Either way, we are happy with the timeline since it is less of a delay than we had been warned about, and we felt good that the PM's estimate based on his work schedule was pretty close to what the main office was expecting and we'll know for sure in a few weeks anyway.

Finally, as of Monday of this coming week, we are also one week from our due date with our second child, so we've got a lot to look forward to coming very soon!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Week 19 - Shingles and Weatherproofing!

The shingles are on the roof!  Everyone building with Ryan knows this is an important step; now that the roof is complete, the work inside can begin (and weather delays should be nonexistent now).  A close up look at the front of our house shows that the preliminary wiring for our electric meter on the front of the house has been installed.  A close up look at the back of our house shows that the ductwork for the HVAC system has begun.  Also, the weatherproofing wrap has been almost completely installed, save for the middle section on the front.  All of our (exterior) doors and windows have also been installed.

One of the most interesting things we noticed on our visit today was that half of the houses in our row have chosen the 4th bedroom option for the entry level.  When we made our selections, our SR said he didn't think anyone else had chosen that yet, and because of that we've never been able to see one in person.  We thought it was interesting that so many people in our row decided to get it, including our immediate neighbors on both sides.  I guess we all think alike!  (You can tell who chose the bedroom vs. the rec room by the windows placed on that level.)

The backyard area of our row is also graded extremely high, apparently much higher than it will eventually be in order to allow the lift to travel around the unit.  That, along with all the mud from all of our recent wet weather, made it very difficult for a nine-months pregnant woman to get a good look at the back of the house.

We are also very excited that our pre-drywall meeting will take place this coming week.  It will be our first time inside the house, so we can't wait!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week 18 - We Have a Roof!

This weekend was the first time we've come and seen an active construction site.  We couldn't get too close because workers were actively tossing wood off of our roof!  Our framing is complete up to the third floor now, and, aside from the bay window and the window from the kitchen overlooking the deck, all of our windows have been installed.  Our front door has also been installed.  It seems like things are really moving quickly now after all of those weeks of delays, and we are really excited about this!  We could recognize the outline of the bedroom and bathroom on the first ("basement") floor, and we could see that the main stairs have been installed (at least between the first two floors).

We were also very happy to hear from our PM on Friday afternoon with some updates.  He told us that if the weather holds, they will put up the trusses for the roof early this coming week and shingles will follow soon after that.  The next step will apparently be the house wrap and HVAC installation and duct work.

We are still working on getting a revised settlement date, particularly because the delays may have pushed us into a time frame that will make if very hard for us both to get time off of work at the same time and because NVR still is going by our original May 15th date and says no one has notified them that it might have changed, so they've already sent us a 60-day notice and are waiting for us to lock our rate (which we may not actually be eligible to do given the possible new timeline).  Our PM is going to try to talk to the builder's main office during the upcoming week to hopefully get us a revised date.  He also told us we were probably appropriately within the 90-day lock period, but that he couldn't actually guarantee that, though if we aren't yet, he says we are definitely within a week or two of it.  So, we are obviously still in limbo on that front.

One big move forward, however, is that our PM is ready to set our Pre-Drywall meeting!  We are looking at a little over a week if the date we prefer from his options works out.  We are very excited to actually walk through our home!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Week 17 - Two Floors Framed

There has been a lot of progress this week!  Some of the units in our row have already begun their third floor framing, and other units now have doors and windows.  We could also see the fireproofing going up between the units.  Our home has the first and second floors framed, and we were able to get a good look (in person - not so much in pictures due to lighting) at the layout of the first floor bedroom (4th bedroom option for the "basement" floor, comes with a walk in closet and a full bath).  We were also excited to see the framing for the bay window.  In addition to the good view, we were happy to meet one of our neighbors who was there taking pictures of his home, too.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Week 16 - Foundation Complete

This week we finally had some good weather, and we finally have some really progress!  The foundation has been completed, and framing has begun on every other house in our row (i.e. A-C-E-G, which does not include ours).  We expect our framing to begin next week.  We also had a long talk with our PM this week to figure out what to do about our lease.  As of now, due to weather, the current build timeline has us about a month behind on build completion and closing.  So, we're now looking at a closing date closer to June 15th than May 15th.  Though not as ideal timing-wise, we are ok with this and will make it work.  Since we finally got as close as we could get to an official word on this (the PM seemed very reluctant to commit to anything, and, while we understand why and don't blame him, it is a bit frustrating), we went ahead and extended our apartment lease 1 month to accommodate the changed timeline.  Good weather is expected again this coming week, so we are excited to see even more progress next weekend!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week 15 - Snow Foundation

This week we had even more snow!  This meant yet another week of what appears to be no progress at all.  (Unless you count a newly completed foundation of snow, that is.)  We are now officially getting nervous about the delays.  When we chose our lot, one of the main factors in our decision was the closing date (since we are in a very fast-selling townhome community that is building in phases, the closing dates of each phase are pre-scheduled).  Our planned closing date coincides very nicely with the end of our apartment lease, giving us a little buffer room to get settled in our new home while saving us money by not leaving us with an overlap month of rent plus mortgage or with a lease-breaking fee.  Unfortunately, the start of the real winter weather this year coincided with our planned breaking ground week.  We've been repeatedly told that all of this sort of thing is built in to the planned building time frame, but now we are down to one week until we have to give our official notice not to renew the lease at our apartment.  We are faced with a difficult decision.  We were originally scheduled (and have repeatedly been reassured despite any possible weather issues that we remain on schedule) to close on May 15th.  However, we are now hearing from our PM that given all of the delays, closing may be pushed backed until "late May or early June."  Particularly from reading other blogs, we realize this isn't much of a delay, especially given the weather, but our lease ends June 14th, and, again, we have to give notice by this coming Friday as to whether we are renewing for any length of time or not.  We liked the "buffer month" afforded by the May 15th closing because we will also have a newborn along with our soon to be 1-year-old by that time (we are due at the end of April), so a little extra time to take care of a few things like getting blinds installed and getting everything moved in without a rush would be helpful.  We aren't sure if we can risk a possible "early June" closing given that "early" would need to be early enough to allow us to move out of our apartment on time (completely out and cleaned by June 14th).  We also aren't sure of who's information we can trust - we have also been told that our PM's estimate is really a worst-case-scenario number to be safe, and that we will likely still close on May 15th as they have been known to make up the time and as a much worse winter was actually expected when the timelines of the phases were originally scheduled.  We hope to speak to our PM and SR tomorrow to get a better idea of what to expect so that we can best make our apartment lease decision by the end of the week as we must.  Hopefully we'll have much better news to report next week!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week 14 - Snow Progress

During the past week we had very cold weather, ice, and snow.  This mix meant another week of very little progress.  Since things just started to thaw out this weekend, that is understandable.  The biggest change this week wasn't actually anything to do with our home; the biggest change is that there has been a large delivery of wood.  So, I guess at least we're all set up for whenever things are able to really get moving.  Hopefully that will be soon!  We also reached out to our PM this week since we hadn't received our expected update last week.  As we expected, it was because there was not much of anything to report due to the weather.  He again reassured us that once they can get the roof up, weather isn't really a factor anymore, so we are just hoping that that time comes soon.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week 13 - Underground Plumbing Going In

Not too much new to report this week.  When we visited the site, along with all of the snow we could see the the underground plumbing has been started.  We weren't expecting much progress because it has been very cold and snowy here lately.  We also didn't get our expected call from our PM this week, so hopefully we'll be hearing from him soon.  Hopefully we'll get some better weather this week, and hopefully there will be more to see next weekend!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Week 12 - Foundation Continues

This weekend when we visited our lot we saw that more of the foundation had been poured, including some of the back wall.  Again, our foyer is the section on the left, and our garage is the section on the right.  The build in the development that is much further along (delivery next month!) really made some neat progress, too.  Our project manager mentioned that underground plumbing would likely be done this week, but we couldn't get close enough to tell.  We can't wait to see what things look like next week!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week 11 - Foundation Begun

We have broken ground!  It was very exciting to see some actual build progress when we went to visit this weekend!  The foundation has begun to be poured and some sort of walls have begun.  The left section will be our foyer and the right section will be our garage.  We also looked at some of the other builds already in progress in our development, and they've come a long way this week!  It is neat to be able to see what is up ahead for us in the near future.