2016 has turned out to be one of the busiest years in my life. Amidst my year of dealing with graduate school, several other big moments have taken place. One, my eldest obtained her driver’s license, her first car, her first job and her first wreck. Another, just because I had applied to graduate school did not necessarily mean I would get in. So I did not put my life on hold…. and we decided it was time to move into a home that finally suited our needs, especially since Nashville is a hot real estate market at the moment. After looking at what was available on the market, and watching every home with potential disappear before you could even ask for a walk through, we chose to build a new home. In May the paperwork was signed, and the builder broke ground in August – the very week I also started classes. My boss told me I was crazy for taking on so much at once. Boy was she right! But I am not going to focus on the topic of school here. Instead, I want to share my home building experience with you. And since our new home is so close to our old home, I made it a point to visit the site every Sunday during the build phase to see its progression.
— Pre-Build —
May 29, 2016 – We took the plunge! We were very fortunate to obtain an awesome lot on a cul-de-sac at a deep discount. The best part….it backs up to trees, not houses. The way the area is laid out, we will never have to worry about another house being built behind us. We anticipate a closing date of December 15th. Apparently building doesn’t start for 12 weeks. Until then, there will be a few design appointments to pick options. Another highlight was that the sun will rise on the front door – a sign of good luck.
June 3, 2016 – We had our first design consultation to pick flooring, and tile options. This is when you start to find out that every tiny thing will ever so slowly increase the price of your home. Want to change from crappy carpet? Yes, the base carpet is exactly that. It will cost you. Want to upgrade the carpet pad? It will cost you. Want any flooring that doesn’t look cheap in your expensive house? It will cost you. We didn’t jump for every upgrade, but we still walked away somewhat happy with what we chose. My only disappointment was the carpeting. While we did upgrade the carpet from the basic, it cost a pretty penny to get truly nice carpet, so we only upgraded a level. I am sure it will be replaced again in time anyway, so I wasn’t about to sink a fortune into carpet right now.
June 6, 2016 – We had what was called an “interactive systems” appointment. At this appointment you decide where you want all your cable and/or phone outlets to go. You can also have a home security system or a central vac installed. I never knew deciding where to put a cable plug could get so complicated! We also took time this month to meet with a realtor to discuss when to plan the sale of our current home. We definitely have some time, but I still went ahead and started some cosmetic changes. A new coat of paint went up on a few walls, I started pricing replacement carpet, and I even installed new bathroom flooring myself. Not something I want to do again!
June 19, 2016 – Today we chose our external options – brick, vinyl siding, shutters and front door colors. We also confirmed our counter tops and cabinet choices. Up to this point, I went back and forth over having wood stairs with wood and iron railing vs. carpeted stairs and a wall. It seemed like an awful lot of money for this simple upgrade, but this is one upgrade that I really fell in love with in the model home, so I decided to add it. We also added a four foot master bedroom extension. I’m not sure what I will do with all that space, but I am sure I will figure it out! I really wanted to upgrade the elevation of the home so we could have a front porch, and even possibly add a back deck, but these were high dollar expenses that just were not feasible without making our home way more expensive that it needed to be. In order to have some of the interior upgrades, I had to sacrifice somewhere. So no front porch and no back deck. Maybe in the future…
— BUILDING BEGINS! —
Week 1 August 21, 2016 – There isn’t much to see just yet. The lot is cordoned off, and the house area is staked and looks nice and large. One neighbor’s house to the right of us is moving along rather quickly. No neighbor on the other side yet, and we are told that it may be a long time before someone chooses to build there since there is a rather steep hill on that lot.
Week 2 August 28, 2016 – The footers have been poured, but there is still nothing else to see. I am feeling impatient and want it this process to move along faster!
Week 3 September 5, 2016 – The foundation is down. We are on a slight hill so the crawl space on one side seems tall enough for me to walk under while standing up. With the foundation, the yard doesn’t seem as big. It also seems we have quite the incline in the back corner of the yard. This should be fun for cutting the grass.
Week 4 September 11, 2016 – The first floor is framed. You can start to identify the various rooms of the house. We started moving some of our belongings to storage in preparation for selling our current home. We also hired someone to help with the interior projects to make it ready to go on the market.
Week 5 September 18, 2016 – Not only is the second floor framed, but the house is wrapped and the windows have been installed! It actually looks like a house now! The yard is back to looking large again.
Week 6 September 25, 2016 – No changes to the outside, but the heart of the house has been installed inside (electrical and plumbing), as well as the bathtub and shower. This week we had our pre-drywall meeting to go over all the details of the things you don’t normally see. We have been told the grading of the yard will change as well (there won’t be as steep of an incline). I noticed “16 Settler’s Court” painted on the house. Must be for materials, as this is not the address we were given initially. The process is starting to get exciting, and it is now time to put our current home on the market.
Week 7 October 2, 2016 – The doors have been installed. Finishing details for plumbing and wiring have taken place. I don’t see any other discernible differences. We put our current house on the market on October 1st. On October 3 we already had an offer – at FULL PRICE!! The down side – the buyers wanted to close at the beginning of November. Our new house won’t be ready until December. I did not anticipate such as quick sale. We asked them to close at the end of November instead – on my birthday no less. They agreed. All seems to be going smoothly, but this isn’t my first sale, and I know the hassle of selling our home has only just begun. I also know we will have to find a place to live for approximately 20 days. Hello Airbnb. I found a house in our area that I could rent for that duration…and they will allow me to keep my dog with me!
Week 8 October 9, 2016 – Drywall is up and surprisingly the rooms all look bigger! I’m loving the lot we chose. It is going to be so peaceful. I hear reports that we have turkeys and deer in the yard quite often. I love it! Inspections on our current home have taken place. We are anxiously awaiting the results. Even though we are moving a good bit of our items out and into storage now, I know the final move (furniture) will be a hassle. Plus I will have to move those items out, into storage then back into the new home 20 days later. So I began pricing movers that could accomplish the final part for us.
On October 12th, we hit a bump…my daughter, Virginia, totaled her car. It would have been a relatively minor accident, but her car sat much lower than the one she hit, and because it was dark and she did not see it, she did not brake. The other car suffered minor damage. Her entire front end was demolished. By the grace of God she only had a few minor scratches and bruises. Between school, buying a house and selling a house, life will be just a little bit busier for a little while since I will have to help her get to work and school until she is able to get another car. But this is all fine by me. I’ll take any and every inconvenience as long as she is alright and still with me, for the outcome could have been much, much worse.
Week 9 October 16, 2016 – The drywall is finished. The brick has arrived, but has not been started yet. I had forgotten which brick we had selected, and seeing it on the pallets made me worry about the color. It’s funny how dusty and dirty everything is inside. Now the hard part of our sale starts. The buyers want a few unnecessary, and expensive things taken care of. We declined. They countered, wanting half of them (the most expensive ones) to take place and a drop in the price of our home. I was so mad I told our realtor no, and told him to put it back on the market. By Saturday, they agreed to our counter, asking simply for us to add a two-year home warranty to help them cover any repairs should they become necessary. That was reasonable to me, so we were back in contract. All that is left is for the appraisal. I’m praying it comes in right where we want it. Now the move crunch truly has begun.
Week 10 October 23, 2016 – The brick is half done. Seeing it on the house, it is simply beautiful! We made a great choice. I am amazed at how much is completed inside! The wood and iron stair rails have been installed. This was a feature I almost chose not to get, but I couldn’t resist. They looked so beautiful with the hardwood steps and entry way. I am so happy I chose them! The most exciting part…the kitchen cabinets have been installed! They look black in my photos, but they are espresso and have a reddish tint to them. Bathroom counters are in, as well as flooring in the bathrooms and the laundry room. Everything is moving so fast now! Time to get myself moving quickly on the rest of the storage items as well!
Week 11 October 30, 2016 – The brick is complete, the Trim is finished, the walls are being painted, and utilities are being dug outside! Is it possible this will be ready before the anticipated December 15th date? Time to decide on which mover I am going to fork over a hefty sum of money to! And now I’m worried about what to do with my valuables that I don’t want to put in storage or send with a mover. I also don’t want to leave them each day in a stranger’s house (our airbnb house). Oy! I also worry about my plants (yes there are some I’ve managed to keep alive). I suppose they will go to the airbnb house too.
Week 12 November 6, 2016 – outside the siding, flashing and eaves are complete, and almost all the shutters are up. Inside paint was touched up and the hardwood floors were installed. Even though it’s moving along, I was a little disappointed. A neighboring house that started after ours suddenly looked more completed than ours. It had its driveway, front stairs and all light fixtures installed. Even the electricity was already on! Sure it is a smaller house, which may be the reason it seems to have been finished so much quicker, but I still couldn’t help but feel we were pushed back a little because of them. But I guess in the end it doesn’t matter because we still are running on time. I noticed in this photo that the siding on the back looks beige; however, it is a light gray.
At our current home we continue moving things to storage. In three weeks, we have to be out of this home. I have moved a lot in my life so I don’t tend to get attached to houses or furniture, but during the course of this adventure, I found out that my youngest, though happy, was sad about leaving this house, because it is the only house she really remembers her whole life (she was 3 when we moved in). Along those same lines, I sold a sofa that we no longer have use for, and my eldest voiced her sadness, because we have had this sofa her whole life. It puts a new perspective on things when you hear how someone you love is attached to them.
Week 13 November 13, 2016 – Today was a disappointment. For the first time since construction started, I was not able to get in to see the inside of the house: what’s more is the driveway still has not been formed as it should have been. Outside I can see that the front door handle, doorbell and garage door have been installed, but two shutters are still missing (or at least I think they are…maybe they don’t go there?).
On November 14th, I received a phone call update…the granite counter tops were installed, and appliances went in today! I wish I could see the inside now! Electrical details (light switches, outlets, etc.) have been installed as well. The driveway will be formed and poured this week. Next week they anticipate installing carpet, touching up paint inside and working on the yard outside. Then it’s inspection time!! The original date of December 15th is still a month away, but it sounds like we may be in much sooner! I hope so anyway! I also hope the Thanksgiving holiday doesn’t slow things down down next week!
November 16, 2017 – We received an email from the settlement company, we have our final walk-through on December 9 and we close on December 14. Yes, I am disappointed that our closing date only moved up one day. I asked them if the walk-through is on the ninth, could closing possibly take place sooner. I was told that as of right now they cannot say for sure, but if it becomes a possibility they will let me know. Fingers crossed!
Week 14/15 November 26, 2016 – I stopped by the house today and was pleasantly surprised to see the yard had been graded, the trim work around the front door was complete, including the stairway out up to the front door, and we have a tree! When we went around back, a back small deck was added. Klara discovered that the back door was unlocked, so we finally got to see what had taken place on the inside! Carpet had been installed, the stairs have been stained…everything looks pretty complete except it is quite dirty. Overall it looks almost ready to be lived in. I cannot believe we have to wait 2 1/2 more weeks!
November 24th – Happy Thanksgiving! Last night I received a message from our realtor that the closing on the sale of our current home has been pushed back from November 28 to November 30. We receive some sort of lame excuse about regulations, but I’m thinking since they have had two months, this is just the case of the bank not doing their job and wanting to take a long holiday weekend for Thanksgiving.
We got back home from visiting with family for Thanksgiving, then spent all day Saturday and all day Sunday moving items into storage. Movers came on Monday, November 28, my birthday, to move furniture into storage. This took all day and it rained. Luckily the rain was light, but about the time they finished, it had gotten a heavy. Relieved that everything was done, we went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. While at dinner I received a message from our realtor stating that the buyers were doing their final walk-through on our home, this included them going into the crawlspace under the house. Now mind you it was pouring rain at this time, and this is not a waterproof crawlspace; therefore, there was some water trickling through the crawlspace. Apparently, when their realtor saw the water, she freaked out and wanted us to have a plumber come back out. Seriously?!! We were beyond pissed and said no.
November 30, 2016 – We finally closed on the sale of our home! Such a relief! We went out afterwards and purchased a refrigerator for the new home (the only appliance the builder would not provide for some odd reason). I then drove by the new home and noticed that the final shutters were installed, the front stair rails were painted, and we now had a mailbox! I also noticed the number 16 on the house – the same number originally painted on the front during construction. This was not the address I was given by sales or the mortgage company. I contacted the builder and the sales office and discovered that the address we were originally given would not be the actual address, and the 16 was correct. For some reason, the sales group had planned on one address; however, when it came to filing with the city, it had managed to change. Good thing I had not submitted any change of address documents to anyone since we are only two weeks out from our closing. I also It looks as if the only thing left for our house is for the sod to be put down. The builder contacted me and asked if we would like to complete our final walk through on the 8th instead of the 9th. Yes!! Too bad it only moved up one day…but I will take it! 🙂
Week 16 December 4 – 10, 2016 – The sod is down! The final inspection takes place this week and we had our final walk through on Thursday, December 8th. The builder was very meticulous through our walk-through. As he explained every detail about the house, he would mark small imperfections with tape so he could have his crew go back in and fix them. Some of them were so small I could not even see what it was he marked! I’m excited and so very anxious to move. Our little airbnb house has served us well, but I think we are all tired of it.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 a Closing Day – So excited that moving day has arrived. I got up early, took the kids to school, went and put the utilities for the house in our name. Then went to closing. Nine minutes prior to signing the paperwork, the mortgage company called with questions. They had to call back. We went into closing, signed all the papers, then it happened. The mortgage company pulled it due to a job change! OMG we were now homeless! I had movers coming in an hour to take our belongings out of storage. I had a refrigerator being delivered in the morning. I had utilities hooked up. I changed my driver’s license. I registered the kids for their new school. NOW WHAT?!! I broke down. I have not been his broken since I needed to go on Prozac a few years back.
I contacted our airbnb to ask if we could extended our stay. Sorry, it’s already rented, I was told. Numb I called and cancelled the movers. Called and cancelled the refrigerator delivery. Called and cancelled cable hookup. And cried.
After several calls and emails to the mortgage company, we were told that everything was being reviewed. Originally we were told it could be a month before we close again. Then a week. I pleaded. We would be HOMELESS! And wouldn’t you know Christmas is 10 days away. Merry fucking Christmas. Pardon my French.
At the close of business the final word was that if “management approves everything tomorrow, there is a 2:00 opening for closing.” Now I pray. Mother and Father God, please help us back into a smooth transition.
I went to bed at 7:30, probably out of depression. Woke up disappointed that it was only 9:30 the same day. It’s going to be a long night.
Thursday, December 15, 2016 – our originally scheduled closing day is here. As predicted, I didn’t sleep all night. I’ve gotten some of my optimism back and keep telling myself it will all work out today. I’m just feeling helpless; not sure where to go from here. My girls have been simply fabulous about everything. Their support is boosting my spirits back up. I just need this day to move along so I know what is happening.
2:00 and finally closing at. I drove to the settlement company less excited than yesterday. All through closing the attorney tried to make small talk and joke, but I wasn’t interested. I just wanted it to be over. When all was said and done, and I had the keys in my hand, I breathed a sigh of relief.
I quickly drove back to the airbnb house and loaded up some of our stuff and the girls and I drove to the house. I was finally excited. I put the key in the door and turned the lock, and it didn’t turn!! What the f@$k! We tried the backdoor. Nothing. So I contacted the builder, and he had to have someone on site come over and unlock the door. It seems they intended to change the locks for us and they gave us the keys for the new locks, but they did not actually change the lock. So they will be doing that tomorrow. Movers come tomorrow. So much happens tomorrow. But for now, I am in my house, and I plan on spending the night on the floor. It’s all good, I’m finally here!!
Prologue – December 22, 2016 – Moved everything into the house on one of the coldest days of the year. Moving in took 9.5 hours, and that does not include unpacking – and where did all this crap come from? It certainly did not seem like we had so much stuff in our last place. Delivery of our new refrigerator was delayed for a few days, so there’s no food in the house yet. The cable company won’t come out to install until after Christmas, so we do not have TV, internet or wifi yet (thank goodness I am on winter break for school!). With only three days to go until Christmas, I tried my best to get unpacked and have everything set up, but I ended up dreadfully sick and in bed for a few days. I suppose that’s my body’s way of telling me to slow down. Now I am expecting family tomorrow for Christmas and nothing is ready. Oh well….I’m still in my new house, and that is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for! ❤