Keith and Kinsey's Real Estate Update

Home Build – Week 3
April 21, 2012, 2:19 pm
Filed under: Home Build | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This week in the home build, the foundation was back-filled, and the underground plumbing was installed. I climbed down into the basement to take a peak at things today. I was a little puzzled when I couldn’t find any interior drain tile around the footings. Then I found a cut section of the footing forms, and realized that the footing forms, actually are drain tile as well. It’s an interesting product called Form-A-Drain that I think should work well. I took lots of pictures of the underground plumbing, just in case we ever need to tie into anything when remodeling or finishing the basement down the road. In any case, the steel beam was delivered to the site. I think that means framing will start this coming week. We are looking forward to seeing this house come together.

Back-filled Basement

Back-filled garage

Underground Plumbing

99 days and counting!


Home Build – Week 2

It was pretty exciting early this week with the home build. The foundation was completed and a temporary electrical service was installed. After the forms came off the foundation though, there was no action the rest of the week. The foundation needs several days of curing to solidify enough to back-fill against it.The back-filling will happen this coming week, and we should see framing starting soon.

We had a meeting with the builder on Wednesday primary for getting some buyer clients of ours rolling with their construction through the same builder. However, the builder mentioned he had the framers lined up for our house, and he was ordering doors and windows soon. Which reminds me… we still need to pick a front door!

Foundation Forms

Completed Foundation

Completed Foundation

Temporary Electrical Service

14 days in and it’s moving right along! 106 days to go!

Home Build – Week 1

The build has begun. This week, we closed on our lot, the builder scraped it, leveled it out, surveyed, dug for the basement and footings, and poured footings.

Day 1 - Kinsey gets the first dig.

Day 3 - Lot scraped, surveyed, and marked.


Completed Dig

Pouring Footings

Completed Footings

By the end of next week, hopefully we’ll have a full foundation. Stay tuned.

Home Build – The Rock
March 29, 2012, 7:06 am
Filed under: Home Build | Tags: , , , , ,

In our last home build blog, we talked about signing the building contract, and picking out some more finishes. Since then we’ve lined up insurance, had an appraisal, and finalized the construction loan. Of course, we are still trying to plan out the little details in the house, too.
With everything lined up and ready to go, we can now close on the lot and start building. We’ve got a closing scheduled for this coming Monday, and the builder is just waiting for the go head. There’s even a backhoe sitting on our lot already. The builder tells us he will be scraping dirt on Tuesday, surveying on Wednesday, digging on Thursday, and starting on footings by Friday.

The big talk in the neighborhood has been “The Rock”. Our lot had a huge rock sitting on it that the developer had just left there years ago. We talked about the possibility of keeping it because it seemed like a fun thing for kids to climb on down the road. Although, this rock took up a good chunk of yard space, and it would be nearly impossible to move out between houses later. The developer planned to get rid of it, so we told him to go head. In any case, we came to find out that the rock was kind of a congregating place for the neighborhood kids. We have several friends that live in the neighborhood and have already met a few neighbors. It seems like every time we talk to someone in the neighborhood they ask “what are you going to do with the rock?”  We kind of feel bad getting rid of a neighborhood landmark, and wondered if it could be moved to the nearby park. However, it turns out the developer has already started to smash it up in order to move it out. Hopefully the neighborhood kids will forgive us.

We are excited to get this property closed and get the construction started!

Home Build – Bids, Finishes, and Contract

Well NOW it’s official, we are building a house. Today we signed the building contract; this means our contingency for purchasing the lot is satisfied and we can move forward! (Wife Comment: YAY!)

Yesterday, we took the day off and visited Nonn’s  Designer Showplace for a second time. Last time we selected counter tops and cabinets. This time we were looking to nail down flooring, trim, doors, and exterior finishes. There were many of choices that we never even thought of; window color, trim shape, shake colors, etc. Tamara Nonn was amazingly helpful selecting colors and materials. Based on the other finishes we had chosen and with Tamara’s opinion, we actually decided to back track and change one of the countertops. At this point, you’ll have to wait and see what we chose!

After that we grabbed a bite to eat (Sofra in Middleton – check it out!) and headed to the builder’s office. Dave at Trademark Homes walked us through the specifications, contract, and pricing. His pricing was all based on the finishes we selected and bids from his sub-contractors (exteriors, electrical, plumbing, framing, etc). We ended up $3,000 over our maximum planned budget. This pricing was a little conservative, considering we selected countertops that where a hair less than budgeted. We also thought we could spend a little less on light fixtures since Kinsey’s step dad, with Isthmus Electric, would get his discount. We thought we maybe had $1000 worth of adjustment in there.

We were still $2000 over our max budget and this number didn’t factor in our washer and dryer, which we figured $1000 more for. So, we started talking about all the things we had added, and what we could cut out. We went through every option to cut cost. It was $200 here, $400 there, and it took deleting 5 or 6 features to hit our target. It didn’t seem worth it to sacrifice what we want in a house (the whole reason we are building) for a couple thousand dollars. The items we considered cutting (garage windows, soft close drawers, 3 panel doors, fireplace, tray ceiling, taller basement, basement window etc.), would have cost far more to add later. We negotiated pricing with the builder a bit more and ended up with a decision. We agreed to $1000 over our max for the house and appliances. This included everything we wanted. Although, I think we added in more than we planned on when we originally started. I hate spending more than planned, but $1000 extra is a small price to pay for everything we want in a neighborhood we love. …and it’s still about $10,000 less than comparable homes in the neighborhood.

The next steps… appraisal, insurance, lot closing, and start digging.

We are very excited to get things rolling! A happy wife equals a happy life right? 😉

Home Build – The Finishes

This week we started selecting the finishes for our new home. We met with an interior designer Thursday who gave us our options for cabinetry and countertops. I knew this would be challenging, but I didn’t realize how challenging. There was a huge amount of options including; door styles, cabinet types, colors, full extension drawers, soft close drawers, counter top finishes, counter top edges, and on and on and on.

First we looked at the builder’s cabinet plans. We pretty much stuck with what he had thought out, except we changed a 4 drawer cabinet next to the stove to a 3 drawer cabinet. We also wanted the option of the fully extending drawers with a soft close. However, this will be one of the first things to go if pricing comes back too high.

Then we chose cabinetry door style. This one was easy since Kinsey and I both chose the same Lexington style doors. However, the color was dependent on what we could come up with for countertops. Here the challenge began… We are sticking to relatively inexpensive laminate countertops, but going with a higher grade option that looks similar to granite. There were a million choices, but we couldn’t nail one down, which meant we couldn’t nail down a cabinet color either. I was almost thankful when the designer told us she had another appointment, as we had reached the point of decision overload.

We slept on things a few days, looked at a bunch of color combinations online, and made a second attempt and choosing countertops and cabinet colors yesterday (Kinsey even called on the advice of her mother, this is rare). I think we’ve got it nailed down with a fairly light Nutmeg color kitchen cabinet and a dark Corbeau Montana countertop. The kitchen island will be a bit different, but we are saving that for a surprise. For the bathrooms, we went with a basic one piece cultured marble counter top on a darker colored cabinet. We debated laminate countertops in the bathrooms too, for more of a color choice. Although, we thought the one piece sink would be much nicer. We also think we have flooring selected, but we need to wait to meet with the flooring and trim designer next week. Hopefully she will help us finalize the choices, rather than tell us we are crazy and need to start over.

Lastly, we met with Kinsey’s step dad, the electrician, about lighting and power layout. We talked about where to locate lights and extra outlets. We decided we’ll put 220v power to a junction box in the garage, so I can have power for an air compressor or welder in the future. We also talked about the possibility of running some flexible conduit to mount A/V equipment remotely (maybe even in the basement). If anyone has any expertise on this, please share your input.

The next step will be to finalize the flooring and trim. Then our builder will be able to finalize bids. At that point, we’ll know if we’ve lost our minds or if we are still within our budget.

Home Build – The Plans

In my last post about building our home, I talked about making modifications to the builder’s plans. Since then, we have received a revised set of plans and made a few more changes. Kinsey & I are to the point where most of the changes being made are very minor. We added two windows to the garage, shifted a few doors and adjusted a wall. Now, I think we’ve got a good set of plans that meets all of our wants and needs.

At this point, the builder will send out the plans to get bids from sub-contractors.  We have given him the name of a few contractors from our preferred provider list who we would like to bid the job. These are contractors who we have had good experiences with in the past or who our colleagues, clients, and friends have highly recommended.  Of course, multiple sub-contractors will be bidding the work, and hopefully our preferred people will be competitive. We will almost certainly use Kinsey’s stepdad at Isthmus Electric as an electrician. We can only hope at this point that pricing comes in within our budget range. If not, we’ll be looking for ways to cut costs.

The next thing we’ll be working on is meeting with the cabinet and flooring suppliers to start picking out some finishes. This will be a challenge, as I know we’ll be tempted to get a few upgrades. Although, we are trying hard not to nickle and dime this out of reality. So, we have asked the builder to give the supplier a budget and limit us to options within our range. Pray for me that Kinsey doesn’t break the bank. 😉