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Old 09-17-2003, 06:32 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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Thinking of building a house? Here's my experiences... (very long)

For anyone who cares or is interested in the point of view of a buyer of a new home, I figured I'd post a copy of the journal I'm keeping. Reading over it myself, I'm reminded of everything we've gone through already. But I'm also realizing living it day-to-day is much more complex than the journal entries suggest. You don't get any sense at all for the emotions involved in a process like this. Anyway, without further ado, here you go... my experiences with building my house:


Prelude


In the weeks of May and June of 2003, we decided we’d had enough of the house on Line Street as it was, and wanted to begin the remodeling project we’d been talking about for years. It was decided that our best bet was to go to a bank and get a home equity loan. Unfortunately, a re-finance wasn’t possible due to the amount we’d need for the remodel, and what we had for equity.

We soon discovered that what we wanted to accomplish would cost us $30,000-50,000. We also found out that an improvement of that magnitude would have little to no return on our investment. The house and that neighborhood just would not support it. While Tina still wanted to proceed, I was against spending that much money on a house that would always have “problems” such as the basement, location and layout of the floor plan.

We began looking at building a new house but building lots were practically non-existent. The builders were scooping them up even before they went to market. The only lots left for us mortal buyers were those that were undesirable. Houses in new developments were much too expensive. At this time, we were looking to spend a maximum of $250,000 on a new house. We wound up looking at existing houses instead, knowing we just couldn’t afford new.

After looking at and driving by many houses, and going to quite a few open houses, we found that there wasn’t much out there that we liked better than what we already had in a price we could afford. It truly seemed that building a new house got you more house for the money. After some re-evaluation of our finances, we deiced to give new construction another shot. Our new price goal was $300,000. There was only one development, Plumbtree Meadows, which met our price criteria. There was a house to be built listed for $290,000.


Making The Decision


By the end of June, we were pretty sure we wanted the house in Plumbtree Meadows. The price was low because it was one of the smaller, corner lots and the house was only 1800 square feet… but that was fine with us as we were actually looking to downsize from our 2000 square foot house. We had a couple meetings with the realtor and builder and asked many questions about what was included in that price, and other specifics. We went to banks to determine if we could afford that house, and to get our pre-qualification letters.

In the end, we decided on the traditional colonial style house plan they offered us, and wanted several upgrades that would push the price of the house to somewhere near $300,000-310,000. But we were told that there could be no clause that would allow the purchase to be dependant upon the sale of our house. This would mean if we wanted to be “safe”, we’d need to sell the house up front and live in temporary housing while the house was built. The estimated time for completion of the house was January 2004.

On July 4th, Gail Butler, the development’s listing agent came to our house to discuss more details of the new house, and on selling our existing house. By the end of the meeting, we had decided to sell our house and go for the new house on lot 11 in Plumbtree Meadows. Before she left, there was a “For Sale” sign in front of the Line Street house. The process has begun.


Building Our New Home


What follows is a date-by-date account for the construction and related issues of our house. There may not be daily updates, as I’m only updating the journal when an event of significance occurs.

Sunday, July 13, 2003 – In the week since listing the house, quite a bit has happened. We started with an asking price of $197,500 and had only one showing in the first few days after the 4th. After discussing the price with Gail, we were informed that the price was a bit too high, so we adjusted the price down to $187,500. This generated several showings almost immediately, one of which promised an offer. Also during this time, we were going mad making last minute updates and fixes to the house. Painting, cleaning, and landscaping our asses off! Gail scheduled an open house for today, but the offer we were promised finally came in. After a few phone calls back and forth, an acceptable offer was taken.

The offer we took was for $184,500 and the buyers would get the kitchen appliances and some of the curtains. We still had the open house, and took a backup offer as well. The weeks following were spent with the selling process… the inspection, making arrangements to move, finding an apartment, etc. None of this was fun, particularly the issues with the buyer’s inspection and the old termite damage.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003 – With another meeting with the builder and realtor prior to today, as well as several phone calls, we had hammered out most of the details on the new house. After work we went to the realty office to sign the paperwork for the purchase of the new house and to hand over the deposit check. We learned at this meeting that Bill Kopatz, the builder, had already begun the process with the town for building the house. In fact, today or yesterday the town had come and staked the lot for the placement of our house.

Thursday, August 7, 2003 – I went to the lot to take pictures of the development, our lot and the area around where our new house was to be built. Right now, all that can be seen of our house are 4 wooden stakes with orange markings. Other houses in the development are in various stages of completion. There are still several lots available.

After work, we went to the kitchen center in West Springfield to work on the basic design of the kitchen. We followed the design pretty much as the plans call for, with a change in where the stove is located, and we added an island. We also picked out our cabinets. We will return after the framing is done and they have a chance to measure things to do the final layout.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003 – The excavators arrived to dig the hole for the foundation. I went to the lot at lunchtime to see if anything was happening, and was quite happy to see them working. Tina and I had discussed moving the fireplace from the center of the north wall to the rear of the north wall. Bill just happened to be there, and when I told him of our decision, he asked the excavators to dig accordingly. Whew! Just caught that one in time! There was a heavy downpour later in the afternoon that filled the hole with water! Who needs a house when you have an in-ground swimming pool?

Friday, August 15, 2003 – The foundation company had a truck drop off some of the short forms to the site. These look like they will be used for the garage section of the foundation. Hopefully this means we’ll have a foundation soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2003 – The foundation crew arrived sometime during the weekend and set up the forms for the footings. The pasture across the street is also showing signs of change. Heavy equipment has been in there ripping up any brush and what looks like an old structure. Still not quite sure what they are doing over there, though we’ve been told it will be used as a horse pasture.

Monday, August 18, 2003 – The concrete trucks arrived early in the morning to fill the footings. Between the first truck leaving and the second truck arriving, I spoke with one of the foundation crew guys. He told me that the footings would be done today and the foundation would be formed and poured tomorrow. The utility company also has several trucks working on the pole directly in front of our lot. They will be replacing the pole by the looks of things. Another crew is on the street preparing the side of the road for the sidewalk.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003 – The foundation crew was back again early in the morning. The truck’s crane was lowering the forms into the hole so the foundation walls could be formed up. Later in the day, the concrete trucks arrived again and the foundation walls were poured. The outline of the house is beginning to take shape now. You can see the area for the porch, garage and chimney. The phone pole in front of the lot has been replaced, and some lines have been moved off the old pole. More work has been done to the sidewalks. By the end of the day, the concrete was curing within the forms, which should be removed tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003 – Once again, the foundation crew is back early in the morning to strip off the forms. There are signs of someone’s “liquid lunch” near our foundation. Tina and I just thought that was pretty funny. I took some more pictures of the general progress of the development, and have noticed more work on he pasture across the street.

Thursday, August 21, 2003 – I received a call from Gail mid-morning to answer some of my questions regarding the closing of the Line Street house and on the new house. She told me the guys were applying the tar sealant to the sides of the foundation walls. Of course I ran over to take pictures. Another guy was knocking the concrete “nubs” and metal studs off our foundation walls.

We went to the attorney’s office after work to sign the papers on the sale of the old house. As of mid-day tomorrow, the house will no longer be ours.

Friday, August 22, 2003 – I had to take one last trip to the old house to get a couple items out of the garage. The closing of the sale is today, and this will be my last trip to the house on Line Street. On the way over, I swung by the lot again to see if there was any new progress. What I found was a couple guys in a trench installing the water and sewer lines to the house. Speaking with one of them, I learned that they planned to complete installing the lines, and then backfill the foundation. So, by the end of the day we should be ready for framing!

Later in the day, I returned to find they were still working on the sewer line. Bill arrived while I was taking pictures, and he told me that the schedule was to have the sewer line inspected on Monday, and framing to begin on Tuesday. By the end of the day, the sewer line appeared to be ready for inspection, and the crew was backfilling the rest of the foundation with a small bulldozer.

Monday, August 25, 2003 – I called the town today to ask about drain tile in the foundation. The inspector told me that it would be required for our lot. Hopefully it won’t cost too much, as we only have a limited credit left before having to pay out of pocket for upgrades. He also told me that he inspected our foundation on Friday.

When I went to the lot at lunch, I found the excavation crew working on installing the drain tile. Meanwhile, the plumbing inspector was there approving the sewer line, and the plumbing crew was installing the last pipe from the sewer hookup through the foundation wall and into the house. One of the excavation guys was telling me everything would be done and backfilled by the end of the day so that framing could begin as scheduled tomorrow.

My last trip of the day to the lot was after work with Tina. When we got there, the crew was backfilling the foundation. Everything looks ready to go. Bill was just leaving the development and stopped to chat for a moment or two. He mentioned something about the framing being scheduled for Thursday. Don’t know if he misspoke earlier about Tuesday, or if things got delayed a couple days. Well, here’s hoping for something happening tomorrow. Oh, and the pasture across the way is once again taking on a new look.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003 – Nothing has happened to our house today or yesterday. I guess I didn’t mishear when Bill said framing would start Thursday instead of Tuesday. With luck, I’ll see some signs of work on my morning visit tomorrow. However, there has been continued work on the development in general. The other houses are showing signs of progress, and the sidewalks on Plumbtree Way are now mostly in. I don’t know when they’ll do the sidewalks on North West Street, but I would think sooner than later. Here’s to progress tomorrow!

Thursday, August 28, 2003 – I went to the lot first thing this morning, and was quite disappointed to see noting happening. The concrete crew was in the development and it looked like they were going to work on lot 12. When I went back at lunchtime, I found a bit more activity, but still nothing framed on our house. A load of lumber had been delivered for the first floor decking, but it was just sitting there with nobody to use it. However, I was surprised to see that we had a garage floor! Seems the concrete crew had done lot 12’s porch and garage, and ours as well. At the moment, they were preparing to do more sidewalks. Bill was there, driving a bucket loader, and quite upset about the sidewalks. Apparently the town was giving him grief on them.

Bill came over to talk to me, and asked again for our phone numbers. He told me he would call soon to discuss some of the open questions. He also asked about the family room wall with the French doors… regarding the placement of the wall since framing was about to begin. I went to the apartment to eat, then back to the lot with another copy of our plan showing the French doors and wall. Returning after work with Tina, we found that more lumber was delivered, supposedly for the first floor, and that only the sill plates and main beam were up. Guess the decking will be done tomorrow as well as the first floor framing.

Friday, August 29, 2003 – Hoping to arrive and see the crew working away on our house first thing in the morning, I was once again disappointed to see nothing happening. In addition to that, I noticed that lot 13 was being sided… and the siding color looked very much like Colonial Yellow… the color we chose for ours! After speaking with the siding crew, they confirmed with me that the color was indeed the same as ours. To say I was upset would be an understatement. At least the first of the framing crew guys was arriving. I guess they’d get something done today after all.

I returned again at lunch time, and once more mid afternoon to see the crew working away on the decking and the walls for the first floor. At this point, the walls were still lying on the deck being assembled. My last trip to the lot was after work, where I saw the first floor was framed. Lot 13 had enough yellow siding to get an idea of what ours would look like… if we still go with yellow, that is. I walked up and met the lot 13 neighbors, and found that they are great people. I mentioned to them the yellow dilemma, and they didn’t seem too concerned. Bill came over and asked that I sit with him for a moment. He wanted to go over the list of questions we had, as he had answers for several of them. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a copy, or have the means to write the answers down at that moment.

Saturday, August 30, 2003 – Tina and I went to the lot mid-morning to see if anything was going on. Sure enough, there was! A small crew was working on the framing once again. Looks like they may start on the second floor today! Bill was on site again, and took a few minutes to go over that list of questions again. This time I had the means to write down the answers. He also let us into lot 2 and showed us the finish work we could expect on our house. He instructed me to speak with the electricians who were working on lot 13 in regards to the network cabling I wanted installed in the house.

The electrician was a nice guy, and had no problem with the networking request. In fact, he said that if I provided the cable, he’d install it at no additional charge for the drops I wanted in lieu of the standard coax and telephone cables. When we returned later in the afternoon, we found that the crew had braced all the first floor walls in preparation of the second floor, and put up the temporary staircase. The utility company also installed street lights on the road. And lastly, the pasture across the road now shows no more signs of the old structure that was there, and has been bulldozed pretty flat.

Monday, August 31, 2003 – Bill had said the framers would work today, but the morning started off with light rain. By mid-morning, things were drying up though, but nobody did anything all day. Oh well, enjoy the holiday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2003 – Well, I had hoped that we could get back on track today, but the rain seems to have other ideas. Even though things were drying up by mid morning, once again no work is done.

Wednesday, September 2, 2003 – Well, the weather cleared enough for some work to take place. I got to the lot first thing in the morning and sat there until I was sure the framers were coming. At lunchtime, they had built the second floor deck and were working on the end gable walls that were still lying down. After work when Tina and I arrived, they were gone, but we now had a second floor shell. The roof and interior walls are still missing, but we’re getting there. Lots 7 and 8 got their driveways installed today.

Thursday, September 04, 2003 – This morning started off with more rain. It cleared by mid morning again, and I fully expected a repeat of Tuesday. But when I went at lunch time, I was pleased to see the crew working away. They were installing the garage rafters. Bill was there with Rick from his lumber supplier. They asked me about which front door we wanted, which was good because lot 12 chose the same door and sidelight as us. I also had a moment to ask about the trim work and a few other questions. After work Tina and I found that the second floor was framed, and other finish framing was completed as well on the first. I’ve been told to expect framing to be complete within the next few days… and the weather looks like it will cooperate now.

Friday, September 5, 2003 – Once more, the framing crew arrived at the house at around 7 AM. There was still a bit of work to do, but by the time Tina and I visited the lot after work, the framing was done! They got the roof on, as well as the porch and finished up all the little bits of framing that make dry-walling possible. We did notice a creak in the floor in the upstairs hallway between the second and third bedrooms. We’ll have to tell Bill about that.

Monday, September 08, 2003 – After work today, Tina and I went over to the plumbers in Agawam to pick out our faucets and fixtures. It turns out that we want to upgrade everything, and took the book home with us to make our choices. I’ll call in the morning with our decisions.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003 – Today seemed to be a day of preparation. By the time we got to the lot after work, the kitchen floor had been marked with our rough kitchen cabinet layout, gravel was placed for the patio and the rear garage door step, and the mason had dropped off some equipment and supplies. This is all a good sign that a bit of work will be done this week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003 – First thing this morning, there was no sign of work. A return trip at lunchtime revealed the masonry crew working on the fireplace and chimney. They were completing the firebox and lower portion of the chimney as I watched. They were friendly and chatted while they worked. They asked me what the shape of the chimney should have been above the firebox, and I’m glad they did. They had misunderstood what Bill told them. I also asked about having a brick mailbox made, and spoke with the guy who does those.

We went to Home Depot to pick out some lights after not being able to find anything on Sunday at Lowes. Unfortunately, Home Depot has a pathetic selection, so we wound up not getting much. Looks like we’ll be shopping online. On the final visit of the day with Tina, Bill was on hand and asked us how things were going. We asked him a couple questions on open issues, and he told us the roofing would begin tomorrow, and the windows on Saturday.

Thursday, September 11, 2003 – On my morning trip, I met with a guy from the roofing crew. We spoke for a while, and he told me that they were only going to deliver the material and place it on the roof today. Don’t know when the actual roofing will be done… I spoke with the masons again on my noon trip, and talked with them about the face of the fireplace. Not really knowing what they should look like, I told him that I had the understanding that we’d get a mantle. He told me the style of fireplace they were building was more of a “formal” fireplace, that wouldn’t include a mantle or something. Hmmm, so I left it to his judgment to make it look good.

Bill was on hand, as he was talking with the excavators. He asked me if I had any questions, and told me that the town suggested that he install a drain pipe from a sump pump in our basement to the water retention basin… at our cost. Bill didn’t think it was necessary, and didn’t think we needed to spend the money. Since the town wasn’t forcing him to do it, he wasn’t going to. But he did install a sump basin in the corner of the basement in case we ever need it. It will make it much easier to retrofit in the future after the concrete floor is poured. I also saw that the concrete crew was there preparing things for our and other sidewalks, patios, etc., but they were going to postpone the concrete until Monday.

Today was also the day for our appointment at Holyoke Millwork to make our flooring choices. We very quickly found a Berber rug for the family room that we liked, as well as a low pile rug for the upstairs. We talked about doing tile in the kitchen and bathrooms instead of the vinyl that we were allotted. It seems that it would cost us $5.50 to $6.00 more per square foot for tile. Time to start doing some calculations.

When Tina and I arrived at the lot in the evening, we found the excavators prepping things for the sidewalks out on the street in front of our house. We also found that our basement hatch had been installed. The chimney was just shy of breaking the roofline, and the fireplace was done. However, Tina and I agree that the fireplace looks out of proportion. There seems to be too many rows of bricks above the firebox before you get to the mantle. We’ll have to ask Gail and Bill about that.

Friday, September 12, 2003 – I took a couple trips to the house in the morning, speaking with Bill about the fireplace. He assured me that once everything is finished with a mantle and sheetrock, we’d love the fireplace. He said that was they way they were all built. I guess we’ll reserve judgment until later on that. The masons were done with everything by the end of the day, and had packed up and moved on. The chimney came out looking very nice indeed.

Once again, after work today we had an appointment. This time it was with Bob over at Competitive Kitchen. He showed us our kitchen layout, and we made a few minor changes. The price is going to be a little over budget, but we’re also adding an island which wasn’t included in the allowance. The standard Formica countertops are somewhat blah, and we spoke about upgrading them to granite. Bob called the granite place and made an appointment for us tomorrow morning. He will make the adjustments to the layout, and get back to us with the revised price.

Meanwhile, we’re becoming a little bit frustrated, as we seem to be getting to the point where we need to make our decisions on what upgrades to take. With us wanting tile and granite, money is becoming a real issue. We just aren’t getting the answers and prices we need from Bill or Gail in a timely fashion.

Saturday, September 13, 2003 – We were off to Discover Granite and Marble in Sutton first thing in the morning to look at granite. We chose a black granite for the kitchen and some remnants for the upstairs bathrooms. We were given a price directly for the bathrooms, and should get a price on the kitchen granite soon. One thing for sure, this is going to be expensive. We’re really not sure how we can pull this off. But it looks oh so sweet!

On the way home, we stopped by the lot. They had just finished installing our windows and exterior doors. That alone made a huge difference in the way the house looked from the outside. I did notice that the screen door on the slider seemed out of square. Hmmm, I’ll need to check on that later. Perhaps they just hadn’t finished squaring the doors up. Tina and I spent the entire evening being depressed and obsessing over the financials. It’s looking like we’re going to need to put a stop to many of the upgrades we wanted to do. There just seems to be no way to be able to afford them all.

Monday, September 15, 2003 – Today was a bit of a miserable day with the weather. It was mostly cloudy, humid and we had scattered showers. However, the concrete contractors still came out and did some work. They set up and poured our front porch and back patio, then covered it with plastic to protect it from the rain. The excavators also dug our hole for the propane tank, and concrete was poured into that with some bolts for the tank tie-downs. To my surprise, the roofers also arrived sometime later in the day and began to shingle the house. I was a bit concerned about putting the shingles over damp plywood, but Bill and Gail are assuring me that it will dry out okay.

Gail finally gave me the answers to pretty much all the remaining questions. Now that we have the prices for the upgrades we’re interested in, we can start to determine which ones we can still afford. Need to get back on the phone with the banks. We went back to Manny’s late in the evening to purchase the remaining appliances… the range, hood and dishwasher. We probably picked out much nicer stuff than we needed, but to get all the features and options you want, I guess you wind up paying for it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003 – The concrete was uncovered, and the patio had stress cuts sawed into it. I figured they would pour the steps on the front and back doors as well as the sidewalk, but nothing yet. They did start laying out the forms for the sidewalk along the road. The roofers continued to work, and have more than half the shingles down. Hopefully they will be done tomorrow. The “Plumbtree Way” street sign was installed today. With Denis in lot 10 moving in tomorrow, the street will officially have residents. I dropped off the carpet samples and picked up the grout samples while I was there. We still have the sample tiles, and need to determine which tiles go where. The kitchen is pretty much picked out, but we’re not sure on the bathrooms. I also dropped off the cabinet door sample.
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:35 AM
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:57 AM
pNut pNut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OBS3SSION
For anyone who cares or is interested in the point of view of a buyer of a new home, I figured I'd post a copy of the journal I'm keeping. Reading over it myself, I'm reminded of everything we've gone through already. But I'm also realizing living it day-to-day is much more complex than the journal entries suggest. You don't get any sense at all for the emotions involved in a process like this. Anyway, without further ado, here you go... my experiences with building my house:

SNIP...
OBS3SSION: Very informative. I read it with great interest since my wife and I will hopefully be building sometime next year. We have to wait until Feb. to get a perc test done. Until then, we're coming up with some thoughts for our house.

Do you have a online photo album with pictures of the construction. I'd be interested in seeing the house in all it's phases of construction.
Thanks!

-Todd
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Old 09-17-2003, 10:09 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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I've been taking a... er... poopload of pictures. But as of this very moment, they are not on my web storage site yet. I've been meaning to for a bit now, so perhaps your request will prompt me to do so tonight.
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Old 09-17-2003, 10:13 AM
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Building can be a stressful and the waiting can be rather disappointing, but the overall process is so much fun. My wife and I have built 4 homes over the last [almost] decade, and we absolutely love it. Fortunately, we almost always agree on styles, colors, carpet, etc, and we go into the process with a very relaxed/understanding attitude. This helps a lot.

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Old 09-17-2003, 10:15 AM
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point of note,

you are having a house built, not building your house
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Old 09-17-2003, 10:24 AM
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point of note,

you are having a house built, not building your house
You say potato, I say poooo-taaaah-toe. Let's call the whole thing off.
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:04 PM
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Quick--somebody in charge around here buy a few more hundred hard disks!!
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:48 PM
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Quick--somebody in charge around here buy a few more hundred hard disks!!
This one should suffice
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:56 PM
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This one should suffice
Is that the new 100 megabyte hard disk I've been hearing so much about?

Is that a 5 hp motor on the right side?
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Old 09-17-2003, 08:00 PM
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Is that the new 100 megabyte hard disk I've been hearing so much about?

Is that a 5 hp motor on the right side?
That's it! 100 mb, 1000 RPM, 1.8 second average seek time. Runs on 92 octane unleaded.
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Old 09-18-2003, 05:36 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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Here are the pictures I've taken so far. 184 and counting. You'll notice Twilight has found her way into many of the pictures... and so has my wife on a few. They are in chronological order, starting as a dirt lot and pictures of the "neighborhood", and ending with yesterday's progress.

http://users.murtari.com/ejack/New%20Home/
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Old 09-18-2003, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by OBS3SSION
Here are the pictures I've taken so far. 184 and counting. You'll notice Twilight has found her way into many of the pictures... and so has my wife on a few. They are in chronological order, starting as a dirt lot and pictures of the "neighborhood", and ending with yesterday's progress.

http://users.murtari.com/ejack/New%20Home/

Thanks for sharing the pics. It looks like it is coming along nicely.

-Todd
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  #14  
Old 09-18-2003, 07:13 AM
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Nice pics! Congrats!
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Old 09-18-2003, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ff
You say potato, I say poooo-taaaah-toe. Let's call the whole thing off.
there's a big difference between building a house yourself vs letting the local 7-11's most loyal Pabst Blue Ribbon customers do it for you

it takes a lot longer to do it yourself, but the end result is usually a much higher quality job, nowadays they let any inexperienced drunk/druggie off the street be a master homebuilder, with the exception of the high end builders, build quality in general for new housing is in the gutter
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Old 09-18-2003, 12:03 PM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamZ4
there's a big difference between building a house yourself vs letting the local 7-11's most loyal Pabst Blue Ribbon customers do it for you

it takes a lot longer to do it yourself, but the end result is usually a much higher quality job, nowadays they let any inexperienced drunk/druggie off the street be a master homebuilder, with the exception of the high end builders, build quality in general for new housing is in the gutter
There are so many inbetweens of the two types of builders you mention. I don't have the time or knowledge to build my own house. Even if I did, lots are practically non existant around here, so I couldn't built it anyway. Our builder is a good, quality builder at a reasonable price. There are some nightmare builders out there who's houses I wouldn't want to go near, and there are some builders out there who will build a completely custom designed house with character dripping off every nail.. but those cost $1M plus. We're somewhere inbetween.
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Old 09-19-2003, 07:06 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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Thursday, September 18, 2003 – I didn’t think much would get done today. But I was wrong. While I was there first thing in the morning taking measurements for wall sconces, some roofers arrived to grab some materials so they could “dry in” another house before the rain tomorrow. Which would mean they wouldn’t work on our house. I asked when they expected to finish, and he guessed on Monday. However, when I drove by the lot later in the day, not only did I see that they were on the roof working, but several other things had been done as well.

The roof was nearly finished, except for the porch shingles and the garage ridge vent. Our vinyl-clad porch columns were installed. We now have not only concrete steps on the porch and back garage door, but our sidewalk is in too. Our propane tank was set into the hole, mounted and cabled down. So… it turned out to be a good day after all. We also went back to Competitive Kitchen tonight and did a final review of our kitchen and bath layouts so the cabinets could be ordered. We’re supposed to be hit with Hurricane Isabel’s rain and wind tomorrow. The plumbers are tentatively scheduled to start the rough-in. I guess we’ll see what happens.
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Old 10-08-2003, 10:39 AM
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Any updates?
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Old 10-09-2003, 06:51 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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Originally Posted by CornelT
Any updates?
Um, actually ya. I just didn't think anyone was still interested. Ask and you shall receive:

Wednesday, September 17, 2003 – Today was a slow day on the site. The roofers were there for only a short time sometime in the morning. They only got a small section of the garage roof done. The concrete contractors stripped the forms off the front porch, and built the forms for the porch stairs and garage door stairs. But they never got to pour it. Instead, they poured much of the sidewalk out on the street. The only other thing I noticed was that brackets had been installed at the joint of every roof rafter and the top of the wall.

Thursday, September 18, 2003 – I didn’t think much would get done today. But I was wrong. While I was there first thing in the morning taking measurements for wall sconces, some roofers arrived to grab some materials so they could “dry in” another house before the rain tomorrow. Which would mean they wouldn’t work on our house. I asked when they expected to finish, and he guessed on Monday. However, when I drove by the lot later in the day, not only did I see that they were on the roof working, but several other things had been done as well.

The roof was nearly finished, except for the porch shingles and the garage ridge vent. Our vinyl-clad porch columns were installed. We now have not only concrete steps on the porch and back garage door, but our sidewalk is in too. Our propane tank was set into the hole, mounted and cabled down. So… it turned out to be a good day after all. We also went back to Competitive Kitchen tonight and did a final review of our kitchen and bath layouts so the cabinets could be ordered. We’re supposed to be hit with Hurricane Isabel’s rain and wind tomorrow. The plumbers are tentatively scheduled to start the rough-in. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Friday, September 19, 2003 – Boy, was the rain coming down this morning! To my surprise, the concrete guys were at the development first thing in the morning. They started off pouring the basement floor in lot 12, and then must have done ours after that. The plumbers also came in today and began the plumbing rough in. With all the wind and rain, some of the house wrap is coming off on the wall above the garage. Other than that… and lots of mud… we seemed to have fared he storm very well.

I’ve started to take mental note of things that are “wrong”. So far, nothing major, and I’m sure all will be corrected before we move in. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of this is normal. I’ve noticed the outside doors seem too tight in the jams. The slider’s screen is out of square, and has a small rip on the bottom. The Tyvek wrap is coming off in that one area. The tree belt was graded and seeded in front of the house, but the rain washed many ruts into it. Our propane tank is at a slight angle… but I think I’m just being too anal there. The tub drain hardware is chrome… even though we ordered brass. And there’s that one creaking board in the upstairs hall. Oh well, I’ll ask about it all if it’s not corrected soon.

Saturday, September 20, 2003 – Today was a day of completion. The plumbers were at the house once again finishing up the plumbing rough-in. All the waste pipes are in, and the copper supply lines are in except for what runs in the basement. To our surprise, the roofers also came back today and finished our roof, including the plumbing vent pipe on the rear of the house. I wonder what we can expect in the coming few days. Hopefully we’ll see the heat ducts, central vacuum and electrical in. The siding would be nice as well…

Tuesday, September 23, 2003 – I went to the lot early in the morning to see if anything was happening. I noticed that a couple things were done yesterday. The doorknobs were installed on the outside doors. The gas line was run from the tank to the back of the house. And the plumbing inspector gave the house a certificate. The electricians were working on lot 12, and I spoke with the guy in charge. He gave me some suggestions on lighting the kitchen and told me that he wouldn’t be the one to run the whole-house audio speaker wiring. Apparently the vacuum and alarm installer does that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003 – The excavators filled in the hole, burying our propane tank today. Nothing else happened.

Thursday, September 25, 2003 – Sometime today, the HVAC contractor was in the house and cut the holes in the floors and wall studs for the ductwork. We also received a call from Southbridge Savings, and we have been approved for the increased loan amount, which will allow us to get all the additional upgrades we want. The house is now going to cost nearly $330,000, and we are putting 10% down. The best part about this bank is that we won’t need to pay PMI on the mortgage.

Saturday, September 27, 2003 – By the time we got to the lot today at about lunch time, the HVAC contractors had already come and gone. They installed much of the ductwork within the house. There are still a couple sections missing, but we figure they’ll finish first thing on Monday. Tina and I began to mark out where we wanted to place light fixtures and switches. This took much longer than anticipated, and we’ll have to come back and finish tomorrow. We’ve had to change the way we wanted to do a few lights based on the actual structure of the house, or because of the fact that there are now ducts where we wanted something.

Monday, September 29, 2003 – We didn’t have a chance to return and finish marking the electrical yesterday like we had planned. It rained so much that everything was flooded! Instead, we went and did some shopping for light fixtures and under-cabinet lighting. When we went to the lot after work today, the rest of the ductwork was done. We were able to finish marking up the downstairs lights and switches. All we need to do now is the upstairs.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003 – Besides us finishing the electrical markings, nothing else was done today.

Monday, October 06, 2003 – Finally! It’s been a week since anything was done, but today there are signs of progress. Some of the siding materials were delivered and placed in our garage. The equipment from the siding crew was moved from lot 12 to ours. And the garage door edging was done. Hey, at least it’s a start.

After work, Tina and I went to the lot to check things out, and managed to catch both Bill and Gail. We finally got most of the outstanding questions answered. It was a good thing we caught Bill too, because we had to clarify a couple things about the siding and trim. We were told that the siding should be going on this week, and Bill will be getting the electricians in as soon as he can. The central vacuum will be done after that. We are still waiting to hear about the whole house audio wiring.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003 – The siding installers were at the house first thing in the morning. By lunchtime, they had the front of the garage done, as well as some of the rear of the house and around the garage door. The mounting pads for the garage lights were in place, and I retrieved a light from my parent’s house so I could see what it would look like. I received a call from dad mid-afternoon and he was complaining that they were installing the siding without first adding ¼” foam insulation. As far as I knew, this was normal. I went to the lot directly after work to ask about this and was told that they rarely use the foam insulation, as it really doesn’t add much insulation value. They only use it on old houses, and only then as a flat surface instead of an insulator.

It was a good thing I was on hand to speak with the installer, as there was some confusion about the headers over the windows, the door surround entrance system, and the location of lights. Bill told them we wanted “mantles” over the windows, when what we want is the same as lot 4 and is called “crown molding”. The difference is one is installed before the siding, and the other is on top of the siding. They’ll need to remove some of the siding on the front of the garage to get the headers on those windows now. But at least they don’t need to redo all the windows. I also learned that the door surround they brought with them is not what they will be using. Instead they ordered the exact Fypon unit I picked out from the catalog and gave to Gail and Bill as an example.

Wednesday, October 8, 2003 – Once again, the siding crew was on hand first thing. By the end of the day, they had cranked out the entire north wall with the chimney, the first floor of the rear wall and the entire garage door wall. The yellow siding looks awesome with the brick color we chose. They made a comment about needing the electricians to get in so they’d know where some of the lights were to be located, and also the dryer vent of the back of the laundry room. At this rate, I think they’ll be done by Friday.

Thursday, October 09, 2003 – The three guys doing the siding certainly get up early. They were at it when I arrived at about 7 AM. The framing crew was also on site, claiming they had some work to do in our house as well as lot 12 next door. I have no idea what, but I guess we’ll see later in the day. I did tell them that the front and garage doors weren’t hung properly, and didn’t close correctly.
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  #20  
Old 01-08-2004, 03:44 PM
CornelT CornelT is offline
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How's your house coming along

Have you moved in yet?
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Old 01-08-2004, 06:26 PM
MD2b MD2b is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamZ4
...nowadays they let any inexperienced drunk/druggie off the street be a master homebuilder, with the exception of the high end builders, build quality in general for new housing is in the gutter
Very true. Our house was custom built by a goof who insisted that wine be part of his snacks while on the job! The house is 5 years old and is starting to show signs of poor craftsmanship. The asshole also tried to scam us for $25 000 (fireplaces and flooring) by having his daughter type up a fancy letter claiming that those items were not included in the paid price. Oddly, the scam stopped when our lawyer replied, telling them to read what they signed and that those items were clearly indicated as being part of the final price.

My girlfriend's parents' house, on the other hand, was built by her dad/family, is 13 years old and is still as solid as a brick **** house. The same applies to their cottage which was family-built and is over 30 years old.

But what can you expect now that modular/pre-built homes are sprouting left, right, and centre?
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  #22  
Old 01-12-2004, 06:05 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CornelT
Have you moved in yet?
Actually, I've been quiet on the boards lately because these past couple weeks have been so hectic. We had the final weeks leading to the closing, then we closed on Jan 6 and moved in on the 7th. We're still living out of boxes... but I'm working every day on getting more and more put back in order.

The only disadvantage with the new house... now we're broke.
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  #23  
Old 01-19-2005, 06:50 PM
rchen rchen is offline
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new roof

I was surfing the net for threads on roofing and came across your post. We're in the midst of a re-roofing in Northern California. Yesterday 1/2" CDX plywood was nailed down, and left overnight without any tarping. 7am this morning they were ready to start laying felt (30# ASTM) until I noticed there was significant condensation (dew or fog overnight, no rain). Roofer insisted it is standard practice in the Bay Area NOT to tarp overnight, and in fact tarping may have INCREASED the condensation problem by preventing water evaporation. Just wondering if your roof decking did in fact dry out, or if any problems developed?
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  #24  
Old 01-21-2005, 09:34 AM
OBS3SSION OBS3SSION is offline
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Well, no problems yet... that we can tell. I'm sure that even if the plywood were damp, there is still somewhere for the moisture to go after the tar paper and shingles are placed. Who knows... 2 or 30 years from now, I may be replacing the roof.
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  #25  
Old 01-21-2005, 10:49 PM
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Too funny that between then and now I moved from AL to TX and bought a new house. Almost had to go through the same process, but found an almost completed one instead. Kind of glad I didn't have to go through all that.
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