The Building Blog: Part 11

The Home Stretch

My, how things have changed! The house is coming along nicely now, and quite frankly, is nearly complete. The past 10 days have seen some pretty major additions to the home, as well as quite a bit of house-related paperwork, etc.

The house is scheduled to be finished by February 18th, which is just under three weeks away. However, by early next week, all but the finishing touches will be complete. Our carpet will be installed this week, doorknobs handles will be installed this week, and Monday next week, our appliances will be delivered and installed. After that, it’s just items we need corrected so we can sign off during our walkthrough on the 18th!

Construction Updates

The last Building Blog detailed the installation of the vinyl flooring, tile in the bathrooms, and the stair railings. There was a problem with our tile that still has to be corrected (more on that later), but the past few days has seen some rather major additions that make the home actually livable.

On January 29th, our trees were planted in the front yard. Because we have a corner lot, we got 2 additional trees in the side yard (most lots only have a single tree in the front.) The very next day, our lawn was sodded, and we had grass, as well as landscaping around the walk to our front door. Rocks and small shrubs will likely give way to something else later on, but for now, it’s nice to have something there. The backyard was also fenced in the same day, so for the first time, we got to see what our backyard will truly feel like–it’s pretty large, actually.

And of course, things moved rapidly after that as well. Over the course of the next few days, the following were completed:

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  • Granite countertops installed.
  • Medicine cabinet in the Master Bathroom was installed.
  • Shower enclosure was installed.
  • Sinks, faucets, and toilets were installed.
  • Lighting fixtures are installed.
  • A/C Unit installed.
  • Water heater was installed.
  • Front door arrived and was installed.

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In regards to the tile issue in the Master Bathroom, after speaking with the construction supervisor, there are changes to be made, but not as extensive as I initially wanted. It turns out that there have been a lot of customer complaints about the half-wall between the shower and tub getting wet and deteriorating, due to moisture from the shower stall creeping along the edge, and making contact with the drywall. As a result, they’ve begun putting tile completely around that half-wall, which provides better protection. This makes sense, and so the only changes that need to be done are to clean up some of the trim to make it match the rest of the tiling. I’m not 100% satisfied with this, and still prefer the look of the model, but I understand the necessity of doing it the way they have. I’d much rather have it look a little odd (to my eye; Jenny seems to be fine with it), than to experience issues with maintenance, or the possibility of mold/moisture problems.

So with all this done, this leaves a very short list of items left to complete, which include:

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  • Correction of tile installation in the master bathroom.
  • Door handles and knobs need to be installed.
  • Carpet needs to be installed.
  • Appliances must be delivered and installed.
  • Drywall patching and final texture and paint needs to be applied.
  • Window in Master Bathroom needs replacing (supposed to be an obscured window).
  • Window pane in the Master Bedroom is broken and must be replaced.
  • Final trim and painting.
  • Power-wash of back porch, garage, and driveway.
  • Final cleanup.

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Within just a few short days, the house will be almost 100% complete, and ahead of schedule. At that point, we can submit a list of final items we’d like addressed before we sign off on construction, and ready ourselves for closing.

Financial Picture

Speaking of closing, we’re nearly ready for that as well. Our financial picture looks good, not only for closing, but for after, as we have many items that need addressed rather immediately, even before we move in. Within just a few days (hopefully), we’ll have everything ready, and will be essentially waiting around for the days to pass. We’re both eager and ready to get past the closing, and to start the process of moving into our new home. In fact, we’re already packing.

Vacation Scheduled

With so many things to do, especially once we close, it’s a foregone conclusion that we’ll need to take time off work to accomodate everything. Jenny and I both have vacation time scheduled for next month, though not necessarily at the same time.

We’re both off on the 18th for what should be our walkthrough and sign-off on the construction, as well as the 25th, which of course is our closing date. The 25th will be extremely busy for us, since we have plenty of things to do immediately after closing on the house.

As for our vacations, I’m taking off March 4th – 8th, which will hopefully allow me to work on unpacking, and settings things up in the house, and Jenny’s off a couple weeks later to presumably do the same.

Post-Closing Activities

At this point, the most frustrating thing is having to wait until we close to do just about anything. We can’t schedule a moving date, or deliveries, or make any purchases until after we’ve closed–for the reason that until we sign those papers, the house isn’t actually ours. If anything goes wrong at closing–which isn’t unheard of–we don’t want to find ourselves in a position of having counted our chickens before they hatched (so to speak).

Immediately after closing, however, we have plenty to do:

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  • We need to select and purchase a refrigerator. We already have an empty Best Buy credit card, so will use that for this purpose, with the goal of paying it off within the 18 months, and avoiding any interest. Once we’ve bought it, we can schedule the delivery. This will be done the day of closing (hopefully).
  • Purchase and install window blinds for the entire house. We plan to purchase very cheap blinds initially, with the goal of replacing several per month with better ones, until the entire house is completed. We’ve learned that window blinds are actually fairly expensive–at least for the ones we want.
  • Purchase a garage door opener, and schedule installation.
  • Place an order for grass sod for the backyard. This will need to be delivered and installed before we can move the dogs into the house, since the backyard is currently dirt/mud and sand–not conductive to puppies who like to play outside, and then jump on the bed when they come back in.
  • Place the order for electric service to be activated.
  • Place an order for Internet service to be connected.
  • Once all of the above is handled, we can schedule the movers.
  • And of course, we need to finish packing.

And after moving in, we can begin the arduous process of painting the house to our preferences. There’s simply too many white walls right now for our tastes.

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We have our work cut out for us, though we’re excited about all of it. Fortunately, everything is proceeding exactly as planned and will hopefully continue to do so. Though for some, it seems that this has gone very quickly, but for Jenny and I, it seems like we’ve dedicated a very long time to this process. In some ways, we have, since we started shopping before September of 2012, and officially began the process on Sept. 15th. It’ll be going on six months since we signed the paperwork when we finally move in–an eternity when you’re watching the progress every day.

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