Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 83 - Black Bean = Brown?

Stopped by quickly after work today.  House was locked, but the front door is now painted and the trim installed (sort of).  The trim is technically nailed up now, but I really hope more work remains on this.  Huge gaps, not level, etc.    

Concrete molds were off so we could walk around on it a bit (pace off that helipad ;-) but they still need to clean it up, backfill, and make it look good.

Onto the door color...   neither my wife or I really remembered picking the siding, shutters, and door colors.  After picking the brick I remember chasing a toddler (ours) around the model most of the time until I distracted her with some Dora on Netflix on demand.   Fast forward 6 months and all I knew was the selection sheet said Black Bean.    To me that meant black or something close.   Apparently it's a dark brown.   Truly it looks better than black would.  It's a perfect match for the shutters and brick, but I wasn't expecting it.

Some googling on the product number turned up the exact Sherwin-Williams paint they use.   VERY good to know for touch up purposes.  Glad I dug a bit before emailing the PM.   

Front Door with Trim installed
Black Bean?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 82 - Punch List, Generous Pour, and PM Hookups

Last night I sent our PM a quick punch list of items I had noticed.
Most were minor issues, or paint related (underside of 2nd floor foyer window unpainted, etc).

He called me back today and said they are all being taken care of. He is writing up his punch list today and all of my items will be on there. There were a couple of items I wasn't sure on, but he said
they would hook me up anyway. He's installing windowsills in the garage, but won't paint them. Cutting down the toilet drain in the roughed-in bathroom and installing a flange (not part of the deal, but easy/cheap for them to do, and probably a PITA for me to do).

Lastly is the driveway... Very happy about this one. The back story is that on the pre-con site plan it had a straight line drive, so basically 30x30. PM caught this, and scribbled the change on our pre-con site plan. That left the garage (3 car, side entry) as 30' wide but tapered down to 20' before it hit the sidewalk, and then the entry part is also 20' wide. Apparently that correction never made it to the actual site plan, so the concrete guys setup the forms with a 30' wide drive the whole way to the street. It looks much better this way, and avoids a hard turn to pull into the 3rd car garage, but that extra concrete costs so extra $$ (~$1k I would guess) so I figured they would catch it eventually.

Fast forward to today's phone call. PM said he was upstairs working on the punch list, noticed they had started pouring and instantly saw what was wrong. Ran down and the concrete guys said "it's exactly like on the site plan", which it was. And it was basically too late to change it. I told him obviously we preferred it that way, so there is no issue. He said he figured as much. I believe his quote was "you're out here every day so I knew if it was an issue you would have seen it and said something..." which is a pretty true statement.

The way I see this unexpected bonus is it evens out some other issues I have noticed (like a wall or 2 not being drywalled square) but bit my tongue on. You let some of the small stuff go and you get some good karma coming your way in the form of a few hundred extra square feet of concrete. Another point to bring up with future or early builders is how you interact with your PM. I have admittedly been very hand on during this whole build, but I always have maintained a good relationship with our PM and trusted his judgement on most things. I haven't emailed him daily with issues, but tried to consolidate a list, give him a chance to notice/fix first, and then emailed after a bit. And I really don't expect him to notice everything I will notice. I have 1 house to focus on, so I can get very detailed -- he has probably 4 to 6 at the same time, so his focus is different. My point is that I think maintaining a good attitude and relationship with your PM (and letting some small stuff slide) pays off in the end. I really doubt he would do little things like windowsills and toilet flanges if I was a pain the entire time. Difficult customers get the "what you ordered and nothing more"

We have a sidewalk and gutters now!

Got lucky with the extra wide driveway.

Sidewalk stops about 4' short of property line

Mailbox just appeared

Gutters today too...

Celebrating the official closing of our OLD house today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 81 - Deck and NVRM Issues

Quick update -- Not a lot has changed on the house.  The deck is basically done now and looks really good.  It will look even better with some stain on it, but that project can wait a few months.   No concrete yet, no gutters,  but a lot go blue tape all over the walls where all the touch up are.   Hopefully this is just the first pass though because they missed a few (and I might have added a few pieces of tape to help out...)

The real drama of the day was that we closed on our old house 36 hours earlier than expected, so there was a bunch of running around 

...and as to be predicted NVRM is having issues keeping their head out of their ass as usual (unrelated to old closing).   My general dissatisfaction with NVRM continues to decline. After asking them repeatedly for months what we needed from old-house closing they continued to insist nothing.  They were proceeding as if it was not going to sell and said there were no issues.  I even emailed them this morning with a 10-day out check-in email to make sure we were on track and they said everything is fine.  I hadn't heard from them in 8 days so I was getting nervous.     Then an hour later they said that everything had changed, they now needed to see the all the closing info from old-house.   Seriously???    110 days into a 120 day process and NOW you figure this out? After I have been asking at least 6 times this exact question.   What would happen if I wasn't emailing them to check up like they are a kid?    The people I am dealing with are truly nice people, but this stuff isn't rocket science and I feel like I am constantly asking them questions they should be asking me and I am the one making sure THEY do their job and there are no issues delaying closing.  It is a very backward relationship.   I don't doubt (yet) that we will close on time, but mainly because I am riding their ass for the next 10 days and they will make it work just to get me off their case -- but I would not use NVRM again.  On the other hand,  I have absolutely NO issues with the builder side of the house.  Things are looking great, so I guess I can't bitch too much (but I just did :-)    

I feel better after a quick blog vent.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 79 - Homestretch

Our house is officially locked now.   I stopped over on Satuday and all the carpet pad was in with the carpet just starting to go down.   When we stopped back at 6 it was all in but we were locked out :-(  

Yesterday the sales rep sent us some updated photos of the deck going in.   They finally got permit approval to build it.   Apparently the post closest to the house had to be dug 9 feet (NINE!!!) deep because the inspector said it had to go into undisturbed soil and it was close to the dig out from the basement.  

Still no pour on the driveway or sidewalk, but the forms still look good.  They covered my 2" PVC properly with gravel, so it should be good when they pour.  

Schedule wise we're still looking good.  I think the deck finishing up, concrete, and gutters are the only big things left.   I have a list of touch up items they need to address and a bunch of cosmetic, but that can be knocked out in a day or two.
13 days until closing...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 75 - Naked Floors, More Dirt, and Buried Pipes

Our PM called with an update this morning.   He says everything is on track to be done 3 days before closing.   Concrete is going in tomorrow, carpet on Saturday, first cleaning this weekend also. Next week is all the little touch up stuff.

They definitely added a bunch more dirt today.  The slope to the front yard is not too extreme, so no worries.    They also uncovered the hardwood floors, so we got our first look at how they really will look (but a lot dirtier still).

Lastly... I have been kicking around this self-installed sprinkler idea for a few days.   One problem was the hose bib was on the far front of the house away from the garage and there is about to be a sideway in the way.     On the way out of the community today I ran into our PM and ran an idea past him.   

He had no objections so after dinner I went to Lowes and got two 2" PVC 10' pipes and caps for each end.   I cut them down to 8' and installed 1 under the front steps and 1 under the sidewalk where it connects to the garage.   [See pics below]    The eventual idea is to run water lines/hoses (3/4") and/or power through the pipes.   At the minimum I will run a low voltage wire for landscaping lights through the steps pipe.  Our power outlet is right by the water...   Probably an extension cord for Christmas lights too.   Tons of uses and 2" should be enough.   Hopefully the concrete crew won't tear them out.  Maybe I should have written do not remove in spanish also, now that I think of it...  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 74 - Granite In, No Concrete Yet.

I stopped over hoping to see some concrete progress,  instead I found an exterior trim painter and an empty house.    Seizing the opportunity I did a good 45 minute walk through.  Checked lights, baseboards, overall trim, etc.   No major issues.  1 wall of trim is pretty bad but I think they are already on top of that one.  Somebody marked a big X on it and popped the caulk.  

The granite is in and I love how it looks with the floors and cabinets.   It's hard to take a good photo because it reflects everything, but the last photo shows off the subtle specks in the stone and actually has a bit of clean floor.

I tested out the Mwave vent, and it is actually venting outside, despite my skepticism.   All is good with that.   I just noticed the fridge is missing (kinda important) but I'm sure it will be there soon.  

Deck footers inspection failed.   Seems to be the MO for this inspector.  He always finds something, which I like as a buyer.    1 of the footer holes was too close to the foundation so it was actually in "filled" dirt, not naturally compacted dirt.  Not sure the fix, but they need to get another inspection to pass.

17 days to go and it's all starting to come together.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 73 - Pour me another...

18 days until closing.  We're now the the stage where it looks like not much is going on, which tends to make me nervous.   We did a decent amount of furniture shopping this weekend, and all of the installations /deliveries are set to start the day after closing.   And we only have 6 days overlap from closing on new house to vacating old house -- all that combines to make me really screwed if closing slips at all.  BUT there have been no indications that will happen.   Just my nervousness.

Since my last update they appliances are installed.   I am not 100% sure they did the microwave exterior vent correct.  I plan to test this one night this week and see if it is really venting.    Friday night the vent was drywalled over (DRYWALL CREW MISTAKE...) , and by Saturday afternoon the microwave was installed.   I think it is expecting too much for the appliance subcontractor to have known there was a vent. 

On the plus side though the concrete looks to be going in this week.  I don't want to jinx it, but the driveway width looks a little generous by my eye.   I will elaborate once they pour and can't undo it.   Second thing was that I'm surprised at the walkway height from the front steps in relation to the current grade.   I guess I expected there to be 2 steps off the landing, but they are setting up for 1.   Just means they will have to bring in a bunch more dirt to backfill that front yard.   I prefer a decent grade away from the house when possible (drainage paranoia) so this works well for me.   

By my tracking we still need:
  • Concrete drive / sidewalks
  • Granite Install
  • Carpet Install
  • Gutters Install
  • Deck Install
  • Some final plumbing stuff remains
  • Hookup appliances (possibly already done...)
  • Tons of touch up work. Drywall, paint, etc

Lastly,  I have been doing a lot of research on in ground sprinklers and the insane prices contractors charge for installation.  I will do a separate post on this tonight, but I'm pretty sure I can install independent in ground systems that feed off my hose bibs (with an electronic timer and all) for less than $400 and maybe 10 hours of labor (x2 for the standard DIY under-estimation, so 20 hours).   Much better than the $4k  to $6k that a professional will charge.   Will theirs be better, absolutely...   $5500 better though?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 69 - Shutters and Sidewalks Oh My...

Tons of photos for this one.     Our old house officially passed inspection with no issued (who knew...) so we're in the clear to close 1 week before our new house is done, but we have 2 weeks possession post closing.   So that means I will have 6 days to move.   Any slip to our closing date and things fall apart very quickly.    

Anyway.   Shutters are on (brown) and look great with the brick.   Lots of credit to my wife for the shutters/door/siding selections.   I love they way they are coming out.

Staining is done now, painters were finishing up.  Drywall repair done.  They were grading the lot, tearing out the temp driveway, and scraping for the sidewalks today.   Looks like concrete could be going in soon :-)   I need to email my PM this weekend and stress how much I expect the sod to be in before closing.   I can count 4 houses around me that are done with no sod.  Two were done before they could install the sod because of the cold, but the other 2 have closed in the last 6 weeks, which is inexcusable in my book.   I will either have sod or a FIRM installation date before closing.  And no surveys returned until everything is done.  

Few pics of the back garage side for a fellow blogger below, and a shot of the neighbor's hole in the ground through a dirty window also.

Click on one of the photos for a larger slideshow...