Friday, December 28, 2007

Excuses excuses

I already talked about how hard it's been to get a mailbox and the same crap is still going on - KB points the finger at the post office and the post office points one right back at KB.

The real kick in the mailbox situation is that they have put in mailboxes about 1/2 a block from our house. We thought ours would be part of it. Nope! Those are apparently for homes they have not even built yet! It didn't occur to anyone that people living in their houses already might like a mailbox.

I gave up arguing with our sales person (she has her commission, what does she care?) I called the local KB main office, asked for the person that deals with mailboxes, and let's just say I think Dan wasn't very happy he picked up the phone. He had an excuse for everything. "The post office put those boxes in so I'm not sure why you don't have a mailbox in there. Oh wait - we put those in? We're just working through a list and reviewing all the slabs and posts that have been put in. Oh wait - you don't have a slab or post yet?"

It just went on and on.

At least now I have the name of someone who I can bug repeatedly and become the squeaky wheel in his day. Bet he's gonna be sorry he gave me his direct line and email address.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We should have been more specific in our prayers

We have a mailbox.

We don't have a key.

Apparently the key will take another week.

Our mailman asked us if we wanted him to start delivering mail to it.

My response "Um. No (you moron - that part stayed in my head). We'd prefer our mail not sit in there for a week + while you guys figure out how to get the keys ready."

So for now...more trips to the mailbox.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No mailbox yet

Who knew getting a mailbox was going to be harder than getting a house? We're going on 32 days in the house, and all we have is a slab down the street where the mailbox will go. Our community has the big group boxes at the end of each block instead of the individual ones. I'm fine with that. But I just want a mailbox.

The post office says it's KB's fault.
KB blames the post office.

Apparently ordering the box was very low on their list of priorities. I guess they think we just love going to the post office to pick up our mail on a regular basis. Who wouldn't love multiple trips to the post office right before Christmas?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

They should bring all perspective buyers out at sunrise

Check out the view this morning while I was letting the dogs out. They should bring all the buyers out here and have paperwork in hand because it's the most amazing selling point.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finally...some pictures

I'm sorry it's taken so long to post these, but it wasn't until last night that the house was ready for photos. It's been two weeks of boxes and junk sitting everywhere. But with the arrival of family for Thanksgiving, it definitely lit a fire under our butts to get the place looking beautiful (not that it didn't already).

Sorry that most are of the living room and dining room. Bedrooms are hard to take pictures of because there was no way to get distance to get a sense of the whole room.

I have always loved these oversized clocks, and this one was a steal at Kohl's.

The guest room.

The guest bathroom.

My cute shoe ads designed by some friends made perfect wall art for my shoe-themed bathroom. It's a set of 3 with cute sayings like "There was an old lady who lived in a shoe - lucky bitch." They make me smile and they are so chic!

There used to be 4 of these plates but one fell off the wall at my old apartment. Oh well - now they fit in one plate rack.

There was just no way to get a good pic of the master bathroom. I couldn't get an angle that would let me get a full room shot.

And my favorite place in the house...our big comfy tub.

The pics just don't do it justice, so feel free to come visit when you can!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We're still settling in

I haven't posted any new pictures because I want the house to be more put together. Right now there is still stuff kind of strewn about and random boxes sitting around.

It's been a long week, but it's so wonderful to come home each night to this beautiful home. We can't wait to fill it with our family for Thanksgiving.

I do have this one picture to share. It struck me as funny. Brian is sitting in the middle of what would become one of our two beautiful new bookcases.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lessons learned from building a house

I thought I'd share some of the things we've learned during the building process.

1) Write EVERYTHING down. I wish I'd kept a more detailed log of all the calls that were exhanged and the results of each one. I kept good notes, but I think this would have made things a little easier when it came time to solve some issues.

2) Ask questions. When it's time to pick out your options, ask lots of questions. Don't assume anything. Example: We were asked if we wanted to pre-wire our den for a ceiling fan. We said no. However, we weren't told that not adding the pre-wire meant we wouldn't get a light in that room. We fought it and got our light, but it would have been a lot easy if we'd asked earlier on.

3) Get a realtor. I know it sounds strange to have a realtor on home you're building, but it helps. Their fees are paid by the builder, so it doesn't cost you anything and it gives you an extra set of eyes for inspections and an extra voice when you need it.

4) Don't pack your financial records when you get ready to close. The day of closing, they asked for a bunch of stuff that thankfully was easily accessible, such as copied of the cancelled checks from the earnest money (the money you put down to reserve your lot), a current bank statement, etc.

5) Verify how they want the closing costs paid - i.e. cashier's check. This was dropped on us a few hours before closing. It would have made life easier to know a little earlier.

6) Visit your house - often. We caught several things by visiting every few weekends (such as a widow in a closet). I took lots of pictures which helped when we were trying to work with the builder on certain things, such as an outlet that they couldn't seem to get in the right place.

That's all I can think of, but if anyone is thinking of building and has questions, let me know!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

We close today!

It's almost final. The closing is at 4 p.m. mountain time today, and tonight we'll be sleeping in our big, new, empty house. We did the final walk thru this morning, and they have done a lot of work since we walked it last Friday morning. We had noticed some scratches on the microwave door when we were there last week, so we asked to have the door replaced. Turns out we got a brand-new microwave and stove. Why the stove? Well someone walked into the house and took the microwave and stove last week within 20 minutes of us leaving. Oh well. That stuff happens.

One thing everyone outside of New Mexico may notice is the lack of grass. Out here in the west, we have pretty strict landscaping guidelines to limit water use. So we use what's called "xeriscaping" which means using drought-tolerant plants in combination with rocking and other landscape cover to minimize water use. I'm still really having a hard time adjusting to the fact that I won't have a big, lush St. Augustine grass yard to walk in, but at least it means we don't have to buy a lawnmower.

Here are a few pics of the house as it stands. I'll be posting more as we get our stuff in it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Our last visit before our final walk-thru

The house is getting so close! This was our final visit before we do a walk-thru on Friday, November 2nd and close on Thursday, November 9th. It's so cool to see the things we picked all put together.

It was neat to park in our driveway and see the exterior so close. What a great sight to see when we drove up.

I think the kitchen is my favorite part.

Sorry so blurry.

This may just look like a light, but it took us almost two months of arguing to have it added since for some reason the den didn't include any overhead lighting.

I think this will be one of my favorite places.

Leaving our mark on the foundation of our home. I snuck out there the day they poured the slab and it's now a permanent part of our garage.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Now it looks even more like a house

These were taken on 9/29. Things are coming along. We have our counters, some mirrors in the bathrooms, the lighting, and they have done some flooring.

This is the color scheme for our house - but this is a different model. Don't you love the flaming truck in the driveway?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's really starting to look like a house!

These were taken on 9/22 and show that things are really starting to move along.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Textured walls, baseboards and doors

We went by to see how things were progressing, and here are the results of the last two weeks. They have textured the walls (which you can't really tell from the pics - they look the same as last time), but they added the baseboards throughout about 90% of the house and all the doors have been hung. Seeing the doors up, it made us realize - we have a lot of doors.

I've put up several pictures of the view from the back of the house, but here's the view from the bedrooms upstairs that are at the front.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

What's going on

I just spoke with our builder, and they will be finished texturing the walls any day now. The outlet that we'd been hounding them to move has been moved (yay!) and the cabinets should be installed early next week.

It's definitely moving along. Once the cabinets are in, they will give us a firm closing date.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The house is coming along!

We went out there on Saturday, and much to our surprise they had done the stucco and all the drywall was up. We also looked around other houses on our block, and other than the house next door, the other six or seven are all smaller. So we're going to look like the big house on the corner!

The view from the master bedroom window.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The progress so far

We went out to see the house yesterday (August 5th) to see how things are going. We still have the big ol' moat in front of it but unfortunately they didn't include a drawbridge as one of our options. We were told that the giant moat that runs the length of the block and then some will be filled this week. It was dug almost three weeks ago to house the utility lines but they haven't been able to get it filled back up. That's why very little has been done at the house since they dug it - the contractors can't bring any supplies in to finish the next steps. We did walk the house and inspect the location of all the electrical outlets (which we needed to do anyway). As soon as the moat is filled, they will start the insulation and dry wall. At that point, we'll have a final date for the closing.

Monday, June 25, 2007

We have neighbors!

Our house is the one on the right. They put the other three up in a week. Amazing! Our window upstairs is still in the wrong place, but they promised to have it fixed very soon since windows are being installed in the next week. Things are moving and grooving - just waiting for the inevitable weather delays that are sure to come later this summer with our rainy season.

Monday, June 18, 2007

We've been framed!

Much to our surprise, our house was framed in just a week. Things seem to be picking up speed very fast. We'll find out at our meeting with the builder just when they think they'll be done.

Brian is standing in our master closet. Behind him is the closet for one of the guest rooms. Unfortunately there's a window in that closet, and it shouldn't be there. So they still have a little work to do before the frame is finished.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Our proposed back yard

We were using this picture for a job at work, and one of my co-workers photoshopped me into it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

We have a slab!

We finally have a slab. They are running very behind from their original schedule (we were told the house would be done in August). But at least they are finally making some progress. Right now it looks like we'll be in the house some time in October.

I was able to get over to the house when the slab was still a little wet, so I decided to make us a permanent part of the foundation.

We were told the delay was because they had to build our street, but as you can see -no street is there yet. At least they know where our street will go when they do start. :-)

Monday, March 5, 2007

We've picked the options

It took a few hours, and you get scared you are making the wrong choice, but we have finished the first round of options-picking. We go back next week to finalize everything. We're a little over budget, but hopefully some of the extra money from closing will cover it. So far we've included low-energy windows, upgraded dishwasher, gas range and microwave, some lighting fixtures, pre-wires for cable and ceiling fans (so someone isn't running ugly cables or drilling into the walls down the line), upgraded cabinets, a deeper kitchen sink, can lights in the kitchen ceiling (we have no attic between the floors so this one is pricey but a must-do now without a huge mess later), a kitchen island, nicer interior doors, upgraded carpet from the base, rounded dry-wall corners and perhaps the best of all upgrades - the Super Master Bath. This gives us a garden tub, separate shower and a marble backsplash in the shower and tub. Here are pics of a few of the things we've picked -more to come.

Here's the downstairs color scheme. That hard-to-see carpet square is our whole-house carpet choice. Then there's a sample of the floor, counters and the cabinets(which will also be in the bathrooms).

Here's the color scheme for the two bathrooms. It's somewhat the same as the kitchen, but with a different floor and marble for the bathtub and shower.

The light fixtures
Here are the light fixtures we chose. We weren't going to have them change out any, but they had lowered their prices since we first started this process and honestly, the default fixtures are so hideous that I swear they make that first upgrade lower because they know you don't want the defaults.

Dining room fixture

Hallway fixture (there are five of these throughout the house, three downstairs, two upstairs)

The stairwell light

The appliances
We wanted black appliances so we went with the first upgrade on each of the three things that come with the house - microwave, oven and dishwasher. As such, we got some cool features on each.

The microwave
The coolest thing on this is the stoppable, sunken glass turntable, which according to the Whirlpool site "provides a leveled cooking surface to maximize usable capacity."

The stove/oven
We made the decision to go with gas. We were adding the stub anyway because it's good for the house's value, so we figured we might as well get a gas range too. This one is pretty cool for a low-end upgrade. Here's my favorite part. "Say goodbye to uneven baking. AccuBake® Heat Distribution System surrounds foods with even temperatures for consistent results every time. AccuBake® systems maintain even temperatures by using both the upper and lower heating elements at the same time. Heat is distributed throughout the oven so foods cook evenly. And your food is cooked exactly as you want it." It also has sealed gas burners so that if stuff runs over, it won't get into the burner area.

The dishwasher
The neatest feature on the dishwasher is the Anywhere basket. Essentially the silverware basket can go anywhere in the dishwasher - it even fits on the door or on the front of the basket. It also has a sprayer under the top and bottom trays so that everything gets clean. There was no pic available on the site of this one, but it's the same black as the other two pieces.

The house itself
Here's the floor plan of the house. I just figured out how to turn a PDF into a JPG, so sorry it wasn't up sooner. If you click on the floor plan, it'll bring up the image larger in a new window.

Here's the color we selected for the exterior. Keep in mind this isn't our model of home, so don't look at the actual shape of the house. Also, this is a north-facing house. Notice the snow in the snowed almost three weeks ago. That's why we're so happy about having a west-facing front yard.

More from inside (and at) the gate
I snapped this shot of the park to show just how pretty the development is.

That's it for now. We finalize the options next weekend and they should be breaking ground any day now.