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Build a Home Series: Finally Closed and Pics

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Welcome to my Build a Home Series! These posts are to document the process of having our home built by a local builder in an existing subdivision.  So our house was completed October 1st and our closing was supposed to be October 4th…but that didn’t happen.  In fact, October 4th didn’t happen, October 5th didn’t happen, and my lender was still screwing around the morning of October 8th.  Despite all of this, we did finally close at 2pm last Monday.

The Builder

Now that it is all over, I will release the names of all of the parties involved.  First, Travis Homes is actually my home builder and even according to our inspector, they build an excellent house.  No cut corners, although that did push back our closing a month later than expected.  But overall, we had a relatively great experience with Travis Homes and our specific rep, Travis (yep, that is really his name and he doesn’t even own the company…).  In fact, I would highly recommend their homes to anybody, but if you are building from the ground up with any builder, remember that you will have to be patient.  Period.  Questions, manufacturers of things like windows, and even the wrong brick orders can set you back a week each, so having a home built can take months longer than you orginally expect.

The Nightmare

Now for the nightmare.  My lender was Churchill Mortgage, the company that actually has Dave Ramsey’s seal of approval.  I have no idea why.  Our specific rep tried to be thorough from the beginning, but in such a way that regularly had me freaking out that we may not get the loan at all.  I mean, there are ways to ask for documentation, and then there are just ways that make a person panic.  I was worried on and off for 4 months because every time they had a new hoop, I was not actually told if it was a normal hoop or if we could lose the loan.

Then, when the actual week of closing came around, all of the planning, hours of paperwork, and headaches that were supposed to prevent problems, didn’t prevent anything.  The appraiser was a day late with the appraisal thanks to incompetence and then server issues.  Then Churchill said they may not be able to close on Thursday, but Friday for sure.  Then Thursday night (literally past 9pm), my rep’s boss started asking the same questions and requesting the same paperwork that we had been answering and sending for the months leading up to this deal.  So once again, we had to worry that the deal may not happen at all.

But we were assured by our rep that not only was the deal happening, but we would close Friday late morning or early afternoon.  We even got great updates Friday morning up until 11:30am.  Then everybody at Churchill fell off the face of the damn planet until 2:30pm.  From 11:30am to 2:30pm, I was leaving messages and texts to anybody and everybody I had contact info for because Mr. BFS needed to know whether he needed to go ref a football game or stay in town to sign closing paperwork.  At 3pm we were informed that we could close at 5pm that evening.  Well, Mr. BFS needed to head out of town at 4pm, which we had been telling them for more than a week, so we rushed over to the title company to have Mr. BFS sign a Power of Attorney saying that I could close without him.  Then he ran to make his game in time.  This was when we got the bad news…

The title company rep made the passing comment while we were signing the POA that she didn’t know why they had us doing this since we wouldn’t be “funded” that late on Friday anyway.  I asked what that meant.  Long story short, a loan will not be funded by banks after a certain time on Fridays or at all on weekends.  Monday was Columbus Day, so that is a federal holiday too.  In short, our lender had given us false hope.  The minute they called us at 3pm on Friday, we had no shot in hell of actually getting our keys to the new house until our loan funded the following Tuesday.  They had kept our hopes up and made Mr. BFS late to his game for nothing.  Period.  We were not getting keys until the paperwork could make it through a bank the following week.

Finally Closed

So, after I personally called the owner of Travis Homes and asked his advice on when we should actually close, we made an appointment to close on Monday at 2pm so our contract would be funded bright and early Tuesday.  I also personally called the title company to make sure we could close on Monday.  I also asked for the rules on the cashier’s check so I could get it before the banks closed and not hold anybody up on Monday.  And I was informed by Churchill that they were sending over the necessary docs to the title company so everything would be on track.

Then Monday morning rolls around, the lender from hell realizes that they forgot to add the word “Drive” to our address on all of the documentation, and there is a mad scramble to get all of the closing docs necessary to the title company in time for our 2pm closing since the title company still needed those docs to draw up the HUD statement.

In fact, the title company sent out an email at 9:30am asking for what they needed by 10am and didn’t receive everything until 11:10am.  It is only because they kick major butt that we closed at 2pm on Monday at all.  Remember when I was trying to switch title companies a couple of weeks ago because our lender could get a better deal from their own?  I am SOOOO happy Travis Homes refused to let us switch so late in the game because their title company, specifically Jeanette and Kerry at Alamo Title, are amazing and went out of their way for me several times.  So thank you Travis Homes for being stubborn and Jeanette and Kerry for ending my nightmare of a closing.

In the end, closing happened and we pushed the movers back to Wednesday, so I am sitting in my new house.  But it was despite Churchill Mortgage, not because of them.  They are now on my official “Bad Companies” list and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.  Ever.

Now Onto Happier Things

Okay, now that I have vented, I feel much better.  Here are the final, empty house pictures of our beautiful new home, a picture of the kitchen after our move since we just finished unpacking it, and the stack of boxes we’ve gone through so far.  Every other room is in a state of despair while we make our way through.  I’ll get some more post-move pics soon, but this will be the prettiest that you will ever see my new home I’m sure…

Final Look
We ended up with a nice front yard…this is before I was put in charge. Now we’ll see what lives through me…
View From Front Door
It’s hard to capture pure tiredness on film, but I almost sat down while taking this picture, hahaha.
The library came out great! Cannot wait to see it once we unpack more this coming week…
Kitchen Pre Move In
This is how pretty it was before our stuff took over…


Dining Room
Words cannot describe how much more I like this room without a door in the way…


Master Bedroom
I wish it still looked like this…right now, boxes have nested here that have no other home yet…


Media Room
We’ll be putting in a projection screen on the wall off to the left and have a couch and recliner in the middle of the room right now. We won’t finish this place off until we find some great deals.
Kitchen Now
We have done our best to not uglify our kitchen…the mess is hidden behind pretty cabinets. 🙂


Boxes, boxes, and more boxes...
Boxes, boxes, and more boxes…


Other Accomplishments and My Favorites

Over the last crazy week, we successfully moved, got internet again, had some back yard sod laid, ordered some baby crape myrtles for the front yard, had an electrical issue fixed, got a garage door opener installed, and I even staged a small sit-in at the local post office to make them give me our mail box keys.  They really wanted to call me when the keys were ready, but I was not leaving the second time (3 days after I submitted the initial paperwork) until the rep at least checked for me.  The keys were just sitting around for them to make the call.  Grrr.  Blinds will be going in either later today or tomorrow (we have temporary ones up right now).  Every day seems to bring another task (like our new fridge seems to have a water pressure problem that will be looked at on Tuesday), but I am loving our house.  The only downside so far is that our new dishwasher is smaller than I’d like, but we’ll fix that down the road.  If that ends up being my biggest complaint, this will be considered a huge win, lol.

Here are my favorite things about our house after about 5 days:

  • The kitchen is gorgeous and bigger than I thought.  Even though we have fewer cabinets, their size actually ended up giving us more room.  And I am in love with the color of granite we picked…doesn’t show crumbs or anything and is super easy to clean (hint, Windex is your friend).
  • The master bath tub is contoured and feels soooo good after crappy days.  I’m not even a bath person, but it is converting me.
  • There is a ton of light.  Not only can we have as much natural light as we want during the day thanks to boucoups of windows, the actual lights we have are bright too.
  • I apparently love giant closets.  I am not a clothes horse, but I am finding a dozen uses for our master bedroom closet.  It is even my mail sorting station now.  🙂

I’ll check in again with more pictures next week as we get a tiny bit more organized.  I’ll also start writing up all of the little side stories that seem to happen during a move.  Lastly, I will be keeping an eye on our bills over the next 2-3 months and let you know where we are seeing the increases.  Moving is nuts, I hate it, but the end result is worth it so far.  😀

What have you been up to for the last week or two?  Sorry I sort of fell off the face of the planet, but I am back.  🙂

FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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32 thoughts on “Build a Home Series: Finally Closed and Pics

  1. Gorgeous. Congrats. My last mortgage loan got pushed out 2 weeks as well due to the Mortgage company’s oversight and it was hard to be patient when I was 38 weeks pregnant. We ended up closing and moving my mom on my due date.

  2. Congrats, your new home is gorgeous!! Love the dark flooring and bookcases. I had a horrible time with my lender last year, closing took 3 months and I wasn’t even building, just buying a foreclosure. It’s such a mess of paperwork that I swear no one knew what was going on!

  3. Congrats you guys. Your home is beautiful and in time you will forget the horror stories…or at least they will be a more distant migraine. My last moved I swore was my last move and that I would be leaving in a casket versus going through that nightmare again. Now that it has been 2 years, I am only 75% stuck on not moving 🙂 The best advice someone gave me was this is your “forever” home, so there is no rush to unpack every box or buy new items. Take your time and make sure you are happy with all the decisions.

  4. @Everybody, thank you!!! Your congrats are very sweet!

    @Leslie, we are taking our time with everything except the items we knew we wanted in advance and already budgeted for, like the nice fridge and the projector and screen when we’re done unpacking. But the new guest bedroom set or a dining room table can wait…

  5. Whew,
    Bet your glad that’s over. Who said that building a house is fun apparently never built one. We had some issues of our own when we built so I guess misery loves company because I was not too shocked about all the mishaps that actually happened. (A few too many similarities too) keys and incompetence of others to name a few.

    Congrats and enjoy your lovely home.

  6. The only thing I would have done differently is left the doors on the office; with kids, having an open floor plan would mean chaos everywhere, and I’d need to be able to close doors to get anything done. But since you don’t have kids, that’s not an issue for you!

  7. I’m very happy for you. I’m sure you are relieved and happy that you will probably never have to do that again. It’s nice to have a brand new home. Now you can make your own memories.

  8. Gorgeous home Crystal! Love the kitchen & library. Look forward to seeing more pictures, especially those of you, planking:)))

    Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

  9. Eep, how am I just now seeing this? I swear, I’ve been checking in on a daily basis…

    Congrats on closing and moving. Your house looks lovely, and I hope you’ll both (all) enjoy living there for many years to come. It looks like you have so much space, but if your experience is anything like ours, it will fill up before you know it!

    How are the dogs adjusting to the big change?

  10. Random thought—Make sure you seal your granite!
    That is something that builders dont do (and they didnt tell us to do it the home inspector did). If you dont seal it it can stain easily (who would have thought granite could stain).
    You should seal your tile and grout too…but at least if that stains you only have to replace 1 or 2 tiles instead of the whole slab.

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  12. Beautiful house — congratulations! I’m glad that all of the mortgage stuff worked out, but it would be hard to work with someone who requested docs in such a freak-out way.

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