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Build a Home Series: Finally Closed and Pics

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.  :-D

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.  :-)

Build a Home Series: Closing Delayed…Again

Just a quick update.  We were supposed to close yesterday on our new home.  Didn’t happen.  Were supposed to close today instead.  Didn’t happen.  We’ll supposedly be closing now on Monday at 2pm but won’t get our keys until funding goes through Tuesday morning.  Is Columbus Day even a real holiday?

Anyway, I am way too stressed right now to give a play by play, but I am sure I’ll have a ton to say next week…especially if we get delayed again…

Thanks for all of your notes of support!  And thanks for reading BFS!

Build a Home Series – Looks Like a Home! Almost There!

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. The update last week showed lots of new stuff like tile and a new door.  This week, I have more pictures for you – it’s 99% done!!!  Just needs a few more things and a good clean!


So we are now in the middle of Week 24 and we close a week from today!!!  1 week to go!!!  They spent the last week adding fixtures, painting, finishing all of the floors, adding counter tops, fencing in the back yard, and adding the front yard stuff.  Take a look!


Welcome to our new house…so close!!!

Nice Booty!

Looks good from the back too. :-)

Our Fenced Backyard

This is the majority of our backyard although there is some more on each side…

Kitchen 99% Done

Only the backsplash to go (and the new fridge that is being delivered the day after closing).

Open Concept

I love this open concept design!!!

Master Bath Almost Done

This is the best picture I can get with my phone’s camera…I’ll work on it…

Linen Closet and Master Shower

Yeah, like you care about the linen closet…

Master Bedroom Closet

Is it wrong to love a closet this much? I barely own enough to fill a half of MY side, and I LOVE IT!!! I dream of all the stuff I can store here…


The library shelves were literally painted about 5 minutes before I took this picture…I bought the crew a couple of pizzas for staying past 7pm to get them done and looking AWESOME!

Media Room Shelves

These look fantastic and I hugged the dude who made them…he was covered in saw dust and I am an asthmatic, but he totally got Crystal pounced anyway. :-)


Dining Room

We have picture frames under the windows AND an archway waiting for texture and paint, yay!!!

Dining Room Arch

And another one of the archway that caused so much craziness, lol. Mr. BFS is super happy!

Issues Being Resolved

Well, first an update from last week, we ended up using the builder’s title company, but my lender is covering their actual title cost and they are waiving $379 in the extra fees.  So, it worked out the same as it would have with my lender’s title company.  Yay!  AND better news – our house is definitely taxed this year as unimproved land, so those $2100 of taxes in the closing costs just jumped down to less than $150!!!  WHOO-HOO!!!  Our total closing costs are down to less than $50k!!!  That made my freaking day!!!

Let’s see, we have a long list of little texture and paint touch-ups, burned out bulbs, and misaligned drawers and windows that they are fixing over the next 2-3 days, but here are the biggest things left:

  • The attic stairs won’t come down…yep, we are locked out from one a/c unit and two water heaters.  That’s a big one…they said it will be handled by Friday.
  • One of the lights in the kitchen was supposed to be wired in with all of the others and that should be done tomorrow.
  • The granite ledge/back splash in the master bathroom needs to be wrapped up after the mirror is installed and framed.
  • The back splash in the kitchen is being installed tomorrow as well.


Sooooooo…what do you think so far?  Come on, be honest!

Closing Costs for a New Home – Here is Your Arm and Leg…

Since the new closing date of October 4, 2012 seems to be an actual, realistic day, I’ve been going over all our numbers to make sure we are really on target for the move.  I’ll take some more pictures to post for you on Thursday as they finish up all of the big stuff (yay!!!), but in the meantime, here is where we are standing before closing on our new home:

New Home Numbers

Closing is going to be expensive.  The builder offered us 3% of the final home price to put towards closing costs or the price of the house as we saw fit, so we took 1% off the total price of the home and sent 2% to the closing costs to help us out a bit.  So the final price of our new home will be about $260,000.  Our loan amount will be about $208,000.  Here are how the closing costs are breaking down:

  • 20% down payment – $52,000
  • Loan Fees from the Lender – $2180
  • Loan Fees from the Title Company and Builder ($410 might be waived) – $3830
  • Prepaid October Interest – $635
  • Homeowner’s Insurance for one year – $1122
  • Property Taxes for the rest of 2012 (worst case scenario if they have it on file as improved land) – $2100
  • Credit from Builder for Closing Costs – $5200
  • Credit from Lender for Title – $1700
  • Return of Earnest Money – $2750
  • Return of Items already paid for like the Appraiser and Credit Reports – $485
  • Total Money Needed at Closing – $51,732 (best case $50,000 depending on property taxes and waived fees)

Our Reaction

We sort of expected this to be a tiny bit worse.  I’m actually happy that our closing date has been pushed back 5 times and we didn’t close August 28, 2012 as originally planned.  This extra month has given us time to really pad ourselves.  The closing day will still hurt like a b*tch, but we’ll still have breathing room that makes us happy.  :-)

Where the Money is Coming From

Our cash is currently spread out between lots of sub-accounts and cash on hand that we’ve built up since April.  The closing costs are zeroing out a few of our supplies:

  • Checking (not touching it, so there is a paycheck of padding there)
  • Emergency Fund (only using a few thousand, so we’ll still have a couple of paychecks of padding here)
  • Taxes (not touching them of course)
  • Home and Auto (using it all)
  • Investments (using it all)
  • Vacation (using it all)
  • Fun Money for Hubby (using it all)
  • Fun Money for Me (using it all)
  • Self-Employment Income Padding (not touching it so it will also have 3-4 paychecks of padding as usual)
  • Cash on Hand (using a lot of it for moving costs like the actual movers, backyard sodding, blinds, etc)
  • Paypal (not touching it and there is a paycheck of padding there too)

What Will be Left

After closing and moving, we will want to start rebuilding our reserves.  Even if we completely stop making income of any sort and refuse to cut any expenses at all (including the new ones), we’ll still have about 3-4 months of total padding in straight savings, so yay!  That would give us enough time to at least sell the huge house at a loss.  We will also have about 3 months of straight-up expenses in our stock investments.  And another 8 months in retirement accounts.  If we decided to keep the huge house, we could technically sell our current one for another 18 months of income.  But the plan is NOT to stop making money of any sort…I just like worst case scenarios that still don’t completely suck…

If we just continue bringing in what we have been in the slower months of this year, we can cover all of our bills and fully fund our Roth IRA’s.  If we have a low 6 months and the average of the last year over the other 6 months, we’ll also be able to pad our savings, make a few investments, payoff the current mortgage next year as planned, and even start having pure fun money again.

Overall, we are in a good spot.  The rental income from our current house and from our roommates already covers 25-35% of our total expenses (which include taxes).  So we even have that padding in case the worst month of income ever decides to pop up.  I’ll also have a way better idea of what is “normal” for us over the next 6 months.  I really can’t wait to have a little more experience under our belts so everything isn’t a constant surprise, lol.

What are you thinking?  Were your closing costs through the roof?  Are you saving for a new house right now?  What sort of padding do you like to have on hand?

Build a Home Series – Getting Closer and Title Frustrations

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. The update last week showed the new brick, our interior paint, and the start of our tile work.  This week, I have more pictures for you and I am venting about title policy craziness.


So we are now in the middle of Week 23 of getting a home built and we only have about 2 weeks to go (supposedly).  This is where finishing work is done and paperwork is wrapped up.  All of the brick is done, the tile inside is done, and they have been adding fixtures.  PLUS, the front door has been added AND the library shelves have been built!  It is changing by leaps and bounds every few days now.  Take a look!

Front of House

The texture spray was finally cleaned off the windows and coach lights were added.

Front Door

They installed the front door yesterday afternoon and we LOVE it!


They built the library shelves!!!

Master Bathroom Shower

Here is our master bath shower…or as Isabelle named it, “The Monkey Sex Shower”. ;-P

Master Bath Garden Tub

I really like how the master bath tub came out!

Downstairs Guest Bedroom

They installed all of the fans and cleaned the windows finally!

One of the Upstairs Guest Bathrooms

All 3 of the guest bathrooms are looking great!

Issues Being Resolved

We are still waiting for the dining room door to the kitchen to be switched to an archway.  We also had to point out that there should be picture frame trim all along the back wall of the dining room too.  There is still a nicked wire to be replaced and a small drywall repair to be made.  Lastly, the cabinetry in the kitchen on one wall needs to be cut into to make room for the double oven.  Overall, there is still 1-2 weeks of work left depending on how fast they really get going…

Stupid Title Policy

I have been trying to secure ourselves the best closing deal as possible by shopping around.  Our current mortgage provider has been trying to keep our business every step of the way.  They even have stepped up to the plate to cover our title policy costs since another lending company does the same thing with our builder.  The tricky part is that our lender wants to use their own title company and our builder says that switching title companies is impossible.  They only use Company A and that’s that.  Well, I thought that was hinky and spoke to our lender.  Our lender says it is downright illegal and called the builder last Friday to remind them of that…

The good news is that our lender will cover the title policy whether or not we end up using the builder’s title company.  But the lender’s title company will waive about $400 in extra fees on top of the title policy and I want that.  I just can’t help feel a bit blackmailed to use the builder’s preferred lender.  I shouldn’t be forced to work with them just to get a title policy covered.  In fact, even though I may have switched if the builder’s lender had lower fees overall, I am now angry enough to give my current lender a little more breathing room just because I am stubborn and do not like to be bullied.

Well, over the weekend, it worked out that Company A had already started the title work and would be owed money if we switched now, so the builder is covering the extra costs that occur above and beyond what Company A will cost compared to the company my lender wanted to use.  Yay!

Big picture:  We should be at the closing table in 2-3 weeks.  :-)

Have you ever had something as annoying as this pop up at the last minute?

Build a Home Series – Brick, Tile, and Oops

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.  The update last week showed them bricking our house.  This week, that is 99% done.  They’ve also painted inside and have started to lay tile!


So we are now in the middle of Week 22 of getting a home built and we only have about 2-3 weeks to go (supposedly).  They bricked the entire outside now except for the floor of the front porch.  They also painted the main color inside and have started to lay tile.

Here are some updated photos:

Front of Our House with Brick

Only the front porch to go, yay!

Back of Our House

99% of the brick is done, so they just need to paint the trim to finish up the outside!

Family Room and Breakfast Nook Tile

They started laying tile in the family room and breakfast nook downstairs!

Our Downstairs Tile

This is the tile color for the main floor. The bathrooms will have a slightly different color (since it was a cheaper option), but we wanted the main floor to pop.


Issues Updates

The issues being handled right now include a nicked wire in the family room, a dry wall repair at the top of the stairs, and a big problem they have promised to fix.  They put a door from the dining room going to the kitchen instead of an archway.  It would make it really difficult to carry hot food from the oven to the table when you have a door in your way.  Especially since that door can bounce off the pantry doors if they are open and smack you in the face.  Needless to say, adding back in another archway is probably a pain in the butt, but it is necessary.

Dining Room Door that Should Not Exist

This is the dining room-to-kitchen doorway that is being converted into an open archway.

Stuff I Have to Stay on Top Of

Our closing date was originally August 31, then September 4, then September 10, then September 20, and now September 28.  Since our estimated closing date keeps getting pushed back, I have to keep calling and pushing back the delivery of our appliances.  The refrigerator, washer, and dryer have been waiting to be delivered and installed for more than a month.  I also have to call our cable provider again and push back the switch over date.  Plus, when we are pretty sure we are truly moving in, I need to schedule the actual movers and have the new blinds installed.  And we have started packing.  I am truly hoping nothing goes awry with all of the changes.

How are your projects going now?

Build a Home Series – Quick Update

Hey everybody!  I am heading out to Denver tomorrow for the rest of the week for the Financial Blogger Conference 2012!  I’ll make sure to write up a complete rundown about the whole thing next week (just like I did last year).  In the meantime, some great guest posters are in this week as well as a Reader Profile for Friday as usual.While I’m out, our house will keep getting worked on and Mr. BFS will be monitoring that and the business.  :-D  It is nice to have backup.  :-)

House Update

They started the brick at the end of last week and lots of stuff is happening inside too.  Here are some quick updated pictures from Monday.  I bet the ones next week will be amazing comparably, lol.  But I am glad to see a house really starting to get fleshed out.

Front of Our New House

They are working their butts off on finishing the brick…

Back of Our New House

They only have the columns on the patio left to brick…

Our New Kitchen

They need to correct the cabinets where the double oven is going, but it is awesome to see what this will look like soon…

The Dining Room

They are already making the pretty finishes in the dining room…


Entry to Master Bath

That tub can easily fit two people but it is all sorts of icky right now…


Our Master Shower

Yep, the shower is big enough for them to store half the vanity in it, lol. That is a bench seat in the corner and I think 3 people could stand in the shower without touching…


Look forward to getting back on here next week!!!  Hope you all have a fantastic week!!!