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Established Contributor
demi
Posts: 852
Registered: ‎09-18-2007
0

Did it

Yesterday, went out and bought a brand new house (well, actually a driveway, cause that is all there is right now!).  Was prequalified for 100% loan, interest only if I want it.  $260,000...in California !!!!  Prices have dropped so low, these houses were selling in the $325,000 range a year ago.  Almost 1600 square fee, clustered (but separate with yards) "courtyard development" (aka driveway LOL).   LOVE the plan.  Happenend a little faster than I expected, I still owe 10.3 months a debt managment plan to pay off all bills, but that will be down to 9.3 in a few days (paid today).  Loan guy knows all the nasty details, and hopefully they are not stringing me along, I assume they wouldn't be going thru all this otherwise (they made me prequalify before signing).  Wish me luck !!!
 
Weird, never having bought a house before, and first time ever dealing with new construction, how upgrades work...they want 50% of the upgrade cost when ordered, even though they gave me $10,000 in upgrades...understand the principle, if someone orders purple countertops they probably would have a hard time selling if the buyer fell thru, but caught me by surprise.  Will limit what I do, Fireplace is a first, corian (hopefully) countertops second, nice railing for the stair case.  That will probably take care of a little more than $10,000....so if I can manage it, hardwood floors in the downstairs.  My theory is do what would be difficult or impossible (or very expensive) to do later.  I have enough to probably go for about 20,000 in upgrades, and I get the money refunded in the end when its absorbed into the loan.  Just getting scary.
 
 

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Valued Contributor
Lady_Scarlet
Posts: 2,385
Registered: ‎09-10-2007
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Re: Did it

[ Edited ]
Save money - no corian--- upgrade to a high end laminate (like WIlsonart) - corian is probably above the 'standard' for that price range.  HArdwoods are nice - but cheaper (and less troublesome) is a clicklock laminate.  Upgrade any vinyl flooring at least one level (much better wear).  Upgrade carpet padding rather than carpet (high-end pad under bulder grade carpet feels good on bare feet) - it's the pad that reduces wear. Kitchen cabinets and appliances are always a good investment (do NOT go overboard).
 
Priority is anything Structural (bunp-outs, , basement bath rough-in, wiring (for ceiling fans -you can add the fan later), etc) - the rest you can DIY.
 
 
I love Courtyard homes - Post a link to the plan if you can.
 
When you go to choose upgrades remember that you are dealing with a salesperson (they want to sell you stuff) - so be selective and stick to your budget
 
 
and
 
Congrats!



Message Edited by Lady_Scarlet on 10-31-2007 08:41 PM
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Established Contributor
demi
Posts: 852
Registered: ‎09-18-2007
0

Re: Did it

Thanks for the advice....corian is not a absolute, just don't like tile...and think granite will be dated at some point.  The house I lived in with a roommate (her hobby was her house) had white corian counters, absolutely loved them.  You are right though...would be happy with a nice laminate.  The standard appliances are fine, gas stove (although I would love a viking LOL).  I will buy my own fridge, unless they have some great deal...would like a counter depth.    I think they also offer another similar product to corian, which might be less as well.  Kitchen is really important to me, the standard cabinets are very nice, but will check out all options.  When I said hardwood, I did mean something like Bruce or something which could be installed later-although I have helped install the real thing.  Nice to know about bump outs- there are a few and hadn't even thought they might be options.  Was shocked to find garage door opener an option, since you can't park in the driveway!  Also stair bannisters instead of half wall type staircase.  No basement.  Does come with a loft option instead of one of the bedrooms, which I will go for.
 
The link for the homebuilder is http://www.johnlainghomes.com/Meridian  .  My plan is the Katmandu.  They have been selected as the #1 homebuilder in the Sacramento area for customer satisfaction...so far I can't say enough good things about them....ask me in six months !!!  Did meet the construction supervisor, he gave me a card, told me to call if I had any questions, am very impressed with the customer service.

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Super Contributor
ShanetheMortgageMan
Posts: 8,254
Registered: ‎09-28-2007
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Re: Did it

Congrats, however if you haven't closed yet you aren't in the clear quite yet... but I'm sure your mortgage professional knows what he is doing, just don't count your chickens before they've hatched, etc. etc.  Getting pre-qualified is pretty much the standard when buying new construction, the builder doesn't want to tie up a home knowing they won't have a buyer when the home is ready to be sold.
Valued Contributor
Lady_Scarlet
Posts: 2,385
Registered: ‎09-10-2007
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Re: Did it

Don't go for the loft - keep the 3rd bedroom (better for re-sale)
 
Counter depth fridge is almost a requirement considering the placement
 
There are several products similar to corian (trip to Lowe's or Home Depot would help)  while there check prices on counter depth fridge before you meet with your design consultant.
 
Laing builds here also - good builder for the price range.
 
Would recommend wiring each bedroom for ceiling fans (not the fans themselves - just the wiring), check both instore and online (lowe's and HD) for cabinet organizers (the roll out drawers, etc) that you can install yourself instead of paying for these in the $10K  If budget allows do undercabinet lighting - you will love it while cooking/prepping, there are also non-hardwired styles available from L/HD for $20-70 depending on number of lights.  Add electrial outlets in Kitchen and Living area (if available)  Kitchen sink - deep depth (9-10") takes pans easier (pain to change later, especially if solid surface countertop).  Tile countertops in baths are easy to maintain - just seal the groutlines once a year
 
Keep your built-in/permanent items NEUTRAL - use paint, wallpaper and art for color.
 
Swapping light fixtures is a simple DIY.  So is installng new faucets, etc - hiring an electrician to run wires for fans &  lighting after construction is expensive (my step Dad is an electrician, I know the cost).
 
Larger HW heater if available (not gigantic though) and definately everything energy efficient.
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Super Contributor
MidnightVoice
Posts: 8,161
Registered: ‎03-25-2007
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Re: Did it

We have granite countertops and backsplash (ended up the same price as corian) and under cabinet lighting and it is absolutely wonderful  :smileyhappy:
 
Also had a gas line run in the kitchen when the house was built and finally got a gas range 10 years later  :smileyvery-happy:
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But to find a graceful way of staying slid
Established Contributor
demi
Posts: 852
Registered: ‎09-18-2007
0

Re: Did it

Thanks for your responses.  Shane, yes I know very well I am not approved, they don't seem to think it will be a problem (I have a pretty good income, around 100,000, with raise expected shortly), but there is a reason I am taking sleep medication at night LOL.  Previous credit problems, pretty decent credit scores now.  Of course, part of me expects them to come back with "oh, we need a big down."...but then I don't think they would be telling me I was ok if they didn't think there was a good chance...its a lot of work for them as well.
 
I believe it comes prewired for fans, but will double check and make sure they were not talking about an upgraded unit for sale.  My counter choice, more than likely will be white...whatever it is.  My ideal kitchen would be white cabinets and counter, but they are no longer offering the white cabinets, and after seeing them in a model, I wouldn't want them....to euro looking for me.  I have done a lot of the type of work you are talking about myself.  My roomate remodeled her kitchen (well, actuall, over time span, everything in her house) and went thru the lighting issues, hardwood floor, etc.  have laid real hardwood floor (then had finished), put up crown molding and floorboards.  Yes, I want a deep sink, preferrable not divded.  But of all upgrades, the most important to me is the fireplace.
 
Yes, I am excited, and scared to death at the same time.  I guess I just keep waiting for some ax to drop on the financing.  Since they are not ready to even begin construction for a while, the loan guy is going to hold off a few weeks, I am in a debt management plan, and just reached  less than 10 months with yesterdays payment.  I arranged with the debt management people to pay off all the smaller (3) amounts, hoping that will also boost my scores.  Have been clearing up some issues, now working on proving to the Trans Union I wasn't born in 1899 !

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Valued Contributor
Lady_Scarlet
Posts: 2,385
Registered: ‎09-10-2007
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Re: Did it

Granite has to be sealed every year and despite the beauty can crack if the cabinets are not perfectly plumb or the instalation is faulty.  It also weighs A LOT!
 
Priced Granite, corian and laminate for a kitchen (almost 48 run feet) - difference in cost really depends on how much you need.  At 48 feet it was substantial! Put a hot pan on even a tiny amount of water (drops) on granite and you are asking for a crack.  If you will have many angles (or curves) then granite is more difficult to install.  Solid surface can be routed to accept a marble pastry board or even a cutting surface.  It can be heated and bent into any shape (including curved stairs).
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Established Contributor
demi
Posts: 852
Registered: ‎09-18-2007
0

Re: Did it

While I do love granite, what I love is the traditional white with black you see in the Sierras, and very rarely see as a counter top.  I just think its being used a lot, and will probably go out of style (but then again, I was the one who though the ford Pinto would become a classic LOL).   The kitchen is really important to me...its really my favorite room (weirdo!).  I love to cook and entertain.  But, the basics in these homes are very nice, will not require much in upgrades to make me happy in the kitchen...basically countertop and probably the sink.  Will probably want stanless steel stove and dishwasher, not sure if that is an upgrade or not.   Right now I have tile, which I hate..especially the wide grout.  I can easily live with it in bathroom, I will take basically what is offered (as long its not wide grout).  One thing they have offerred is to let me "shop" in the design center to get a idea of what upgrades cost before I have to make the decisions, which I would do today if I could !  My two closest friends are and Interior Designer and a "decorator nerd", so its going to be tuff decisions.
 
Just talked to the loan guy, he wants to put off the application for a few weeks until we know my last payments to the debt management has gone thru..although his underwriter has already said they are ok.  Right now the interest rate would be around 6.625%, but who knows what will happen.  I need to get letters from the debt management plan indicating when it will be paid off, payment history, etc.  Guess it will be sleeping pills for a few more weeks !!

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Regular Contributor
MsRN2000
Posts: 236
Registered: ‎07-21-2007
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Re: Did it



demi wrote:
Yesterday, went out and bought a brand new house (well, actually a driveway, cause that is all there is right now!).  Was prequalified for 100% loan, interest only if I want it.  $260,000...in California !!!!  Prices have dropped so low, these houses were selling in the $325,000 range a year ago.  Almost 1600 square fee, clustered (but separate with yards) "courtyard development" (aka driveway LOL).   LOVE the plan.  Happenend a little faster than I expected, I still owe 10.3 months a debt managment plan to pay off all bills, but that will be down to 9.3 in a few days (paid today).  Loan guy knows all the nasty details, and hopefully they are not stringing me along, I assume they wouldn't be going thru all this otherwise (they made me prequalify before signing).  Wish me luck !!!
 

Congratulations!!  Who are you financing through? I will be doing the same thing within the next 6 months or so - and I would like to know which companies still offer 100% financing on construction lonas.

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