Friday, March 30, 2012

The Wait Is Over

We accepted the offer on our home Tuesday 2/7/12.  The following weekend, we had an appointment with Jenn just to touch base and review the current plan (it had been scheduled before we got an offer).  With the recent good news, this meeting was now out of necessity, not just for fun.  We informed her of our change in floor plans again and she was great about it.  After all things were added and changed that we wanted, The Litchfield ended up being very close price-wise to the Montgomery and required less structural changes based on our needs & wants.

Wayne Homes has incentive plans that change each month.  The sale at the time of our meeting was for a full basement, fireplace up to $5500, and $5000 in design options for Signature series homes.  We had been stalking their cycle of incentives since July 2011, so we knew this was about as good as it would get.  It would expire in a week though.  We left that meeting with our updated quote and ran the numbers.  We also had to come up with a plan since we would soon be homeless.

We decided to sign the contract with WH to lock in the incentives.  Doing so did not hold us to a timeline or a dig date.  It was Valentine's Day when we signed.  Happy V-Day, honey, you get a garage floor drain (inside joke)!  We put down a $500 deposit and got a wonderfully organized binder with all kinds of instructions and checklists.  I am a sucker for organization, office supplies, and spreadsheets, so this made me giddy.  They also gave us a WH sign to stick in the lot and some flags to mark out the corners of the home.

Over the next 10 days or so, we found a bank who offered an FHA construction loan.  Since we didn't have the land paid off and didn't have 20% for a conventional loan, this was our only option.  Our loan officer this time is great.  He responds, knows his stuff, and is on the ball.

The Wait Begins

I'll try to get this thing caught up to March 2012 soon.

Fall/Winter 2011

Now that we had our land, the next step was selling the house.  We tried to focus our efforts on decluttering and making some minor repairs in order to get it market-ready.  However, we kept daydreaming of the new house in the meantime.  We visited Wayne Home models in Ashland and Sandusky and spoke with their consultants about our plan, home options, and finishes.  Everyone we spoke to was very helpful and friendly, full of good ideas.  That's one thing we have loved about WH since day one.  There has never been a bad experience with any of their employees or contractors to date.  They have all been very responsive to questions and very patient with our (hundreds of ) questions.

Also during this time, we went back and forth with floor plans...Montgomery, Stafford, McAllister, back to Montgomery.  Jenn was extremely patient and calm with us during this time.  Then I was bored one day and decided to look at the Signature Series plans, which we had been avoiding due to cost.  The Litchfield Tradition Elevation was perfect! When looking at the other floor plans, we were bumping out walls, adding square footage, moving basement stairs, etc.  These were all very pricey changes.  With the Litchfield, however, the only main change to the footprint we needed was to remove 1' to make it 65' wide due to lot restrictions.  This might just be the one.

To prepare our current home for the market in January 2012, we attacked it HGTV style.  We did major decluttering of closets and cabinets.  We filled a 10x9 storage unit with stuff and made about a dozen trips to Goodwill.  Per our realtor's research, we would be in for a long ride.  The average days on the market in this area is high.  Add to that the fact that our house has no basement or central air (all normal features here), and we geared up for a torturous 9-12 months.  One good thing is that this would allow us to pay off the land and we could use the equity as our 20% down payment.  Or so we thought.  Three weeks later, we had an offer for 95% of asking price.  Done!  Well, that was easy peasy.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Finding Land

We knew we wanted to build closer to my husband's school, but weren't sure how much land would cost and if we could get a loan.  Basically we had a ton of questions.  We looked near our current home in a newer development but the land was very pricey.  It was nice, as it already had sewer and water connections.  In the end, it was just too much.  Another spot was large, but required a well and septic, which made it too costly.  At this point we weren't sure if we were going to be able to build.

We both grew up 10 minutes from our current home and knew there were a couple of newer subdivisions.  In the end, we found 1/3 of an acre in a newer, quiet area.  It required well water, but had county sewer.  The most important part was the price was right.  We put in an offer.

We talked to a few banks about land loans.  Some don't offer them, others wanted a 30% downpayment.  We found a bank in the area with a 20% downpayment, 5 year ARM amortized over 30 years.  The loan process dragged out longer than we expected.  The communication from the loan officer was less than stellar and hindered the process.  Phone calls and emails were only returned after multiple attempts by me. 

In our contract to buy the land, we had a date to close on the loan.  Unfortunately, despite promises from the loan officer that the appraisal was in the works, I found out it had not been ordered until 2 days before the deadline.  I found out because the appraiser called me asking for directions to the land.  He said he had just received the request the night before.  Our loan officer left much to be desired when it came to communication and attention to detail.  A local branch manager stepped in to make sure our loan was finished in a timely manner.  Because we missed the deadline, we had to sign a contract extention.  We also had to renegotiate the purchase price, as the appraisal was less.  We finally closed on the loan and the land was ours. 

Our plan was to pay off the land in 1 year and then the building would start.  After all, we still had to sell our current home and were under the assumption it would take 9 months or more due to its features and the market.


After searching online for Wayne Homes Reviews and finding Brent's, we wanted to start this blog as another reference for people like us.  We have found his blog very helpful and informative.  He has some good ideas!

Summer 2011 - My husband and I were planning on selling our current house in early 2012.  As we are both meticulous, Type A planners, we started to formulate a plan for our next move.  We knew we wanted a fairly new ranch in a limited location, first floor laundry, basement, at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  We started looking through the MLS for existing homes that met our criteria, just to see what's out there.  Unfortunately after a few months, we still didn't find what we wanted.  We came to the conclusion we'd have to build to get what we wanted.  It seemed like such a daunting task.

My husband started casually gathering information from builders in the area.  He is a teacher and was on summer break, so he had time to do some investigating.  We were in no hurry, as we would have to sell our current home first and find land in a desirable location.  After talking with several builders, he stopped over to the Wayne Homes' Akron office.  Here he met Jenn, who would become our consultant.  He walked through the models.  They had a two story and a split level, neither of which we wanted.  However he took note of the finishes and workmanship.  Both Jenn and Dana were very helpful in explaining the building process from finding land to finding a loan.

Over the next month, we decided we were definitely going to build.  We quickly ruled out that we could not work with an individual builder, we needed to work with a larger company such as Wayne Homes.  There were three builders in our area we considered.  One only built on their land and limited any changes we wanted to make.  We didn't like any of the floor plans of the second builder and they were a bit too pricey for us.  Wayne Home was at the right price, had the perfect floor plans (too many to choose from-more on that later), and they would allow us to make whatever changes we wanted.

To ensure it would fit in our budget with our wants and needs, my husband met with Jenn and got a quote for the Montgomery floor plan.  We were pleased that it was affordable and had all the features we wanted.  Now that we knew we could afford to build and knew we would use Wayne Homes, the search for land started.