Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Building a House...A cautionary tale

I mentioned in my life update post that we had decided to build a new home here in Tennessee.  We've been so excited about the prospect of building from scratch and getting the home we really, really want.  We had mixed reactions from friends and family to this idea.  I have a few friends who have built recently and had amazing experiences - they had so much fun with the process and would do it again in a heartbeat.  We also had some warning from family & their friends that it can be an incredibly trying and stressful process, and that some of the local builders had not so great reputations.

In the end, we decided to go with a national builder - Beazer Homes - so we don't get a whole lot of customization options - but sticking to a timeline, transparency in the process, and strict quality control are much more highly scrutinized with a national company who don't just have a local reputation to uphold, but also their reputation in all areas they are building.  In our case, Beazer has communities in 13 states, so we figured they had to be doing something right.

I had read a few negative reviews online for their communities in other states - but I always try to take those with a grain of salt.  Unhappy people are much quicker to speak up than those who are incredibly happy.  And definitely more than (what I assume are the majority of) people who are adequately satisfied.  I was also comforted by the fact that a high ranking employee responded to most, if not all, of those complaints to try and help the owners come to a resolution.  So I felt pretty confident in our decision.

We even got their social media department's attention with this cutie!
Still waiting to hear from them on that advertising deal though...

But anyway, we were excited - not only to move in, but to watch and document the building process.  We chose our model and floor plan.  The home is called the Ashford.  The floor plan we chose has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a study, walk-in pantry, bonus room, and covered porch.

This is an example of the elevation we chose, along with our chosen floor plans  -

There were no model homes of this floor plan, but we loved what we saw on paper.

Once that was finalized, we made our appointment for our wiring (we're getting a cable hook up in the garage...welcome to Tennessee), and for our exterior and interior options (setting that was a bit of a hassle, but it was worked out quickly and the actual appointment was amazing (and they really liked us.  They said the average appointment was 2 hours long and they had done one the day before that was 8 hours!  We were in and out in an hour and a half...boom)!

I was/am really excited about our choices.  We went with an exterior that is very similar to the photo above.  We both love neutrals and greys for a home color scheme, so we're sticking with that.

We were completely OBSESSED with the way the kitchen was styled in the community's model home (it was not our floor plan, but had a similar open design), so we mimicked it as much as we could. 

We did the stainless appliances, White cabinets, dark island, white/grey granite and a grey backsplash.  The difference is that we chose grey paint instead of that light green, and we chose a lighter hardwood for the floors.

So naturally, we were super excited to see everything start to come together.  We signed our contract at the end of June.  We picked out all our stuff mid-July.  Here's what our lot looked like when we signed...

And here's what our lot looks like today (more than 2 months later)...

yeah...that's not a mistake.  The only thing that's changed is the house in the background is finished and just about move-in ready.  Our house?  Is now about 2 months behind schedule and instead of December, we're looking at a February move-in.

The reason?  A road on the back-half of the development area (the complete opposite side from our lot) needs to be paved before they can begin construction on those houses.  There had been a few days of rain that set back that process (how 3 days of rain = 2 months of progress...I'm not really sure).  We tried to convince the builders that the road in question did not impact our build at all and rather than just sit around waiting to get that road paved, they may as well get started on our home and keep the momentum going.  They actually entertained us for a minute.  But as it turns out, they split the phase into 2 parts.  1A and 1B.  Building permits for 1B haven't been issued yet, and won't be until the road is done.  Guess who's house is in 1B (despite being physically located in 1A)?  Oh yes.  So even though they technically could be building our house right now, they can't.  Because, bureaucracy.  The city won't even entertain a special permit to move our lot into the 1A group (at least, that's what they told us).  

So dealing with that delay has been a major headache.  We seriously considered walking away.  Especially because, with my new job, the location is no longer ideal - it's actually kind of terrible.  We looked at a few other homes and communities.  In the end (at least for now), we've decided to stick with it.  It's a major pain in the ass, but we really do love the home we chose and it is really hard to find something that lives up to it (we did find a community we liked better - but it was in an even worse location and made zero sense whatsoever, which was a bummer).  

Luckily, they just finished a new model with our exact floor plan recently.  We were able to walk through and get a really good feel for what we would be moving into (in 6 months..........).  It helped to get us excited about the situation again and reaffirmed our decision to stick with it (for now...god only knows what will happen if they try and tell us that there's been another delay).

In the meantime, I'm hoping that I'll be able to post updates about the progress very soon and keep you all posted about our experience building a new home.  And until next time.... is now storming...add another month to our  but no, really.


  1. well it's beautiful and I love the finishings you've picked. I REALLY hope things speed up for your sake. I feel like new builds always seem to be behind.

  2. Thank you! I think what I'm most excited about (besides being in our own space again) is seeing how all the finishings come together in the house!

    And luckily, we found out that the curbs and gutters were completed on the road, so yesterday's rain should not have put the schedule behind at all. Today and tomorrow's rain however.....