Locking-in An Interest Rate – A Real Pain!

I think we’re within 60 days of actually closing on our house.  No, I don’t have any concrete proof that we’ll close within 60 days but according to our salesman, the construction manager has some incentives to be done within 100 days of May 15.  I think he put it that way just to confuse me.

percentageI had to find a calendar and then count 100 days from May 15 which brought me to about mid-August.  Now why didn’t he just say that in the first place?  See why building a house is so stressful!  Even if it doesn’t happen until the first week of September, we’re still close to 60 days away.

So what’s my point. Well, I’m getting there.  I was thinking, honestly, I was, about getting our interest rate set and then Erica, our brilliant Real Estate friend emails me that I should be locking in my interest rate right now.  She said that interest rates were starting to move up and I might want to get mine locked in now if that was possible.  Since I hadn’t heard a thing from our finance guys, I decided to find out from them when I could “lock-in”.

Erica had already found out that the financial guy managing our account had once again, changed.  Someone by the name of Ben (this is an alias to protect the ignorant) was not in charge of our account.  I hadn’t talked with or seen this guy since starting this whole mortgage financing activity way back in March.  I think they had pulled my credit report and decided that was all he needed to know about me and my wife.  I guess that’s good but I sure would like to know they are getting things done.

Anyway, I finally made contact with him and asked about locking in my interest rate.  He had no idea when we would be closing on our house so I enlightened him.  He seemed to accept what I said so he did a bunch of spreadsheets showing me various VA interest rates and costs associated with each. Apparently, you can lower your interest rate by paying additional “discount points” which are about 1% of your purchase price.  Well, this is already getting complicated.  The worse thing he was telling me was that interest rates were going up.

calculatorSo I looked at all the information he sent me, these were estimates of all our closing costs, any incentives provided by Wilshire Homes and the finance company, any monies already paid towards the home, and any monies we had committed to pay (downpayment).  It was a lot of numbers.  I haven’t crunched this many numbers since I last worked and that’s been 5 years ago!  But crunch numbers I did.  I also asked Erica to crunch the same numbers which she did probably a lot faster and better than I did.

Finally, after a few hours I decided to ask Ben to do one more spreadsheet with us paying two discount points and a lower interest rate.  I wanted to get our monthly payment down to something as reasonable as possible and not have to rob a bank trying to take enough money to the closing table whenever that time comes.

So, around 4 pm, Ben gave me our newest spreadsheet analysis and it looked pretty good.  I directed him, sounds official, to “lock in” that interest rate and Erica agreed that was best for us.  The time is important to note because the finance office closes at 5 pm and you have to lock-in by then or the rate could go up by the next morning.  But we met the 5 pm deadline by at least a few minutes!

So now we know what it’s going to cost us to get into this new house and how much we’re going to have to pay each month.  No, I’m not going to tell you either of those numbers because you really don’t want to know!

08db189e28d5df54b57752531e955027The day after I got our interest rate locked in, Erica sent me an email telling me that the Texas Vet Land Board home loan interest rate just jumped UP almost half a point!  That’s about the biggest jump in a long while.  But, we’re already locked in so it has no effect on us!  Hurray for doing what you should do when it’s time!  Now wasn’t all that really exciting?

I’m Still Here – As Lazy As Ever!

Boy, I’m am getting real lazy about keeping this blog up to date! And that’s a big understatement! I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone who’s been reading this just quit!

I have excuses, but most are pretty lame. Like, uh, my wife has been posting pictures and updates on Facebook so I didn’t feel the need to blog, or how about, we’ve been on vacation and I’ve been talking to most of the people I know about the house so I didn’t have to write about it too!

But, I intended this to be a historical record of our house being built so I had better start writing some history! And since I haven’t posted since 19 May, this will be a lot of catching up!

You wouldn’t believe the changes in our house. Last time I wrote, we were looking at the plumbing going in just prior to the foundation being poured. Well, we’re way, way beyond that now. The foundation has been poured, set and hidden by all the framing work.

Framing started on new foundation!
Framing started on new foundation!

The framing went up really, really fast. We went out to the house one evening and saw a lot of boards standing up and stuff being supported by other boards so much so that we didn’t dare go into the house. A few days later, we came back and the walls were all framed and we even had a roof. They’ve been busy putting up the weather paper (I think that’s what it’s called) on the outside of the house getting ready to start some stone and brick work.

Just before we left on vacation on 20 June, we walked through the house or through the frame of a house and got real excited. You could tell that we actually had a house being built. Even the electrical wiring was installed. I was checking to make sure all the outlets we had asked for were close to where we wanted them and found a couple that needed changing.

Electrical outlets at 5 ft 2 inches in study.
Electrical outlets at 5 ft 2 inches in study.

In my study, I plan to put a shelf about 5′ up on the wall opposite the entry doors. This shelf will hold things like my modem, router and a few network hard drives which just seem to clutter a desk if not placed out of the way. I did this in our old house and it worked great. Once all this stuff is on the shelf, I can quickly glance at the blinking lights to tell if everything is working like it should. Problem is, all this stuff has to be plugged in to an outlet. At the old house I had to string a cord down to the floor to a plug-in which wasn’t very neat looking and it required a very long cord on a power strip. With a plug-in at 5′ 2″ on the wall, I can just plug my stuff directly in to that and not string any power cords. Wow! What a genius! Thank you, thank you!

Anyway, I had asked for this one outlet at 5′ 2″ and two more down at the bottom in their regular position. Well, guess what? They had put two outlets up at 5′ 2″ and one down at the bottom, just opposite of what I wanted. That figures! I told Andy, our salesman, about this and he told Matt the construction manager who had this fixed pretty quickly.

That’s why you take these little walks through your house while it’s being built. The builder has floor plans that tell them what to do but the guys reading them sometime just don’t do it right. We’re actually not finding many problems. Most of the stuff we do find are easy to fix.

Oh, yeah, on one of our first visits after the framing was up, we found a big extra window in the master bedroom. We didn’t think we had seen this window before in the other homes we had toured. My wife also didn’t like where it was since wall space in the master is getting to be a premium. So, she called Andy to ask about having it removed. Andy called another salesman who’s home we had toured and sure enough, that house had that window removed also. So, when Andy told Matt about removing the window, he said it was perfect timing and it was an easy fix – window gone!

Bow windows in Master Bedroom.
Bow windows in Master Bedroom.

We also go to see our “bow” windows in the master bed room. Do they ever look nice. I don’t think they will give us as much additional space as we had hoped but they certainly add a little class to the place. I think my wife is planning on getting some one to put some custom drapes/shades/curtains, whatever, to cover these properly. I don’t know how we would do that otherwise. Those windows will certainly bring in the sunshine.

We also noticed that we’ve got a curved ceiling above the master shower. I didn’t expect this but it also looks really nice. It’s a big walk-in shower that will have a lot of fancy tile, I think? Boy, we talked about all the tile work, flooring and carpeting at the Design Center but I cannot remember what any of it looks like. My brain is just about maxed out, I think!

Ok, now for the big up date. We just got back from our vacation to Ft. Worth, Enid, and Ft. Cobb. on 3 July. Great times at all three places but now we need a vacation from our vacation!

Our house with stone work.
Our house with stone work.

Yesterday was the 4th of July and since we had nothing better to do and couldn’t wait any longer, we headed out to the house to see the latest changes. We had received some pics from Andy and Erica while away but they didn’t really show us how much had been done since we were gone.

We now have walls, ceilings and shelves! We can actually walk though a house now. There are rooms that didn’t really look like rooms before. We also have doors everywhere and some we didn’t expect to see. It’s amazing how covering all that framing makes the house seem bigger. We have got some really high ceilings in our entry way and in the kitchen and living room area. We’re getting crown molding in the formal dining room which I had forgotten and the baseboards going around on the floor are pretty impressive. We got rounded corners on every wall which I didn’t even think about asking for. In our last house, we had to pay an extra $25 for each rounded corner on a wall and yes, we sat down with the blue prints and counted every wall edge! This time, it’s just the way Wilshire Homes are built.

Our front porch.
Our front porch.

So, we’re really happy with how things are going so far. We haven’t been given anything like a closing date but I’m going to start pressing Andy for something. We are coming up on 60 days prior to our lease at the apartment being up and we have to give them notice of getting another lease or of our intent to move by 26 Sept. I think we’re going to be able to move well prior to that but I don’t know for sure. Andy says they are shooting for mid August but even the first week of September wouldn’t be bad.

We’ve added some pictures that you may or may not have already seen. These are for our benefit as well. We’ve got more pictures that’s for sure but we didn’t want to bore you with all of them!

If you have any questions about this process, don’t hesitate to ask. We’re not done yet but we’re getting there.