Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Choosing our Lot

After our exciting appointment with the mortgage consultant we could not wait to meet with our SC (sales consultant with David Weekley) so that we could finally guarantee our favorite lot. We did wait for our pre-approval information to come in before we met with her.

While waiting for out letter, we got an invitation to attend David Weekley preview night in early December. Basically this is an invitation to David Weekley's design center with a crash course in what to expect and everything you can choose to customize your home. This is something super exciting that David Weekley does to introduce you to the design center so that you don't walk in for the first time not knowing what to expect. They also have three model homes outside of their design center that you can look through to get even more ideas. Here are some pictures from my first visit! When you walk in to the Design Center the first thing you are greeted with is all of your cabinetry and sink options.

To the left you will find all of the lighting options. Something to note is they can order absolutely anything even if it's not in the design center!

And to the right, my absolute favorite room, the Granite room! Here are all of your granite options to choose from!

So in early January we finally were able to sit down and meet with our SC at the model home again. Before seeing her for this meeting we had driven around the neighborhood over and over again and chose a lot that we really loved. We had mentioned the lot to our SC sometime in December, but it was never officially ours. At this meeting with our SC we officially chose our lot. Which was a great thing because the other sales consultant in the model home had other buyers that stated they were interested in our lot. On top of guaranteeing our lot we put down $3000 in earnest which ends up going toward the down payment of our home. The most exciting part of the day was our Sold sign in the front yard!!

Stop by later for more!

<3 Elisabeth

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Getting Pre-Approved

Travis and I wanted to be sure that before we began building a house with David Weekley that we were pre-approved. We began doing a lot of research and asking questions to current homeowners about what kind of loan to get and what to expect. We never really understood fully what we were getting into and what we should be looking at until we talked to our sales consultant (which I will now refer to as our SC) at David Weekley. We meet with her in early November to talk to her about our options and to let her know that we were serious about building a home with them in Castle Hills. She was extremely informative about everything we could expect, while still letting us know that her facts might be off when it came to pre-approval and urged us to meet with someone. We began to ask her what our options were and she let us know that we could go to our banks or go with the mortgage company tied to David Weekley called Priority Home Mortgage.

We ended up making an appointment with David Weekley's mortgage company for November 30. I want you to know that our SC in no way forced us to choose this option, she only let us know it was available. Our SC also told us that we could always make an appointment and learn what we wanted to know and then decide not to use them either. We met with the Priority Home Mortgage consultant and learned so much about each and every different type of mortgage.

The FHA option, is the most popular option for first-time homebuyers. This gives you the option to only put 3% down on your mortgage, however something you may not realize is that you will be responsible for paying a PMI, known as Private Mortgage Investor. Basically PMI insures a percentage of your loan to reduce your lender's risk, in lamens terms you will be paying the PMI to a 3rd party until you have 20% equity into your house. What this means for you is that you will be paying your house payment and some other company and you will not build equity as quickly as you would with a conventional loan until that 20% is met. For more information I visited this site here.

The 80-15-5 option allows you to put only 5% down on your home and take out a 15% loan, which is technically a second mortgage, to cover your 20% equity right off the bat. Then you take an additional 80% loan to cover the remainder of the house, thus giving you a method of skirting PMI by paying strictly toward your equity instead of a 3rd party PMI. You will also see option like the 80-10-10 which is the same premise.

We decided on the 80-15-5 option because we would not have to worry about any PMI and build equity quicker in our home. We were also surprised to learn that we would be able to use this option as first-time home buyers because our credit was so good.

We were in great spirits after this appointment learning about all of our options and that we would be pre-approved for the basic cost of the house we wanted, but we still had to wait for our pre-approval letter that gave us the exact amount. We still decided that we would drive around our future neighborhood and choose our favorite lot, which I have pictured below.

Be sure to ask the professionals questions and do not be afraid to back out of a situation that you do not feel comfortable with.
<3 Elisabeth

Deciding on a Builder

Travis, my Fiance', and I decided that we wanted to be living in a house the spring before we got engaged. We tried to be realistic and both agreed that we wanted to be married before we purchased a house together. After getting engaged last June, the talk of buying a house came up again and this time we decided that we would only look at houses at that time. We were in between building and buying a preowned home for a long time. Travis wanted to buy an existing home and I wanted to build because I had seen my mother build with Darling just a few years ago. After looking around for a few weeks we went to see some homes in the area. We started by driving around to get a feel for the neighborhoods. After seeing the condition of a lot of the homes in existing neighborhoods we decided to build in a new community. There are several new communities throughout our area so we drove through the neighborhoods again to see how we felt.

In August 2011 we visited a community called Castle Hills, which we quickly fell in love with. We looked at the available builders before going into the model homes so that we did our homework (no pun intended!) and then went to visit the homes just to see what the builders had to offer. We visited two out of the three available builders because those homes were in our price range. We went to the first model home on the block which was built by Mercedes homes, I especially loved one of the floor plans with a sunroom that the cats would love. Upon walking in the doors, we were bombarded by the sales consultant. She cornered us and spoke to us for at least an hour. Even after telling her that we weren't interesting in building until at least January or February, she still pressured us into putting money down on a lot now. She stressed all of the deals she has available and pushed us into giving her our email information. We walked out of there bruised and honestly not wanting to see another model home. Instead we decided we would go to the David Weekley model home and then head home after that. We walked into the model home and saw the sales consultant was busy so we toured the home which was beautiful! After we looked around the whole house the sales consultant was free and began to talk to us. We were apprehensive at first, but also let her know that we were not interested in building until the following year. This sales consultant was a breath of fresh air, she gave us all of the information about the community and just a taste of what David Weekley had to offer and then just talked to us about what we did for work and what we did for fun. At least an hour passed and we did not even notice because it was so easy to talk to her. We left feeling really good and had David Weekley at the top of our list.

We did not decide right then that David Weekley would be our builder, instead we looked around a little bit more. Darling Homes, which my mom used a few years ago, was building in the area as well within our price range so we went to see what they had to offer. We decided as soon as we pulled up to the model home that the community was not right for us. The homes were zero lot homes, now when I say zero lot I mean no yard at all. After a few months of looking around and playing with the floor plans that we were given by David Weekley we decided that we were going to build with them. I really fell in love with "The Mayer" floor plan and could not get it out of my mind! (I added it below with all of the extra options you can add).
Keep in mind that choosing the right builder is the most important decision in this entire process. A lot of the builders offer great incentives like free wood floors and granite counters, do not let that help you make your decision. If you choose the right builder all of those will be worth the price and because other more important things are included in your home.

Yes, the biggest reason we went with David Weekley was the sales consultant, but now after having gone through a few months of the building process, we are so happy that we went with them!

<3 Elisabeth