No. of Recommendations: 3
For those following this saga (not as exciting as Fred the Illegal Builder, but I consider that a good thing!)...

We have a floorplan. In some cases we had to convince the designer we weren't crazy (like with our rear-entry garage), but we are happy with it now. Some of the details remain to be finalized (two art niches are drawn, but we may want more, for example). However, none affect the next stage of this project: engineering.

The plans will be made into "drawings" and sent to a structural engineer who is to make certain the roof isn't likely to fall on our heads. We get to pay him about $1 per sq ft to put his little engineer stamp on the plans. This seems a little silly to me given that we didn't do anything weird in the design (no upstairs pool, or anything like that). But that's what will happen. Then it goes to civil for drainage. We have the soil from hell (just show it a photo of water and it will expand), so a plan must be created to be certain every drop of water drains away from the structure. Somewhere in here an electrical engineer is supposed to do something electrical...I need to chat with the builder again to see what this is...I can't see any reason for it in a simple residential structure. I would anticipate a good electrician can handle whatever is needed.

These will necessitate the first draws in a month or so. So now I have to finalize the loan (I've been toying with a few of them long enough...keeping them hanging... ;-) ). The best deal I've seen is a program in which we get approved for the loan, do our periodic draws, and anytime within the last 60 days before closing/finishing we can "modify" the loan to a different plan and/or interest rate (e.g. start with a 10/1 ARM and then convert to 30 year fixed). No extra charge. If the original interest rate is preferable, we can keep that instead. Nice feature given that everyone else has a construction rate, and then a different mortgage rate that one cannot lock until the last 30 days (and some charge a fee to do that). This plan also has the ability to do a simultaneous credit line that helps keep the main loan below the "jumbo" level (higher rates), its interest is tax deductible (like a 2nd mortgage or an equity credit line), and if we don't want to use it we don't have to (no cost for inactivity). But if we need it (draperies, landscaping, whatever) we have it.

Once engineering is done we go to permits, and pay the extortive "impact fees" they like to charge people who don't just buy a production tract home. That will probably be the second draw.

1poorguy (going appliance shopping today so I can give specifics to the cabinet people so they can do a "final" proposal; plus I need to spruce up around this house so we can put it on the market soon)
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