Another Appraisal Update

I have to begin this post by extending another heart-felt thank you to our readers for all of the support you have shown us after the last update I posted. While this is definitely not the direction either of us saw our home building story to take, I’m so glad that we are able to share our experience with other people going through the process and alerting them to the possibility that this can, and does, happen.

I wish I had a definitive answer to give you as to whether or not we will be moving forward with our Allen Edwin home, but we’ve made a tiny bit of progress that I did want to update you on.

As I mentioned in my last post, we were waiting on the second appraisal to be ordered. There was a lot of back and forth as to who was supposed to order the appraisal and if any new comparable home sales could be provided to necessitate a second appraisal. Eventually, nearly 2 months after the original appraisal was conducted, we had to put our collective foot down and tell everyone involved (lender and builder) that we were done waiting: if a second appraisal could not be ordered within the week, we would be terminating our agreement with Allen Edwin. This, luckily, jump-started the conversation, and I am very relieved to report that the second appraisal has officially been ordered.

Within our agreement to proceed with the second appraisal, we also stipulated that we would be requiring the appraisal report to be returned by a specific date, meaning Allen Edwin has to do their part in scheduling the appraiser’s visit in a timely manner. They agreed to the timeline and to working with the appraiser to get him or her into the house as soon as possible. Hopefully we’ve eliminated any further delays caused by the builder.

Finally, I mentioned in my last post that we were encouraged to get a lawyer involved so we knew what rights we had. We were counseled by an attorney specializing in real estate law, and with his help drafted an official notice of action to Allen Edwin that was sent out the same day the appraisal was ordered. This notice stated, with supporting language from the purchase agreement, that Allen Edwin has no more than 15 days to return our down payment in the event that the second appraisal comes back under the sale price.

If you haven’t guessed yet, we aren’t messing around any more. We’ve been spinning our wheels for far too long and relying on others to work this out. We finally took matters into our own hands and set some deadlines, to which I am pleased to report have had a positive response so far. Let’s hope that trend continues through the receipt of the second appraisal and beyond.

A final note: we are under no misconceptions that the receipt of the second appraisal will be the end of the story. While we have a pretty good idea of which way the appraisal will go, we don’t know how Allen Edwin will react to this “final say” in the value of the home. But we do know that, once the final appraisal comes back, we will have done absolutely everything in our power to secure this house. Both Troy and I are firm believers that everything happens for a reason, and if this house isn’t meant to be ours, so be it.

We may not have all the answers yet, but we’re a step closer — and most importantly, we finally have a deadline in place.

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Appraisal Update

Hi, friends! It’s been way, way too long, and I apologize for that (especially to our new followers — thanks for subscribing even though I’ve been MIA for a while).

It has been quite the roller coaster for us these past few weeks. I’ll try to be concise, but know that this has all been happening over the last month, so imagine the following, but drawn out to a point where you want to tear your own hair out — that’s pretty much where I’m at, mentally.

I mentioned in my last post about the low appraisal — apparently this is one of the top reasons that new-home sales fall through, and I truly did not know how much trouble it would cause. Because ours was so astoundingly low, we were encouraged by the builder to seek alternate financing when our original lender decided not to order a second appraisal.

During our discussions with the new lender, it was made very clear that they did not believe there was any way that the house would appraise for the full asking price. Based on our original purchase agreement, a low appraisal is acceptable grounds for the seller to walk away from the home without losing any of the down payment money. Because the builder was very adamant about not lowering the purchase price, that’s exactly what we decided to do — walk away from the house that we’d been dreaming of for the past eight months. It was pretty torturous, but it would have been impossible for us to come up with the cash to make up the difference between the appraised price and the asking price.

When we originally asked for our contract to be dissolved on the basis of the low appraisal, the builder was very adamant that it was our fault because we couldn’t get financed through a different lender (in actuality, the lender agreed that the first appraisal was sufficient, and wouldn’t be able to finance us on those grounds). There was a lot of back and forth, and in all honesty, both Troy and I were appalled by the way we were treated by Allen Edwin during these conversations. I’m a big proponent of professionalism in any business transaction, and the lack of it in this situation was one of the reasons we were fully ready to terminate our contract with them. Lawyers were involved, it was a mess.

While this was all happening, unbeknownst to us, our original lender was still working to get this deal to go through. They were working out a way for the first appraisal to be thrown out (originally we were told this wasn’t possible) and get a second one ordered. This all happened on the day that we were ready to mail the contract termination papers to Allen Edwin. Since we still desperately want to get this house, we held off terminating the contract and have agreed to a second appraisal. The builder is still very firm on the purchase price, but by doing the second appraisal, they have absolutely no grounds for holding us at fault if we do end up choosing to walk away. This means we would get back much (but definitely not all) of the money we’ve already paid toward obtaining this house.

So now we are waiting on a second appraisal to be ordered. I will admit I’m a little concerned about overpaying for this house — I continue to have that lender’s voice in my head telling me it’s not worth the price — but I have to believe that the second appraisal will tell us once and for all whether that is the case or not.

One other quick piece of the story is that, when we thought we were terminating our contract and walking away from the house, we actually went out and looked at some other houses on the market. I quickly fell in love with a home just a few minutes away from our original house. While no one can guarantee it will still be available by the time we’d be ready to put in an offer, Troy and I both agree that it would be a great “plan B” if the appraisal comes in low (again) and we have to walk away (again).

I apologize for the word-heavy post and the lack of photos, but since there is a very real possibility that we may not ever live in the house I’ve been blogging about for months, we’ve had to try and not become any more emotionally attached. This means not being present during the “fun” part of this process when all of our finishes are being installed — this in and of itself is heartbreaking, especially because I can’t share any of that with you guys! But no matter what happens, we’ll eventually have a beautiful new home to reveal — as for which house it will be, your guess is as good as mine!

Paint, Flooring, Appraisals, and More Deliveries

Happy Monday! Things are moving along at the house. Last week was absolutely frigid, but there was still a lot of progress both inside and out.

Now that the drywall is done, the painters were in to prime. The primer is dyed to match the final color (Knitting Needles by Sherwin-Williams), so it gave us a great idea of our final “look.” We went with white ceilings to offset the gray walls.
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IMG_5602-0Flooring installation has also begun, starting with the least exciting of the bunch: laminate in the laundry room and guest bathrooms.

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Siding Slump

I don’t like it when I’m not updating the blog on a regular basis, because that means there’s not a lot going on at the house to give updates on!

Like I mentioned in my last post, this past week was devoted to the many (boring) steps of drywall installation, as well as siding installation. When we stopped by on Sunday, some of the siding on the front of the house had been completed.

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And the majority of work had been done on the southern-facing side of the house.IMG_5551 On Monday, we were in the area so we stopped by again. I don’t have any photos, but it looked like the majority of the back of the house (the side facing the woods) had been completed. Still quite a bit of work to be completed on the front and north-facing side, though.  Continue reading

Drywall Install

In just a day, the drywall crew had the entire house outfitted in hung drywall. It’s amazing how much bigger the rooms look now that they are drywalled in — you’d think it would be the opposite, but I am loving how open each room looks now!

The drywall process is 8 steps — 6 of which are mudding and sanding (and mudding and sanding and so forth) 6 different times. So that’s the majority of what is happening this week.

You can finally kind of see the rooms coming together in these photos!

This is the view from the front door. The first opening on the left is the formal dining room, and the kitchen is just past that on the left. The windows in the back of the house are my much-adored living room windows.

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100 Days

I have a little countdown on my computer desktop that has been tracking the number of days until our Guaranteed Occupancy Date of May 9. If you’re really good at math (or are smart enough to infer from the title of this post), the number of days reads exactly 100 today.

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And while that in itself is exciting, what’s even more exciting is the fact that we recently found out that we are even closer than 100 days — like, less than half that!

About a week and a half ago, we got a random email from our sales person with a flippant reference to us being “about 2 months away” from completion. To be honest, I kind of ignored the email (our timeline has been confused with another couples’ in the past). But that same day, Troy was talking to our mortgage broker who said that they had also been given the “2 month flag” from the Allen Edwin closing department.

My mind went straight into panic mode — but this wasn’t part of the plan! — before I realized that plans change, and this particular change means that we will likely be in our house two months ahead of schedule!
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Several excited text exchanges ensued

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