Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Bank Appraisal is In

(Karann) After being on pins and needles for the last week, we finally got word from our bank, Northwest Community Bank, that our appraisal is complete and everything is good. We had heard from our bank representative, Monica, earlier last week that the appraiser was having a hard time valuating the house because it was so different from traditional construction and there were no "comps", or compariable properties for her to use for reference. We got very worried that the house and land wouldn't appraise out, especially due to the current real estate market. I think we were lucky with the appraiser, she seemed genuinely interested in the project and sought as much information from a variety of sources to help her with her valuation. So, we are one step closer.
The other news is that we have decided to enter the house in a design/build competition. See the title and link at the top right of this blog. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and state utilities are sponsoring a competition (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place) to find three houses that are as close to zero energy homes as possible. They are even awarding cash prizes!! The education opportunities are great as well. We think our house will be an excellent example of a zero energy home, so I've been putting together everything required for the application. The deadline is May 1, with finalists being announced by May 15th. The awards will not be anounced until after the houses are built, December, 2010.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Sad Separation, but Moving Forward

(Karann) While on our Spring Break vacation in Florida, we did some serious soul searching and number crunching regarding how to proceed financially on our house.  Our bank was on-board with us, however they were quite nervous about us being our own GC (as were we).  When we received the initial proposal and bid from our chosen GC, David Jones, Jeremy decided we needed a second opinion-always a good decision when you are spending this kind of money.  When we returned from our vacation, we met with the 2nd GC (also Dave), and were surprised to get a much lower cost for the exact same proposal (we insisted it was an apples to apples comparison).  Dave (Nugent) was able to find a SIP provider that was much less expensive (by cutting out a middle man) and offered some other minor alternatives that saved money.  We thought long and hard, and decided to go with the cheaper guy.  It was a very sad separation from our first GC who has spent so much time on planning our project, educating us, and sharing green building experiences with us for the last 6 months.  I was especially sad.  Jeremy kept reminding me..."it's business, not personal".  
So we're moving forward.  Our building and zoning permits are ready to be picked up.  Those were surprisingly easy to get.  Our new GC, Dave, has been very good at getting everything we needed for our bank quickly and correctly.  And we should be set to close on our construction loan as soon as the appraisal and title search is complete.  We have a "break ground" date of May 4.  Wow, we have an actual date.  Hopefully, we can start on schedule.