Week 47: Moving, Appliances, Lighting, Tile & Grading

This week was a whirlwind of a week for us.  The major thing this week was moving.  Yep, we had to move and our house isn’t even done yet.  The lease for the rental house we were in a couple miles from the build went month-to-month after January and although we were supposed to be able to stay as long as we wanted the owners wanted to move back in on May 1st!  Can you believe it?  So we talked with Matt to see how fast things could go to hurry things up and he said that we could move in on Saturday, May 7th.  So between May 1st and May 7th we needed to move in with MY PARENTS!  I never thought we’d have to move back in with my parents, but since it was just a week, I figured that I could deal with the commute and suck it up.  We actually were at Cameron’s lacrosse tournament in Eastern Washington this weekend so Joel and I took the day off on Wednesday and Thursday to get us all moved.  That meant Thursday night we were shackin’ with my parents.  To get us moved, my mom and I went to the new house to clean out the garage and vacuum up as much sawdust as possible.  Then we went back home to help Joel and the movers with the remainder of the packing and moving.  Surprisingly it all of our stuff fit in the new 3-car garage and after covering it with plastic we’re hoping that it doesn’t get covered with more construction dust over the next week.  I can’t wait until next week when we can actually move all of our stuff into the new house though…it’s going to be so exciting!

Besides moving, we also had all of the appliances installed!  We ended up choosing KitchenAid’s professional series and I love them!  They fit in the space perfectly and really look great…couldn’t be happier.  Of course, we haven’t used them yet 😉

More lighting was installed this week too.  Some of the rooms weren’t 100% finished, so they had to come back and finish up the install.  I’m really happy with all of the light fixtures that we chose and think that they really add a lot of personality for each of the rooms.  And the exterior lights were even installed!  One piece of glass was broken and besides that they look fantastic…definitely better than I had thought they would.  The oil rubbed bronze really pops against the white house and adds some much needed accents.

Finally I the majority of the tile was finished up this week – all except the vanity backsplash in the guest bath.  The Oceanside glass tile arrived and was installed in the powder room and looks phenomenal. It’s got the right amount of texture and shine for that room.  Besides that new install, all of the tile was grouted in the vanities for the master bath and the kitchen.  They turned out great and I honestly wouldn’t change any of it.

Finally, the backyard was graded out this week.  They had to finish backfilling over the septic drainfield as well as installing the drywell.

2016-04-22 16.01.22

The backyard is going to be so much fun for the boys to run around in this summer –

And, this weekend Cameron’s team WON the lacrosse tournament in tri-cities!!  Way to go wolves!!!

2016-05-01 15.24.34 HDR

Eastlake 3/4 Cardinal Team won the 3 Rivers Lacrosse Shootout this year! Whoo hoo!!!


Week 42: Tile, Trimwork, Stairs, Septic, and Rental House Issues

Rental House

This week seems to have gone by so quickly!   One of the major things that happened this week is that we received an email from the property manager from the house we’re renting a couple miles from the build.  He said that the owners of the house want to move back into the house and we need to move out at the END OF APRIL!!!  Matt was anticipating for the house to be finished at the END OF MAY!!  Seriously?  How does this happen to us?  Our 10-month lease ended in January and since then our contract switched over to month-to-month leasing.  And the contract states that we or the owner can terminate the lease with a 20 day notice.  We actually met the owner about 6 months ago when they were visiting from China getting baby gear out of their garage.  Back then he said that we should stay and rent the house for years!  And in January when I told the property manager that we were extending our stay past the 10-month term he said to stay until August.  Now they want to move back from China though?  Something must have changed with his Microsoft job.  Ugh.  And the property manager has no idea either – this totally blindsided him as well.

So now for the first time in the entire build, schedule matters.  Prior to this, Joel and I honestly didn’t care if it took longer to build, we just wanted it done right.  I mean, what’s a couple extra months in the end if it turns out great?  The boys have made some good friends in the neighborhood we’re renting in and it’s so close to the build, that it’s convenient to pop over and check things out.  Now getting done with the build at the end of May when we need to move out at the end of April seems WAY too long though.  Where are we going to live for those 4 weeks?!?  So I did what any person in my situation would do.  Ask our builder Matt, “what’s really going to be left to do after the last week of April?”  I explained our situation and wanted to see if there was any way we could speed things up a little and maybe move in sooner than later.  He took a couple days and was able to push a few things…and now we’ll be moving into the new house the first week of May!  Can you believe that?!?  The first week of May!!!  That means that we’re only between homes for a week.  A week, I can live with.  Can you say, “hello mom & dad?”  They live about 45 minutes away from us without traffic so the commute just to get the boys to school and us to work is going to be horrific.  But the boys love staying there and it’ll be so nice just to move with only having to pack our clothes.  The rest of our stuff can move into the garage of the new house until we get there a week later to unpack.  Although Matt will have the inside of the house finished, we’re not expecting the outside to be completed – we’ll likely still need the deck, driveway and landscaping.  The inside is good enough for me though!

For our final hail mary, we’re still trying to see if we can extend our lease another week so we can move straight from the rental into the new house, but we haven’t heard back from the owner and they’re not returning the emails that the property manager has sent (which has been 4 of them now).  Cross our fingers 😉  At least mom & dad’s is a good back up plan.

New House

Besides the rental house issues, things have been moving along at the house quite well.  There’s so many little details that took place in the house this week. The tile and hardwoods have been completed and that’s all of the flooring until the carpet is scheduled to be installed in the last week of April (just before we move in!).  The stairs were even installed this week and they look fantastic.  It took a few different tries to get the right stain color for the treads, but I think they turned out great.  On Thursday evening, Cameron and I went to check out the house and Matt was there covering the stairs to protect them from all the workers’…and we ended up helping and covering them for him.  Um, don’t say that I never lifted a finger to build the house, ha!

The trim sub consultant keeps on trucking – there’s so much that we’re having them do for us.  Besides installing all of the door moulding and baseboards throughout the house, there were two major accomplishments this week – creating the fireplace surround and starting on the interior transom windows.  First things first the fireplace looks amazing!  Monday morning Matt and I walked through what I wanted the design of the fireplace to be and he made it all happen!  I love how it sits on top of the bench/hearth we have, and that the mantle is so deep.  In our old house there would barely be enough room for Christmas stockings, let alone any other decor.  This one is sure to fit whatever I want to decorate with!

On Saturday, Joel and I went out to check out the progress and one of the trim guys was there working on the interior transom windows.  We weren’t quite sure if we were going to order these or have them built on-site, and now that we went with the latter, I couldn’t have imagined the ordered ones turning out so well.  The first side of the transoms have been installed, then they’ll need to be painted on both sides and glass added.  Then the other side of the transom trim can be added.  It looks so good for them finally to be filled in with moulding though!  All these little details are really making the house come together.

And did you notice that the oval windows in the great room in the last picture now have trim as well?  These were measured for and custom made by a different company and then installed this week.  The same goes true for the arched windows in the dining room and in the entry.

Besides all of the trimwork, they also added some more detail on the cabinetry.  Matt pointed out that if we added crown all the way around the kitchen hood (like I wanted) that the crown would basically touch the other pieces of crown in the coiffured ceiling.  So that’s out of the question…so that’s a bummer.  But I still think it looks good as is without it – definitely my favorite feature in the kitchen, and it’s pretty fun that I got to design it!  Feet were also added to a few cabinets throughout the house – which I also had custom designed based on some pictures of kitchens that I liked on Houzz.

Tile work also continued this week.  Although choosing and shopping for tile was my absolute least favorite thing to do for the entire build, I love seeing it all installed.  Most of our selections were pretty basic, but even seeing white subway tile instead of drywall is fun.  On top of that, the tile my mom and I chose for the backsplash behind the range arrived and I brought that out to the house.  On Wednesday, I met the tiling sub onsite to go through the layout with him.  Originally, we were going to have a different border that had a dark gray bardglio marble liner and then a white chair rail that matches the subway tile backsplash.  Unfortunately though, the bardiglio came in and looked too blue to really coordinate with the beautiful mosaic tile.  So we ended up using a carrara marble chair rail.  We needed it this week though so there wasn’t any time to special order in the profile of the moulding that I wanted.  Luckily, good ol’ Home Depot carries one that will work perfectly.  Not so perfectly is that you have to find the marble in gray and white.  And when you see them at the stores, about 80% of them look white with brown veining.  Ick.  I’m not kidding you – to find the 12 pieces that we needed to frame the backsplash, my mom and I went to 6 different Home Depot stores!  Unreal.  But now that we have them,  I love them and totally worth the drive time to find them. Plus at $6 each, they were about 7 times cheaper than the ones that I wanted to order in!  Score!!!  I hope it gets installed back behind the range soon – I can’t wait to see it on the wall!

The painters were also in the house this week.  They’ve set up a Dexter kill room, er, um, a “spray booth” in the downstairs storage room .  That room was ALWAYS creepy with the concrete floors and unfinished walls and ceilings but this tops it.  I can’t wait for electrical finishes to finally put some lights in this space.  It’s beyond creepy and way too dark in there now.

2016-03-26 13.33.59

The painters have set up a spray booth in the storage room downstairs where they can paint doors and whatever else they have. I’m steering clear of this space though until they take down all of the plastic. A little too Dexter-esque for my liking.

And one of my favorite doors was also installed this week!  We have a dutch pocket door between the mudroom and the hallway.  This way we can just pull out the bottom half of the door to keep our dog Bella in the mudroom during the day.  No baby gates needed here!  Isn’t it fantastic?  It’ll be so nice instead of shutting the entire door on her while we’re gone during the day – I hate doing that now in our rental house.

Also, the septic installation began this week.  After getting the septic notice on the title recorded with King County and submitted to the health department, the septic stub-out was released and they were ready to do the install right away.  By Saturday, they had the tank set in the ground.  While Joel and I checked out the progress inside the house, we laid out a blanket and the boys ate their Subway lunch by having a picnic on top of the rock pile.  Little do they know that that’ll eventually be part of the septic drainfield!

Moving Homes and Construction Lending

These past couple of weeks have been pretty busy!  We sold our home and it closed on March 31st…under 30 days.  So that meant we had to be out of the house and moved into our rental home on the weekend prior.  But we did it – got all moved in on March 28th & 29th.  With help from a moving company (Moving Help) for the heavy lifting and my Aunt Nancy for her mad-unpacking skills, things are looking pretty good for us as we’ve already settled into the new home.  So we’re officially non-home owners any longer!  Feels so strange not to really care about the home we’re living in; especially knowing that it’s for less than a year.  We haven’t put up any art or pictures and I’m not even sure that we will!  The house has been great though and our boys have already met kids to play with in the neighborhood.  Love that!

For our build, we’ve been working for the past few weeks with the lender getting all of our paperwork turned in.  The bank needs to have everything they normally require for lending (W2’s, bank statements, etc, in addition to things about what we’re building – our contract, budget, scope, plans, etc).  They then pass all the build information on to an appraiser who determines a “future appraised value” of the home.  And that value is what the banks end up lending on.  Most banks I found do an 80% loan to value.  So if your home’s future appraised value will be $1M once the construction is finished, they will lend you up to 80% of that, or $800,000 for the construction.  If your contract amount with the builder is more than that, they you’ll need to come up with the remainder in cash at closing.

We’ve hit a bit of a speedbump with our lender though.  At first we were going to use Banner Bank – a friend recommended them, and although the loan officer was great, he ended up changing the terms of the loan at the last minute (after we had already paid $550 for the appraisal, ugh).  He wanted to charge an origination fee of $7,500.  Although that might not sound too bad, this isn’t a loan that we’re keeping forever – at most we’ll only have it for a year, and then refinance once the construction is done.  So at this point we’re going through the whole process again with HomeStreet Bank.  I’ve been talking with the loan officer there for about a year now (off and on) asking lending questions and making sure we’re on track with our savings.   He’s been great and says that he can close by the end of the month (which was the same time frame as Banner Bank).  And he’s even waiving the appraisal fee!  His rate is the same as at Banner Bank too, and he doesn’t charge any origination points.  So far so good!  He has just submitted everything for the appraiser, put a rush order on it, and we should be hearing back with what the future appraised value is by Monday.  Fingers crossed it came in the same (or higher) as the appraisal from Banner Bank!  If not, we may end up actually going back to Banner and we would have wasted a few weeks in the process ugh.  I guess its Banner Bank vs. HomeStreet!

banner vs homestreet

30-day Loan Process Schedule

In case you’re wondering, here’s been our schedule working through the loan process (and what it’s estimated to be):

April 1-2: Turn in initial paperwork from Owner & Builder to Bank

April 3-5: Receive and sign Good Faith Estimate and lender’s underwriting paperwork

April 6-7: Revised budget based on a last minute design change (oops!)

April 8-13: Order Appraisal & Appraisal Time

April 14: Appraisal Completed

April 15-22: Underwriting

April 23-28: Escrow

April 29: Signing at Escrow

April 30: Closing…construction can officially begin!

Rental Home Figured Out

When we listed our home last week we had no idea where we would live in between when we sold the our home and when our new home would be built.  We thought maybe we would try to do a rent-back on our current home from the new owners, or that maybe we could extend the closing to 45 or 60 days.  Little did we know that we’d be getting 6 offers, and with people giving us $50,000 over our asking price we took the advice of our real estate agent who said, “get to closing and run!”  So we did, and we agreed to the closing date that the buyers wanted – March 30th!  Not even 30 days for us to find a home!  Now we really needed to find a home…and fast!

We figured at a minimum we could always find an apartment.  The tricky thing is the school districts.  Our oldest, Cameron, will be going into 3rd grade next year and we wanted him to start at his new school in the fall instead of switching halfway through the school year.  We figure, the earlier he can start making friends, the better.  The problem with this is that the new school district won’t let him into the school unless our house is completed and we have our certificate of occupancy.  And since there’s no way we can have that before September, that means that our intermediate rental needs to be in Cameron’s elementary school boundary (that way he’s guaranteed able to go to that school).

Trying to find a rental within an elementary school boundary limit is ridiculously hard!  First off, the boundary limit is so small.  And when we did some initial research we found 3 apartment complexes in the boundary.  The only issue is that really only one of them has decent apartments to rent.  Great – so now we have one apartment complex to look at.  And when I went this week, there was only ONE (1) 3-bedroom unit available.  And of course it’s in a super awful location – right on the main street as you come into the complex – totally no privacy.  And I nearly freaked out when I toured the unit, it was sooooo tiny and dark.  There was literally no space – I’m not sure how we could fit (and function) in under 1,200 SF.

I had been looking on and off for a while for a home to rent, but couldn’t find anything.  There was never anything available in his school boundary without being ridiculously priced.  But Thursday (the day after we accepted an offer on our home) that totally changed.  I found a home listed for rent in the neighborhood right behind Cameron’s elementary school!  I called them immediately and was asking all sorts of questions regarding the rental – including if they’d take a 9-month lease.  Of course they said, “no”.  Ugh.  But after talking to them more, and telling them that we’re building and only need something for about 9-months, and then we could do month-to-month if needed, the leasing agent caved and said that they could do a 10-month lease and then month-to-month.  Score!!  With that figured out I set up an appointment for Friday morning to tour the home.

Rental House Front

As you can see, the home is early 80’s and in a total private/treed setting – on nearly an acre.  The house is all one level (great for moving furniture in & out) but has the funkiest layout – all the bedrooms are off of the family room.  So that means after the boys go to bed, our hang-out area is right outside of their bedrooms.  And it smells a bit musty – as if they hadn’t opened any windows in a while.  On top of that, the owners have done partial renovations on almost all of the rooms…such as the vanity being replaced in the master bath, but not the shower; and the shower being replaced in the boy’s bathroom, but not the vanity.  Strange decisions.  It’s definitely not a home that I would ever buy…ever.  But, 3 bedrooms + 2.5 baths + 2,500 SF + in the new elementary school boundary = perfect rental house!

So, we signed the lease and we’ll be renters for the first time since college starting on March 19th!  Wish us luck!!

Six Offers…One Accepted

Today was an awesome day!   It’s our friend Chelsea’s birthday…but it felt like our birthday.  And it’s our friends Kevin & Malissa’s 15 year wedding anniversary…but we were totally celebrating!  It’s a week from when we put our house on the market – the day we were scheduled to review offers – and we sold our house!!

We had 6 offers, one at our asking price and the rest above our asking price.  Totally unbelievable!  We had two offers that came in significantly above our asking price (Nearly 10% higher)!!!!  Absolutely unreal.  Joel and I are completely in shock, and it’s absolutely crazy that we got the price we did.  Honestly we were worried about listing it where we did at $610,000, so for it to sell for so much more is crazy to us.  We’re so happy though!

Front of House - Pending

My boss at work asked me why I think it sold for more than asking and I think it came down these top 3 reasons:

#3: Great Pictures. 

I can’t say enough about great pictures.  Everyone’s looking online and that’s what they look at to draw them in for a tour and that’s what they look at after they leave your house.  I mentioned before that our neighbors next door listed their house the same day as we did (still bitter about that one), but their pictures were crap.  Our photographer was much better – and that’s because to our listing agent, David Hogan, hired the right photographer.

#2: Timing. 

I knew early March was the best time to sell.  I’ve been watching the listings in our neighborhood for the past couple of years and spring time is definitely when homes draw the most offers for the best prices.  Prices seem to stay constant for what they sold for in the spring for the remainder of the year, but you definitely get the most offers in the spring (at least in our neighborhood).  Inventory seems to be low in early spring but there’s tons of buyers.  Supply low, demand high – can’t beat that!

And the #1 reason why I think we sold so quickly and got such high offers…

#1: Our Agent. 

I honestly can’t say enough about David Hogan from Windermere.  He was fantastic to work with.  It’s not often that we use real estate agents and unless if you have a friend in the business sometimes it’s a bit of a crapshoot as to who you get.  We’ve used a couple ‘ok’ agents in the past, but definitely none as good as David.  David recently sold another home in our neighborhood for $60,000+ over asking which is how I heard of him.  I had interviewed another agent in our area first and then decided to call and talk with David.  We chatted for about 45 minutes before we set up a time for him to come and look at our house.  I knew from that phone call that he was going to be good.

You know when you talk with someone and just know that they know their stuff?  That’s totally him.  The agent we interviewed before him had years more experience than David, but you could just tell that he wasn’t really with the changing times/market.  It’s like the people you know that are totally behind the times in technology.  You can tell right away that they have no idea what’s going on – maybe they ask you questions about their computer, internet, phone…whatever it is, they totally aren’t current.  That’s how we felt about the first agent – he had a great rep for the area, came from a great well-known real estate agency, but didn’t really get how to play the game.  And then there’s David – he’s like Frank Underwood on House of Cards – always a step ahead and thinking forward.  Using other agents & buyers’ information to stay ahead in the next step in the process.  And I totally got that feeling in just talking with him about the previous sale he did in our neighborhood.  His ideas on listings, staging, and multiple offers were far better than the other agent’s…leaps and bounds better.  And he totally lived up to my initial thoughts of him throughout our sale.  Everything worked out to be truly painless – he took care of everything without us really having to worry, and held true to his plan for getting the best offer.  And that’s with our neighbors putting their house on the market the same day we did (even though they were initially going to list a week later) which I thought was going to screw us up.  It was actually pretty wild because our neighbor’s listing agent was definitely taking cues from David – everything he would do, she would do.  It was so bizarre.  I think the only reason that our neighbors snagged a deal above their asking price was because of the tips that David gave their agent!

So, not only did we get great photos, but the work David did behind the scenes by talking with agents and making sure we’d get multiple offers was amazing.  He definitely did the leg work before and during our listing in drumming up hype and interest for our home.  He didn’t sit back and wait to see if we got any offers; which some agents do.  Instead, he was calling and talking to other agents immediately to ensure that offers would come in – he made sure people knew what we were looking for – and we got it!

And although it’s hard to say (because I do think that real estate agents make a crazy amount of money), he was totally worth the price and if I were to do it all over again – I would totally spend the money and use him again.

Open Houses & Permit Ready

This week has been pretty busy for us…

We put our house up for sale on Wednesday evening, and had two open houses this weekend.  It was pretty insane the number of people that toured the home – about 80 GROUPS of people came through.  And we had additional showings before and after the open houses on both Saturday and Sunday.  I guess timing is everything – thanks David Hogan (our agent) for pushing us to get it listed sooner rather than later.  Let’s hope all that traffic actually produces some families that actually want to buy our home!  We’re scheduled to review any offers on Wednesday.

Redfin 'dubbed' us a "Hot Home" - hopefully it will sell within the next 9 days!

Redfin has dubbed ours a “Hot Home” – hopefully they’re right and it will sell within the next 9 days!

Besides listing the home this week, we also heard back from the County that our permit was officially approved and ready to be picked up whenever we want to grab it!  Finally…all of the reviews were done and we can cross that off our list.

Permit Approval - Final

But we’re not quite ready yet – on Sunday we finished negotiating our contract with Matt from Ruttan Construction – our General Contractor.  It took a couple weeks, but the terms are mutually accepted now and we can sign them today.  Tomorrow we should be submitting all of the paperwork to the bank to be able to start the process of appraisal and getting the construction loan.

Our Home is For Sale

We’re officially on our way to moving – our home was just listed for sale on the market today!  Check out our listing!  Know anyone that’s looking for a great home in Sammamish??

Over the past couple of weeks we have been hustling to get our house ready for sale.  And since we’ll be moving into an apartment while we’re building the new home, that meant clearing out all of the things we won’t need for a year and putting it into storage.  So for the past two weeks we’ve been packing like mad.  And finally last weekend we loaded everything up and filled up a POD to the brim.  It was so full – you definitely couldn’t have fit anything else into it.  We had a lot of help packing and arranging all of the boxes in the POD by our brother-in-law, Chad.  He was moving boxes so fast…we joked around that he went beast-mode on moving all of the boxes…such a HUGE help!  And Joel’s buddy Hans came to help move the heaviest piece of furniture we owned – the boys’ armoire from the playroom.  Thanks to both of them!

And besides all the packing, my mom and I also rearranged furniture and décor to style our home.  It was a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work!  We worked from Friday-Sunday straight…definitely an exhausting weekend.

I think it all paid off though – check out how great our pictures turned out?!?  And truly they turned out so well not only because we did a good job styling the home, but also because our agent, David Hogan from Windermere, is awesome and has a great photographer he uses!

Front of House

Front of House

Great Room

Great Room

Great Room

Great Room

Dining Area

Dining Area





Powder Bathroom

Powder Bathroom



Loft Playroom

Loft Playroom

Cameron's Room

Cameron’s Room

Spencer's Room

Spencer’s Room

Boys' Bathroom

Boys’ Bathroom

Boys' Art Area

Boys’ Art Area

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom

Master Walk in Closet

Master Walk in Closet



Side yard

Side yard


The craziest thing is that our next door neighbors have also put their house on the market.  On the EXACT same day as us!  Totally unbelievable.  And they’ve listed for the same price as us!  And it’s the exact same floorplan as us!  I feel like we’re going ‘head-to-head’ with them.  It’s really strange and it’s all pretty crazy…we’ll see how all of this works out I guess.  We’re supposed to be reviewing any offers next Wednesday – only time will tell!