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Building A Barden Home

My step by step experience with Barden Homes

Rough Excavating Started Today

clock April 16, 2009 10:54 by author Donny Kemick

We have been anxiously awaiting the start of this project, and we are officially underway!  If you saw my last post, we’re not exactly cut loose to really roll yet, but at least there’s something happening!  As a first step, we’re having our excavator do a rough grade of the area where the house will sit.  This includes removal of stumps, and general leveling out of the lot.  While he’s here, we’re having him remove a hill that would be right out front of our house.  Now we’ll have a nice front yard when the house is done.

Construction Cam

I am fine tuning a wireless, solar web cam on the construction site so that everyone can watch the construction process, and I can get snapshots of the house while it’s built.  When that’s stable (we don’t have long enough, sunny days yet), I will certainly post a link to view it.  Here’s an example of what I’m monitoring now, but I will streamline it down to just the video/picture for public viewing.  A little crooked, but better than nothing!

Barden-Home-Construction-Camera

Video of Barden Home Rough Grade

I plan to do quite  a bit of video throughout this process.  I’ll be sure to post it as I take it.  Here’s some footage of the rough grade that I took this morning:  NOTE: You can view this video in HD by clicking on the HD Icon.

 

I will post another video when the excavator is done for the day.

 

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Expect Delays… They Will Happen, As I Now Know…

clock April 15, 2009 18:08 by author Donny Kemick

We are really very close to being able to start the actual construction of the house.  I am close to finalizing the banking aspects, we have sent for the final changes to the Barden Plans, and we have just about all of the contractors lined up.  So, we should be good to go, right?  Wrong!

No Sewage Permit = No Building Permit

In my city, like most (I’m assuming), in order to get your building permit, you must first obtain your Sewage Permit.  Doing so protects you a bit, because you don’t invest a bunch of money in excavating and basement work, just to find out you can’t connect to the city sewer.

Apparently the PA Department of Environmental Protection frowns on the fact that my city’s sewage plant overflows when we receive an over abundance of rain.  Must be they don’t like the idea of poo flowing down the nearby crick!  Because this issue is happening, the PA DEP has revoked the city’s ability to issue new connections to the sewage system, until they present a plan to correct the issue that the DEP likes.  Yeah, quite a bummer on our end. 

I’ve been to City Hall and spoke with the Sanitary Authority numerous times to try to find a way around this, but I am stuck.  No where to go…  So, we are now waiting until April 21st, when the Sanitary Authority may hear back from DEP that they can issue some connections to the sewage system, since there are 4 other building projects being held up as well.

What perfect timing to halt new construction!  Just when the economy needs it most, my city stops me from building.  I guess that’s my luck.  For now, I am just keeping my fingers crossed that they get some connections soon and we can get rolling…

Bottom Line, Expect Delays

We had originally planned to start building in March of this year, then realized that it wouldn’t happen until April, and now it looks like May.  While I hope nothing holds you up, I would be surprised if you didn’t run into any snags that delay your project.

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I’ve Changed My Mind, Hometown Banking It Is

clock April 14, 2009 18:27 by author Donny Kemick

After fully convincing myself that I was going to use Robar General Funding Corp. for the construction loan, I have been convinced otherwise by my General Contractor.  Being someone that has worked several banks through the years, he told me that my best bet was to look right in my own backyard, at Northwest Savings Bank.  His opinion was that they offered the fewest fees, the most flexibility with rates through construction, and he had worked with them a ton.

All of my personal banking is through Northwest, as was my previous mortgage, so this was music to my ears!  Because of the banking crisis, I decided that I should check a few others as well, and I did find that Northwest was the best deal.  They were also one of the only banks that allowed me to lock in a rate for my final mortgage up front.  With rates a historic low, I didn’t want to gamble with what my rate would be at the end of construction, something Robar and many other banks require.

Flexible Rate

One of the best features of the loan through Northwest is that they will allow you to pay a fee during construction, and after, as long as they have not sold your loan, to get a rate very close to the current rate.  So, if during construction the rates drop below your locked in rate, you can pay a one-time fee and get the 1/8th above the current, lower rate.

No Bi-Weekly Payments

With our first 20 year mortgage, we setup automatic bi-weekly payments, which drastically reduces the amount of interest you pay on your loan, and cuts a 20 year mortgage down to 17 years.  The way it works is you take your monthly loan payment, and pay half of it every 2 weeks instead of all of it once a month.  By making half of the payment more regularly, you reduce the principle balance faster, thus reducing interest on the principle.

This was something that I really wanted to do again with our new mortgage.  Unfortunately, Northwest has now implemented a bi-weekly payment processing fee that neutralizes the effects of the bi-weekly payments, thus making it completely useless.  To get around this, one can make one extra mortgage payment a year and achieve the same effects.  I think I’ll be doing that.

Shop Around!

If you’re looking for a construction loan or mortgage, take a day and visit all of your local banks.  Make a spreadsheet of:

  • Their best rate for 15, 20, 30 year mortgages
  • Their closing costs
  • Their acceptance of bi-weekly payments
  • Any prepayment penalties
  • Down payment requirements
  • Preapproval amount

Then, you can take an unbiased look at the data and make a good decision.  Having shopped around, you will certainly feel better about your decision, even if you end up going with the original bank you wanted to work with.

 

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