Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Frustration with builder

Well, it may just be frustration with myself about the builder.

First, let me preface by saying that my mind works on warp speed, so I sometimes have expectations that are difficult for others and I have to reign myself in.

Now, that being said, I still believe he should answer any and all of my questions.  Granted, I don't expect them to be immediately answered, but we have questions from the beginning of February that have not been approached.

I know he has other projects and ours seems to have no time limit, but we will be moving in our RV in less than 3 weeks.  I never dreamed that the construction loan would not even be started by then!

We have been planning this house since mid-February.  Yes, I have made some changes - but only 3 sets of changes.  I have only seen 2 updates.  I get the changes to the designer within hours, not days, but he takes a week or more to give me the updates.  They are not big updates either - just make a pocket door a swing door and move the window along the wall.   That is it!  VERY easy stuff.

So, here we are approaching April and no plans finalized.  I am very frustrated!  No land has been cleared, no permits back, nothing.  Sigh.

The bank takes a minimum of 35 days to approve the loan.  That means that we will be in the RV two weeks before approval if we get the paperwork to them today.  With how slow the builder and designer are going, it looks like we are going to be in the RV two months longer than anticipated and I am doubting that we will be in by Christmas. 

This is extremely frustrating.  I know we could change builders, but you have no idea how difficult it is to find someone.  If, and that is a HUGE if, we decide to fire him, I will probably act as the "builder" and manage the process myself.  I am not wanting to do that though, really - not yet anyway.

I sent him an email with all the questions that were not answered, giving him the option to talk with my husband (good ole boy system here) because at this point, I don't care if he talks to me or my husband, we just need to get this process moving!

Thought you might like to know the questions:  Here they are!

1.  I want to make sure you got that we want a brick mailbox.  I just don't want to be short bricks because we forgot about this.  Also, when can I start receiving mail at that address?  (trying to get the we moved cards out)

2. Vetting process - I know this is a touchy subject.  But, do you periodically vet your contractors to make sure they are continuing to to give you (and me) a fair price for the work? Not looking for the cheapest, but I don't want the most expensive either.

3.On the pad prep - different uses of terminology - you said we would need more bags of sand, but the estimate used the term select fill.  Is this one in the same? 

4.  Also on pad prep - when they prep the barn area, is it prepped to clay pad?  Do you need a plan from Hawthorne?

5. Hot Water Heater - Darrell REALLY wants to talk about this one.  He is confused about the whole tank vs tankless. 

6. When can I expect to see the updated plans?  I try to get them back in a timely manner, but I am feeling some pressure now that our home has sold.  I am really ready to get this part done.  I know if we add the outdoor  kitchen, it will change things a bit and I am truly sorry about that.  We are just trying to see what all we can or cannot get and still be within the financial possibility.

7.  How many plans do we have to decide on - so far, house in general, electrical, outside of the house, - any more?  Plumbing for instance?

8. Estimate.  You do not have to do the estimate if you do not feel like it is time.  You just mentioned last Tuesday that you were going to revise it and send it to me, so we got kind of anxious about it.  If we need to wait until the plans are finished - fine.  Just let me know.

9.  What all has to actually be turned in for the construction loan?  Rick is contacting me periodically asking where we stand.  I think because we are good to go on this side - especially since the house in pending.  We are past the option phase and are through the inspection.

If it is easier to talk on the phone about this - that is fine.  Darrell can do that - I cannot hear on the phone due to a hearing problem.  Just let me know.

Bottom line, How soon can we get all the information the bank needs so we can get this construction loan going? 


  1. I can sure see being frustrated that he is not responding timely. I think at this point I would just focus on asking him the questions that pertain to getting the construction loan finalized/approved and getting the site work going. A mailbox and hot water tank can be discussed later.

    1. The only reason I think that we need information because of gas lines, electricity that affect where the hot water tank go. So we have to decide. As for the mailbox, when getting a construction loan, you have to give amounts of supplies ordered, which ordering the correct amount of bricks is important.

      IF these can be decided later, then telling me that would be appreciate because, honestly, I do not know!

  2. I probably wouldn't blast him with so many questions. You might be better off letting him know you have a few questions/concerns and would appreciate a return call.

    1. I cannot hear on the phone at all due to a hearing issue and he knows that. I did ask ALL of these one at a time, but these span from early February to now and have not been answered in those small increments.

    2. I guess intention was to impress on him that my questions are not getting answered and backing up. His fault at this point, not mine.

    3. It DOES have an actual address! I will check into that - excited about that now! Darrell wants to get one in as soon as possible because we are out in three weeks!

  3. Call your lender and explain the situation. Have the lender contact him about what needs to be done so they can get rolling. If you own the lot now, can't you receive mail? Remember that he is a man who does manual labor for a living. I don't know many blue-collar men who prefer to email. Can you and Darrell go meet with him? Vetting process, is this a Texas term? Should your contactor go back to all subs to see if he can get a better deal? I don't get it.

    1. I thought about doing that with the lender. That may be the next step. Darrell may be calling him tonight. He is not blue-collar - he does NONE of the work. He just organizes it all. Vetting process - not sure it is a Texas term - maybe it is the wrong use of the word. However, I know these builders use the same contractors over and over and get kick backs - after a while, they jack up prices, but the buyer doesn't know. How would I know how much it costs to hydro-cut underbrush? Yes, I could check every one of the contractors, but would that not negate his job? I should go ahead and run the show myself at that point. My goal is to hear how he reacts to the question. I am sure we can meet with him and that may be what he wants. Just getting him to talk with us is a big deal. Oh and to answer your last question, if he periodically checks on prices (which in our opinion, he should do), then he would not necessary have to check all of them for us. I just want to know his process. This was a question asked up front that he did not answer. I am leery about it at this point, but feel stuck.

    2. I am not sure it I can receive mail at the lot, and yes, we own it free and clear! That was the reason for the question. I will put up a temporary box if we can - it would be ideal.

    3. Does the land have an actual address? If not (at least in my neck of the woods!) you can ask your local government office (township, but that may be a term my state uses) for one. At that point, you should be able to put up a mailbox.
      Is it too late to back out and go with someone else or even as you have suggested, oversee the process yourself? It doesn't sound like this builder is the easiest to work with.

    4. I don't understand periodically checking prices. Shouldn't everybody bid it, lumberyard, electrician, plumbers, excavation, etc. and then your contractor put together all the bids for his final bid? Why would he go back to the other contractors that he works with to see if they will lower their bid? I don't understand that part.

      I think that you should shop contractors. You haven't even started building yet so I don't think you should be unhappy. You still have a lot of time left with this guy. He doesn't actually have the job yet so I don't see it getting better. Not trying to be negative about this but just realistic.

    5. No, there are no bids. Around here, most builders have the one person they go to for clearing, one for the foundation, one go to. No bidding takes place at all. This is why I am trying to make he periodically checks prices. If everybody big on it, then I wouldn't have a problem. That is not the way works here though.

      I agree though, that the communication is a problem and we are considering looking at someone else. We are going to see how he responds or not responds to this request. You are right, I have a LOT of time left with this guy. Everyday for the next 6-8 months. He was so great when we met though - it is strange how that changes!