First of all, NVR approved us for a mortgage in only 8 days. I thought this was amazing considering our LO told us it's usually around 13-18 days and I was honestly expecting it to take about 25-30 considering the horror stories I've read on other blogs. I figure that our early approval was mainly due to the fact that I came prepared with everything they needed which included paystubs, W-2s, bank statements, and tax returns. Asking for the tax returns I thought was a bit odd considering part of the application includes giving NVR permission to retrieve them directly from the IRS, so they will get them no matter what. I also emailed our LO electronic copies of EVERYTHING they asked for. So now there's really no excuse that they "lost the paperwork" which also seems to be an issue with NVR. In the end, I still haven't decided if I will use NVR to process our mortgage because they're only giving us a $5K incentive to use them. I've heard lots of other people getting free stuff (morning room, finished basement) so I was a bit disappointed on that. I'm talking to another lender right now and if they can match or beat it I will probably not use NVR.
We also went to the design center over the weekend to pick out details for our kitchen and flooring. Before we went, however, I was able to do some research based on the information we already had. Our SR gave us the "Master Selection Sheet" so I was able to figure out the prices of upgrades ahead of time. I had already planned on upgrading the carpets, padding and vinyl/resilient flooring so it was good to know how much it cost beforehand. We were also able to figure out the different styles/colors of kitchen cabinets they offered. We then went to the Timberlake website to compare and figure out which one we liked best. Here is what we ended up going with:
Scottsdale Square Maple Cognac cabinets (Upgrade 1) with upgraded white marble laminate countertops and "beige-ish" vinyl flooring (not an upgrade!). We also added the crown molding for the cabinets.
Level C Carpet for Family Room
Level B Carpet for rest of home (Upstairs, Study, Dining Room) with Cherry bannister
Here are all of the selections for the granite for the fireplace. We originally selected "Absolute Black" but we've changed that to "Wheatfield".
Overall we were happy with our selections, but wow there is a lot of beige! Also not having to upgrade the vinyl flooring meant that we could convert the living room into a study which my wife wanted. Happy wife, happy life!
And the final bit of good news is that we found out that we will be getting more basement space than we originally thought. If you take a look at our floor plan (see the PDF in my previous post) you'll see that they do not have an area for the basement directly beneath the pantry/mud room/laundry room area behind the garage. I'm actually surprised it took me this long to figure that out but better late than never. I ended up emailing our SR to find out what's actually underneath that area (since we will eventually need to access the water/gas/power lines to the washer & dryer), and he informed us that it is just a crawlspace and not a full basement area. I was a bit bummed out about that. However, they just built a Savoy model home in the southtowns and while we had visited it before we never went down the basement to take a look. So after our visit to the design center we stopped over the model home to check it out. Lo and behold, there was a full basement there! I even talked to the SR at the model and he was pretty sure that our home should be set the same way. After relaying this to our SR and him getting clarification it was confirmed that we will have a full basement there. I can't blame our SR for this at all since he went so far as to show me the detailed plans he had on file which showed the crawlspace. In the end having more space for storage/remodeling is always a good thing. I wonder if they'll give me anything for figuring out the error in their plans? :-)
I think at this point we are a couple weeks ahead of schedule as our next step is schedule our pre-construction meeting with the SR and we finally get to meet our PM. Then we can finally break ground! Woo Hoo!!!