Timeline To Breaking Ground
Sept 7, 2004 – We paid $1000 to get in line for Rose Creek Phase IV Priority Selection. We were #20 in line.
Sept 15, 2004 – We submitted our Phase IV Priority Selection Form listing lot 363 as choice 1, lot 359 as choice 2 and lot 362 as choice 3.
Sept 20, 2004 – Assignment of reservations are made. We are offered lot 362.
Sept 27, 2004 – After much discussion about the lot, research about having the limit of no access revoked, reading the building guidelines that talk about the front of the home facing Prairie Sky Way and no curb cuts on Prairie Sky Way. We discuss, “How will people find our house?” “Will they come to the back door to enter the home?” We sign the agreement to purchase the lot. We believe this lot to be a diamond in the rough. The final selling point is that this lot is selling for $3.85 per square foot (lot 362 sold for $3.55 per sq ft but is the only lot that sold for less). We believe this lot has a lot of upside potential if we can successful navigate the system.
Oct. 13, 2004 – We take out of loan from Gold Bank (Rose Rock Bank / Union Bank). We close on lot 362 Block 14 with a physical address of 17512 Egrets Landing. When the house is completed, we want the physical address to be 17515 Prairie Sky Way.
Between August 24, 2006 and April 7, 2007 we gather the signatures of more than 60% of the owners of record in Rose Creek Block 14 – 19. We file for the vacation on April 8, 2007. Our original goal was to submit the signatures to the planning commission by August 14, 2006.
May 10, 2007 – The OKC Planning Commission approves a partial vacation of the limits of no access for lots 362 and 361 by a unanimous vote. (OKC Case Number PV-055)
May 12, 2007 – Meet with Brian Hancock of Basement Contractors to discuss our proposed home. We submitted a set of plans we had drawn and were provided a quote. On Nov 3, 2009 I can say I’m glad we did not build that home. WOW. It seems like it has taken a long time but the differences are huge. 30 months later, Basement Contractors would break ground.
May 16, 2007 – We make our final payment to pay off the lot loan to Gold Bank (Rose Rock Bank / Union Bank).
May 18, 2007 – Contacted Architects Hans and Torrey Butzer regarding our home. We met them and liked them but decided we should explore other architects and home designers. We’ve read and been advised that finding the “right” designer is one of our most important decisions to building our green-dream home. There is a difference between a home designer and an architect and very few individuals that can design quality commercial buildings and residences. We’ve also been advised that some designers create wonderful plans on paper, however, structurally they may be difficult to impossible to build or the elevation renderings may not be achievable.
May – July 2007 – We do a lot of home tours and talk with a lot of people looking for the “right” home designer and builder. We talk to several builders and home designers during this time. We quickly discover that the term “Custom Home” may be a misnomer. Everyone seems to have stock plans that are then “customized”. We also spend considerable time on the computer looking at floor plans.
August 1, 2007 – We meet with Mr. Gary Covert of Covert and Associates. He is a home designer from Dallas and comes to OKC weekly to meet with clients. He was able to draw our dream home during our initial meeting.
August 27, 2007 – Send email asking Covert and Associates to move forward with our home design.
Dec 14, 2007 – First set of plans returned by Gary Covert of Covert and Associates. Although we like the overall design, we think the home is missing “WOW” features. Mr. Covert doesn’t listen to our input and ignores our concerns regarding the elevations. We are very concerned about the stairs to the basement at the front door. We think the Covert design will look like a big pit when you walk in the front door. Additionally, Mr. Covert doesn’t seem interested in green building. We pay Covert & Associates for the work they have completed and decide to find a different designer.
December 27, 2007 – Contact by email an architect and OU assistant professor, “Designer 2”, who specializes in sustainable architecture. Designer 2 expresses interest but we are unable to get a meeting. Finally, we attended the 7th Annual Oklahoma Sustainability Network conference March 28 & 29, 2008 in Norman, OK. Designer 2 was one of the speakers. We spoke to Designer 2 and set up a meeting.
February 2007 – We had decided to use Jeff Justice however, he tells us he has other commitments and will be unable to build the home. He refers us to Mike Gilles of Savannah Builders/Geobuilders.
April 5, 2008 – Met with Designer 2. It was a great meeting and we are excited to be working with them. Feel really good that the project will move forward. Have a little apprehension because it took so long to get the initial meeting. Two weeks later we receive a contract and make a payment to begin working with Designer 2.
June 25, 2008 – Meet with Mike Gilles (builder), Mike Hancock (structural engineer and President of Basement Contractors) and Designer 2 at our office to discuss house. Have two more meeting with Designer 2 and express our deadline of September 1 for final construction plans. We also send emails.
July 29, 2009 – Receive 1st set of “revised” plans from designer 2. The floor plans look like the plans provided by Covert & Associates. It doesn’t appear that the modified floor plan we provide in April was used.
August 15 – 17, 2008 – Traveled to Santa Fe. We toured several houses on the Santa Fe Parade of Homes. We purchased a copper sink and a header for formal living bookcase at the Santa Fe Flea Market. We purchased a door for the study at Jackalope. To get everything home, Suzy had to ride in the back seat as this is the only way everything would fit. We will return to Santa Fe and Jackalope again.
Sept 11, 2008 – We receive a revised set of plans from Designer 2. We don’t like the basement stairs, the line of sight for the family room and kitchen into Sally’s room, the master bathroom, or the line of sight from the front door into the master bedroom. In the basement, we feel the theater room can be larger. These are all issues we have discussed in the past with Designer 2.
October 10, 2008 – Visit Elmwood Reclaimed Timber in Smithville, Mo. Take kids to Great Wolf Lodge. Everyone is happy. We really like the Durango Sunset flooring and the Walnut flooring.
October 31, 2008 – We receive another set of revised plans from Designer 2. The master bedroom and bathroom were changed. We still are not happy and it took 6 weeks. The other issues seem to be ignored.
November 19, 2008 – Revision # 4 from Designer #2. We still have a line of sight problem from front door into master bedroom. We still do not like the stairs to the basement (big pit as you walk in the front door). We still want the theater to be larger. We have providing scale drawings showing the design of the theater and we are not making progress. We are very frustrated and we cannot get a meeting. We are still fighting to remove the closet in the study. We will repeat again. This is our home. We do not want a closet at the door.
Nov 23, 2008 – Designer 2 emails stating the final plans will be ready after Thanksgiving Weekend.
Dec. 4, 2008 – Receive version 5 of the plans. We review our 3 three typed pages of requests and changes and find that the majority of the concerns/reservations we had with the original Covert plans still exist in version 5. This set of plans will not print to scale. This has been an issue since the first set. Through out the process, Designer 2 has told us it is not important that we be able to print the plans to scale.
December 7, 2008 - Send an email to Designer 2 with following a list of 10 concerns. Our patience was gone and we wanted to cover ourselves in case the designer decided to pursue legal action. We wanted a set of plans that would print to scale. We talked about the entries to the girls rooms. We asked about the lines of sight into the master bedroom. We asked about the basement stairs. All but the issue of printing to scale were discussed during our first meeting with Designer 2. We were shocked when we received a response the same day. (Remember, we wanted to break ground in September 2008.) Designer 2 pointed out the justification every concern. Designer 2 did admit that a computer setting was incorrect and that is why the plans could not be printed to scale. We felt we now had enough documentation to end the relationship without having to pay more money. It’s now been another year and we don’t seem to be moving forward.
Looking back a year later, we do not feel any better about Designer 2. However, the poor communication and lack of effort on Designer 2 part forced us to really think about the design of the home. We are now very comfortable that we have all the elements where we want them and I think Designer 2, in some warped way, did make the home better.
December 12, 2008 – Mike Gilles, our builder, suggests we talk with Dan Welle. Dan is a home planner and designer. He has worked with Mike Gilles in the past.
December 15, 2008 – Sign contract with Welle & Company to provide construction plans.
January 20 – 23, 2009 - We join our builder, Mike Gilles, at the 2009 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. This is a home and garden show on steroids. Every imaginable product and several homes are on display. During the show we also tour the 2009 New American Home.
February 2, 2009 – We receive our initial set of plans from Dan Welle. He’s fixed the line of sight from the front door to the master bedroom. He made the front stairs a semi circle getting rid of the pit. Dan made the theater larger, fixed the girls bedroom entry, improved the master bathroom and added a lighting plan all in 6 weeks time. WOW. Our expectations were not unrealistic! His pricing structure was also very attractive.
February – June 2009 – We tweak the plans and work on the structural issues. We are quite pleased with the progress. Finalize plans the end of June 2009.
July 2009 – Its time to get financing. We have been talking to our primary bank about this project for the last year. We have been a customer of the bank for more than 20 years and are confident we will have not trouble getting the construction loan. We decide we should approach two banks to keep everyone honest. Our builder, Mike Gilles, recommends a second bank. Each of the banks orders an appraisal of our planned home. The appraisal from the bank we have a history with is $550,000 less than the appraisal from our builder recommended bank. Maybe this will not be so easy. We cannot understand how two appraisals, for the same house in the same location, can have a $550,000 difference. We contacted the Appraisal Institute to find out how this could happen. We never receive an answer. In the end, both banks decline to lend us the necessary money.
August – October 2009 – With the higher of the two appraisals and our credit reports in hand, we talk to eight more banks. We own the lot free and clear and have 20% of the estimated construction cost in cash. Additionally we own our current home free and clear. All eight banks, all with offices in Oklahoma City, advise us to look somewhere else. The ten banks have all given us different reasons. Here is a sampling: “Your current home is too small compared to the size of home you want to build.” “Our bank is no longer interested in the return on our capital; we are only interested in the return of our capital. We are not loaning money.” “The home is too different from the other homes in the neighborhood.” “We are unable to get an accurate appraisal because there are no other comparable homes.” “If you own the lot free and clear and have 50% of the construction cost in cash and can show 50% of the construction amount in annual income on line 37 of your federal tax return, we’d then be able to take an application to our loan committee.” Our builder continues to be encouraging, telling us this is a particularly difficult time for banks. He reminds us that we only need one bank to say yes. Our loan application package becomes more robust with each rejection. We consider making presentations to high net worth individuals to see if they might provide the construction loan.
November 3, 2009 – Well, it finally happened. We sign the construction load with Security National Bank of Enid today. Cory Moore, Bob Emery and the loan committee at SNB decided our family and our project would meet their criteria. We are also grateful to David Carson at Santa Fe Mortgage. Santa Fe Mortgage has approved us for permanent financing.
Now we can begin building our Green Dream Home.