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OK – so we’ve been in the house for about a year and a month. What do we think? We love it. We did find that the wood flooring and the carpet in the house is pretty low grade. If it were any lower, we’d see China. We’ll have to replace all the carpet in the house within the next few years most likely. It’s just flat and worn looking. We knew it was the base version but due to costs, we had to go with it. Bummer. Ditto for the hardwood flooring in the kitchen. Boy – don’t be fooled by 25 year warranty mumbo jumbo. You drop a knife or a gadget and you see it on this floor. It’s a great color and has a hand scraped look but sheesh… doesn’t hold up in terms of nicks.

The construction, the design, the other features of the house? Edge nailed it. We love it. Everything down to the furnace has been flawless the first year. They excavated ground levels nicely so no rain in our basement like we had in Cedar Hills. Our concrete is holding up though we’re starting to notice some chipping/flaking on part of the driveway. But it’s very small. But it’s only been one year so – who knows.

Would I recommend Edge? In a New York minute. Definitely give them a try. But use Penny Banks as the realtor. She’s the best one and will take care of you.

Many businesses out here in Utah sadly ignore the opportunity for positive customer interaction at their front counters.  We have been amazed at the number of customer service personnel in the retail sector and others that keep their head down, don’t make eye contact, go the other way when you approach for a question, etc.  You really see it at big box stores, fast food, grocery stores, etc.  But some companies – like Wal-Mart, really try to provide good customer experience.  Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s one company that stands out generally in this arena.  The problem of poor customer service is really one of the few negatives here in Utah.

But our builder – Edge Homes – they and all of their subcontractors – provide some of the best customer service ever. They respond quickly, they listen, they get things done, they offer to help, and more.

For example, our first experience with them was when we met the land developer, Steve Maddox, out at the property we were interested in.  He was immediately our best friend.  And then he introduced his Real Estate agent, Penny Banks – another new best friend. We met Danielle, Russ, Nate, Jared – all Edge employees – and all of them – were and are interested in making sure that we are having a good experience. They have thus far, never faltered.

We have had a couple of issues at the property and they have handled every concern consistently and  brilliantly. It is expected that some things will go a little wrong while  building a new house.  That’s just the way it is. And every time – every Edge person has been incredible.

What was even cooler, is that all the subs, have been amazing. We had some questions on laying our tile and they had their flooring specialist (a vendor ) call us and chat with us.  He asked over and over if he could do this and he put together a little order for us and called us back to make sure things went well and more.

Another example – The finish work sub Fred was amazing.  He checked our work and counseled us on our tile work. He asked if we needed his help and even suggested we use his hand grinder for those round corner cuts. His whole crew was just as friendly.

There aren’t many companies that just simply excel across the board at customer service and high quality workmanship.  Edge Homes – gets our victory flag. The quality of the home is top notch. We went through the new home building process back  in 2000 with different company that THANK GOODNESS! is out of business!  Those shinanigans with that troubled company really make us appreciate all the good will that Edge Homes exudes at every interaction.

So – thank you Edge Homes for a spectacular experience.  Workmanship = 10  Price = 10   Customer Service = 10  Financial Services = 10

We would recommend them and their homes – to anyone.

We have this 1/2 bath that backs up to the living room.  Hmm… The entry is off the hallway, but we really don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with any kind of noises.  So – we purchases some solid polystyrene insulation that is 2″ thick and put it in the walls.  Hopefully – this will deaden the noises from the restroom.  🙂  ( Just thinking of our friends and relatives here…. )

Here is what the house looked like on Saturday last week:  1/20/12

Boards and studs...

So we start putting in the insulation at 3pm on Saturday and suddenly people come in with tools and mud and all of the sudden – drywall is going up left and right!!  1.5 hours later – here’s what we saw:

Lots of drywall while we're putting in insulation.

The Next Day

Wow!  So we stop by Monday night to check on progress and this is what we saw!!

Garage is ready for mud 'n tape


The entire is drywalled with 2 coats of mud in most areas

All done... Ready for another coat of mud and voila!

Shingles are on..

Yeah yeah – who cares.  So the windows are in, the tubs, the gas, the plumbing, the fireplace is framed, the front door on – we’re ready to move in.  We couldn’t be more excited. Here are some pics.  Our close date is roughly March 9th.  Yeah baby!!  and by the way – Edge Homes is doing a great job.  We highly recommend them.  Great company.

Something cool

I went to the fireplace shop to wrap up the deal.  A guy came out – very familiar face, but older – and stated the guy taking care of me wasn’t there and how could he help me.  I told him what I needed and gave him my last name. As soon as I said Shawn Pierson – he stopped and said – don’t you remember me?  It’s Bruce Broadbent ( I knew right away!! ) We picked pineapple together in Hawaii!!  Oh yeah – that was cool.  He owns the Alpine Fireplace stores.  Definitely – go there.  He’s awesome!  Unreal how small the world is.

Thought we’d share some progress on the house…  Here are some pics…

We have been mulling over various aspects of this process.  Asking ourselves questions like; Are we on track with our down payment money? Are we getting the house we want?  Is our payment going to be too high? Did we opt for too many options, will we like the deserty land? etc…

So here are some things that we have been mindful of and are working for us in the financial arena of purchasing a house.

We went through our budget months ago to identify areas we could increase income and reduce expenses.  We found that we were wasting money – badly wasting money.

It is our opinion, based on experience, that every married couple – should continue dating their whole lives.  That has been a major win in our relationship because that dating time together – is talk time, planning time, dreaming together time, hanging time – that we don’t really get at home on normal family time.  I mean – we do – but it’s not the same.  So a piece of advice – if you and your spouses’ relationship is waning – start dating each other again.  It’s fun and it’s the most important relationship building you can ever do.  Hold hands, be courteous, get popcorn, go to dinner, chat, dream, talk.  Drop the arguing and the nitsy bad feelings and see each other like you did when before you tied the knot.  It really helps.  Great – right? But! – Don’t overspend every single weekend if you’re trying to save. We thought there was no way to save money on our income.  We found that our date nights had turned in to expensive date nights – every single weekend.  So we cut back on the cost of our date nights together to save money.  Bam! That’s a great chunk of our budget we have control of and – we still date.  And it is the best time we have all week together. 🙂  It doesn’t take money to date by the way… at least – not much.

Other areas we found we could cut back – stop eating out at lunch or breakfast.  If you know you have to work or be somewhere, you know that you have to eat. We gave ourselves a $300 raise each month just by reducing or eliminating most of our eating out. We still grab a bite every few weeks with the kids. But we’re spending smarter now. Lean Cuisine – is a great lunch. And they’re cheap especially if you bargain shop.  Protein drinks/bars, Edomame, PB&J, Salad, – holy cow – my lunches are healthier and ‘cheaper’ than ever.  Julie makes homemade bread every week.  No sugar, no preservatives, and it costs – pennies compared to store bought.  ( If anyone wants her recipe, let us know. It is soft and wonderful.)

Reduce gas by carpooling. I never ever thought I’d go this route.  But we can cut our monthly fuel bill down from $240 to $120 by just splitting some driving with someone else at work.  Divided by 4 – that’s an even better savings but that takes some commitment from your fellow workers and some logistics.  So pick your pain point – but there’s money to be saved there as well.

Plan your driving. Rearrange where your kids go for activities so that you’re saving money driving or getting their piano teachers closer. We’re saving another $50 a month just getting a piano teacher closer to our home.  And she’s great too!

Car payments? Reduce them to nothing or cut them in half.  We had purchased this nice GMC Yukon 3 years ago and still had $11k to pay on it and it still carried a big payment!  So we checked with our Credit Union on the interest rates to refinance that puppy since no one in the world will buy it for what we owe.  We cut our payment down from $430 to $240… more monthly savings and the interest rate went from 9% down to 2.78%!!  Do you see how going at this budget thing can work in your favor?

We love BMW. Yep – and we cannot afford an $80k-$110k car on our current income. No way.  But the older models – are awesome too!  And the right models can be very reliable and economical to maintain.  So I found a 1990 535i which is a base model bimmer, with 100,000 miles on it and in great shape and almost perfect running order. A granny owned it since she bought it new and garaged it every winter.  I’ve had it for over a year now with no problems.  We paid $3k for it with some tax return money.  It’s as dependable as the day is long.  If I was a Honda guy, I’d be doing even better since they get another 8-10 mpg better than my car.  But,  I’m driving a car that I love and it’s paid for and well – not a bad selection.  A late 90’s model – would be even better for me – but I can’t find one.   If I do – I’ll only pay cash for it.

Ask yourself before you buy anything – “Do I really need this?”  Learn to be honest with yourself and then put it back on the shelf and walk away.  In fact – leave the store so you don’t buy something you don’t need.  Apply this to online stuff too.  If you can’t resist buying when you’re surfing the net – then stay away from those sites. Change your reading to Kindle, the News, Wikipedia – something other than shopping.

You’ll find that you can probably save 10-20% of your income every month ( on top of your 401k contributions ) if you try.  It’s not an overnight thing. But over a month or two, you may find that you have been leaking money everywhere.  Start plugging those holes and watch your monthly savings increase and boy – is that fun!

Eliminate debt immediately or as expeditiously as you possibly can.  You’ll feel the release and the power you have gained over your budget.

Keep and use one credit card with a very low limit and never let it go above 1/3 the balance for any extended time. That will build your credit score really fast in just 6 months.  The rest of those cards – get rid of them.  They’re poison to your budget, your spending habits, and will enslave you if you’re not careful.

In 6 months to a year – you can easily save for a down payment on the house that fits your budget. But even if it took you a 1 or 2 years, its worth it.  There’s nothing like having the family involved in learning to save money.

Our results with this approach has been astounding for us.

We had a bit of a surprise when we asked the builder what the time line was for our move-in date.  We had originally thought that it would be around April or May since that is what all the other home owners we spoke with, using the same builder, said their time frames were.  But the builder said that we’re closing the first week of March.  Yikes!!  We’re moving the first week of March!!  And do we have the funds to do it – We have all that we need for the down payment and just a few buck short for the full closing costs.  And we did it in just a 5 month period.  If we can do it – you can do it.

Remember – the key – is to be within your budget on everything. Your house, your car, your expenses.  Being out of budget – means that this little plan would not work.  Budgeting can be fun, especially when there’s a prize in the box.  :-0

Thanks for letting us share…

Model House Pics

We posted these pics so family and friends can see a little what the house feels like inside. It’s not a big house but we think it’ll work for our little family.  This house – is the model – but we pretty much did it just like it in terms of wall colors, carpet, flooring, cabinets, bath… But we’re getting a more standard tub/shower in the master.  But the shape of the house and sq footage is the same.  The exterior – as I mentioned before – is not this style.  It’ll be the dark brown stucco and stone.  Hope this is not too stupid to post…

Small front bedroom

Basement

Dining to back entry

Front door

Front Porch

Front Entry

Entry from living room

Hallway

Entry way to hall

Living to Dining/Kitchen Area

Kitchen Sink area

Master bedroom

Upgrade Master Bath - not ours - but nice

From dining to doorwall

Basement hall to bedrooms