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Home “Sweet” Home – A New Home Buyer’s Journal, Part 4

Categories: Home Sweet Home | Posted: October 7, 2015

In the last episode of Home “Sweet” Home, Eric and Jordan’s new home in Chesapeake, VA was progressing nicely, and reaching the stages in the building process where architectural elements and design choices were tying together to create the home of their dreams. It’s an exciting time for new home buyers when the siding and roofing are added to the slab and framing; the hours and hours of agonizing over selection choices really start to pay off!

It’s the details that make the difference.


We wanted all of the trim that was in the model because it really added another dimension to the home to have these details. We were stopping by the house one afternoon after work to check on progress and the trim carpenters were still working inside the house. We introduced ourselves and the carpenter offered to escort us through the house so we could see all the trim work. Seeing the trim on the walls just took the home to a whole new level! It was gorgeous! As we walked around the carpenter talked with us about the different trim options we got and how he customized them for us. In the bedroom he make the top shelf stick out more than in the model because it provides a great place for picture frames and nik naks and how he added more panels in the upstairs bedroom because it shows the trim better. It was awesome to see and hear his love for his craft and how he applied it to our new home!

More details, getting closer!

moredetails moredetails2

The concrete was being poured over the weekend so we were able to see your driveway and porches taking place. The contractors pouring the concrete were very nice and talked to us about how we could incorporate the concrete into a porch on the back of the house. We opted to not do the 10×12 pad on the back of the house because we knew we wanted to build a porch on the back of the house. Tara told us about how another homebuyer chose to not do the pad and instead use the concrete to extend the walkway down the side of the house past the garage to the back of the house. We talked with the guys that day and mentioned that we really wanted to come back later that afternoon to write our names somewhere in the concrete. He told us “Come back in an hour and I will have a surprise for you.” When we returned he showed us that he wrote our names in the concrete by the front of the house. It was so cool and really made the homebuilding process personal for us.

We have cabinetry!


Again this was such a cool time period during our homebuilding process, you get to see those decisions you make during the first two week process come to life! I am pretty sure that Eric and I stood in the kitchen and just imagined how our mornings would be so awesome in this house.

Is this really our home?!

really home

So I am not sure if we covered this earlier in the journal but the master bathroom is my husband’s “baby” in other words, it is his master decorating project. I am positive it took many hours in the model with Tara playing mediator and helping to blend our styles together. Eric wanted a dark “Vegas shower” and I wanted to keep it light and open feeling. I had serious heartburn over how this would look in real life as compared to the samples we played with. I will say when we walked upstairs and saw our bathroom for the first time we were blown away! It is exactly what we wanted and the tile work was so intricate and clean. I look forward to walking into this bathroom every day and getting ready for work. I was so excited I even kicked off my shoes and went walking across the tile just to imagine it!

It is the small things that really make a difference!

small things

As you can see from previous pictures of the front of our home the stone really adds a big impact to the entrance. With the color scheme we chose the front door is a burnt orange color. I did not mind it because I thought it added a pop of color but Eric on the other and was not on the same page. Every time we drove by the house his eye was directed to the front door and not in a good way. So we were casually talking with Tara and we were talking about how we were probably going to repaint the front door after closing. About a week later we got a text from Tara asking us to choose a new front door color. She had talked to the builder’s and they agreed to paint it a different color to ensure we would love the home. It really meant a lot to know that they cared as much about home much we love the house as we do!

The Sweets are closing in on home ownership! Keep an eye out for the next installment of the Home “Sweet” Home Journal and see what they have to say about the Orientation Conference, closing process, and moving in!

Home “Sweet” Home – A New Home Buyer’s Journal, Part 3

Categories: Home Sweet Home, Homebuying | Posted: September 21, 2015

home sweet home

Eric and Jordan Sweet have made it through the contract, selection, and preconstruction stages (if you missed the first two posts, catch up with their story here). Now comes arguably the most exciting part: watching a new home come to life from the ground up! In this portion of the Home “Sweet” Home Buyer’s Journal, follow along as the foundation is poured, the walls start to go up, and the Framing Conference happens with their site builder Mike Smith.


The foundation is poured


I will say that when you first see your home laid out in concrete you stand in the middle of it and look around to try to imagine how your home will be the same size of the model. DO NOT freak out the house looks much smaller just looking at the floor outline but trust us we pulled out the tape measure and it is exactly the same size as the model.

To the windows, to the walls!


Our home was taking its shape it is so cool to see all of your rooms now coming to life. You can start to imagine you kitchen and living room. It really sparks the creative juices on pinterest to start playing the color scheme and layout you want in your home. All of a sudden your home goes from 2D to 3D as the first and second story walls go up.

More than building!

more than a building

I definitely want to take time to express that building our home was much more than just a foundation or a frame. It is the connection between you, your spouse and your builder and their agent. We felt welcome the second we stepped foot into the Riley model. Tara (the builder’s agent) has not only been someone we could go to for advice but someone who has become a friend to us. Also it is hard to remember sometimes but no one is perfect including your builder. Reality: you will find mistakes in your home! This was a hard idea for us to swallow at first but you have to remember that everyone is human including yourself. There are times when we got frustrated and would come to Tara and she would calm our worries and say “I’ll take care of it, don’t worry”. She stopped out several fires for us and it really made me think about how important it is to have a good relationship with your builder. Second reality: if you think that your builder is the only builder out there to make mistakes, you are mistaken.

Framing meeting with Mike!

framing conference framing conference1

This meeting really helped us to feel better about the attention to detail our builder has. All the issues we found after the framer’s were done just as twisted boards were fixed before we came into the home with Mike for our framing meeting. We walked through the home and he pointed out all of our extra options we added and where outlets were to be placed as well as the next stage of building that were could be expecting.

Taking an active role in our building

active role

We were at the home site every chance we got and we had to chance to meet several of our contractors. The one pictured above is the guy that was putting insulation in the garage during our framing meeting. We stopped and talked with him and he explained a lot of details about the type of insulation being put into the house. Being active with our building process allowed us to learn a lot of little details about the materials in our home that we would have never known.

The siding is on!

siding on

Wow that wood frame finally comes to life when we saw the siding on our home. We differed from the original color scheme a little with the color above the garage so we were very excited to see the color in real life instead of just small squares of sample Hardie Plank. It is beautiful and exactly what we wanted!

As you can see, the Sweet’s home is really coming together, and it’s time to start on the interior finishes. Keep an eye out for the next journal entry that describes the details and excitement of a home nearing completion!

Home “Sweet” Home – A New Home Buyer’s Journal, Part 2

Categories: Articles, Home Sweet Home, Homebuying | Posted: September 9, 2015

Eric and Jordan Sweet’s journey continues  as they describe the selections process, The Home Buyer Seminar, The Pre Construction Meeting with Mike Smith (Viridian Reserve’s Site Builder), and their excitement to see the beginnings of construction on their very first new home together. If you missed Part 1, catch up here to fill yourself in!

home sweet home


So many options!!!

I (Jordan) start by saying it is a wonderful thing that Napolitano gave us a 2 week window to decide all of the options we wanted our home because we certainly needed every minute of it! You never realize how many options you have to pick out to build a home until you start. We have always worked together as a team really well but picking out everything from what color outlets we wanted to the tile we wanted in our master bathroom was really starting to test that. Tara and Julian were so wonderful about helping to settle many, many style debates we had. We would come to the model almost every day and they would welcome us in to help continue picking out options. They always welcomed us in and were always happy to help us. Your eyes started to glaze over after the first couple of pages of options but having someone to help throughout the process is wonderful. Wait can we really do this? Are we having buyer’s remorse? – Oh yes this moment has come. When you start seeing all the options you wanted cause money signs to constantly pop up in your eyes, you feel overwhelmed to say the least. We started to question if we could really afford this home and if we were making the right decision. We never thought that these ideas would pop into our heads after finding our perfect model. We talked to Tara about all the feelings we were having and she calmed all doubts when she said “All homebuyers experience this at one time or another.”

My Notebook


I am very Type A, if I do not have organization I can get easily overwhelmed. My solution to our moment of buyer’s remorse was to create a notebook. I knew if I could just organize my thoughts I would calm down and we that this was still an obtainable goal of building a home. Tara and Napolitano loved my notebook taking several pictures of it to share with other homebuyers that might need that organization too. I have everything about our home in this notebook. I have the flyer to the floor plan, every addendum we ever had, any and every paper the builders ever gave us, our contracts from the bank and the builder.

We have a sign!! Look at our fence!

Sold in Viridian Reserve fencing in

This was such an exciting moment for us, after signing all of the paperwork and picking out our options this was the first time that it actually felt real to us that we were building our very first home. Neither Eric nor I had ever bought a home much less built one so the amount of excitement we felt to see a sold sign on our lot is unexplainable.

Home Buyer Seminar, meeting our neighbors

At the Home Buyers Seminar, Eric met with John Napolitano. Unfortunately I had to work so he had to go solo on this mission. He was very impressed with John and stated how he was very personableand made sure that he answered all questions that everyone had. At this meeting we learned what to expect throughout the building process from the builder and what they expected from us at certain times. This meeting offers a great opportunity to meet other Napolitano home buyers who signed contracts around the same time.

Meeting with Mike!

The building blocks of our home were down and at this moment it all becomes very real. “We are building a home!” Our meeting with Mike was a very informative meeting, we sat down in the model home and laid out before us were he plans for our home. He went through every feature and option we chose to ensure that it was plotted on the master plans that all the contracture would use. We then walked with Mike and Tara out to the home site and he talked with us about the different features Napolitano adds. One that really stuck out in my head as an example of them going above and beyond is the hurricane fasteners they add that is not required in the area.

Stay tuned for the next Home “Sweet” Home Journal entry, where Jordan and Eric start to see their homesite transform from an empty dirt space to the home of their dreams.

Home “Sweet” Home – A New Home Buyer’s Journal, Part 1

Categories: Articles, Home Sweet Home, Homebuying | Posted: July 9, 2015

home sweet home

Eric and Jordan Sweet are currently building their dream home in Viridian Reserve at Hickory. The Sweets instantaneously fell in love with this Napolitano Homes new home community in Chesapeake, VA, and they wanted to chronicle their experience with several journal entries that describe the excitement and events that come with the new home building process. The first entry is their search process, and the reasons they chose Napolitano Homes as their new home builder!


Where do we begin?

We scoured Zillow for months in search of our first ever “perfect home”. We found several builders and neighborhoods we liked and from there toured many models only to find so many fell short of our expectations. There were nice communities and designs offered, but none had that, “A HA..THIS WAS MADE FOR US” feeling.

So our search continued…

There were times thru the process where we felt close to a buying decision only to find out there were many list pages of extra cost options not included with the home we were considering. That made the decorated model home we favored instantly loose its WOW factor. We were disappointed and back to square one a few times over.

Our “A HA” moment!

Exterior2As soon as we walked in the Napolitano “Riley” model home at Viridian Reserve in Hickory, Chesapeake we knew it was the home for us! We fell in love with the spacious feeling the tall ceilings provided and how extremely open the floor plan was. It had a gorgeous, unobstructed view from front to back. We also loved the option for a bedroom downstairs because it gave our guest more freedom and privacy when visiting. They would have the entire first floor to themselves to wake and have breakfast on the screen porch, without waking us, if they wished.   We loved the size of the master bedroom and bathroom. It is so open and airy with the high ceilings and big windows.

Kitchen and Family RoomTara Strauser, builder’s agent, greeted us and showed us around. The Riley is her favorite model too so she was very thorough at explaining all that was included and optional from the start. We were relieved to hear her tell us more that was included than not. Tara had worked with Napolitano Homes a long time and knew the builders quality, plans and features well. It was such a wonderful experience to deal with someone who did not feel like a sales person but rather a helpful friend, there to guide us thru the process.

Please follow along as the Sweets continue their journey. There is much to learn about the contract process, selections, pre construction meeting, building process, closing, and beyond!