Our new neighborhood has a lot more children, and we're on the ground floor, so I bought a lot of candy. Even after separating out the good stuff (eg the chocolate) to keep for us, there was a ton. So, while I was at Kitty City, Andy got a whopping three trick-or-treaters. Once I got home we ended up answering the door no more times. Anyone want a lot of Starbursts, Dots, and flavored Tootsie Rolls?
No one except Monica showed up at KC today. I kept the door locked until she arrived, but once there were two of us I left it unlocked. I did almost finish four puzzles, though, and I let Seven chew on my shirt just this once. She has Andy wrapped around her furry little paw, too, after playing shoulder vulture last time he visited KC.
Tomorrow Andy and I have a full day planned. At noon we're going to the Centex Symphony development to look at a live version of the latest floor plan to catch our attention. I think we'll also be seeing a completed version of this plan. The middle one we're looking at won't have a model until a week or so from now because the floor plan is borrowed from a community which just began building, and they will be building the model for that floor plan. Afterward we plan to hit two KB communities and the KB sales floor where they show all the upgrades.
My feeling, which has been confirmed by visits to both companies' developments, is that Centex tends to be the better quality from the outset. KB seems to be of the philosophy "We'll give you the bare minimum and if you want to be cheap you can; if you want to have nice things, you can upgrade". Centex has a whole bunch of stuff which KB considers add-ons (like, say, more than one bathroom for a 3+bedroom/two floor plan) as standards. One thing Andy noticed was that in the KB model home, the shelving is fronted with contact paper. We were able to get a list of add-on prices from the KB community we visited, and it looks like it would take at least $10,000 to take their basic model up to what we would get as standards at Centex.
Up until as recently as last week we were considering previously-inhabited homes. A lot of this was due to echoweaver mentioning that there was a house across the street for sale. It went off of the market today, and Andy finally decided that we'll just stick to a new house this time so we have more control over what we get. I did some research recently, for instance, which seems to indicate that radiant heat is much better than forced air for allergy-sufferers/asthmatics. Also, when Albuquerque was young, evaporative cooling (swamp coolers) was/were the way to go because it uses very little electricity. Now, with water being extremely scarce (They're having drought conditions. Drought conditions even for desert dwellers), refrigerated cooling, which uses more electricity but less water, is recommended. Most older houses have swamp coolers and forced-air heating, while Centex offers a radiant/refrigerated package.
I have a feeling we'll not end up in KB. Andy was very underwhelmed by the overwhelming sameness of elevations in the KB lot we visited, and I'm underwhelmed by the nickle-and-diming. Andy also had an uneasy feeling which he can't put words to; perhaps the new developments we'll be looking at tomorrow will either assuage the unease or give it enough extra layers to be able to identify it.
We've looked at websites for other builders and didn't like any of the floor plans. We also looked at some custom builders and, while they had excellent standard features even by Centex standards, they cost as much as the Centex homes and the price of the lots aren't included. We figure we'd just as soon go with a semi-custom home at a price we can mostly afford for now. In the future, as we save up more and figure out what we like and don't like about our house, we can look into having a custom house built. That will also give us the advantage of figuring out the lay of the land and getting ourselves a really nice lot -- we really don't know enough about the area now to know exactly where we want to be; we're mostly making decisions based on the distance from Andy's work and the ABQ police department's crimes per square mile chart.
As noted in a very long and boring prior post, the reason we were looking at KB was due to the RWE plan. As far as we can tell, they are the only builder currently on the program, and the 3% would mean a lot to us. I mentioned RWE to the Centex people, and even showed them the Equity webpage and the fact that Centex in OR and WA has the same deal. The other day Susan from Symphony left a message on our answering machine that Centex would give us the 3% if we buy one of their homes. I'm not sure if they're joining RWE or just doing this to keep it from being a selling point for KB, but I am not going to complain either way.
More news as events warrant. Happy Halloween/Samhain!