Saturday, September 26, 2015
Monday, August 17, 2015
I wanted to use banana connectors from my receiver into the surround sound outlets instead of stripping wires. I think it's cleaner and easier to move things around in the future. The Guardian plugs will work if you want to strip your wires. However, I discovered the surround sound wires going into the Guardian plugs were put too far into the screw and prohibited the banana plugs from being fully inserted. It's a simple fix to pull the face plate out and pull the surround sound wires out a bit to fit the banana plugs.
If you don't want to mess with this, then ask your guardian rep to make sure you can fully insert the plugs.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
I printed out a list of questions or things to go over that I found on another blog, but did not need it. I read over it and felt that some of the questions were not necessary but everyone's experience is different. I have built new construction homes before so I am familiar with the process and we have been to the house several times during the build process and nothing has stuck out at this point.
We had our realtor there to help and they have been through other Ryan Homes but with a different PM, and they were glad to see that very little had to be addressed. I've thought of hiring an inspector to come out, but figured I would do that before the 30 day mark so that we can have a good run through of the house and we would have a list of issues at that point, if any.
SOMETHINGS TO NOTE:
Wife may have gone overboard with the blue tape, but its her home so we gotta keep her happy! I did not think until after we were done that in my previous home we only marked stuff that was 1-2" or longer or was a dent. Minor dings and scratches didnt need to be taped. That would have made sense as there were a lot more of the "minor" things that got taped then actual issues to address.
ITEMS TO FIX:
Shingles over morning room appeared to be scuffed and damaged. It was a small area, maybe only 4 or 5 rows and only about 2 feet wide. Not sure what happened but PM noted that it was not normal.
Only the master bath had a toilet paper roll thingy installed. Not sure how this was missed by us previously, but they will be installed. Heaven forbid we have a central "wiping" area in the house!!!!
Shower door was not installed level and was crooked. PM noted that it was not normal after trying to adjust rubber seal.
Some of the HVAC seal material had dripped onto basement floor. PM had noted this before we got there and was going to have it removed and/or paint the unfinished section floor as the glue stuff most likely would be removed easily.
NOT A FIX, but just FYI, there was some gaps in the stone of the front of the house where you could see through to the mortar backing. THIS IS NORMAL. We thought there wasn't enough mud between the bricks, but a layer of mortar is built around the frame of the house and allowed to dry before the bricks and mud get placed on it. It allows the brick to stick better to the house and creates an extra layer of protection.
Nothing else was notable and everything else turned on and off and flushed and drained as expected. Overall, we are very satisfied with the build of the house, knowing we have one of the best PM's around.
We will be closing later this week on the house after we do one more walk through to verify the items identified have been fixed. One thing I found helpful is ask the PM what the tolerance is for something before taping it. Some items are allowed a variance, like trim or walls that they can off by before they need to redone. Knowing this ahead of time saves the effort of marking every little scratch and sets a reasonable expectation on what can be fixed at the 30 day and 10 month mark. I've read some blogs where this has been an issue where people didnt want their baseboards filled with caulk because they were off the wall by 1/4" and wanted them redone or the wall redone, but that is within the building standards. Not everything is going to be perfect in a home and you just have to accept that.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
1. There will most likely be dings and scratches on things, but they will get fixed. I'm not being over optimistic as we would have thought moving appliances in the house and routine touchups would not cause any damage. But it happens and its not worth getting worked up over, unless its a major hole or issue.
2. The sod could have been laid down better, so we went around and fixed the seams that were overlapped or just not put down tight. We did take pictures of some of the larger gaps and spots where it looks like left over pieces were used to fill gaps. We discussed this and will monitor it to see how the sod takes before closing.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Thursday, June 18, 2015
We drove around the neighborhood and confirmed with the PM that only one other Elevation E is in our section, so it will be nice to stand out! We chose the spanish olive siding with the black shutters, and are happy with how it has come together. It definitely gives the house a little more pop with colors that compliment each other, when we weren't sure how they would come together.
The one thing that was a surprise was the fireplace is noted as being a slate fireplace with white mantel. I know I have talked with the RH Rep about having a stone fireplace that would match the stone from the front of the house. Hopefully we can get that piece figured out, anyone have advice?
|Front of house, siding and trim completed, just need to paint remaining trim.|
|From rear of property line. Good little space for fire pit and dog to run around|
|Huge master walk in closet. For reference, I am 6' tall.|
|Our future homeschool area below the morning room in the basement. Much larger in person!|
|View of kitchen and morning room from living room. I think there are 9 lights in the kitchen area, more than we thought we were getting.|
|Morning room from Kitchen.|
Friday, June 5, 2015
Now the meeting....
Our realtor was our boots on the ground and did a great job. We had about 1 weeks notice from our PM about the meeting, which would give us enough time to get an inspector if we wanted. We decided not to get an inspector after talking to some local inspectors who said RH does a great job and did not point out any known or systemic issues. Some of the other blogs I've read have mentioned the RH Reps in the Northeast Region and D.C. area were some of the best across the nation, which seems to be very true!
I talked and email our PM the week before and we went over the following questions. I did not ask too many that I found on other sites as I felt like we would be micromanaging the build. I could see how this could wear on the PM and RH Rep if they are constantly being bombarded with requests (responses in red)
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
On the loan side of things, just one last thing to clear up. It seems getting everything together and sending all at once helped with the process as we should be locking in our rate next week.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
What could be a good sign of things to come is that our loan office sent me over an update GFE and TIL that will be pretty close to the final version. The best part is that we should be getting some cash back at closing and this is even after most of the fees and escrows are estimated on the high side. Also, we should be able to lock our interest rate in a couple of weeks, so that tells me that we should expect a smooth sailing from here on out on the loan side of things.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
I can see a trend in some of the blogs about Ryan homes that people would ask and get told "no" and seemed to be bitter about it or would state, "someone else got it, why can't I?". As long as you are respectful and reasonable with your requests, then you should be able to get the things you want, as long as they are offered in your division.
You don't go to Burger King and ask for a Big Mac, so take the time to research Ryan Homes or any builder, before you choose to build with them. Find out what options they offer and what they can not offer. Not only will this make your home building process more fun and exciting, but it helps the next person out behind you by creating a positive experience with the builder, who might be more flexible in the future if customers acted appropriately.
We confirmed there are no upgrades for the faucets, bathroom or kitchen. Our selection sheet during our Pre-Construction meeting listed "upgrade1" for the faucets, so I thought I would ask as others homeowners have mentioned they were able to upgrade theirs. What was nice to find out is that the granite will have 3 holes for the faucet and will come standard with a sprayer and soap dispenser.
Ryan homes does not offer any different types of sinks. You get a standard 50/50 stainless steel sink that is mounted under the granite. Our SR said RH used to offer a 70/30 sink years ago, but few people got them so they stopped offering them.
Ryan homes does not offer beveled edges on the granite. Kinda sad about this as I would like something more than just a square edge.
Finally, one thing to keep in mind is that each RH community operates like their own business, per our SR. I told him that I saw other pictures online of homes with the beveled edges on the granite and he explained that some divisions may offer that and some do not. Unfortunately, my division does not offer that.
I'm pretty satisfied with that answer and it makes sense, when you think that the homes are built at a certain price and have a certain profit margin built in, the pressure is on the PM to make sure he comes at or under budget for the home. If everyone was allowed to deviate based on what they saw in a different state or community, then the home building process becomes less streamlined and the process takes longer to plan and build because are worried about why someone else got more outlets or more shiny door knobs.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
The link is:
Has anyone been told about this and what exactly does it offer?
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The loan processor said it was the fastest approvals she had seen in a long time, not sure if anyone else has experienced some difficulties with this process but we will take what we can get. I will say that our credit was not an issue and our debt ratio was a little on the high side, but it was approved in their automated system so now all we have to do is write MORE LETTERS :(
Yes, even after receiving the loan approval, you will receive a checklist from underwriting on letters that need to be written to explain anything from non payroll deposits into your bank accounts to why your children's names are different on your tax returns (we are a blended family!).
The one thing I have experienced so far is that as long as you go with the flow and get done what is being asked of you, then the process take care of itself and everyone else you meet during the process is more likely to help you out if needed. I've read some blogs where people had to keep providing documents or trying to explain life circumstances that were bitter about it. I am not sure how that played out in the end, but you have to know that no one is out to get you or trip you up with buying the home. NVR and RH want your business, and if you've made it to this point, most likely they will help you make it to the closing table.
Our pre-construction meeting is tomorrow so that is another good milestone! I've bought new construction homes before so I am familiar with the process, but every builder is different. I talked with some friends locally who build homes and they recommended letting the builder do their thing. It does not matter if you have 100 things to go over or 10, they are going to build the house the same way they always have, and a buyer's input or questions is not going to change that process. The key thing is not to become "that customer" for the same reasons as stated above. I've had builders offer free upgrades or extra customizing before, within reason, if you just play the part of a nice customer. If there was an upgrade or an item that you wanted, but couldn't afford at the time (wainscoting, crown molding, and things along those lines), then by all means ask the project manager how much it would cost post build or see if could work something out during the build for a reduced or low cost option.
Please chime in with your experiences or things to ask about at this point in the build!!!
Friday, April 3, 2015
Well, after sending the same documents again and writing letters to explain this and that, our loan is in underwriting right now.
There was nothing unusual about my financials or credit, but because of federal laws aimed to prevent money being laundered through residential transactions by terrorists, certain things get scrutinized. Be prepared to write letters for any non payroll deposits into your accounts, this includes gifts from family or birthday money from grandparents. Silly right?
Also, if you take any type of loss on your taxes due to business or invest property transactions, be prepared to write a letter. Finally, if you move money around in your IRAs because your a savy investor or have taken a loan out in the past from your IRA, which I have not, you will need to write a letter explaining why that happened.
Most of it seems like common sense when you look at someone's loan packet, but dont be alarmed and work with your rep to get NVR what they need. I used to work in the mortgage industry and some of this seemed excessive to me. Just got to roll with it. Just remember that the more flexible and helpful you are during this process the more likely things will work out in your favor if issues come up later with the loan or build process.
Friday, March 20, 2015
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Hopefully it will work itself out shortly as we are moving from one coast to the other and planned on moving into a finished house when we arrived. It looks like we may have to unload our stuff into a storage site and find temporary housing till our home is completed.
Our SR was going to see if they can find us a town home within the community or nearby to rent month to month because of our situation!!! I certainly don't want to get locked into a rental lease.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
There was no issue with us doing this and our SR helped us get this lined up, knowing we were buying the house, sight unseen.
Here are some of the images our Realtor sent us of the cabinets and granite, which we already knew what we wanted. The hard part was visualizing everything together to pick up a good hardwood.
We like the tiles below but not the accent piece. From what we were told, you can mix and match the tiles and accent pieces
One thing that we were told different from the SR is the option of a 10lb carpet pad. The standard is a 5lb pad with an upgrade option to an 8lb pad. We decided to add the 8lb pad in the entire house.
Here is a breakdown of what we are doing:
Hardwoods - Kitchen, Foyer and living Room, Powder Room and Morning Room. It was only about $200 more to upgrade to lvl B hardwoods. Lvl A has good stuff, it just depends on what you are looking for. It was an additional cost of $1995(Living Room) and $1495(Morning Room) to have the hardwoods installed. I am trying to get a discount or rebate for that as they would have put carpet and vinyl flooring, respectively, in the rooms anyways. SR said there was no rebate because the cost is minimal to them, but I will push for it anyways.
Carpet - Basement, Zone 2 (upstairs and bedrooms) and Family room (Room with fire place). We are going with level B carpet in entire house because it has stain protection and 10 year warranty and level C in the Family room. We like the top grey color and pile. There are soo many options for carpet, it gets a bit overwhelming. I would suggest going to your local home improvement store to get an idea on what you like/want before going to the CTI appointment so you can filter out most of the options you dont like.
Master Suite - Upgrade to lvl C. It was only about $900 to upgrade over the standard white or almond tiles and it gives the house a more custom look. We also will add a shelf for soap and stuff for $75, which is better than a cheap soap dish stuck to the wall.
Overall, our Realtor did a great job for us in getting most of the items pre-selected, but we sent her tons of texts and emails every time we found something we liked, which she encouraged. I would recommend to do your homework on the brands and models to find out what you like. Both of us have spent hours going through colors and styles online to find ideas we like. This has allowed us to be specific in what we want and made it easier overall in making our final selections. Also, our Realtor has a couple clients that are building Ryan Homes in various stages and has been through the process a few times before us, which has made the process easier for us and her as she knows what we can and cannot do.
Monday, March 9, 2015
Overall, nothing changed much from when we first drafted up our wants and desires. A few things did change however and I'll provide some info for others who have not reached this point yet:
1. We decided to not get the under cabinet lighting. We can do this later ourselves with wireless LED lights or use the extra outlet above the microwave to hard wire lights if we want.
2. Two house bibs are provided and confirmed to one in the back and one in the front at the discretion of project manager/standard location.
3. We opted to not have the basement sliding glass door, for budget and security reasons.
4. We got trim package #3, which includes thicker baseboards, trail trail in family room and crown molding in family room and upstairs hall.
5. Confirmed hardwood floors are standard in kitchen, foyer, powder room and MUD ROOM!!! We will be adding hardwood floors to family room and great room.
6. We decided to get the gas fireplace in living room. It is only a white mantel with stone veneer. It costs considerably more to have the stone go all the way up the wall, so we opted not to do that.
7. Added flood light to back of house, with location set by the master bedroom window for easy adjustment and light bulb changes.
8. We asked about the tile in bathroom and the tile goes past the shower head, but not all the way up the wall. This is much better than other blogs that mentioned it only went up to or below the shower head.
9. We upgraded the cabinets in the bathrooms to match the ones in the kitchen.
10. We upgraded the granite in the bathrooms to St. Cecilia. We were told it is a shade lighter than the granite in the kitchen, just so everyone knows. This isnt an issue for us an should work out better being less natural light in the bathrooms.
11. We confirmed Venice Model Elevation E.
Overall, it was a pretty quick process, only about a 30 minute phone call. When you get ready for this, I would recommend having a list of all the pre-selected options and your change orders for review. We caught a few things that were not updated on the change order from last time, ie., the bathroom cabinets and granite, which would have been a big let down if we did not catch it. Just make sure you go line by line and ask questions if an item or upgrade is not listed or you are unsure of what it is.
Monday, March 2, 2015
We sent in our guardian options, only selected surround sound (basic package) and HDMI rough in for the basement. No pressure at all from staff and all we had to do was send in a sketch of where we wanted the items located.
We were unable to get the wet bar location moved, although we did try and SR was on board with moving it next to basement bathroom. I guess the PM did not want to deal with it, so we saved 1,200 for doing the rough in. We will most likely add in a dry bar with fridge and storage at a later time. For now, we can use the extra money on flooring!!!
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Primary Siding - Spanish Olive (Plygem)
Accent Siding - Natural Almond
Trim - Sandy Stone (we found out that our community only allows this color. We wanted white trim to make the house have a little more "pop", but there are only a few other Venice models so we will be okay in the end. I would recommend asking if our local community or HOA has a restriction on certain colors or not before choosing colors)
Shutters - Black
Door - Fiery Brown
Stone - Ledgestone Style, Bucks County Color
Friday, February 27, 2015
Hopefully, this will not affect us with a pushed back closing date and that we are able to research our options before making a final decision.
We have faith that our RH Rep will continue the excellent service and make the needed adjustments through this process. To be continued....
Sunday, February 22, 2015
We are moving to east coast after 3 years on the west coast and we are looking forward to the new adventures and chapter in our lives and welcome the change of pace from the slow and dreary PNW to the DC metro area.
We signed the purchase agreement last week for Ryan Homes to build us a Venice model in Maryland. This will be our first home together and hopefully we will survive the process together!
There are several other blogs out there about Ryan Homes and the Venice model, but nothing really since 2012, from what I could find online. Everyone seems to have similar experiences, good and bad and it appears that everyone is learning something from what the last person did.
We will be buying the home sight unseen, which is nothing new to me, so I am prepared for most of the things that will probably come up. I will say that my Realtor and the Ryan Homes Rep have been very engaging and helpful through the early stages of this process. We have excellent communication and they have sent use several color samples and explained what options could be added and what could not.
Here is a breakdown of what we added:
Gourmet Kitchen Island (extra power outlet on both sides of island will be added)
Gas fireplace in family room
Gas appliances in Kitchen
Harwoods are included in foyer, powder room and kitchen, but we will add them in family room and morning room to create a better flow
Finished basement with 3 piece bath at no extra charge
Opted for the basement window instead of sliding glass door
Optional Alternate upgrade to owners bath at no extra charge (for the times you just want to sit in the shower!!!)
Venice Elevation E, 2-Car front entry garage. We originally wanted Elevation C, but there was a redundancy issue, so Ryan homes is eating the cost to give us the different and BETTER elevation.
Rough in for wet-bar in basement
We had our Guardian appointment this week and the rep was not pushy at all. He emailed us their brochure and a copy of our floor plan and asked that we email him back where we wanted our cable drops located. The only thing we chose from them was to pre-wire the HDMI outlets in the basement and in-ceiling surround, so we got off pretty cheap. Again, there was no pressure and the conversation was short and casual.
We are still pending our CTI appointment but our realtor was given the okay to go preview stuff for use before we make our final decision, so we will probably use skype or face time to pick our colors and options.