Saturday, September 26, 2015

Back splash

Just finished the biggest piece of our backsplash today. It was pretty straightforward for my 1st home improvement project. Other than the standard tools, I used a Dremel with a diamond blade to cut the tiles to fit around the outlets. The tiles were 12x13 and left a 6.5" gap to the bottom of the cabinets that was much easier with the Dremel because each tile is small and ceramic. A tile saw would ruin the entire square. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fixing Surround Sound connectors

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

Closing completed!!!

We got the coveted Ryan Homes bag filled with useful goodies!!!!
Everything went well with closing. Took about 2 hours of which  30 min was waiting for the forms to go through QC and a copy made of all the forms for us. Our loan officer was in touch with us routinely so there were no surprises at closing and we knew exactly what we would be getting back.
A note for people using a VA loan:
We had a last minute surprise that we had pay off and close one of my credit cards for debt ratio, which is no big deal. The problem is that the VA recently made this change and we didn't find out about it until the day before closing. That left me scrambling to get my reward points cashed out from Cabela's as I would lose them when the account was closed. This can be avoided by making sure your card balances are low or zero, prior to applying for the home loan. NVR bases your debt ratio off that initial credit pull, so keep that in mind and use the info how best fits your situation.
All of our pre settlement blue taped items were fixed during the week. Can't say enough good things about our PM. We should have very little things to address at the 10 day and 30 day marks.
We will be posting more pics of how we decorated as we get the projects done and as funds allow, lol.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pre-Settlement Walkthrough

We had our pre-settlement walkthrough last friday and everything went well. Not sure how 2.5 hours went by so fast, but it was a good chance for us to go over all of the features with the PM.  The PM did a great job, as usual, in explaining the walkthrough process and what to expect over the next week.

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.


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.


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


We are within a week of the house being complete and then closing next week.  So far the process has been smooth with no issues.  We go check out the house about once a week to see what was added and how things are coming along.  A couple things to note:

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.

Front of house.  Loving the earthy/lodge look and feel to the home!

Kitchen from the living room.

Our huge fridge!  The doors do no bang against the drywall so that is good!

A couple problem areas in the lawn to watch over time

Living room from the kitchen

Thursday, July 2, 2015

2 weeks away!!!

So we are a little more than 2 weeks  away from the house being complete.  We visited the house last week and it did not have cabinets or flooring. we have cabinets, counters, flooring and sod!!!
Holy smokes the house coming together quick now.
So far there has not been any real issues with the build. Sure their have been dings and stuff along the way but it has all been fixed. We were given the chance to see a home in our neighborhood that was finished already and it does help put things in perspective when you are worried about little things.
The best thing I can think to describe a house in construction is like waking up to your wife with no make up on. Just give her sometime and she will be beautiful!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Finally got to see our home in person!

 We finally made to the east coast and had chance to walk through the home with our PM.  We are happy with how things have come along and he answered any questions we had, which were not many as him and our RH Rep have kept us in the loop through the whole process.  We did figure out we will be getting balusters for the stair railings, which will help with getting furniture up and down the stairs easily.  The rooms were larger than seeing pictures online and every space is utilized in the house to give it an open concept that flows nicely.

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

Pre-Drywall Meeting

We had our pre-drywall meeting today.  We are unable to be there in person as we live on the west coast and building a home on the east coast.  I want to take a minute and say that RH Rep, NVR and our PM have all been outstanding during this process.  It was a little bit crazy from the start with getting documents together and selecting our options, but now its time to sit back and let the process do its work.  We had a good idea what we wanted our house to look like before we selected RH as the builder and thankfully, most of our requests were all ready included or added for a small fee.

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)

Can extra support be added in the laundry room floor to reduce vibration from washer/dryer? It is currently designed with double joists for that reason

Where is the attic access located and is there any room up there to store anything? It is located in the laundry room.  There is no storage access.  Main purpose is to install blown insulation into attic

Is there insulation between the shared bedroom walls and laundry room? no

Is there insulation in the garage? Yes on the adjoining walls to the house only

Do any vents terminate in the front of the house? no

Where is the outlet for the deep freezer located in the garage? There will be 2 outlets in the garage.  These will however be GFCI per code

Are the light switches for the garage inside the house? No they are located in the garage

Where is the electrical panel located? In the mechanical room

Where are the thermostats located? There is one thermostat located in the family room

Is the framing or structure treated to protect against termites? Not sure if this is an issue in Maryland. No we do not treat for termites

Will there be any dead space between lighting in the kitchen and room with fireplace? Can the lights be adjusted to minimize this or will it affect the lighting in each respective room? Yes.  The lights cannot be adjusted as they are required to be installed per the blueprints

Wanted to verify that two outlets are in the kitchen island, on opposite ends of it. yes

Also, the garage door lights are in the garage and near the door, not on some irrelevant wall like I saw on other blogs!

Overall, the responses were consistent with what I found on other blogs but most of the blogs about RH were from 2 to 3 years ago, so hopefully our blog will help those in the future or currently considering RH as a builder (not paid for endorsement :) )

The only thing we asked to considered is the placing of was the surround sound in the basement. I asked the PM if they could hold the duct work tight to the wall and he said he would, but said their needed to be space for the wiring, plumbing and fire sprinkler system.  I relayed that info to Guardian who said they would try to fit the speakers in the bulkhead first and if not, they would have be outside the bulkhead.  We did not want this as it would place all 5 speakers in a short area, thus eliminating the effect of surround sound.  


Friday, May 22, 2015

Building progress

Construction is already underway and the house should be finished by mid July. The trade rough-ins start next week so things are coming together nicely.
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

Mortgage Approval Update

It has been 2 weeks since I submitted the laundry list of items that NVR needed and the letters of explanation for various things, and I have not heard anything back about extra letters or documents.  Keeping fingers crossed!!!

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

Building Our Verona: A New Addition!

Building Our Verona: A New Addition!: We spent 8.5 years in our last house debating whether we wanted a deck or a patio.  Needless to say, when we moved out, the construction st...

Breaking ground!!!

Here is our little piece of land highlighted in yellow.  There is about 20' of space between the houses on the side, so that gives us a good little amount of space.

The ground has been broken and the molds for the foundation are ready to be placed in.  This is going to be the longest summer ever!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Road to the Ravenna: DIY Iron Baluster Upgrade - Angled Handrail

Road to the Ravenna: DIY Iron Baluster Upgrade - Angled Handrail

Little Rant

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.

A little nugget of helpful information

We are expecting to break ground this week, so I will post pictures as soon as we get them from our SR.  Our PM is on vacation this week, so its nice to know our SR will fill the gaps in his absence.

Little nuggets:

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

Side note...

I ran across another blog that mentioned having access to the Ryan Homes Advantage website.  I was not informed of this website, but maybe will be at a later time.

The link is:

Has anyone been told about this and what exactly does it offer?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ryan Homes Elevation "E"

Forgot to post these earlier.

Our elevation "E". We did not chose the same colors.

Here is a layout of where our windows will be.  The HOA has some requirements on the number of windows that must be in the house, so we ended up getting the living room window and the windows in the morning room for free!

Another elevation drawing.  We will have the layout for the circled image.

Pre-Construction Meeting

I gathered some questions from other blogs for our telephone meeting today. I currently live on the west coast and the home is being built on the east coast, so that is why we did not do our meeting in person.  Our realtor was unable to make it but we have been in good hands with the RH Rep from the beginning.

We also went over our options and reconfirmed with the PM our color choices for cabinets, flooring and granite.  Everything was good to go from what I could tell, so we should not have any surprises along the way.

Since, I've been through this process before, I didn't ask a ton of questions and really just let the PM talk through the paperwork, which was about 10 pages and I only needed to sign 2 of them and send back.  I figured it best to let them build the house and not worry about the small things because there is nothing I can really bring up to change or add at this point:

Estimated timeline for build? Start building next week, be done by mid July

Smooth or rough ceilings? Smooth

Have the appliances changed? Model numbers? GE brand.  I didn't put much thought into this at the beginning since stainless steel was included and no other options were offered, nor did I ask.  Researching the model appears to be the basic stainless steel appliances, or one step below the GE Profile Series.  The appliances are Energy Star rated and we will try to upgrade them through the PM if possible later.

Recessed lights over each shower? Recessed lights that are have protective glass covering

Can the granite backsplash lip be removed or not installed?  Yes, we can make the request to no install the 4" granite backsplash so we can do our own backsplash later.

Are cabinets installed in laundry room? Will they include crown moulding?  Wire Shelving installed

Outlets on landing of stairs, or top and bottom?  Top and bottom of stairs, nothing on the stairs

Extra insulation in laundry and bathrooms to reduce bathroom sounds?  Nope.

What is the height of shower head? Can it be raised?  PM is about same height as us and says the shower head is probably at 7' high, which is good for us tall people!

Type of light in laundry room, recessed?  Standard light fixture

Can I have my own inspector? What is the process?  Yes, just coordinate with PM before hand. PM will let us know a week or so before the milestones so we can arrange to have someone come out.

Will landscaping be installed before or after closing?  Before

Are any items completed after closing?  Nope.  If you are building in the winter time, this may change due to seasonal changes.

What is the grading of the backyard?  Can it be more flat?  Relatively flat, no grading will be required.

What is the grading of the driveway? How wide will it be? Can 2' be added to the sides so you are stepping on concrete and not grass getting out of car?   Driveway is wider than garage door opening.  I have another house that is similar and had no issue getting out of car and stepping onto grass.  I didnt ask about adding concrete to sides specifically because I know this will not be an issue.

Is the driveway concrete or paved?  Concrete

Can we have copies of the Plumbing, HVAC and electric plans?  Nope

Where are the outdoor lights on the house?  2 near garage, 1 near the front door and 1 near the morning room door.

Is there an outlet on the back or side of house?  Water resistant outlets are on front, back and sides of house.

Can the hose for the dryer vent be recessed into the wall?  Dryer vent is already recessed into wall.

Can left over materials be left in garage so have extra's after closing if needed?  Yes. Tile, carpet, hardwoods and such will be left behind.

Is the Water heater code compliant for the future? Is MD expecting to change efficiency standards thus making current water heater obsolete?   I only asked because in WA state they are changing water heater regulations, forcing many people to upgrade to newer "green" tanks. I was told this wont be an issue as Ryan homes has been building "green" homes in my area for a while and are ahead of other builders when it comes to this.

What type of windows will be installed?  Windows are Low-E and have a 20 year warranty on seal. 

Is the subfloor nailed, glued or screwed?  Is this everywhere?  Nailed and Glued, no screws.

Are their outlets in laundry room, mud room, master closet and garage?  Yes to laundry room and mudroom.  No to master closet.  Garage will have 1 GFI outlet and 1 dedicated outlet for our deep freezer to fill up with venison!!!!!

Is there a light in stairway?  Can it be centered on the window when viewed from outside?  The Venice model does not have this issue.  The PM knew what I was talking about and said the light is already centered on the window, which is not the case for other models.

How close are neighbors home on each side?  More specific to us, but we have about 20' on either side of house.  Good to know regardless so you don't feel crammed next to your neighbor.

What is largest size fridge to fit in Kitchen?

Where will window in basement be located?  Same spot as the layouts previously seen.  The window location will not change.

Will there be trees in front of house or in back?  There will be an everygreen tree in front of house and standard bushes and mulch alongside the house.  The HOA may put in additional trees along the public sidewalk, but no indication was given as to where.

Are there steps in front of house?  Railing?  There will be one step in front of the house.  I don't asking about a railing would be applicable.

Drainpipe in garage?  Nope.  Garage is graded with a slight slope, so anything could be drained out easily if needed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mortgage Approval and Pre-Construction Meeting

We received our mortgage loan approval from NVR!!!!

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

NVR Update

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

Final CTI Choices

We made it through out CTI decisions this morning in about 1.5 hours. We've read where this sometimes takes 3 hours to get through everything.  I can't stress enough about being able to get these items picked out early in the process so that you can know where you want to spend the money.

I wish this was the first thing we had to decide on as the cost is a bit unknown and you can easily go over budget if you are not careful.  Overall, I think we got what we wanted and it was all less than $8,000.  (Prices may vary per region and home model.  This is based on a home the Washington D.C. area)

If you want to know a rough price for certain upgrades, let me know as I have a list of what they will cost.

This is the shelf that can be added in the master shower for $75.  You can add two of them, but we went with just one as we have the seat in the shower as well.  This looks a lot better than having a "stripper pole" in the corner of the shower

These will be our cabinets and granite in the kitchen.  The hard woods will be in the kitchen, foyer, powder room, morning room and family room.

The carpet for the room with the fireplace is not as gray as it looks.  It is actually more beige tan and has a higher pile.  We chose level C in this room, as it will have more use out of it.

We chose the middle color carpet for Zone B and the basement.  Its a lighter tan color, but dark enough to where it should not show much traffic patterns or stains.  The last image is of the Zone B and basement (left) and Family Room (Right)

Our master bathroom tiles and accent piece.  We did confirm we were able to mix and match the accent piece with our tiles.  We like the glass tile in the accent piece, but not the shiny or iridescent ones.  Thankfully they had something that was more contemporary but still ties into the natural look we wanted.  The granite in all the bathrooms is the St. Cecilia light with the same cabinets as the kitchen. 

We like the look of this color scheme for the kitchen, but wanted a little darker floors.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Talked to our SR and due to bad weather in the D.C. area, our expected finishing date will likely be moved to right by 2-3 weeks.  Also, our construction permit is still being processed by the county, so we could not start now if we wanted to.

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

CTI Preview

Our Realtor had a preview appointment yesterday so that we could get an idea on cost and colors.  We were able to do this because we live on the opposite coast and will not be able to get to the design center to see and make the decisions ourselves.

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

Last day for changes

Had a great meeting with SR today to go over all the structural details of the home and make any last minute changes that we wanted.  We went over options we did select and options we did not select.  I thought was helpful as it is a refresher of what is available just in case you forgot something.  I have purchased new construction before, so I did not feel pressured to choose additional upgrades and we had a clear idea of what we wanted in the house before we started this process.

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

CTI Update #2

Talked with SR and there is no issue with CTI being backed up, although he said he would try to push for an earlier appointment if possible.

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

Home Colors

We sent in our selection for the home colors last week.  We chose option UAX, which includes:

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

Virtual Tour

Talked with SR who said the CTI dates wont affect the building process and wont affect our closing date!!!!!

We decided to remove the wet-bar rough in as they cannot move the location for us.  No big deal as we will probably do a dry bar built in at some point with just a fridge, much cheaper option too!!!

We will add a floodlight in the back of the house and have it placed up by the master bedroom window so the lights can be changed and adjusted easier.  I cant remember the blog that had this idea, but all the credit goes to them.

Google recently did a virtual tour of the model home (Venice), which happens to be our model and it was more helpful than what was posted on the RH website.  Here is the link:

Friday, February 27, 2015

CTI Meeting

Well, our real estate agent finally got in touch with CTI to make an appointment to pick our flooring options, which is good news!  The concerning part is that our change order deadline is 9 Mar and the CTI appointment is not until 20 Mar.

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

Blog Compilations

Here is a list of other Ryan home owners and their DIY projects or experiences:

Home Purchase Update #1

We haven't had much time lately to give everyone a personal update and this being our first blog, I figured we would earn a little bit of grace, although grace is freely given, not earned!!!

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:

Morning room
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.