Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Final walk through and closing

Wow! I thought I would be posting pictures by now... We had our final walk through on Friday (took nearly 3 hours), as well as closing. The walk through was neat - we were able to see everything that we hadn't seen yet. It's so pretty! The closing only took about an hour. I expected a longer time - something similar to the mortgage paperwork.

Busy painting, painting, painting. The movers come Friday to move the large items I don't want to be broken (e.g., armoire, etc.)... friends and family moving on Saturday. I agree with the earlier posting. It is crazy busy - and I took the week off from work. Pictures will follow! I swear...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

Wow! It's hard to believe our final walk-through is next Friday and so is the closing... We were up there Monday and there are steps and a driveway! The brick and exterior is all finished and beautiful. There is only one other house in the plan with our brick (Bisque) and a separate one with our siding... Together, I love them. I will post pictures.

The cabinets were up and they were painting the last time we were in there. It remains to be seen if/how much we will need to sand when we move in before we paint.

It's amazing how much there is to do. Tomorrow, we meet with the blind people... and continue packing. We were ahead... now we're behind. How did that happen??? :-)

I can't believe it's already almost done. We'll be in for trick or treat!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good news! And an extra outlet recommendation...

Woohoo! They moved up our closing/settlement date to October 22 - the same day as our final walk through. :-) Can't wait!

We have a garage door and they are working on dry wall... front brick should start this week.

And one thing I forgot to mention that we added one (due to a recommendation from a friend - Thanks Joe!)... we added an outlet in the walk in closet so we could use a steamer or an iron in there. Such a great idea!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Moving Right Along...

Moving right along... earlier this week, the electrician, HVAC, and plumbing guys were all hard at work on the house. My husband finally met with the Guardian guy on Tuesday to go over again where we wanted things. We forgot to tell him about the pet alley for the security system and we needed to move a few outlets (the kind that you can plug cable into)...

We were less than thrilled with the responsiveness of Guardian. We had tried to call our rep (and e-mailed him) before vacation and he never called back (originally called him around August 23). Called him again on Monday and when he called back he said Ryan had been moving everything up (how is that a bad thing?) and he hadn't had enough time to call us already... uh... how about nearly two weeks before that when we called him with questions. Sorry to rant, my biggest pet peeve is when someone makes excuses instead of just accepting responsiblity, fixing it, and moving on. Anyway, it is now taken care of and it should be all set.

Tonight is our pre-drywall meeting. I always look forward to these meetings even if it's not much new... it's fun to go up and talk to someone about the house (even if we're up there mostly every day). :-)

There sure is a lot of flourescent orange paint around the house... the project manager was up there telling them what to correct. I never would have noticed half those things - definitely gives peace of mind to see how dilligent he is.

Hoping that somehow we can get our final walk through and closing on the same day... seems bizarre that one is on Friday and the other on Tuesday. No one else in the area has done that and it's hard to arrange a work schedule for that and several vacation days would be wasted. Can't hurt to ask to get them on the same day. :-)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And, while we were away, the workmen did play!

Wow! While we were away, they framed the inside and put the tubs in. They marked where the appliances would be, finished the basement floor, and put in windows and doors!!! And, we also have HVAC in there already! All of this done in one week! So much so fast... and we can't wait to move in.

And, while we were away, we also locked in the interest rate... 4.25%. We are thrilled! These record breaking rates are amazing! I guess there is something with a credit from NVR... that is not incorporated into the 4.25%. Regardless, our annual percentage rate will be 4.95%... we can definitely live with that - it's nearly .2% lower than our original good faith estimate and will save a whole lot of money in interest over the course of the loan (something like $14k) and in the closing costs.
We got a call from the electrician that they are a few days ahead of schedule and they will be in there tomorrow (Monday) to begin wiring.
There is even more... we have our closing date... our pre-settlement meeting is Friday, October 22 and our Settlement meeting is Tuesday, October 26... Everything is happening so quick. Good thing we started packing a while ago!

On the second day... we had a second floor!

Imagine our surprise when we went up on Wednesday and had a second floor! (September 1)

So much done in one week! First Floor!

So many posts I missed... we were up at the house every day before we left for the beach - luckily Earl had no impact on the vacation. But it was very hard to be down there and wondering what was going on up here. Even with pictures, we couldn't wait to get home and see what was done!

Monday, August 30 - the wood arrived!

Tuesday, August 31... We have a first floor. Holy Crap! Those were the first words I uttered when we drove up that day.

Ryan forgot that we had a fireplace... but they simply framed it in instead. No problem!

And, the stairway to Heaven, as we like to call it...

And, on a side note, the french drain has been fixed where it was crushed. The excavator blamed the plumber and vice versa. Doesn't matter to me who did it... but it is now fixed. :-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010


What a few days... the block has been replaced and looks wonderful! Pictures to follow...

And the drain... the project manager did notice it - the people who put in the french drain said that they replaced it. We dug it up Wednesday and it wasn't fixed. But, we have been promised it would be fixed Monday a.m. The same day the house arrives! Yippee! We can't wait! The neighbor's house arrived last week and is up already!

We head down to the Outer Banks this weekend for a week. I can't even believe how much work will be done in that much time. Wow!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stopping by the House...

Wow, it's been a few days since our last post... Never realized how busy we would be and we still have 2 months until we move in! So much still to buy and decide (e.g., blinds, paint colors, etc.).

Have been stopping up at the house every couple of days and have noticed a few things.
  • There is some cracked block in the foundation that will be visible in the garage once the house is finished... it is also below where the beam will sit. There were also some pretty big seams (mortar) visible.
  • Cracked pipe outside of the house - but they are still working on the pipe work. Will check that one out later today. Tooks lots of pictures.
  • Lots of masonary blocks laying around in what will eventually be the concrete floor. My father in law (former inspector for these types of things) is not too pleased about that... as things settle, they will settle within the holes of the block and the block will break down... could cause cracking in concrete. Apparently this is something builders will often do?

Our project manager is awesome! My husband e-mailed him about the block defects and had a response within a day that he was aware of it already and they would be taken care of. Gives some peace of mind that he is on top of things (not that we doubted it :-)).

Can't wait to see what they have done the past couple of days. The neighbor's house arrived on Monday and I believe ours arrives next week. :-) If only we could be there when it arrives... We know the day, but apparently, it could arrive at any time during the day and we don't want to sit there and wait.

Wow, does that house look tiny with only the foundation on there. :-)

Our advice throughout this process (and from others who have built with ANY builder - I should point out, that this isn't just a Ryan recommendation, but even for custom builders)... stop by and see what's going on periodically (maybe not as often as we do)...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

So much so fast!

We have walls! Holy cow... imagine our surprise when we went up on Tuesday evening and this is what we saw - a mere 3 days after breaking ground! I am heading up tomorrow to show my mom... apparently the tar is up on the walls and they are starting to back fill. So much fun! I try to go up only every 2 or 3 days so more is done. :-)

Boy, does it look small though! I know it's the right house... but it sure doesn't seem like I can fit two cars in that garage...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pre-Construction Meeting and Ground Breaking!!!

What a whirlwind the past few days have been... Thursday was our pre-construction (road map) meeting. Our project manager walked us through everything we selected and how everything would happen. It was fun to hear about everything we selected all over again. And then, we walked the lot... it is so much bigger than we realized - nearly 1/3 acre. As my husband said, more than enough room to play corn hole. :-)

We met one set of neighbors that day and one set the next day when we went back to get the pictures (forgot the camera the first day)... what a great bunch of people! Can't wait for our house to be done!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So close....

Such a nice surpise to get a call from my husband that they put up the silt (?) fence... he explained it to me - not a big deal, but one step closer to breaking ground!... the most exciting part is that our they are supposed to break ground tomorrow!!! We also have our pre-construction meeting tomorrow... Still out of town, but what a nice day in store. :-) Although the getting home at midnight or later tonight part isn't so great... I won't complain.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pre-Construction Meeting and Ground Breaking

Woohoo! We received a call from one of our reps... my travel does put a glitch in planning the road map/pre-construction meeting... but, we have our meeting scheduled for Thursday, August 12... coincidentally, the same day that we are scheduled to break ground. That will save us a trip up there that evening - no way could we know they are breaking ground and not head up there.

What I really want to see is when they bring in pieces on the truck... I'd like to put a chair across the street and watch them take it off the truck. What fun that would be!

I don't think I have been this excited since we set out wedding date a few years back (well, maybe the wedding day :-)).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tentative Break Ground

We have driven through the neighborhood a few times. It's so exciting. Met a few of the neighbors and they are all so nice. Just like the neighborhood I grew up in. Two of the houses around us have started building and we thought our turn would be coming up. It is!

A tentative breakground date has been set for the week of August 9... with a closing date of end of October. We are so excited! Can't wait to schedule the pre-construction meeting. Of course, I will be travelling August 9-11 for work which puts a little glitch in there. Still trying to be patient, but it is so difficult... getting easier though.


This was honestly a meeting that we were dreading and it happened on June 21... we had heard how sales oriented the meeting would be. Well, it wasn't at all. We are already Guardian customers and are familiar with how it works. I would have used them again for the security system.

When we got in there, the rep was very helpful. We told him what we didn't want (central vac, speakers throughout the house) and what we would consider... he explained what we would consider and we opted for a few more cable outlets and the like. We also decided to get the surround sound system in the family room... which makes my husband very happy (and me too, but we'll keep that a secret :-)). I think we got a six pack of some sort.

Options, options, options...

Such decisions... how to decide what we will get an what we will skip... Good thing that my husband and father in law are handy... well, more than that. They gutted our current house and renovated the whole thing themselves. So, that helped make the decisions a little easier... we didn't make a lot of changes that we could do ourselves... most of what we decided to do was structural... these decisions were finalized around June 10.

Here is some of what we are adding:
  • 2 Foot bump out on the family room and dinette
  • Fireplace
  • Brick front
  • Gas stove
  • Stainless steel appliances (which were the incentive we received) and high efficiency washer
  • Soaking tub
  • Cathedral ceiling in the master bedroom
  • We opted for larger bedrooms and got 3 instead of 4... this also gave us an open foyer - we opted for the spindles instead of dry wall
  • We did upgrade the carpet throughout the house - I have a friend who recently built a house - their carpet lasted about 5 years before it started to wear - so we upgraded that to level 3. We also upgraded the family room because we liked the pattern and it was high traffic.
  • We upgraded the carpet padding throughout the entire house
  • We added the island in the kitchen
  • Rough ins for powder room in the basement and ceiling fans throughout the house
  • Extra windows
  • Drain in the garage (which came highly recommended)
  • Lighting in the kitchen and family room
  • Premium lot - it is 1/3 acre

We didn't finish the basement, put tile in the kitchen / foyer, or add the deck as we can do that all ourselves and plan on doing it in the next year... deck in the spring for sure!

My only complaint thus far is that we can't build the morning room on the Armstrong model (which it seems may be a Pittsburgh model?)... We would love that...

It's awfully hot here today - heat index near 100 degrees.... can't wait til next summer when we can take advantage of that great pool in our new neighborhood. :-)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Playing catch up...

There are three other great Ryan building blogs (I will provide the links as soon as I figure out how)... as I read them everyday, I think that I should do that... great way to keep family members updated and anyone else just looking for information.

As everyone else said, there are a lot of negative reviews out there. As someone who works in the research/advertising industry, I know that the only people who tend to talk about a product online are those who are very happy or very dissatisfied. That leaves a whole lot of people in the middle. I hope we are one of those who are very happy (so far we are!)... and can share the experience so others know what to expect.

We have gotten so many questions as to why we are building a Ryan... here's the answer. We like them. Both my husband and myself grew up in Ryan homes and the quality was fine. They are energy star approved and... simply, we like them. We considered two other builders - one who basically copies Ryan designs and one who is known for big houses with very cheap materials (well, we really didn't consider that one).

To get caught up... we initially went to our neighborhood on a whim. We had no intentions of buying in the near future (actually had planned on buying in the next year or two). We had a house to sell first (that my husband and father in law had lovingly gutted and re-modeled about 10 years ago)... on Friday, May 21, 2010, our journey began.

We met our Ryan rep that day. She was amazing... if it weren't for her, I honestly don't think we would be where we are right now. Actually, I know that. We visited another neighborhood to see a finished home and they were not nearly as knowledgeable - we would have never done it.

On Tuesday, May 25, we went back in to see what type of final cost and mortgage we were looking at and were pleasantly surprised to see it was well within our budget... Three days later, Friday, May 28, we were back in to sign the papers on the house and fill out all the mortgage paperwork. We were there for about 6 hours. I guess some people split the day up, but we were fine with completing it all in one day.

Mortgage was approved around June 11 or 14 and then it was time to wait and wait and wait... I'm not very good at waiting, so this is a big challenge for me.