Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Bloggers?

If you are a new Ryan Homes blogger and I don't have your blog listed on my blog list, let me know that you are out there!  All the people whose blogs I started reading when we started this journey are all settled happily in their new homes and not posting anymore (ahem! pictures please people!).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Congratulations, you are getting concrete!

I'm blogging to you from my back deck (a deck I will miss very much when we move) - its the first time in weeks that it has been cool enough to sit here and I am really enjoying it.  And hoping that my new back yard will make me forget about this tiny little yard and deck!

I had a bunch of updates to share with you this weekend, but now I've forgotten most of what I wanted to tell you!  While I think about it, here is a picture of House from this weekend:

Concrete porch poured, but otherwise doesn't look
much different from the outside

Back of house.  I was surprised at how little roof area there
is in the back.  I eventually may put up solar panels, so more
roof is better.  I guess its the garage that makes it look small

Things are progressing nicely.  This weekend we spotted some minor holes in the caulking/spray foam jobs and notified our PM.  He was on it immediately.  BF actually stopped by the house mid-afternoon and caught him there, so they were both able to walk through the house together (again) pointing out things that needed to be, or were going to be fixed.  I'm kinda jealous.  House is not anywhere near my daily commute, but BF drives by it 2x everyday.  Everything we have asked for, had concerns with or had questions about was immediately addressed by our PM.  He still continues to impress me and if he can keep this up, he is definitely getting all 10s.  Maybe 11s.

We had a surprise that makes me really, really, really happy.  We are getting a concrete driveway!!  YAY.  I despise asphalt for a bunch of reasons, but mostly because it just doesn't look as nice as concrete.  We were originally told that we would have a concrete sidewalk (good) and concrete "apron" (good) but that the remainder of the driveway would be asphalt (boo!) unless we upgraded (double boo!).  But we were keeping expenses down and BF liked asphalt better (something about melting snow and less shoveling).  Well, we found out this weekend that Ryan is going to be giving everyone a complete concrete driveway now.  YAY!  The story went something like this: "record plan yadda yadda, covenants, yada yada, confusion with the county, yadda yadda, free concrete!"  Sounds like Ryan did some cost calculations and figured that the extra cost of giving everyone concrete far outweighed the hassle of trying to figure out where the confusion was on the driveways with the county.  Good move Ryan.  I am with you 110%.  They poured the driveway on the first house to be completed last week and it looks really nice.  I think its really going to make the neighborhood look super spiffy.

We've heard that there is some maintenance on concrete.  PM told us that they would seal it prior to closing, but that we shouldn't put salt down to melt snow and that it should be sealed every once in a while.  Anyone have any info on this?  I did some googling but couldn't seem to find a really good resource on how to care for your brand new concrete driveway.

I hope we find out when they will pour it.  I really want to write our initials in it!  :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Locked In @ 4.75%

We locked our rate today at 4.75%, with 1% origination fee and .05% discount.  Don't ask me what it all means, but basically, the "origination fee" is their mortgage brokerage fee, with fancy terminology.  For our mortgage, it will cost several thousand dollars.  We could have bought a lower rate (4.65) and paid some points, but calculating it over the long run, I'd rather have the cash in hand now so we can get some furniture, or a deck, or a garage door opener.

We are a little close for locking in, but with the debt ceiling debate/hostage situation in DC we were really anxious about what rates might do under the various scenarios that could happen: no debt ceiling increase (super bad for rates); short term extension in debt ceiling (uncertain markets make bad rates); or an actual, honest to god agreement (which will probably happen now, and rates will plummet back down to 4.25 or 2.5). 

I'm happy with 4.75 but we are still taking a chance.  60 days from now is Sept 23.  BF talked to both our sales rep and PM today about it.  Our originally scheduled completion date was August 30, but PM changed it to Sept 15.  He is still telling us that it will be the first or second week of September.  But, if there are any major delays, we could run out of time on our 60 day lock.  So, its a little anxiety inducing.  However, I think we will have a little more control over the house and our PM than we do of Congress.  Maybe a lot, come to think about it...

So, cross your fingers for me that all goes smoothly over the next 60 days, and that I don't want to cry when rates actually end up dropping in two weeks!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Inspections Hootinany

Hello bloggers!   I'm back from my work trip and seemed to have brought the stifling temperatures with me.  You are welcome!

Things progressed a lot while I was away, and we had our pre-drywall meeting and our independent inspection yesterday.  On the hottest day of the year.  We sure know how to pick em.

Our pre-drywall inspection took almost two hours, I think we were just moving pretty slowly because of the heat.  Even though it was only 8am, it was already in the high 80's with 120% humidity.  And we were walking around in a house that had been closed up all night, with no AC or electricity.  Fun times.

The house looked great.  Totally solid.  No weird bowed wood, no giant knots in any support beams, no big gaps, no slanty walls.  Our PM was great, I really like him.  We walked all through the house and talked a little about how it operates, and how air flows.  We asked a lot of questions, and got all of them answered.  Not sure I remember the answers though...

As for mistakes, we found only 2.  They hadn't installed the microwave socket in the correct place.  We are getting a gas stove, and code requires the microwave to not be above it (something about giant balls of flame), so its being moved to a spot right next to the fridge.  Our PM hadn't noticed that, so I was quite proud for figuring it out.  Also, the soaking tub was badly chipped in 3 places.  PM was not happy about that, but said it would be taken care of.

Also, the PM was not happy about this:

We actually found it in the basement, tucked into a pouch that was holding HVAC paperwork.  Hey man, its been hot - who wouldn't sneak into the basement for a cold one?  Even if it was a cold Bud (ick!).  Other than that, and a cigarette butt in the basement, the house was totally clean.  I'm sure they made sure it was cleaned out for our scheduled visit, but its really been mostly clean on our unscheduled visits too.  Way less trash laying around the construction site than at my actual house.  :)

This is where my cabinets will go!

Where the fridge and microwave will go

Tradesman hard at work in 100 degree heat
filling holes with pink goo

giant hvac

This is the little nook in the living room.  I was thinking about adding some bookshelves.
Need to be very careful not to drill into the water lines....
Its like there is a giant octopus living in our ceiling

Or one of those air puffed wiggly arm person displays at the car dealership

Chipped bathtub.  :(

So, at 4pm (and 125 degree heat index) we met our independent inspector, who had already been there for a bit wandering around the exterior.  We walked the house with him for another half hour or so.  You know what he found?  One metal plate that was missing from the half wall in the kitchen.  That was it.  In the whole house.  If he hadn't been so impressed and complimentary of the PM and the job he was doing, I would think he was just not paying attention.  But he kept saying "he  (PM) beat me to it."  All the things he normally finds on houses, he wasn't finding.  No holes, not bowed wood, not gaps, no code violations.  Nada, nothing.  I'm having mixed feelings as to whether we got our money's worth!  But for a couple hundred dollars, having a professional verify our gut feelings about the house was worth it.

We are really glad we went with Ryan and are feeling very confident about the outcome.  While I was shuffling through some old paperwork, I found some letters that I had written to the developer/builder of my current house 10 years ago (which was also new.  boy am I spoiled).  I had totally blocked all of those problems out!  It was bad - very bad.  I won't go into it, but this experience with Ryan is so much better than my last experience with a local (synonymous with corrupt) builder.

Lots of other news but this post is already WAAAAY too long, so more later!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekly update, of sorts

Its been a really busy week - I've had meetings and events and appointments every day after work, so only got to see the house once mid-week, then again on friday.  Since I've last posted, we have windows, and doors, and tyvek and a roof, with shingles and everything!  The third house in the neighborhood was being framed today - it looks like it might be a venice, and another one looks ready to go once they are finished that one.  It is really happening quite fast.

Some pictures for you...

This is the access to the attic over the garage.  Apparently, they have changed the design
to close it off, and allow no access to this space.  I've emailed the PM asking if we can keep it.  If they have
to drywall over it, I'm going to drill it right back out.  Its silly to not have any access to the attic space there.

Pipes!  I think these are the pipes for the dual master bath sink

My big tub, sitting in the middle of the bathroom, like the honeymoon suite
in a really horrid roadside motel.  I hope it looks fancier after its surrounded by tile.
Kinda looks like a hunk of junk now, but I know that what all bath stuff looks like.

I don't even remember where this is - I think upstairs hallway

Piles of stuff, ready to be installed

Our stairs!  Finally, I was able to go upstairs.  We upgraded to the stained oak steps,
so the black stuff is there to protect them, which I sincerely appreciate.

More pipes.  

Ain't she cute?  I think I will call her House.
 We noticed on our first trip in that there were quite a few 2x4s that looked crappy.  Ragged edges, giant knots, weird knot/sap combos.   They were not painted or highlighted on my last trip, but I do remember from some of your experiences that PMs have in the past taken these bad boards out and replaced them.  We've asked about it, and I will push if I see a really nasty one in a support wall (if I knew which ones those were).

What else?  Um, they poured the garage too!  I think that's about it for now.  PM tells us that its HVAC, electric and plumbing for the next week, then our pre-construction meeting is Friday!

I'm headed out of town for a conference, and won't be coming back until late thursday, so a bunch is going to get done this week and I'm going to miss it <pouty face>.  Hopefully the booze cruise, hotel bed (why are the always SO much more comfy than mine?) and good company will console me.

I get a feeling that I will be sticking my iphone in people's faces all week, whether they like it or not.  "Check out my house!  Wanna see the virtual tour?"

I'll bet I make tons of friends that way.

See you all next week and good luck this week to everyone!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Closing Estimate

We found out today that they are shooting for a closing date in early September.  

My heart stopped.

Early September?!?  Holy Crap.  I feel totally unprepared.  

So, the tight timeline spurred me into action and I called to make arrangements with a property management company to come over and check out my townhouse and get the ball rolling on renting it out. That means I have to clean it up a bit this week, because they guy is going to TAKE PICTURES.  Of my home!  Of my couches!  Of my yard!  Of my kitchen!  Of my sponge painting job!  Of my cat litter box!  (hopefully not that last one)

I've been here 12 years, so I've never gone through the process of selling (or renting) a house before.  He wants to be able to start walking people through in a couple weeks.  GULP.  Not sure I can handle that.  I know you have all done it, but with a space this small, its going to be tough to keep it tidy.  In good news though, the fact that he thinks he could have enough interested people in a couple weeks is a pretty good sign that my place won't be staying empty for very long.  

You know, I have been reading all of your stories about the process and getting ready, and it seemed so easy.  There's a post that you have to pack, and then, viola!  You've packed and moved!  There's a post that you've got two houses to sell, and viola!  You've sold them, and are walking away counting your cash.  I think the reality of those things might be just a wee bit more complicated!  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The roofers are on fire!

Ok, well, they aren't really roofers, but I wanted a catchy blog post title because I wanted you to read this:

WE HAVE ROOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I walked around in my house for the first time.  I got to see what the view through the windows looked like.  We met the neighbor, who has a snow blower, a tiller, and two lawn mowers.  All of which he offered up to us!  He's already the best neighbor ever.  We also took my mom to the model house for the first time so she could finally see what we've been talking about for so many months.

I wanted to post daily pictures, but had a really busy week.  I missed a couple days, and now, I've got a whole house!!  We went up this morning to check it out and met my mom there, then took her to the model house.  I hadn't seen it all week, and was pretty excited to see this.

Gradall delivering plywood
From the back, with another nice shot of the neighbors
awesome garden.
We ran some errands, and were close by around the end of the day, so I drove by again.  There had been workmen in the house before, and I wanted to stay out of their way, but really, really, really wanted to go in.  When we drove by again, this is what we saw:

Its a roof!  Its a whole house (except for that weird hole in the roof.
What is that?)
So, of course, I went in.

Living room, viewed from the family room


Living Room. 

Morning Room

 I was really excited to be able to see the place with windows, and see what our view will be.  I love that I will be able to sit on my sofa and look out the window and see trees from the living room.  The view from the morning room won't be quite as good, but we'll fix that pretty quickly.

Our rep said that once we are under roof, we can start looking at locking in.  So, I guess that's as of today!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Today was the first day back at work after a week off.  It was not a very productive day.  :)

Not a long a production has been happening at Lot 1 either.  Waterproofing junk went up last week and there were some inspections.  So, we didn't miss much while we were in the mountains.  Everything seems to be on track for framing to begin Thursday or Friday.  Wood is supposed to be delivered tomorrow.

Side of house looking toward backyard
Family room and morning room wall with waterproofing junk
In the way background on the right of the morning room, you can see
a Ravenna that just got its siding.   We will be the 2nd Ryan home in the community
We asked our PM for an update this morning, and he got back to us pretty quickly, but didn't have a lot of detail.  I get the feeling that this guy is a just the facts kind of person, which is fine, but sometimes I like details.  

In other news, I had requested a couple additions at our pre-construction meeting: A second window in the back bedroom (its the only room in the whole house with only one window and its a little dark), a railing on the front porch, and a carriage style garage door (like Noey's!).  

Our sales rep said the garage door couldn't be done at this late date (although, i did ask about it early on in the process and it just got kinda dropped).  Apparently, the style of garage door was approved by the County and to change it would require going back with a new design to re-do the permit, which is costly and time consuming - and all items have to be ordered like yesterday.  Its amazing really - I want something that is nicer and more attractive and can't have it.  Ditto on the front porch - I didn't specifically hear the county argument, but was quoted a price of $2400.  For a RAILING.  No thanks.  We'll do it ourselves later with the deck contractor.  

And finally, she never got back to me on the price of adding a window, but again with the county argument, and some engineering thing.  I dropped it - it sounds like it would be more hassle than its worth, and really expensive to boot.  I'll just let BF have that room for his office, and I'll take one with more windows.

(Did I mention we will each have our own personal room?  I know, I'm very spoiled.  I can't wait to design my little retreat.)

I've been a little disappointed with the sales rep's performance on custom requests - it just seemed as if she tried to steer us away from them on our original request, then to get prices and info, we'd have to remind her.  Sometimes more than once - its gotten worse since we actually signed the contract.  Its like once she had us locked in, she had less incentive to keep us happy.  She also got more busy, since 10 more people signed contracts right after we did.  I understand why this might be the case, but its still a bit annoying.

Hopefully, pictures of wood tomorrow!