Pre-settlement (final) Walk through.

Exterior all finished with a coat of snow

Exterior all finished with a coat of snow

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and we have a lot to be thankful for, our friends, our family (little one on the way), and so much more.  Today was the final time we got to walk through the house before we close on December 2nd and get the keys on the third.  We arrived at the development on the snowiest day so far of the season.  It looked like a plow had been through the development once, but the snow and the wind had covered over most of the roads already.  We pulled up to the house for the first time in two and half weeks.  The shutters were on the house, the front door had its final coat of paint, and Dustin (our project manager) had part of the driveway shoveled for us and the garage door open.  It is hard to believe that the house went up as quickly as it did and looks as good as it does.  Dustin greeted us as we walked in from the garage.  The fire place was on and it was quite a sight to see the flooring for the first time.  We had picked out a laminate floor for the majority of the first floor and it looked remarkable up against the cabinets and counter tops.  The carpet in the family room really plays well off the fireplace and the laminate in the kitchen too.

One of the walk-in closets in the owner's suite

One of the walk-in closets in the owner’s suite

We spent the first part of the walk through going through the big manual of documents.  Dustin talked about the warranties, what was covered, what was not.  He also spoke about the follow up he would do around the beginning of January and the transition to the service department.  In no time at all we began the final tour of the house, starting in the upstairs.  All the rooms on second floor have rough ins for light fixtures (typically all they have are switches to an outlet), we got these for free.  The first stop was the owner’s suite where he pointed out the wire organizers in each walk in closet and told us to make sure we don’t over load each section.  He then pointed out some trim that was missed on one of the windows, showed us how to operate them, and we joked about kids throwing toys at windows.

Glass shower enclosure.  The standard is a fiberglass enclosure that would not let light through.

Glass shower enclosure. The standard is a fiberglass enclosure that would not let light through.

Next we went into the owner’s bathroom.  There was really quite a bit of light in the bathroom; we were really happy we decided to do the first upgrade which included ceramic tile and glass enclosed shower.  The fiberglass shower enclosure really would have made the room look quite a bit more dark.  He pointed out where just a few weeks prior there were leaks in the plumbing.  He pointed out the supply lines for the double vanity.  They had to tuck the access panel into the cabinets which was better than where he had originally thought it would be.

We went through the remainder of the second floor.  There was quite a bit of talk around the automatic fan in the main hall bathroom.  Because the house is so

Our microwave and range

Our microwave and range

buttoned up they need to circulate air in the house.  Periodically the fan in this bathroom will kick on in order to do that so the air doesn’t become stale.  We walked through the other bedrooms and headed down to the main floor.  We had been marking imperfections in the drywall and paint but on the main floor is where we found quite a bit of oddities.  It looked like perhaps one of the painters had not mixed the paint or was using a really old roller or something, so we marked off a lot of areas to touch up.  We hit what will be the office, the dining room, and were on to the kitchen.  We got the stainless steel appliance package for the kitchen which included a range, microwave, and dishwasher.  These are all GE appliances and were actually upgraded from the package we had because some of the ranges were running out of stock.  Score!  The range has a really large viewing glass on the oven door and a warming area on the range top.  The microwave also included a range fan and range light and had a lot more bells and whistles than any microwave I’ve seen recently.  The next thing we checked out was the dishwasher; where Dustin pointed out that we shouldn’t use those little package soap thingys (apparently they are bad?)….

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Two Weeks Worth of Updates

All concrete poured!

All concrete poured!

I’ve been really bad with the updates recently.  The project manager has started locking the house up, so we have to make arrangements now if we want to see the house.  Its nice to know we are almost done, but at the same time, we are more constrained to when we can see the house.  We’ve set up our final walk through and have our settlement date, December 2nd.

So two week ago we were pleasantly surprised when we drove up and our driveway was poured.  During our pre-construction meeting our project manager had told us not to expect a driveway until next spring.  Then during our pre-drywall meeting he said that because of the weather there was a slim possibility that they might be able to pour it; if they were able to pour it he was trying to work a deal where they would cure and seal it for us too.  So that was a very pleasant surprise!  Upon entering the house we noticed that much of the trim, doors, railings (with spindles) were all on the floors waiting to be attached.  They had also delivered all the cabinets (although nothing had been installed yet).  It was very exciting to see everything coming together.  We did notice a chunk missing on one of the cabinets.  I shot off a quick email to the project manager and he said he’d order a new door.  This dude has been on the ball.  There was a setback that week though.  They detected a leak coming from the owners bathroom.  They had to remove drywall and insulation in the family room to check for damage and the leak was fixed.  Finally last week they started setting the stone for the fireplace.

So fast forward a week…

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Lots to update.

Our pre-drywall meeting came and went, we have our settlement date set (the day before Thanksgiving), and we have our mortgage locked in…I’m really falling behind on these updates.  As of now all the drywall is completely hung and the siding is up and done.  They’ve fired up the furnace and are blowing warm air through the house.  The mortgage rate that we locked in at is well below our current home, which is great.  We well be signing our papers the day before Thanksgiving and should have the keys to the house the first week in December! But what you all are likely really waiting to see are the pictures…

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Our house in the middle of the street.

If you think about it, this really is kind of a silly lyric.  Oh well.  Much apologies for the lateness of this post (almost a week late). We only really received one update last week from our project manager, which was on Thursday. He said that the frame of the second floor was done and that they would be starting on the shingles for the roof.  He also stated that this week (10/7) they were going to try to pour the floor in the garage and basement.  So, again this week we went out to the house on Friday we came in the back entrance to the development and were blown away by the progress.  The second floor was in and many of the rough-ins for the plumbing are done.  We walked around in the house for a while, let me tell you that the attic space could almost be a third floor it greatly increases how the size of the house looks.  A day later we took my mom out to the house and announced where her grandson’s room would be and also showed her around both the model and our house.  Onto the pictures…

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Its a house… kind of.

This has been an exciting week for the progress of our new house.  The lumber was delivered on Monday (9/23) and framing started on Thursday.  We received updates from Dustin, our project manager, on both days.  It also seems that Friday is our official let’s go out to the ‘new homestead day’.  I snagged quite a few pictures and we walked around the framing…pictures after the break

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Foundation Set.

There has been quite a bit of progress on the foundation over the last week.  The foundation has now been set, poured, and back filled.  Our project manager said, in his last update, lumber delivery was pushed back until sometime Monday and they will start the framing on the back end of next week.  We drove around the development last night and noticed a few more lots staked out and ready to be dug.  The developers have also made quite a bit of progress on the getting the next phase of the development ready.  Things are shaping up nicely.

We’ve dropped the price on our current home down twice now and we are starting to get nervous.  Last night we buried a Saint Joesph statue in the front yard; hopefully interest starts to pick up.  We have an open house tomorrow, hopefully it will be better than the last.  We just need to think positively.

And on that note, onto the pictures!

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Hitting the ground running…

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Friday morning we received an update from our project manager that the footings were formed and inspected and they would be pouring them that day.  He also

Foundation dug, footings formed

Foundation dug, footings formed

Foundation dug, footings formed

Foundation dug, footings formed

 

included the first two pictures shown.  It has been raining most of the day, we figured that there wouldn’t have been much progress; we decided to drive out there anyway.

It looks like they were able to pour the footings.  In his update he also stated that the lumber was set to be delivered next Friday.  We really are hitting the ground running here.

Footings poured

Footings poured

Footings poured

Footings poured

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My empire of dirt…

It has been a little more than a month since we last checked in.  The following took place between August 6th and September 11th, events don’t occur in real time 😉

I never actually spoke about our initial experience with the NVR side of the house.  For those that aren’t aware NVR is the holding company, I believe, for Ryan Homes.  They do all the under writing for the mortgage business.  Ryan is able to offer up some incentives (in our case they were REALLY significant) if you use their mortgage company.  So we met with the initial NVR loan guy, nice younger guy, he didn’t see where anything would be a problem…great we thought.  Fast forward a few months, and the underwriting process was behind.  Oh by the way they asked for the same information we gave to the initial guy.  This really gets me fired up.  As a consumer of your service you should make this process as easy and painless for me as possible.

I completely understand that they are trying to make the loan look as enticing as possible when they sell the loan for service; however, I supplied you with documentation twice make sure you are following it.  Every little thing they need explanation and documentation for.  I had two masters classes I was going to take over the summer, tuition paid for, the whole nine yards.  I ended up dropping it and got a refund.  I had to provide documentation and a paper trail from the time the tuition was paid, proof of refund, and proof of deposit…really?  Oh we received another email today asking to have the documentation…again.  That’s right, for the folks keeping track at home three times now.

Now the email today was actually a good sign, they’ve approved us…until October.  The problem with that?  House estimated completion time…December.  Not looking forward to going through all these hoops again.  But I digress…

We had our pre-construction meeting on Monday.  This is where you sit down with your sales team and your project manager and go over the floor plans and all your configured options.  Our project manager, Dustin, seemed like a really nice guy.  He set our expectations when it comes to the whole process and wants us to be as involved as we want to be.  Excellent!  Feeling better about that whole NVR nonsense already.  Our meeting lasted a little over two hours.  During that time Dustin said he completely understands that we work during the day and to feel free to go out to the site as often as we want.  If we would like to meet him on site, he’d need 24 hours notice and would try to make every opportunity to accommodate us.  He understands that because of our hours we will be at the site when he’s not there, just to be careful.  I had hoped that I would have the opportunity to go in to run some flexible PVC (smurf tubing) for future low voltage expansion (network, cable, phone, etc) and he pretty much put the kibosh on that, unfortunately.  We elected for just the standard stuff from Guardian (it’s so expensive, it’s crazy for some wiring).  Once we get further along in the process I’m going to ask if they’d be able to run some type of conduit from the basement to the attic so we could run our DirecTV through it and possibly use it for expansion later.

That brings us to today…ground breaking.  We both had to work, however, we were able to swing by after dinner to see the progress…pictures after the break

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Why don’t you come with me, on a magic carpet ride…

Who knew there were so many flooring options?  Last week Brandy and I had our appointment with Rite Rug to pick out the flooring options for the new house.  We had gone into the the appointment tentatively knowing that we had wanted laminate in a majority of the main floor and vinyl for the bathrooms.  We thought we would just do upgraded carpet pad with just the baseline standard carpet everywhere else.

Armstrong Illusions Autumn Mahogany - Kitchen, Foyer, Main floor hallways and powder room, and morning room.

Armstrong Illusions Autumn Mahogany – Kitchen, Foyer, Main floor hallways and powder room, and morning room.

So as with everything there are your standards and then there are various levels of upgrades.  Laminate is obviously an upgrade and that’s where we started. We knew we wanted laminate in our morning room, kitchen, foyer, dining room, and first floor powder room.  We looked at the three or four options in the first tier of the laminate and made a fairly quick and easy decision.  We chose an Autumn Mahogany from Armstrong Flooring “Illusions” product line.  One of the things that I thought was interesting was that the laminate had a 30 year warranty.

Vinyl flooring for upstairs bathrooms and basement powder room.

Vinyl flooring for upstairs bathrooms and basement powder room.

Our next choices were for the mudroom and the bathrooms throughout the house.  The standard for the mudrooms and bathrooms is a vinyl flooring.  Things like ceramic would be an upgrade.  We looked at the standard vinyl flooring and surprisingly some of the styles weren’t too bad.  I think there might have been a half dozen or

Vinyl flooring for the mudroom

Vinyl flooring for the mudroom

so options and we honed in on two styles.  The styles were very similar but the mudroom has a little bit darker tones.  We figure coming in from the garage, through the mudroom, we may want a darker option to hide mud, etc.  We also thought a lighter option would go better with our bathroom cabinet choices.  The vinyl is warrantied for 5 years.  We also figured we could save some money here and perhaps upgrade to ceramic or something over time.  As with the laminate, to my surprise, we made the decision fairly quickly and easily.  There wasn’t too much discussion, we were on the same page.

Our next choices?  Carpeting.  So the carpeting would be in the family room (for those not following along on the floor plan, it’s just off the kitchen and would be up against the laminate), the living room (we will be using it as an office and will be against the foyer and dining room’s laminate), the upstairs (which includes the stairs), and the basement (again stairs included).  So we had looked through various blogs about building with Ryan Homes and we’ve done a lot of research (remember me saying we analyze everything, from our previous posts); we figured we would just upgrade the padding and call it a day.

Baseline Thornwood - Carpeting for the basement

Baseline Thornwood – Carpeting for the basement

The standard pad is a 5 pound pad; there is an 8 pound upgrade and an 8 pound with memory foam upgrade. We went with the upgraded 8 pound pad; it was actually quite comfy.  On to the actual carpet itself and here is where we spent A LOT of time.  For those of you that don’t know, I’ve got some partial color blindness.  I have problems with similar shades within the same base color or colors that are very similar; think dark blue and black.  What does this mean?  I wasn’t a whole lot of help when it came to shade differences.  The baseline carpet was pretty thin and only

Collinsville Sahara Buff - All of upstairs bedrooms, hallways, office, and stairs

Collinsville Sahara Buff – All of upstairs bedrooms, hallways, office, and stairs

had four choices or so.  The baseline carpet was an easy choice for the basement but because it was so thin, we weren’t sure we wanted it in the high traffic areas. We have a similar carpet in our current home and it has worn down significantly in just 5 years and isn’t that comfortable.  We eventually decided on upgrading the carpet one level up for the entire second floor (including stairs) and what will become the office.  The color shade is called “Sahara Buff”.  We REALLY liked the carpeting that was in the model of our development; however it was like the fourth tier.  We found a very similar carpet choice in tier three though.  It has shades of tan and a few dark “specs” in it.  The color of that is called pebble.  We thought that it would bring out some of the tones in the fire place and it looked very nice up against the laminate floors too.

Inutitive Pebble - Family room carpet next to laminate

So that was it for our flooring choices it ended up taking about an hour and fifteen minutes or so.  We had our meeting with NVR, the mortgage company, later in the day.  Prior to that meeting we decided to go up to the model and start looking at other color choices for our siding, stone, and shutters. Continue reading