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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

4.5 months in....

Hi everyone!  Obviously this blog has not been a priority lately - we have gotten wrapped up with unpacking, settling in and getting a summer routine going.

I have plenty to share now that we have been in the house a few months.

The good:
-I feel like the house is well constructed.  The quality of materials is good, the workmanship is decent (more on that later) and the neighborhood is great
-Our energy bills have never been lower - even when we lived in a house half the size.  $90 last month for  electricity and that was with running the AC 24/7 (it has been hot in VA!)
I am so glad we got the garage door opener with the house
I am so glad we got the deck with the house

The OK:
-We did our 30 day inspection late (our schedules were kind of crazy).  They fixed a few things like an outlet that wasn't working, the crooked chandelier, looked at the dishwasher (it wasn't drying) and re-stained the stairs that didn't match the floors.
-I know they save a lot of things for the 10 month, but they left us with dinged up drywall that is an eyesore, a crooked bannister, crooked trim, the messed up front door, cracks in the drywall around the stairs and a few other things.  I can't believe I have to live with these things until the end of the year.

The bad:
-Our yard grading is terrible in the back.  We have taken video of a literal river running right down the middle of our backyard towards the drain.  All of our other neighbors have the swail at the back of their yard where it is out of the way.  Ours is just awful.  Every time we have a rain storm, my husband texts a pic of the river to our PM.  Nothing has been done.
-When we called the PM to ask him something the other day, we were informed that we have a new PM.  No big deal, but this guy hasn't contacted us either.
-We have YET to receive our survey.  I don't know if this is just an oversight, or if they really don't care what we have to say....
-I feel like we have been put on the back burner.  I wish there was more (any??) communication from the PM when we call.  When we did our walk through, our PM (who we really liked!) assured us that he would be here when or if we needed him. But he has been extremely busy with another development and I have no assurance that MAJOR things will get done like fixing some of the baseboards, crooked trim on the doors, the very obviously crooked bannister, our bedroom door that sticks terribly, the drainage issue, broken hardwood planks (from sloppy installation) and the major cracks and dings in the drywall.


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Sunday, June 30, 2013

After a few months...

We've had an interesting few months -- move in was a bear, as always, but we are in and somewhat settled.

We've painted two rooms now, each roughly 400 square feet of wall space. They are the girls' rooms, and the girls got to pick their colors. It took about 3 hours for the first, and about an hour and a half for the second, thanks to lessons learned from the first.

That's about it. Not much excitement, but it's coming along.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Moving in

Sorry to have been away for so long, but I think it happens to the best of us when your life is turned upside down by MOVING!  So, we are settling in.  Still somewhat living out of boxes, but we are unpacking a few more every day.  And finding so many things that we don't need anymore!

Overall, we have been happy with our home.  However, there are a few things that need to be addressed, and I am waiting for them to be done.

First, when it rains, our backyard floods.  Like, whirpool at the drain next to our yard flooding.  Not good.  And this needs to be fixed.  We texted our PM a pic and he said he was aware.  Waiting to hear what he will do about it.  Next is the cabinet that needs to be replaced.  PM found an issue with it at our walkthrough and said it would be replaced in a week and a half.  It has been 2 weeks, and no word when it will be replaced.  And third - now that we have lived in the house almost 2 weeks, we have noticed that the stain on the stairs doesn't match the floor at all.  PM mentioned that he wanted to redo the stairs.  Hoping this happens soon as well.

We will have plenty on the 30 day punch list :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Welcome to the new fitness program.

We've embarked upon a new exercise program... Move in!

As of yesterday we had the beds in and set up, and the basics in the kitchen. I have to fix a water leak in the old fridge, but it's more an annoyance than a real issue.

The only issue is the sheer amount of stuff to be moved in.

Friday, March 1, 2013

We closed!

We closed yesterday, but it was a total nightmare.  Let's just say when NVR gives you a 100% clear to close, it doesn't always mean that.

We actually had a good working relationship with NVR up until yesterday.  Everything has been pretty smooth sailing for the last 6 months.  We got the clear to close call on Wednesday, the day before closing.  We were all set to close at noon yesterday.  This time worked out for us, because I have to pick my kids up from school at 2:30, which is 30 minutes away from the office on a good traffic day.  Also, the cable guy was coming around 3pm to get us hooked up.

We got a call around 10:30 that said we had to push back closing until 1.  Fine, but it cuts it a little close.  They had ordered a document and wanted to be sure it was there in time.  On our way over the office, at 12:55, we get a call from our loan officer.  We had something on our credit report from 2009, a very small (under $100) medical bill.  All this time, for months, they had thought it wasn't our bill so they never told us about it, and we didn't know about it either.  Six months they had to let us know about this bill.  And they are calling us 5 minutes before closing saying we need to fix it.  Insanity.  They totally dropped the ball on this one.  So, we had to call and confirm the debt, pay it off and let our loan officer know.  By the time this was over with, it was 1:30.  Now we are really cutting it close.  So we go over to the office.  And we wait.  Another 20 minutes.  They didn't have the paperwork in order, and it had to be faxed over.  Then, we had to wait for the closer to show up.  I was steamed.  I furiously signed all my paperwork and had to leave Josh to sign the rest while I raced to get the kids.  I was late picking them up and they were crying :(  Ugh.  Not how I wanted closing to go at all.  It was totally stressful right up till the end.  They also underestimated our closing costs by $1000. And Josh was there from 1:45-almost 4pm.  It should have taken an hour.  And we missed the cable appointment.  Now we have to wait till Tuesday to get cable, and probably wednesday until guardian can come in.  They really, really dropped the ball on this one.

For a company who is so hung up on 10s on the survey, they should have come through for us.  Things in the house should have been perfect when we closed.  Closing should have run more smoothly.  I really feel like they weren't trying hard enough for 10s.  A 10 is perfection, and my house is far from perfect as it sits right now.

There were also some things left undone at the house.  They never tore up the flower bed encroaching into our yard.  And there were a couple other little things that weren't done.  I didn't really want to close until everything was done, but I felt like we had to.

Anyway, despite all of this, we are thrilled to be homeowners and we are thrilled the mortgage and building processes are OVER!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Closing delayed

Closing was supposed to happen today, but sadly some paperwork from another company didn't make it to the NVR office in time, so we have been delayed.  We have been assured we will close by Thursday (the end of the month) and I sure hope so.  We have almost everything packed and scheduled for this week.  There's nothing else holding up closing - just the underwriters, so fingers crossed.  I spoke to our PM about the Certificate of Occupancy and he says it is handled and he's never had a closing held up by that.  So that's one thing I'm not worried about anymore.

We went to see the house on Sunday and found that they had fixed some things, but not the door yet.  Or the backyard.  We have a backdoor neighbor's flower bed encroaching on our yard and it has to be dug up ASAP.

We also noticed some new things that we hadn't noticed before.  Stain on the risers on the steps (it looks like a sloppy job).  Drywall around the corners on the stairs looks terrible.  And the shorter railing on the stairs is crooked (not centered where it meets the wall).

I also think they put in way too much shelving in our bedroom closet, but that's not really their fault.

Hope it all comes together in time....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pre-Settlement Meeting today

Today was our pre-settlement meeting.  We have been looking forward to this day for a long time!  Meeting started right around 10am and took about 2 hours.  Our PM was great - he went over everything we needed to know from water shut off to sealing granite and grout to advising us not to use rock salt on the driveway when it's icy.  We got the big binder plus lots of great advice.  Our PM was great today.  He made note of any area that needed attention (most was very minor), walked us through, and assured us we could call for anything after settlement.  I even asked him if he knew someone who could help us get our washer and dryer upstairs and he said he would check for us.  I am leaning towards giving him major kudos on the survey because he genuinely seems interested in us being satisfied with the house and confident that we can rely on him and his team if we have any questions.  I am waiting to see how everything goes this next week and post settlement.  If he comes through for us on the things we talked about, I think he's got it in the bag.  Overall, I am very pleased with the construction and experience.

Some things that needed to be fixed before settlement are:
front door needs to be redone completely
touch ups on paint and trim
touch ups on hardwood
very minor electrical stuff
along with a couple other things that I can't recall at the moment

One thing that made a big difference was that my husband had mentioned needing to tweak something up in the attic - but said he would do it after we closed.  Our PM said he would handle it before closing.  Now, I don't think we got it in writing, but I sure hope he does it, because I know it would mean a lot to my husband not to have to do it, even though it was fairly minor.

Not much had changed with the house since last time except it had been majorly cleaned AND we had sod!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Because we are getting close...

Because we are getting close to our walkthrough, Josh has been visiting the house more often.  Normally, we would only be able to make it on Saturdays, but he went twice this week already and we plan to go again tomorrow.  Last Saturday, we saw they had dug the footers for our deck, but they didn't seem to be in the right place for the size and shape deck we wanted.  Turns out there was a miscommunication about where the deck was going, but it turned out fine the way they built it.  We even got a few extra square feet out of it!  They are doing last minute things - they put on doorknobs, put in appliances, range hood.  Touching up the paint.  They even started landscaping the front.  The yard has been fully graded, the black dividers separating the yards were removed, and I think we are ready for sod.  Here are some pics from this past week:

Our deck.  It was supposed to be longer instead of wider, but I actually like this better, I think


Josh was locked out, so he took this one through the window. We have door handles!

They have started to landscape

 Even though the kitchen is a mess, I was excited to see my countertops uncovered!

Obligatory shot of the exterior - again

Finishing up the grading on our yard

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thank goodness....we have heat!

We were thrilled to have heat in our house when we visited yesterday.  Until now, we have really had to be quick looking at the house because it was just too cold to be in there long.  The kids would complain, we would look around for 10 minutes and then hop back in the car because they were miserable after a bit.  But yesterday, we had plenty of time to look around.  It was a balmy 65 degrees indoors, and the kids played while we looked around.

There was more progress.  Stove/oven is in.  Hardwood and carpet was in everywhere.  The railings were stained.  Light fixtures were in and electricity was on.  Water was on.  Footers were dug for our porch but they were full of water.  Exterior lighting was in, driveway was poured, front porch was complete and railings were up.  Interestingly enough, our house was not locked yet.

Things that still need to be done: shower door installed, shower rod in kids bathroom, knobs on doors.  Some circuits were still being worked on, supports for the granite countertop still need to go in, deck needs to be built, cabinets need finishing work, microwave needs to be installed.

We have 2 weeks and a day until closing, but I'm confident it will all get done.  Still dealing with some last minute issues with NVR.  They have been pretty good to work with, but at this point, they are asking for a bunch of things we have already sent.  Hope everything works out and we close on time.

And now for some pictures...

Bonus room with carpet!


The outside with most of the yard graded and the porch completed
 I took this one to show the Manchester Cherry hardwood floor with the Butterscotch cabinets
 Railing
 The porch
 A shot of the stairs

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A little more progress, and 3 weeks till closing

We went to see the house yesterday, and we had a few little surprises waiting for us!  Granite was installed, more trimwork done, slate around the fireplace, electrical and HVAC work, water heater installed, garage sink installed, dishwasher in, oven delivered, kitchen sink in, toilets in, bathroom faucets installed.

Granite was a big one for me - I was really worried about the slab we were going to get because there is  SO much variation in the St. Cecelia granite.  Luckily, we got a slab that was very creamy and not at all gold or dark.  I really like it.  It looks great with the Butterscotch Glaze cabinets.

Hopefully this is also the last time we will have to visit the house without heat.  It was really cold on Saturday and we could only stay a few minutes with the kids.  Apparently they can't do the hardwood floors without heat so they should have it turned on early this week.

There was something that was disappointing to me, and I'm struggling with whether or not to mention it.  We got upgraded cabinets in the bathrooms which have brushed nickel hardware.  We assumed (silly us) that the plumbing fixtures would match.  But they installed the shiny chrome faucets instead.  It looks really weird, having 2 different metals going on in the bathroom.  I seem to remember my SR telling us that it would all match - after all, I think if it was not going to match, she would have up-sold us on the fixtures...
Anyway, I don't like it.  I know it can be fixed by us eventually, but still.  Should I raise it as an issue even though we don't have any paperwork on it?  Or let it go?

Here are some pics -I did some of the bonus room for those who requested them!

The kitchen with the dishwasher, granite installed.  The cabinets on the island need a lot of attention :(


The downstairs half bath.  They have installed the hardwood already.

A view of the stairs, standing in the dining room


Sink in the kitchen and a peek at the granite

This pic is upstairs, looking down the hall towards the master bedroom (straight) and the bonus room (right)

 MB on the left, BR on the right.  BR has a double door entryway

Here's a panoramic of the Bonus room, standing right at the window at the front of the house.




Thursday, January 31, 2013

One more pic that I forgot

I forgot to add one pic from last visit - the kids' bathroom vanity.  We had originally picked the cultured marble top with the Andover white cabinets, but I thought it was just going to be too much white with the tile and everything.  Looking back, it probably would have been ok since I plan to paint the bathroom eventually, but the wheat granite gives it a nice look right off the bat.  I still wish we would have thought to pick one of the kitchen granite choices - do they even let you do that?



I don't know if this has happened to anyone else, but I had a nightmare that they put laminate in the house instead of the hardwood we picked.  Not that there is anything wrong with laminate, but for a split second there, I thought it had happened and they were going to have to rip it all out and push back our closing date.  Guess the stress of building is getting to me :)

We are really looking forward to seeing the house this weekend.  We haven't heard from our PM yet, so I don't know exactly what has been done this week and what will be done today/tomorrow but I hope it's a lot.  I'm especially looking forward to seeing the flooring and the countertops.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Great visit today!

Well, despite the snow and freezing temps, we decided to take a quick trip up to the house to see what was new.  And there was plenty to see!

Today we saw:

-trimwork
-doors installed (they ordered the wrong door for the office - we switched the side the door was on so that wasn't in yet)
-my beautiful kitchen cabinets!
-paint
-mantle on fireplace
-laminate in LR
-tile in kids bathroom PLUS the marble threshold I asked for
-vanities installed in both bathrooms
-hardwood in the downstairs half bathroom
-tile shower and floor in master bath
-all shutters up

And finally some pics...


Kitchen Cabinets are in!


Kids' Bathroom


Fireplace and Mantle


The outside - almost finished!


Master Shower

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Just a quick post..

Nothing really to update today, since we haven't been back to the house since my last post.  I'm hoping the cabinets are in!

Josh and I have just been chugging along, working, making plans for furniture/fridge etc.  We have decided not to buy a lot before we close, just so we can live in the house  a little and be really happy with whatever we decide to purchase.  We have moved so much in the last 11 years that I'm sure I don't know even half of what we have packed away in boxes.  It will be exciting to finally unpack all of our things.

NVR has been asking for more documentation, standard stuff.  But everything still looks good for our closing date 2/25.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekly Update, 1/19/13

Our family has made it somewhat of a weekly tradition to go up and visit the house on Saturday afternoons.  Right now, we live about an hour away, so we make an afternoon/evening out of it.

I was really hoping to see a bunch of progress today, but our PM had told us that the weather we have been getting over the last few days would hold some things up.   We were supposed to get all of our utilities set up last week, but that can't happen until the ground dries up a little.  They had finished up the drywall earlier in the week, so I was hoping to see some paint and trim up.  It looks like they primed it, but no trim was put up.  I was a little disappointed - I know the weather is probably the reason not much got done, but still...

The good news is that we found all of our cabinets, doors and trim in the garage, ready to go.  So we should see lots of progress by next Saturday. I had to sneak a peek at my Rushmore Maple Butterscotch cabinets, and they were just as beautiful as I had hoped!  Can't wait to see them installed.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The little things

We usually only get out to see the house once a week, usually on Saturdays, but our PM has done a good job of calling us when things have been scheduled or what might be going on during the week.  He has even texted us pics a time or two, which is great.

The upside to only seeing the house once a week is that there are major changes week to week, which are fun to see.  Our PM called us yesterday to let us know that they have finished drywall and are moving on to primer/first coat of paint, as well as trim and doors.  Cabinets should be here tomorrow (weather permitting - they are coming from Maryland!).  Due to the massive amounts of rain we have had this week, they couldn't hook up any utilities yet.  That should be done as soon as the weather clears a bit.

We finally made a decision regarding the soap dish.  I know it's a little thing, but we had to really think this through.  We have this beautiful shower, with tile and listello - and we were going to stick a plain white soap dish in the middle of it?  We don't even use bar soap.  Our PM really wanted us to keep it, but we finally called CTI and cancelled it.  We also changed out our marble thresholds in the bathroom.  I found out they use a brownish marble which I don't personally like.  So we switched it out to grey/white marble which I like much better.

Wouldn't it be something if our cabinets were installed when we go visit this weekend?  Here's hoping!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

More progress

I promise I will get some pics up soon.  The house changes so much every time we see it!

We went to visit the house yesterday, and to our surprise they had done ALL of the stonework.  It looks awesome.  We are very pleased with how it turned out.  We were also surprised to see the drywall crew working away on a Saturday afternoon.  They were doing some taping and mudding in the garage.  We didn't realize our garage door had been installed until they closed it to tape and mud above where it sits when open.

The house looks so different with drywall.  I was really happy to see how big our closets were with the bathroom layout we chose.  We really went back and forth on jetted tub vs. no tub and bigger shower.  So glad we went with the bigger shower which also gave us bigger closets.  We aren't really "bath" people anyway.  I didn't see any goodies in our garage yesterday like cabinets or flooring but hopefully they will be delivered soon.

43 days left until closing - seems so close but so far away too!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Drywall has started!

We received confirmation that drywall has started.  Our PM had completed almost everything we needed to have done just before the drywall crew got there.  The only thing he didn't do was move the vent that was placed right over where the bed was going to be in the master bedroom.  So, we moved it ourselves. We also had our ledgestone delivered on Tuesday afternoon, so I hope that will be started soon, too!  Thing are really rolling now.  I am trying to make myself wait until Saturday to see what has been done.

In other news, we received our letter from Ryan regarding closing.  As of now, we are set to do our final walkthrough on 2/21, and close on 2/25!  It seems real now!

I truly think this is the most exciting part of building a home - seeing all of your selections coming together.  I can't wait to see how the cabinets work with the granite and the flooring.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pre-Drywall Meeting today

We finally had our pre-drywall meeting today!!  Yay!!  I wasn't able to go with my husband due to some scheduling conflicts, but I am pretty excited.  Drywall will begin tomorrow, and they tell me it takes 6-7 days to complete, so by this time next week we should have walls and ceilings!  There were only a couple of things that needed to be addressed before drywall.  Our PM had told us that it was no problem to put some insulation between the laundry room and the bedrooms that flank it.  It wasn't done, and since we didn't get it in writing (lesson learned), we had to do it ourselves.  Same with the pendant lighting.  We were told in an earlier meeting that if we opted for recessed lighting in the kitchen, that we could move the cans around to make the pendant lighting happen.  That didn't really happen either.  I am still getting my pendant lights, but we had to do the wiring for those ourselves as well.  So - advice for those who are just starting out - get everything in writing, especially at the pre-construction meeting.  If you are planning to move anything around like outlets and recessed lighting, make sure they will let you and get that in writing too!

We also heard back on our porch issue.  Seems that they won't do anything about the porch - even if we pay for the change.  I am shocked - I want to give them money to fix something and they won't.  It is really putting a damper on how much I like the house.  It looks like we will just have to do it after settlement.  I haven't given up completely yet.


As an added bonus, they completed our siding and put on our shutters.  It looks great so far!



Sunday, January 6, 2013

My first blog post, even though we are in the middle of our build...

Well, I finally caved.  I really didn't think I would want to start a blog detailing our building process with Ryan Homes, but here I am.  I have been following a few other Ryan Homes blogs over the past few months, and they have helped me so much with the whole process, that I hope I can do the same for someone else.

So, here's our story...

We first looked at purchasing a home back in May of 2012.  Our awesome realtor took us to a Ryan model home right off the bat, thinking it was a perfect fit for us.  I am a consummate worrier, so I was not ready to jump into building right off the bat.  I thought that before we settled on anything, we really needed to see what else was out there for sale.  So, we looked.  And looked.  And I found myself saying, "wow...this house would be great if only it had (granite, different cabinets, better flooring etc).  So, after a lot of careful consideration of all our options, we ended up back at the sales center of our local Ryan Homes neighborhood, purchasing a Palermo model, elevation B.  We started the process in earnest in August.  We finalized our choices in September, had hoped to break ground in October, but didn't actually break ground until just after Thanksgiving.  We were framed by the beginning of Dec and now, at the beginning of January, we are almost ready to have our pre-drywall meeting.

Overall, we have had a good experience.  Our SR is super nice and accommodating, and our PM has been on the ball with almost everything we have wanted to have done.  Thanks to some of you out there in blog-land, we knew some things we should be asking about.  We were able to do pendant lights, we moved the office door (in the Palermo, it is kind of in a weird place), and we moved the attic access out of the bedrooms.  Our PM has been pretty accommodating throughout.  He's hit almost everything on our to-do list except for 2 things: insulating the walls between the laundry room and the bedrooms that flank it AND moving the no-standard sink in the garage to a different wall.  I'm pretty sure he is planning on doing these soon.

So, now to the not so great stuff.  Honestly, these aren't so bad, but they bother me and I just didn't know to ask.  First, we didn't know that without the basement, we would have a bulkhead containing the HVAC stuff running straight through the middle of the house. I didn't think to ask (how could we have known?) but that is something I wish would have been brought to my attention so I would have know to expect it.  Apparently, county code won't let the HVAC stuff run on an exterior wall.  Second - and this one really bothers me - is the porch.  I love everything else about the Palermo elevation B, but the porch is terrible.  On every other house on our street, the porch overhang covers the  entire top stoop of the porch.  Our overhang covers about half, and I think it makes an otherwise beautiful house stick out like a sore thumb.  It just doesn't look right to me.  I am crossing my fingers that Ryan does the right thing and lets us change it to a full overhang.  After all, it's not a huge change and it would produce a very happy customer in both of us.

On the schedule this week - hopefully our pre-drywall meeting will be Tuesday morning, and then they can start hanging drywall.  Tentative closing date is 2/20 so I can't wait to see some more progress!