Friday, September 18, 2015

Some Pictures Finally

I've finally gotten around to getting pics up of the house on here.  Needless to say things have been very busy for the past couple of weeks!  We are completely moved in and most of the boxes have been emptied.  These pics are at various stages of the move, so please excuse the mess in some of them!


 Dining Room (currently kid's playroom)

 Family Room

 Morning Room

 Mud Room/Laundry Area

 Mud Room/Welcome Center (no hooks yet)

Kitchen (with our new countertops!)

Kids Bathroom

Kid's Bedroom

Kid's Bedroom

Before we moved in we were able to paint the Family Room, Morning Room, Kitchen, Mud Room and both of our girl's bedrooms.  Since these were brand new walls the paint was a bit difficult to put on and definitely needed two coats.  Overall we are happy with the results and we'll paint other rooms when we have the time.

Our issues so far have been pretty minor.  Our dishwasher had no power (fixed), we've had a couple windows break (not fixed yet), and a heavy downpour last weekend caused parts of our lawn to sink.  We also found some bubbling on our ceiling in the kitchen, which we think was caused by the rain leaking in through the siding.  Our PM still isn't sure if that was the cause of it but he had someone go up and re-caulk some spots where the roof of the garage meets the house.  As for the counter tops, we finally got them installed yesterday!  We do have an issue with the top that is on the half wall, however (it is the one being held down by the wood in the pic).  The guy who installed it cut the notch for the wall crooked, and it ended up affecting the position of the top all the way through.  Here's what it looks like at the edge:

All of the other tops were installed well so I'm not mad about it but I do want it re-done.  I've contacted our PM about it but haven't gotten a response yet.

We also have some floor creak issues and a few nail pops which we'll address at our 30 day meeting.  Let's hope there aren't too many more issues that pop up until then!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

We Are Closing Tomorrow!

Yesterday we had our pre-settlement meeting where we went over all of the details about the home (warranties, service calls, etc.) and walked through all of the house to check everything out.  Overall everything looked pretty good!  Unfortunately I was too busy looking for any issues and I didn't take pictures of the inside.  I did take one of the outside, however:

The only serious issues we have is that we still don't have our countertops installed, and they forgot about our "Arrival Center" in the mudroom.  Our PM has been having a heck of a time trying to track down our countertops, so in order to pass final inspection with the town he installed a temporary top and sink.  The good news is that he said we could keep the temporary top if we wanted it.  I probably won't use it for a long time (or ever) but it might be useful if I want to set up a bar or maybe a second kitchen in the basement in the future.  We should hopefully get our countertops installed next week.  My wife is the most upset about the Arrival Center, which was supposed to include a bench and a long, wall mounted coat rack.  Our PM thought it might have been an extra that we were supposed to pay for, but after looking at the plan PDF for this model it is definitely included.  We'll see how that shakes out.

There were a few small issues that I kind of expected as we went through.  There was a floor creak in the master bedroom, a bunch of spots on the walls were patched up but not re-painted, and a post for one of the support beams in the basement wasn't fastened/hammered into the beam.  All minor issues that are going to be fixed by tomorrow.

As for NVR mortgage, it was surprisingly easier than I thought and we were cleared way earlier that I expected.  If you're a follower of Ryan Homes or NVR mortgage, I'm sure you've heard plenty of horror stories where they mess up something with the application or ask for a ridiculous amount of financial information at the last minute.  The only information they needed from me at the end was my last three paystubs, and that was only needed by the end of this week and really wouldn't have affected closing.  As long as there isn't any last second hiccups we shouldn't have any problems at the closing tomorrow.

After closing tomorrow we are heading over to the house to start moving some things in.  I will take some pictures and post them on here.  We are gonna slowly move stuff in with our cars next week and do the big move next Saturday.  Our family is very excited and we can't wait to move in!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Heading Towards The Home Stretch!

It's been a few weeks since my last post, but today we can happily say that we are nearing the completion of our new home!  Lots of things have been done since my last post, which was the pre-drywall meeting:

 - Insulation and drywall has been completely installed and walls/ceilings have been painted.
 - Kitchen cabinets have been installed, however the countertops have not been installed yet as they noticed some issues with what was delivered so they ordered a new one.
 - Bathroom cabinets installed
 - Vinyl flooring on the first floor installed

I'm actually pretty surprised that they re-ordered the countertop.  We settled on getting only Formica instead of granite, so either the defect was too big to not notice or the installer just didn't think it was good enough.  Either way, I'm glad it is being done right.

We did have a couple small issues that were rectified by our PM.  First, we noticed that they put drywall up on the lower stairs where our banisters were supposed to be.  We noticed this just before our PM was set to go on a short vacation, and even though I didn't expect a response he did text me while he was away to tell me they'd fix it! We also just noticed a puncture in the sheathing on the outside of the house.  I'm not sure how that happened but I'm guessing it was from the tractor they were using to do grading.  Our PM said they'd take care of before they put the siding up.

Next week should be even busier as we are scheduled to have the tile (bathrooms), carpeting, plumbing, siding, light fixtures and our driveway (asphalt) completed or at least in process.  This is all great news as our expected closing is around the first week of September (2-4) but it may be possible that we can close earlier.

As for working with NVR to get our mortgage, that's a whole other story.  I really don't want to get into it, but I will just say that I wasn't happy with their lack of communication.  But I'm glad that we've finally locked in our rate and (hopefully) we should be all set for that at closing.  For future prospective Ryan home buyers, I would highly recommend shopping around for a mortgage.  While I found that most mortgage companies have about the same closing costs, NVR seemed to be between 1/8th to 1/4th of a percent higher interest rates.  If it wasn't for the closing costs incentive that we received (almost $5,000) I probably would've gone somewhere else.  If you do decide to go with NVR, I would also recommend that you wait until you're in the 30 day window to lock in your rate, as their standard lock period is only that much time and they want a lot of money to lock in your rate longer.  Pretty much all of the other companies have a 60 day lock period.

I think I have some pictures of the drywall and most of the kitchen cabinets that were installed, if I have a few minutes free I'll post them up!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Pre-Drywall Meeting Today!

I was able to schedule our pre-drywall meeting before we leave for vacation tomorrow.  I wasn't sure if it would be possible but I contacted our PM for our status and he said we were good to go!  If it wasn't possible then we'd have to wait another week and a half which would not have made my wife happy :-).  All of the insulation won't be in but I'm OK with that.  Supposedly the reason for the delay was because the town inspector was out unexpectedly.  I haven't talked to the PM since scheduling but I assume we are good to go since my wife saw the insulators working on the house yesterday afternoon.  We should get a better idea of our closing date and start thinking about locking in the rate for our mortgage.  BTW, I've been having tons of fun dealing with NVR </sarcasm> and I may put up a post about it after we get back.

I did decide to hire an inspector to come with us and look at the house.  Our PM seems to be fine with this and I believe that it can't hurt to have another set of (experienced) eyes to look at everything.  I would definitely recommend hiring someone for both the pre-drywall and pre-closing stages, especially if you're not a handy person (I definitely am not!).

I may post a picture or two before we leave tomorrow, we still have to pack both our stuff and our kids stuff.  Yes, I am a bit of a procrastinator!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Progress Pics

 garage foundation
 our wood for framing (this was on our neighbors lot that wasn't started yet, sorry!)
 more wood, windows
 basement floor poured!  However, they screwed up the position of one of the jack stand holes (on the lower right).
first floor framed up
mud room/laundry room, and the pantry on the left
family room

kitchen/morning room

 morning room

 family room

 kitchen/morning room
all framed up!

garage floor completed!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Framing completed!

Hi everyone, sorry for not posting any updates in a while.  I've been really busy at work and every time I would think about putting up a new post I would end up forgetting about it just a few minutes later!

To recap what's been done,  they've poured the foundation footing, walls and floor and completely framed the house.  The foundation was started June 10-11 and they waited to start framing until June 26.  I was really happy about this, since sometimes they wait as little as 7 days to frame the house after the foundation has been poured.  There's no strict guidelines as to how long concrete should cure before it can take any sort of load, but in my opinion the longer the wait, the better.  Plus we had a few days during that time where we had some pretty heavy rain.  Some rain is actually a good thing as the water will help it cure properly, although there's currently about an inch or so of water in our basement.  It sounds bad, but it's something that we don't have control over, and they can pump out the water and de-humidify the basement to dry it out.  They should actually be pumping the water out today, our PM was just trying to get a power source to run the pump.  We are very excited as it is now starting to look like an actual house!  I should have some pics up either tonight or tomorrow.

So far we've only encountered a couple small issues.  We noticed that there was an extra "closet" that was framed up in the kitchen that we did not have in the plans.  After discussing this with the PM, we found that this was where a pantry closet for the kitchen used to be under the old Savoy model.  Under the new plans, we now have a whole pantry room behind the garage, so this pantry is no longer needed.  We already have plans for this space so I asked that we take the pantry out.  PM said it was not a problem and the framers were able to take care of it ASAP.  The other issue is that when the basement floor was poured, they put the spacing for the jackstand for one of the support beams in the wrong spot.  Currently the beam is being held up by a couple 2x6s (I think) but they should be in to fix that this week.  There is also a couple chips off of the foundation near the basement windows.  They are very small and they should be able to patch them up.

Now that the house is framed we will be getting plumbing, electrical and HVAC all started up.  According to our PM, we should be having our pre-drywall meeting mid-to-late next week.  Woo hoo!

Monday, June 8, 2015

We broke ground!

Two weeks ago, the wife and I met with the project manager to go over the whole building process and give us a better idea of how the house will be laid out.  It helps him as well since he is in charge of up to a dozen homes at one time so he can see what upgrades we requested be done and know what to look out for.  I won't go into the details of the meeting but I will say that I was very pleased at his knowledge in building and I'm quite confident that he will do a great job with our home!

Our ground breaking date was moved up from June 15th to the 4th and we have officially started the building process!

We were told that they might pour the footings on Saturday the 6th, however as of this morning (June 8) they had not.  It was nice out this weekend and now it is raining (rain is in the forecast for the entire week!) so I'm wondering if it will be delayed further.  I had hoped that they would pour early so that we would have as much curing time as possible, but oh well.   

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lots of Progress....

Lots of good things have happened over the past couple of weeks!

First of all, NVR approved us for a mortgage in only 8 days.  I thought this was amazing considering our LO told us it's usually around 13-18 days and I was honestly expecting it to take about 25-30 considering the horror stories I've read on other blogs.  I figure that our early approval was mainly due to the fact that I came prepared with everything they needed which included paystubs, W-2s, bank statements, and tax returns.  Asking for the tax returns I thought was a bit odd considering part of the application includes giving NVR permission to retrieve them directly from the IRS, so they will get them no matter what.  I also emailed our LO electronic copies of EVERYTHING they asked for.  So now there's really no excuse that they "lost the paperwork" which also seems to be an issue with NVR.  In the end, I still haven't decided if I will use NVR to process our mortgage because they're only giving us a $5K incentive to use them.  I've heard lots of other people getting free stuff (morning room, finished basement) so I was a bit disappointed on that.  I'm talking to another lender right now and if they can match or beat it I will probably not use NVR.

We also went to the design center over the weekend to pick out details for our kitchen and flooring.  Before we went, however, I was able to do some research based on the information we already had.  Our SR gave us the "Master Selection Sheet" so I was able to figure out the prices of upgrades ahead of time.  I had already planned on upgrading the carpets, padding and vinyl/resilient flooring so it was good to know how much it cost beforehand.  We were also able to figure out the different styles/colors of kitchen cabinets they offered.  We then went to the Timberlake website to compare and figure out which one we liked best.  Here is what we ended up going with:

Scottsdale Square Maple Cognac cabinets (Upgrade 1) with upgraded white marble laminate countertops and "beige-ish" vinyl flooring (not an upgrade!).  We also added the crown molding for the cabinets.

Level C Carpet for Family Room

Level B Carpet for rest of home (Upstairs, Study, Dining Room) with Cherry bannister

Here are all of the selections for the granite for the fireplace.  We originally selected "Absolute Black" but we've changed that to "Wheatfield".

Overall we were happy with our selections, but wow there is a lot of beige!  Also not having to upgrade the vinyl flooring meant that we could convert the living room into a study which my wife wanted.  Happy wife, happy life!

And the final bit of good news is that we found out that we will be getting more basement space than we originally thought.  If you take a look at our floor plan (see the PDF in my previous post) you'll see that they do not have an area for the basement directly beneath the pantry/mud room/laundry room area behind the garage.  I'm actually surprised it took me this long to figure that out but better late than never.  I ended up emailing our SR to find out what's actually underneath that area (since we will eventually need to access the water/gas/power lines to the washer & dryer), and he informed us that it is just a crawlspace and not a full basement area.  I was a bit bummed out about that.  However, they just built a Savoy model home in the southtowns and while we had visited it before we never went down the basement to take a look.  So after our visit to the design center we stopped over the model home to check it out.  Lo and behold, there was a full basement there!  I even talked to the SR at the model and he was pretty sure that our home should be set the same way.  After relaying this to our SR and him getting clarification it was confirmed that we will have a full basement there.  I can't blame our SR for this at all since he went so far as to show me the detailed plans he had on file which showed the crawlspace.  In the end having more space for storage/remodeling is always a good thing.  I wonder if they'll give me anything for figuring out the error in their plans? :-)

I think at this point we are a couple weeks ahead of schedule as our next step is schedule our pre-construction meeting with the SR and we finally get to meet our PM. Then we can finally break ground!  Woo Hoo!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My First Post!

Hello there, and welcome to my blog! I'm mainly using this to document my experience with building my first new home.  I've noticed that many other people have blogged about building their home, and since those blogs have been extremely informative for me I've decided to "pay it forward" by making one of my own.

I am located in the Buffalo/WNY area and we are building a Ryan home, using the Savoy model.  The floor plan for the home can be found here.  I have an amazing wife of 6+ years and two little girls that are aged 3 and 1.  Overall I'm excited about this but I'm also cautiously optimistic.  Unfortunately I'm a pessimistic/realistic type person, so I really needed to go into this process knowing that there's going to be problems along the way, whether it's before, during, and after the building process.  In the end I hope that my experience can help someone else out there who may be thinking about building a Ryan home.

So to start off, I'm currently in the early honeymoon phase of the process: At this point all we've done is sign the purchase agreement and I've met with the NVR Mortgage LO.  Both the SR and LO have been very nice so far, which is definitely a good thing!  At this point we are waiting for the call from the Design Center in West Seneca so we can go and select our flooring options.  My wife is starting to get antsy about this already!

As you may know, you can build a Ryan home with everything at it's base price, but I'd bet that almost never happens :-).  So far we've asked for the following upgrades:

 - Morning Room
 - Kitchen Island
 - Natural Gas Range
 - Stainless Steel Appliances
 - 2' Extension in Family Room
 - Natural Gas Fireplace
 - 9' Ceilings
 - Wood bannister for staircase
 - Recessed Lights in Family Room, Morning Room
 - Ceiling lights in all 4 bedrooms
 - Laundry tub in first floor laundry
 - Ceramic tile (level B I think?) in both bathrooms downstairs

The 9' ceilings gave us upgraded, taller kitchen cabinets for free which is nice.  Though I suspect they have to since the smaller cabinets would create a huge gap to the ceiling which probably looks awkward.  We didn't upgrade the elevation, but my wife wants to upgrade the frame on the front door which we were told shouldn't cost too much. 

The reason why we've decided to build this model was because of the recent change Ryan made to the Savoy model.  In the previous version, the garage was right next to the house and you walked directly into the garage from the kitchen.  They changed the plan where they moved the garage forward closer to the street, which makes room for a huge walk-in pantry, mud room and first floor laundry behind the garage.  Instead of the door by the kitchen there is a walkway to the pantry/mudroom/laundry area.  All of this comes standard!  If you haven't looked, check out the floor plan that I linked to above.  To be honest, there was a few already built houses that were similar to the Savoy, but they didn't have that extra room behind the garage.  If Ryan was still building the Savoy like that, we probably would've bought an existing house and not built brand new. 

OK, I think that's enough for now.  Our next steps are to pick out our flooring, wait for approval from NVR (that should be interesting) and hopefully start breaking ground soon!