Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We Locked at 2.375%!!!

We officially locked our interest rate at 2.375%! It is crazy how low interest rates are. That was with a 90 day lock, which didn't cost us anything, so we should be more than fine if the house takes longer than we planned. That rate is for a 15 year loan with 0.5 point. Normally I'm not a fan of buying points, because we move too frequently to make them worthwhile, but his relocation company paid for it, so yay!

More updates to come on our house. They are installing drywall and siding this week. It is finally starting to look like a house!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Second Floor

I've become a great drive-by photographer lately. Here is the progress in the last couple days. We have our pre-drywall meeting next Wednesday, so they are really moving!




Sunday, July 15, 2012

Footings, Foundation, and Framing Oh My!

After a little vacation with family and a busy week, I have lots of updates on our house. We found out that they would move our switched outlets, and that they could put the microwave above the gas stove. I know a lot of people have blogged about this, and it must really depend on location. Sorry to those that can't get their microwave above their gas stove, but I am ECSTATIC about this news!!!! Even though I was  told in advance that it wouldn't be possible, I was dreading the relocation of the microwave. I did a happy dance when I found out that they could put our microwave above our gas stove. I'm super impressed at how accommodating Ryan has been. And, the weekly phone calls with our PM have been great.
Now, onto the pictures....
The Footings

The Foundation

  • Prongs set in concrete, not sure what they are for.
  • Gravel pile, to be spread in garage.

  • Look at that, we have stairs. I didn't realize how high up our entrance would be.
  • I'm guessing those bricks were needed to get the right height, because we have stone that should cover that brick.

  • Drainstar and black spray adhesive around base.
  • Random bricks and blocks to fill a gap, wrapped with the Drainstar. I wonder what this is for?

  • Crawl drain tubing.

  • It's easy to tell where the support walls are.

  • More crawl drain tubing, but this one looks more cemented in.
  • Air vents for crawl. You can see a small gap between the vents and the cement blocks. I guess bugs can get through the air vent anyways.

  • They graded the ground in the crawl so that any water would run-off into the crawl drain.
The Framing


Phew! That was a lot for just a little over a week. I won't wait so long to post next time.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Good and the Potentially Disappointing?

Pre-Construction Meeting
We met our PM, Kevin, today at our pre-construction meeting. The meeting took a little over an hour, and he explained everything on the blueprints to us. Some of the things I learned were good, others were potentially disappointing. However, our PM and SRs seemed willing to try and fix some of the potentially disappointing problems.

The Good
  • Our master bathroom window opens. We did pay for the highest upgraded bath (with the seat in the shower), so maybe it just comes with that layout. I have, however, seen on many blogs that others were surprised that their bathroom window didn't open and that their bathroom vent was in the room with the toilet. That was what I was expecting too, so I was happily surprised to find out that our window will open.
  • The linen closet upstairs (used to be where the water heater was located-- now tankless in garage) was unfinished on the blueprints (but was actually finished on the floorplan on-line), because it was never officially changed when Ryan went to Energy Star 3.0. Our PM made a note on our selections clarifying that we would have it finished with shelving. He said that they usually just finish it anyways, but it isn't a guarantee unless they write it in.
  • From changing from the Verona to the Naples our gas dryer hook-up must have disappeared from our list. I was so organized and meticulous about every little detail, and yet I let this slip past me. Our SRs were so wonderful and wrote it in as a change order with Ryan taking the charge for it. They could have just made us pay for it, since we technically signed all of the papers acknowledging we knew what we were getting, but they really stepped up to make sure we were happy. I'm very impressed.
  • I guess the closet under the stairs comes with vinyl, which is really strange since it wasn't even an option when we chose our flooring. In fact, the Rite Rug rep assumed it was hardwood too, because she marked it on the drawing as hardwood, and we never picked out a vinyl for that closet. We only realized it was vinyl when touring a Naples that was in the process of being built. When we asked about it, the SR thought it was strange too and looked into it. They put in a change order to make sure we would get hardwood under the stairs instead of vinyl.
  • We got to choose the locations of our house bibs. I just wanted to make sure that we would have a hose bib in the back behind the fence, so that we didn't have to throw a house over the fence every time we needed to water plants.
  • Our PM is installing a tube for future irrigation, etc. under our driveway. I've read about a lot of people asking for this in their blogs. It seems like it could be really useful in the future.
The Potentially Disappointing
  •  I was under the impression that we would get to choose the locations of our switched outlets. I guess this is not the case. Most of the outlets were in good locations, but there were 2 bedrooms where I wanted the switched outlets on a different wall. Our PM wasn't sure he could change the locations, because drawings had already been submitted to the county, but he is trying to make the changes happen. What we should have done was specify locations before we ever signed our contract so that the blue prints could have been changed right away. We thought that happened at the pre-construction meeting, but I guess we were wrong.
  • The location of the attic storage opening changes when you don't pay for the attic storage with the pull down latter. On our layout, the opening will be in the laundry room (instead of the bedroom), and because it is such a small room, there may not be enough space for a latter to fold down (if we install one in the future). I guess we'll have to wait and see when everything is finished, if a latter will fit in the space.
  • Again, because blue prints couldn't be changed, we couldn't get the flooring under the washer upstairs reinforced. I've read that some people have had problems with shaking, and reinforcing the floor joists can help, but our PM denied that request. I hope that if our washer does shake, it can be fixed with a $1 pool tube or those washer shake feet.
  • Many counties now require microwaves to be placed much higher off of a gas stove, because there have been issues with microwaves melting. We were told about this when we requested a gas stove, and our SRs showed us the alternative layout for the microwave (next to the hood) instead of above the stove. I was dreading this, but my husband was pretty attached to the gas. At our meeting today, our PM seemed to know nothing about it, so this could really go either way. He is checking to see if he can get the microwave installed above the stove. If he can, I will be so happy! If not, I'm disappointed, but no more so than I was a month ago.
Overall I was very pleased with the meeting and how helpful our PM and SRs were. I'm really hoping that some of those potentially disappointing problems will be fixed and I will have nothing but good news to report. Now I can't wait to sit back and watch the building happen.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pre-Construction Meeting Tomorrow!

Hooray! Our pre-construction meeting is tomorrow. I just know the house is going to zoom together after this (fingers crossed).

They also regraded our lot, so the stakes are gone. The lot next to us is empty, and I'm very curious to see what that one will look like when it gets graded. Our home is a crawl, and the lot next to us is a basement, so I wonder how that will affect drainage and run-off. It seems like in our subdivision they make every backyard high in the middle and slope down on all sides. When you look in between houses, there is a small ditch in-between each one. I guess I expected it all to just be level and flat, so I was just curious if others have experienced this same thing. I would hope it would keep water out of the main part of your yard, but how does it affect the sides and back of your yard? Does everyone just have a moat around their house?

Any thoughts or experiences would be great to hear!

Monday, June 25, 2012

We have stakes!

We went to our house and took the ever necessary SOLD picture! We also met some of our neighbors when we were out looking at our piece of dirt. I'm actually really excited about our neighborhood now (not that I wasn't before, just even more so now). Everyone was so friendly and it seems like a really active and tight-knit community. We learned about their men's poker night, women's canasta night, movies in the park, and all their other fun events. I got lots of happy vibes there. Everyone had great things to say about their home building process, Ryan Homes, and their PM. Oh, and one of my neighbors is due the same month I am with her first baby too!

We also discovered that RH had staked our house out!!! We met our SR to finalize our selections from Rite Rug and Guardian. We also made a couple last minute changes.
  • Added a utility sink to the garage
  • Added a non-dedicated outlet to the garage (we already added 1 dedicated)
  • Added a switched outlet in the kitchen (so we can install undercabinet lighting later)
  • Removed the attic storage (We watched a video on how to do this yourself and it didn't look too difficult for the DIYer. The one important thing to keep in mind is that you do get a smaller cut out when you don't pay for the attic storage. I believe it is a 2 x 2 instead of a 2 x 4. That means when you install the attic ladder, you have to widen the hole. There are tons of youtube videos and DIY websites that explain how to do install the attic ladder. This was one helpful website.,,20186506,00.html . The other thing to keep in mind is that when you pay for the attic pull down stairs, you also get some extra plywood in the attic. With the plywood and stairs, I am estimating this project to cost about $375.)
Here are our stakes (they are kind of hard to see).

Now we just have to wait to find out when our pre-construction meeting will be.

Rite Rug (Flooring) Meeting and What I Learned

We had our Rite Rug (flooring) meeting yesterday. For those of you that don't know we originally signed a contract for the Verona, only to find out two weeks after signing that the Verona could not fit on our lot. Big whoops! We had already had one meeting with Rite Rug, when we picked out all of our flooring and tile choices for the Verona.

So, when we had to change to the Naples floor plan, we already knew all of the flooring and tile options that we would want. We actually built all of those options into our new contract. It didn't save us any money to pay upfront, but it made the Rite Rug appointment less painful and shocking. 

Here is what I learned about carpet...
  • The included level A carpet that Ryan Homes comes with is basically apartment grade. You have 4 color choices.
  • Level B carpet is still pretty low grade, but at least it has the stain resistor, and a 10 year warranty. You have 8 or more color choices. Don't expect it to feel plush. Level B carpet will cost you around $2,000 to upgrade for your entire house.
  • Level C, D, etc. carpet will cost you  much more.
  • The included padding is 5.0lb. This is low-quality padding.
  • You can upgrade to 6lb, 8lb, or 10lb padding (although I was told that they are getting rid of the 6lb in the near future).
  • The 10lb padding has a protective barrier on the back of it, so liquid cannot seep into the subfloor. Good in case you have pets that have accidents.
  • The 10lb padding will cost more than the Level B carpet. Yikes!
  • I priced carpet out at Lowes and Home Depot, and it can get awfully expensive even with free installation (although they never install your stairs for free). An apartment carpet is around $0.89 / sqft (no padding). An equivalent level B carpet is around $1.99 to $2.49/ sqft (with padding). A nice plush carpet is around $3.49/ sqft (with padding). When you do the math, this adds up really quickly, so even though the carpet is expensive.... so is replacing it!
Here is what I learned about hardwood...
  • Level A has 5 color choices, all oak, solid wood. I priced this exact wood out (brand, width, everything) at Lowes, and it was about $3.95/ sq foot. For what Ryan is charging, you are actually getting a fair price.
  • Ryan only installs engineered wood on a slab (normally you can put anything on a crawl or basement). This means no handscraped or distressed hardwood flooring choices if you have a crawl or basement, because all of the options are engineered (floating floors).
  • Level B, C, etc. are more expensive. The upgrades have wider planks, different color choices, or different types of wood. 
Here is what I learned about bathroom tile...
  • Level A for the bathroom is either white 4 x 4 or cream 4 x 4 tiles (wall and surround)
  • Level B for the bathroom is the same white 4 x 4 or cream 4 x 4 tiles  with a white or cream accent (wall) and 4 color choices ( I think white, cream, darker cream, or tan) (floor)
  • Level C for the bathroom gives you about 10 choices which include 12x12 floor tiles and 9x12 wall tiles in all different pretty colors. You also get to choose an accent tile for the wall (glass, stone, metal, etc).
  • Level D is like C but with extra choices.
  • The prices of each really depend on which bathroom you choose and how big your bathroom is.

Our selections...

  • Manchester 2 1/4" Saddle Oak Hardwood (Level A): foyer, extended foyer, dining, kitchen and dinette, and powder room.
  • Maple Fairfield Spice Square Cabinets (Included)
  • Brazilian Brown Granite Formica Countertops (Included)
  • Colinsville 103 Nature's Mist (Level B): family room, living room/study, zone 2 (upstairs)
  • 10lb padding: family room, living room/study
  • 5lb padding (Included): zone 2 (upstairs)
  • Brixton Bone Tile with Listello SA51 Random (4 rows) accent (Level C): master bath
  • Maple Fairfield Spice Square Cabinets (Included)

  • Stratford Place SO 94 Dorian Grey Tile (Level C): bathroom 1
  • Maple Fairfield Spice Square Cabinets (Included)
  •  Initiator 66205 Resilient: laundry room