Friday, August 29, 2014

ODE to NVR Mortgage

      I think any person who is in the middle of the build process or thinking about starting the process and has done some research about NVR has been privy to the not so nice reviews regarding their services. 

   I read the reviews and was a bit frightened to deal with them. I try to forge my own opinion so I was cautiously optimistic. Well, thank goodness for cautious optimism because it served me well in this situation. I have enjoyed my experience with NVR and have found my LO (loan officer) and anyone else I have worked with to be delightful. 

Katie is my loan officer and she is attentive and never rushes an explanation. If I am still unclear, she finds a way to explain it differently. I have one LO and  one underwriter and frankly I think they are both lovely and very professional. 

I shouldn't be surprised because my experience so far with Ryan Homes has been so fantastic and NVR is part of the Ryan Homes company. 

We are currently about 60 days out (according to my PM) so we are talking about the ever changing rate and if we should lock now or wait? Katie has been amazing with explaining and telling me how things work. 

Today the rate is 4.0% with a discount of .75% (lowers our closing costs) and these rates are really good but we are going to wait. If they drop even lower it would lower our monthly cost and make us much more comfortable.  Katie is on board and will keep me me there is nothing more important than great customer service and so far NVR is rocking it!

Nothing has really changed with the house but the metal cage has been removed. I am getting more and more excited and when I saw our PM on the street he mentioned our lumber is coming and that we will begin framing. Watching our home take shape has been really nice and gets me excited with each step. 

Here is a picture of the house yesterday - no cage and really no changes - 

Back of the property (standing in my back yard)

Standing closer (looks really small like this)

Standing at the far edge of the lot 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We have a wall or basement?


     Well, I do love to drive by the site and yesterday when I went I saw something that resembled a basement but had a metal cage around it. I am not a construction person at all so I am not sure what this really is but whatever..We have a wall (sort of).

The neighbors down the street received their lumber and I feel overly excited for them, since they have basement walls that don't have the cage around it they must be a step ahead of us. 

I am looking for lumber this week. I feel like I will drive by next week and possibly see a framed house? I would try to pretend like I could go a week without driving by but that is not a possibility. I love driving by and also, I like to make sure things are being done the correct way. Can't help myself about driving by.

I have to say again how much I love our sales rep and another sales rep that isn't ours but she works in the office and we love her as well. NO, I do not work with Ryan Homes or have any weird arrangement with them. I just have had such an amazing experience and when you are building a home this is how it should feel. 

Here is a quick progression of photos of the house. 

Thursday - August 21st.

Friday - August 22nd (weird shaped hole)

Tuesday - August 26th (Basement with a cage around it and weird lump is still in the middle) Wondering what the weird square shaped lump of dirt is?

Well, I will drive by today and see if that lumber has been delivered - things have started to move and I am getting excited. 

Will we be celebrating Thanksgiving 2014 in our new home? Our projected move in date was November 30th but we were moved up 2 weeks on the dig schedule so I am keeping our fingers crossed that we are also moving in two weeks earlier than November 30th. Also, our PM Mike sort of mentioned something about the beginning of November but I will not get my hopes up! 

                                        (Secretly, my hopes are already up)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

We have a hole in the ground..Come on Florence!

    Thursday August 21, 2014 - I drove by and discovered there was a digging machine on our lot. It was after the workers had left but it was right in the middle of the lot and the claw was at the ready. I was so excited that I knew on my lunch the next day I would be driving by to see if the claw had done any digging.

Friday August 22, 2014 - Lunch Time! I drove by and saw we had a temporary rock driveway and they had started digging..

Saturday August 23, 2014 - The hole has shape. Not sure what is next in the step but I assume some sort of footing/cement situation that fills up the hole?



I have gathered that there is no building on the weekends so I will remember to check status on the weekdays. We are getting excited and thankful for our comfy short term apartment. Today I shall see what is cooking at the Home Goods?

Any ideas on where to find a good deal on ceiling fans?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Road Map to our Florence

   So one of the most important meetings you will have prior to your hole being dug is the Road Map. The second most important person you will meet (next to your Sales Rep) is your project manager.

I was nervous to meet our Project Manager because I had some giant concerns over our lot.

Flashback to the week before our Road MAP - 

Here is the lesson that I have learned, walking the lot and interpreting the writing on the sticks in the ground will NOT give you an accurate picture of what your yard will look like. I did this and made myself completely panic thinking my babies would not have the yard we have desperately dreamed of and that we were the people who fell for the fancy house on the tiny lot.

I ran home - emailed my SR (Sales Rep) Michelle and she called me and soothed my fears. She talked with me about grading and final grading and how hard it is too see what I am actually looking at. Well Michelle was 100% correct and she told us to not panic until we meet with our project manager.

I might add that before Michelle called she put on some boots and went out and walked the lot. She did this so she knew exactly what I was picturing and could assure me about what would be happening - this is only one of  the things that make our customer service experience way above anything else we have experienced.

Flash forward to the actual Road Map - 

We started off at the model to discuss a step by step process on what is going to happen when the actual digging starts. We were already moved up on the schedule about a week and a half so I was delighted to hear that our home will start around 08/27/14.

We chatted about where your utilities and water will enter and exit the house, materials (already ordered) and all things that come together to make your home.

Mike was very honest with how he follows up with his home owner's and how he prefers to be contacted and I really have to say that I appreciated that very much. I hate not knowing when to expect a call or in what form your contact will be returned.

Once we went over the plans step by step it was time to actually walk our lot and have Mike explain the wooden stakes (See above about not looking at stakes by yourself).

I was nervous and almost sick to my stomach about what we were going to see. When you have someone who actually knows what the sticks mean and wields a handy can of spray paint, things make a TON more sense than what I originally thought.

Once Mike explained in great detail what things would look like and where our driveway would start and end and where the house would start and end both my husband and I were once again excited.

Mike didn't hurry or talk in a way we wouldn't understand, he took his time, he answered all of our questions and because he knew how concerned I was he invited me out this week to see an actual grade of our lot so I would feel better.

Um..I honestly am once again overjoyed and impressed with the care and service that this experience has provided so far.

As I write this, Mike has called and asked that we pop out to see the lot. I will sign off and excitedly drive over because our PM took time out of his very busy day to do something so that my husband and I were understanding and comfortable with our relationship with Ryan.

I can't wait, I am on my way! I will actually have pictures this time. Its hard not to have pictures for my posts but there is really nothing to take pictures of week there will be some!

Thanks for following and I am open for any advice or comments from anyone who has built or is building a home!

Guardian Meeting for the house!

Guardian has been working with Ryan homes for a long time and they have a good relationship. We were told that we would be meeting with Guardian to discuss upgraded options. The options were surround sound, piped in music, security and where to place your cable outlets. 

I had no intention of doing any more upgrades as we are maxed out and anxiously awaiting the budget tightening that naturally comes when you move to a bigger house. We met our Guardian rep and I was  honestly impressed.

Not to much of a sales pitch. Straightforward option choices and very informative.

We did 2 extra cable plugs- 1 additional in the family room because do to my Ryan Home blog research people complained that with only one option there was limited options to re-arranging the furniture. 

1 for the loft area so that we may use it for an office (my current plan) or put a television in there if our girls get older and want to use that as a rec space for themselves. 

We have also decided to go forward with the security package. I am a penny pincher to almost a fault and didn't want to do the monthly payment of $40 for the security but my husband makes a good point. He works 3rd shift and I am alone at night with our daughters. 

I was surprised when our Guardian rep told us to have the whole house wired for security that it would only be $250. This way the house is hardwired and the system put in place behind the dry wall. When we were told what not only the cost but the seemingly cheap way security is installed after building, it made our decision easier. We will have security added to the house.

I worry about the new costs and what it will feel like to have everything be more expensive but I think it is something we need and will give me piece of mind. 

We didn't get piped in sound or surround sound (husband would have loved) because it was VERY expensive but we are okay with the decision.

1 step closer - Flooring appointment here we come!

My First Series - Stay at home Mommies

 Stay at home Mommies

      Every Friday in June I will have a new guest host. I am so grateful to my 4 friends who have agreed to host. The topic is Staying at Home. I am a working mom who is dying for more time with my girls and my friends who stay at home probably have wishes of their own. I have asked 4 very different friends to each tell me what it is like to stay at home. Neither staying at home or working is easy. I wanted to discuss this because I have had people say some pretty strange things about staying at home and how easy they think it is.    
   I don't stay at home and I don't know If I would be able to do it. Stay tuned for each Friday and my hosts as they open up and give an honest review on being a stay at home mom. 

I saw this video on You tube and I know that most people have probably already viewed this but if you haven't..then take a moment. The next month I am focusing on moms and the different jobs they have! 

               World's Toughest Job

See you tomorrow!

BRCA gene testing - My follow up to the guest post.

     My guest hostess Bria wrote such a wonderful piece on the BRCA and her experience with the situation. I had to share the one of the many reasons that I asked her to host. The very first time I heard her story I thought she was so brave for getting the test done and her resolve to plan for either result inspired me further. It wasn't until I had my second and last child that my OBGYN mentioned to me about the testing. He said that with my mother being a breast cancer survivor would make me a candidate for the testing. He was very thurough in his explanation of the tests and what decisions I would face if they were positive.

 I was afraid, apprehensive and worried about getting the test but I knew I had a support from Bria and she really made me feel at peace. The day I decided to get the test was the day I stopped debating with myself about what I would do if I was positive. It was the day I talked it over with my husband and he gave me his full support. I was thinking just about me and what I would do. I was fine with gambling and waiting to see what the future held but that was dumb.

The test can tell you if you carry the BRCA gene and if you would be more or less likely to get breast and or Ovarian cancer. If I did the test now there were options that would literally save my life. The options would have been a very hard road but in the end it could keep me here longer. My family. My daughter. My husband. These are the things that gave me the peace to get tested.

I was negative for the BRCA gene, I am relieved. I wanted my sisters to get tested as well and feel that it is an important key to women's health. The decision  had to be mine and the decision will have to be their own.

Thank you to my friend Bria for the post and for the faith.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Flooring appointment for Ryan

 Rite Rug flooring

    Since we are building our Florence with Ryan homes one of the major appointments you must have prior to the plans being finalized is your flooring appointment. We had ours 10 days ago and let me just say that this was a harder appointment for us then any of the other ones. 

We were really keeping an open mind and hoping that we would find something we would love or be happy with on the base package. We were maxed out on the budget and didn't want to keep raising our payment. 

Here is my thought on the base package- Okay choices but nothing that wowed us. Picking the bathrooms was easy. We had light colored cabinets and chose a basic light color for those rooms. I feel that there should be a couple of different options in the base package. Everything felt the "same" for me. 

The color of our bathroom floors- 
                            Alpine Camel

Second level upgrade - This was a reasonable upgrade price and we chose to do this for the morning room, kitchen, foyer because those are the rooms that we will use the most and we didn't like any of the choices in the first package. We had already chosen our counters and cabinet color so using swatches of flooring against those choices was very hard.

In the end we chose something that will look like this picture and would come in the actual squares. Vinyl flooring has come along way since we were kids and now looks almost exactly like a tile floor. We were happy with this choice and hope it will give a cohesive look to the house. 

                                Allegheny Slate Italian Earth

The carpet was a different story: There needs to be more choices, all of the colors looked to be in the same family. All of the textures were very similar and I don't' have much faith in the carpet lasting a long time. I will say this, there were upgrade options and padding options but they were expensive and frankly with two small kids we will end up replacing our carpet eventually anyway. We did not upgrade padding because I have read that it didn't make a difference. 

Our carpet color will have this basic color- I will be honest, after we left I had seen so many carpet swatches that I can barely remember what we chose.


In the end, I am glad we only upgraded the main floor. I am totally worried that our house will look like a mess of design choices because I have never done this before and its possible I picked things that clashed together. I asked our RiteRug rep for her opinion and she seemed to be nodding in agreement and I feel like Ryan wouldn't give us the choices without knowing that they would go together. I hope we are happy since we can not remember exactly how everything looked.

Good appointment and our girls had a lovely time snacking and touching the table with their snacky fingers (Sorry, Rachel). 

On to the next appointment -  ROAD MAP HERE WE COME!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

SOLD and We are moving..TWICE

We have had our condo on the market for over a year and FINALLY we SOLD! We were so excited until our Realtor explained that the new owners wanted possession in under 30 days. And so we ran to look for houses. We found one we liked and put in an offer. 

                                                                          Image result for pictures of a sold sign

REJECTED - The owner was in probate and not able to sell the house so our offer was rejected.

We had sold our 2 bedroom, no  yard condo and had nowhere to go. 

Things happen for a reason, I know because my mom tells me this when I feel things are not working out. Well, she is right. That house wasn't our house, it was not meant to be. 

We stumbled upon a new neighborhood being built by Ryan Homes and finally things started looking up. Two days later we picked out our house, a lot and signed a purchase agreement. I have decided to blog our process because it is such a huge change in our life.

One of the reasons I have also decided to blog about our process is because I have really enjoyed reading everyone Else's journey. I have learned so much from all the ones who chose to share that I wanted to return the favor. 

I will say one thing, we would never have bought the house and decided to build if it wasn't for the ladies who work in the model home in our neighborhood. I am someone who values and appreciates good customer service and genuine people and this office has this in spades. I have never experienced such an amazing experience. The knowledge and kindness of the sales reps at the model has utterly impressed both my husband and I. It was a no stress, no question choice. We found our home and it was made possible by the sales reps.

I have been overly impressed time and time again and we haven't even begun to dig the proverbial hole that will be our home.

On the 18th we are doing the road map and that will show us the basics of our property line and where the house will start and end. We will also meet our project Manager who I am guessing will become a big part of our journey over the next 4 months.

Until then my husband and I have gone from our 2 bedroom condo with no yard to a 2 bedroom apartment with no yard. We are snuggled in and waiting to move to our home.

Saturday we do our flooring appointment and I am excited to pick out more items.

So far we have upgraded the elevation, the cupboards, counter tops and have chosen to put a full bathroom in the finished basement. We are also getting the gourmet island and stainless steel appliances. I could not be more excited.  My condo had a small kitchen and the apartment has a small kitchen. I love to cook (please see recipes on my blog) and can't wait to break that new kitchen in.

We are looking at the end of November for a settlement date so for now we are dwelling in our apartment. Did I mention that there is no washer and dryer so I shall take my self to a laundromat for the first time since college and do our laundry. It will take way less time to use 5 washer and dryers so I should be back in no time. 

We are building the Florence with Ryan Homes and I can't wait to show my girls their new home! 

Stay tuned, I will include the positives and the negatives and lots and lots of pictures!