Friday, May 30, 2014

Pre-Construction Meeting Questions

Now that I posted something about our adorable addition to the family I guess I'll post something about our house!

We haven't really done much lately with the house. It's been a nice little lull which has helped our my sanity (the boyfriend is always calm .. always). We still don't have much to do right now so I've occupied myself with thinking of fun projects for the house. I decided I'm going to build our kitchen table with my dad. I showed him the table I want (farmhouse looking table) and he said we could build it in a day. It will also be much cheaper than buying a nice table. Sold. We have also found flooring that we really like (we're putting a nice wood laminate over the vinyl they're giving us). I've also committed to doing some paintings for our house.

Other than that, our pre-construction meeting is on June 20th. Here are some questions we have written down and will be sending to our PM. If anyone else has suggestions, let me know. I don't want to miss anything.

·         What is the best way to reach you?

·         Can we visit the site? Do we have to ask first?

·         How many inspections? When?

·         What do we have to do if we want our own inspector as well?

·         Will you provide us with weekly updates?
·         Will you be going on vacation at all during our build?
·         Driveway – width/length

·         Driveway – Can we make it wider?

·         Lawn – Seeded or sodded?

·         Outside Lighting – What is included and where are they located?

·         Hose bibs – How many and where are they located? Can we choose where these are located?

·         Outlets – How many? Where?

·         Landscape – What’s included? Can we choose where trees/bushes go?

·         House position on lot – Backyard size (our SR told us this but I want to ask him too)

·         How far is the side of our house from our property line (We’re putting a fence up and need to know if a double gate will fit there)?

·         Distance from neighbors

·         Will there be sidewalks?
·         Hot Water access – Possible to have this in the garage?

·         Is the garage sheet rocked?

·         Is there a rough in for a garage door opener included?

·         How many outlets are in the garage?

·         Is garage at a pitch so water can easily drain out?
·         Is there extra floor support in high traffic areas?

·         Move Attic Entry to laundry room – Possible?
·         Textured or smooth ceilings?

·         Flooring breaks – Where are the flooring breaks on the main floor?

·         Placement of walk-out basement door

·         Can we move where we want the basement door? (side of morning room vs. back of morning room)

·         Are windows standard size?
·         Locks – Which doors have locks? Do any include deadbolts?

·         Kitchen hardware – If we buy our own can you install it for us?

·         Cabinets – Can we make cabinets above fridge flush with the fridge?

·         Toilet paper/towel holders – Can we choose height/location?
·         Pull out drawers instead of all Cabinets – Possible?

·         Pantry shelves – Included?

·         Size of spot for refrigerator

·         Backsplash – Can we forgo the 6 inch of “blacksplash” provided? (The countertop you choose will go up on the wall about 6 inches as a “backsplash” – I may want to put up my own backsplash that covers the whole area)

·         Fire Extinguishers/ How many?

·         Smoke Detectors/ How many?
Great Room
·         Extra wall support above fireplace for TV
·         Door to office – Is it same as in the model (glass door) or regular solid door? How much is upgraded door?
·         Fan/dehumidifier in Master Bath – Want to make sure we get a fan above the toilet AND in the main area of the bathroom
·         Double outlet next to bed

·         Light switch next to bed
·         Water Softener?

·         Water Heater Blanket – Included?

·         Sump Pump - Where is it located? 
·         Exhaust Vent moved higher in Laundry Room (so it isn't blocked by dryer) – Possible?

·         Warranties on AC/Water Heater/Heating System/Roof etc – What are these and will we get documentation for these warranties?

·         Fan Locations – Want all fans to be centered in the room. Can we choose this?

·         Light fixture locations – Can we pick where we want lighting fixtures throughout the house?

·         Place of thermostat – Want to make sure this is not near any doors or the fireplace

·         Fireplace switch – Can we choose where that is located?

·         Smoke detectors/Carbon Monoxide detectors – How many?

Our Puppy Was Born!!!

This post has nothing to do with our house, but I think I mentioned somewhere in this blog that we were getting our second husky puppy and he has finally been born! Originally, I wanted a female buuuut we ended up picking a male (so I will continue to be surrounded by testosterone). He's only a week old now so he's kind of in that blob stage but I wanted to post a picture. We'll be getting updated pictures every 2 weeks until we can bring him home, so I'll try and remember to post some on here (because who doesn't want to look at an adorable puppy?).
New Born
We haven't thought of a name yet. Any recommendations are welcome!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

FINAL Selections Meeting!

We had our final selections meeting today! This is it, no more changes allowed! The only two things we got an extension on is with Guardian selections and Creative Floors selections.

We know what we're getting with Guardian but when we called the guy back to finalize the paperwork with him he was randomly "out of town." Kind of annoying since he never told us this and he knew our final selections were due today. Since this was his fault we get a few more days so he can get his stuff together and send it in. The other change is that we saw that the soap dish in the tiled showers are white and look really out of place. We wanted to see if we could get something different (we saw on some blogs that some people got a shelf for an upgrade instead of that ugly soap dish). We tried calling them all week and they never responded so that is why we got an extension for that.

Other than that all choices have been made! Woo hoo!

Elevation E

Colors - Pebble Clay Siding/Shake, Black Shutters, Fiery brown door
(This is not a Palermo)

Powder Room
Recessed Lighting

Gourmet Island
Recessed Lighting
Ice maker Rough-in
Morning Room
Rushmore Maple Linen Cabinets - Standard Carpet (darkest color) - Vinyl

Linen Cabinets with Slate formica countertop

Stainless Appliance Upgrade - Premier II (Much better rating than the standard or first upgrade)

Fireplace - Slate

Double Vanity

White Cabinets - Tile shower/floors (Upgrade C)

White Cabinets - Tile Floors
2- Unfinished sections of basement
1- High on wall in Great Room for TV
1- Extra outlet on kitchen island
1- End of staircase
1- Extra in garage

Ceiling Fan rough-ins (7)
Carpet Pad - A
Carpet - Standard (darkest color they offered)

We feel good about all of our choices. We also found out that our loan was definitely approved!! 

Next Steps:
1) Hire our own home inspector
2) Pre-Construction Meeting - June 20th
3) Building starts!! - June 26th

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fan location in the Master Bath - Tip from a Ryan Home friend!

I feel like this deserves a post of its own. It's a big deal to me, so I'm guessing it may be a big deal to others as well!

A friend of ours built a Ryan Home about 6 months ago and one of the things he really hates about the house is where they put the fan in the master bath. In the Palermo, and many other models, the closet is located by walking through the master bath and the toilet has a little room of its own in the bathroom.

Well apparently, they tend to put the fan in the little room above the toilet, which really doesn't make sense since all the steam is in the room with the shower. So our friend said every time he takes a shower he has to always make sure the toilet room door is open and closet door is closed. It's just annoying so we spoke to a SR about it and he said that the PM should be able to move that fan into the main area of the bathroom or at least offer you the option to add a second fan in the bathroom.

This may not be a problem in every community but the SR we talked to from our friend's community said he's gotten a few complaints about it so I felt it was worth mentioning. It's something small that you wouldn't even think about, but  it would be really annoying to live with every day.


So after a comment from another Palermo building (Thanks Erin!), and through our final changes meeting I got some clarification on this.

Apparently, there has to be a fan above the toilet because of code. Since there is a door closing in that room they are required to have some type of ventilation.

We are getting two fans automatically because of the layout of our bathroom. The upgraded shower bathrooms get a fan above the toilet AND in the main area of the bathroom (I guess because the bigger shower makes more steam?). The other layouts, with the tub and shower, only get one above the toilet. You can ask to get a second fan but make sure you have your SR talk to someone about this before your final changes meeting because it would be a custom change so they need to get a price to add into your final selections list. 

Meeting with Creative Floors!

We finally had our meeting with Creative Floors. It went pretty well! The people there were really friendly and honest. They couldn't tell us directly where we were getting ripped off but they kind of hinted at where we could do things cheaper ourselves and things that we were actually getting a deal on.

One thing to note that I talked about last post is that Ryan Homes no longer offers laminate flooring! Apparently the laminate they let you choose from was pretty cheap and was squeaky and loud and they just had way to many complaints about it, so they had to get rid of it as an option. I don't know why they wouldn't offer some better laminate but maybe bump the price up a little? Who knows ..

One thing they said we definitely cannot do cheaper later is bathroom tile. Initially we weren't going to get tile in the master bath or secondary bath but they convinced us (and my boyfriend really likes the tile so the thought was already on his mind). The upgrade is around $1300 for the master bath tile, level C (Level B is barely an upgrade and Level D has prettier glass accents). It's a lot of money but it's nice tile and it goes all in our shower and covers our whole bathroom floor. Once we realized it went on the floor too we were sold. We ended up spending an additional $300ish on getting tile on the floor in the secondary bath (You can get the secondary bath to have tile on the floor and the shower but it's about $700ish and we figure we'll have a shower curtain that will cover the shower anyway- The shower walls will just have standard white tile).
Master Bath Tile (Upgrade C) & Cabinets (upgraded to white from oak)

Secondary Bath Tile & Cabinets

I've officially decided we're getting cheap vinyl in our foyer, kitchen, and morning room. I'm going to (try) to install laminate flooring myself. I'm pretty crafty and good a working with my hands (my dad taught me a lot) so I think I can do it. The flooring people told us that we can actually just install the laminate over that vinyl and the vinyl will serve as a really good moisture barrier and will absorb sound too so that's awesome! It'll kind of serve as an expensive layer of padding lol. He said it's not worth the headache of ripping the floors up because they're under all the cabinets and the island, because the floor is put in first. We also got the same vinyl in all of our bathrooms and laundry room to keep the house looking consistent.

We decided to upgrade to carpet pad A. Standard carpet pad is just awful and is only guaranteed for the life of the carpet while the upgraded carpet-pads (both A & B) are guaranteed for the life of the house (so if anything goes wrong at all with the padding they will come out and replace it). We thought about upgrading to B but after speaking with the flooring people they told us it wasn't necessary. Carpet pad B is a little thicker and has a guard for spills and things like that so if you have an old dog who has a lot of accidents or maybe your kids spill stuff a lot then it might be worth it. Neither apply to us so A was good!

As for the actual carpet we kept the standard carpet. It is REALLY cheap carpet but we were figuring we could replace that later. Well .. after doing some math and looking at prices of carpet online it looks like Ryan Homes is actually cheaper than if we were to do it on our own. Significantly cheaper once you factor in the company ripping up old carpet and then installing new carpet. I just don't know if we can want to put in another $1300+ (we would probably get Uprade C). So now I'm doubting our choice .. We've been trying to make an appointment to go back but they are SO hard to get ahold of. Kind of annoying.

*** FYI - When deciding carpet be aware that everytime you add a different carpet you get charged a $200 fee (ex. standard carpet upstairs, carpet C downstairs, Carpet B basement: This would be an extra $400 on top of the price difference of carpets). It's really stupid. They would argue that it costs them more to pull more than one carpet but it definitely does not cost them even close to that much. It's more of a "because we can" fee, but what can you do? Still good to know beforehand though.

Carpet (Standard-Darkest color offered) & Vinyl

Selections with our cabinet choice
So overall, I feel pretty good with my choices but I may see if we can figure out how to add in upgraded carpets. I think it would be worth it, at least for downstairs. Only bad part is that the flooring place is impossible to get ahold of. We need to make all of our FINAL decisions soon and we can't get ahold of them .. Frustrating. We may have to email our sales rep and let her know. We're supposed to meet her on Sunday for our final choices meeting but I don't feel comfortable doing that unless I can go to the flooring place again. Never a dull moment ...


Monday, May 12, 2014

Latest Updates

So we are definitely getting really excited but we are also really stressed!

For those of you who do not know, once you sign papers and receive your beautiful "SOLD" sticker you have a month to make any changes to your options/upgrades. This "month," however, is not really a month. We only got 14 days to make structural changes and 21 days to make any other changes (this may be different depending on your community). During this period you also have to schedule your appointments with Guardian and your flooring company. We had our appointment with Guardian last Friday and have our flooring appointment tomorrow.

Here's how it went with Guardian:

Overall, it was an okay visit. Our Guardian rep seemed pretty cool. Very low pressure. He said he's been doing this for about 20 years with Ryan Homes and Guardian. He claims that understands that it's our home and he can't convince us to get anything we don't want or need. We'll see what happens when we meet with him to pick our final choices.

Normally, people tend to have 1 visit with Guardian and pick everything then. Our rep is letting us take some time to think of what we want and create a game plan. Once we do that we can call him and set up another quick appointment to sign everything. He made it VERY clear though that it was our responsibility to call him and if we didn't call him in time then we would be stuck with just the standard options (I think those are 2 cat-5's and 2 cable).This option was definitely great for us because my boyfriend finds his TV very important. VERY important. I would give more details but I found myself zoning out during the meeting since I didn't understand anything they were saying. I'll let my boyfriend take care of that.


As for flooring, we definitely decided we don't want hardwood but then I saw that a lot of other bloggers got the laminate floors that resemble wood. After some research we decided laminate wood would be perfect for us because its durable and it still looks really nice. We have a husky and we're getting another one so hardwood would be doomed.

However ...... I contacted my Sales Rep and she told us that they stopped offering laminate hardwood last year. Then she tried to talk to us about hardwood prices again. It seems like they got rid of hardwood laminate so they can try to force you to get hardwood .. but hardwood isn't something we want and wouldn't work for us since we'll have two large energetic dogs .. It's just annoying that there is no way for me to get the type of floors that I want. I'm stilling hoping and praying that she was wrong and I'll see some laminate hardwood at our appointment tomorrow .. Crossing my fingers!