Monday, June 23, 2014

The Waiting Game

I haven't blogged since I made the announcement of our final decision, so I figured I'd give a quick update.

As we anticipated, our start date got pushed back. It definitely is annoying that this happened, but we figured they would have to push it back after that debacle we faced. Our original start date was going to be June 26th. It would have been awesome to start this building process in only 3 days, buuut oh well. I'm hoping they can maybe start a little sooner with everything since we decided to build the same home model, but I'm not holding my breathe.

New Time-Line
Pre-construction Meeting - July 14th
Start Date - July 17th
Picking up our Puppy! - July 19th
Anticipated Close Date - Late October/Early November

In other news ...

We changed out exterior colors when we changed lots. Once we moved lots it opened up a lot of color options for us for the exterior of our home. Originally, we were going to do Pebble Clay siding and shake with black shutters and a firey brown door. Now, we are going to do Sandy Tan siding, Pebble Clay shake, black shutters, and a cottage red door! Pretty excited about the two-toned siding and a bright red door! I'll try and post pictures at some point of the colors.

Overall, we're feeling much calmer and more positive about everything. We ended up getting more bang for our buck by switching lots, I got to pick any color I wanted for the exterior, we have a bigger lot, the shape of our lot makes our back yard the biggest part (which is awesome for our dogs), and we're getting a deck.

Now I'm just entertaining myself by thinking of DIY projects I can do for the house. I have already lined up quite a few, including building our kitchen table, painting some pictures, transforming an old metal trashcan into a stylish dog food container, and possibly reupholstering a chair. I also have been gradually picking up some stuff for the house. I got a really nice crate from Home Goods that we can put in the living room to hold blankets, and I got these awesome bowls from Anthropologie for only $1.95 each!

I also got this adorable bottle opener that looks like a Seal from Anthropologie for $5.95. Love him!
It's the little things in life ... 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

We Have Chosen

Over the last couple of weeks we have gone over every option. Back and forth, back and forth. "Let's just move lots .. Wait .. Let's get a different model .. Wait .. Maybe we should look somewhere else .. No.. I like this community..." We repeated this train of thought about a thousand times.

Final Verdict : We're changing lots!

There are several things that led us to this decision.

1) We really do love the Palermo. We love our elevation, we were able to get the exact colors we liked at this new lot, the finished basement is HUGE with the morning room area finished, we like that there is line of site to both the great room and the dining room from the kitchen, and we love the big shower we can get with two shower heads.

2) We really are getting a good deal by moving to this lot. It may not be as pretty, but it is bigger. We have 2 dogs and we want a deck (which we are now building) so a bigger yard is nice. The lot is also layed out so it get's wider towards the back while our old lot got narrower towards the back. This also helps with increasing the back yard. This big lot usually has a premium ($2500) but they knocked that off because of the inconvenience. We also are saving money by not paying the much higher premium at our previous lot ($7500). So overall, the house will start off at $7500 less than what we were going to pay.

3) Saved money on the lot means we can get some other upgrades we had to take off our list early on. One of these is an upgraded carpet on the first floor. We're also getting ceramic in our first floor powder room now. We may also add on a couple more outlets or some crown molding on the cabinets.

4)We are now getting a composite material deck (14 ft x 22 ft). Ryan agreed to pay for half and we will pay for the other half. We asked some friends what they paid for their deck and the price per square foot was pretty competitive ($40/sq. ft - our friend payed $36/sq. ft for a wood deck). A deck will be awesome because a) we'll have somewhere extra to entertain or have a drink/dinner on nice days and b) we have direct access into our backyard for our dogs.

5) If we got the Milan on our previous lot it would end up costing more than we would like to spend. This was a big one, and really helped us make the final decision.

Overall, we feel good with the decision. I am a little sad we aren't getting as pretty of a lot, but we'll just plant some pine trees in the back of our property so we can't see the guy's yard behind us all year. Plus, it's not like his yard is directly behind us like we would have had on the other side of the street.

Here are some new upgrades we're doing.

Carpet (Upgrade C)

Ceramic Tile - Upgrade B - Mushroom

And, as promised, here is an updated picture of our puppy at 2 weeks old (we'll be picking him up in about 6 weeks). 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ryan's Offer - Update

Around 5:00 last night we heard back from our SR about their final offer for building our Palermo on Lot 225.

1. We would not have to pay the $2500 lot premium - (It's a bigger lot than others in the community by like 0.03-0.05 acres so there's a "small" premium on the lot)

2. They will split the cost of a composite deck with us 50%-50%. (We asked for a 14x22 ft deck). This deck is around $12,500 so we would each pay around $6,250.

That's it. They said because we already got the discount of a finished basement (this was an incentive for using NVR for our mortgage), and because they already gave us about $10,000 off in the beginning that they think giving us the lot for free and paying for half a deck is enough.

I don't really think the incentive that was offered to everyone on our street should really count as a discount for us in this situation, but what are you gonna do? It really comes down to the fact that, as a business, they really don't need us. They are about 8 months ahead of schedule with sales because this community sold FAST. (Not the kind of fast that they always tell you about so you hurry and buy in panic .. I mean fast in that we looked in March and almost all lots were open and now its early June and all but 3 are sold.) They know they can easily sell these lots without us which gives us very little negotiation power.

So here are our options - I want to decide by tomorrow or Friday.

Option 1 - Move our Palermo to the other lot and have them pay for half of our deck.

Option 2 - Go with the Milan and see if they can get the price low enough that we can afford this option (since the Milan starts at a higher price).

My boyfriend is leaning towards Option 1 and I think I'm leaning towards Option 2. My thinking is, ask if we can get the Milan at a price we can afford. If we can't afford the price they offer then Option 1 becomes our only option. Done. My boyfriend just really likes the idea of a deck. I get that, but you can always build a deck .. you can't move your house. Too stressful. I think I'm losing my mind! Haha!

I know it will all work out in the end, but we both just wan't to make the best decision. I know I could live with the new lot .. I mean, I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to build a home in the first place, and I can just plant trees to block off the guy's yard behind me .. but I also don't want to settle.

Ah! I need to develop powers to see the future! That would make things sooo much easier.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Here are some pictures of the lots we have to choose from. Lot 230 is our current lot that our Palermo won't fit on. If we go with this lot we have to switch to the Milan. Lot 225 is the bigger lot (but not as pretty) that we can build our Palermo on.
Lot 225 - Now/Summer (There is some glare from the sun coming up)

Lot 230 - Now/Summer

Lot 225 - March

Lot 230 - March

Monday, June 9, 2014

Update - Too Many Choices!

As many people have seen we are going through a crazy situation with our home not fitting on our lot. We went down to our community to meet with our Sales Rep on Saturday and went over our options and made a Plan A, B & C.

Plan A
Earlier last week our SR told us to write up a list of things we needed from Ryan Homes in order to get us to move to the other lot (that we don't like as much). We wrote up a pretty long list because we figured we might as well ask. All they can do is say no. This list contained having them build us a deck (to compenstate for us not getting a walk out basement and essentially having no direct access into the backyard) as well as many other options (upgraded carpet, ceramic tile in all bathrooms, crown molding on cabinets, double vanity is secondary bath, etc). It's a long list. This is what we would get if we lived in a perfect world. If they say yes to our long list of demands then we will move. Our SR said she's "Just being honest .. but that is not going to happen," which we already kind of knew.

Plan B
We see what Ryan Homes' counter offer is to our long list of requests. We're thinking they may offer to give us a deck and then offer to give us some options at cost. Once we get this offer, which should be tomorrow or Wednesday, we can make our decision if we think it's enough.

Plan C
We choose a different home model and stay with our better lot. As I mentioned before, only two homes our community offers will fit on our lot. These include the Venice and the Milan. We originally were going to go with the Venice, but then we got worried that it was too small. We didn't like the floor plan of the Milan because of where the morning room would be located (The morning room was more of an extension of the kitchen - less open concept). While looking at the big poster for the Milan at our community's office on Saturday we realized the Milan's floor plan looked different so we asked about it. They're actually changing the Milan's floor plan based on feedback from people who built the Milan previously. People said they wished the morning room opened up into the kitchen and great room, compared to just the kitchen. This was the only thing we didn't like about the Milan so now that it has changed it is back on the table. The only problem is that the Milan's base price is about $10k more than the Palermo in our community so I don't know if we'd have to make cuts or if they could maybe give us that home with the same options our Palermo had for the same price (kind of like giving us a 10k discount due to their mistake and us having to change models and go through all of this craziness). I don't think that is a far fetched request but my boyfriend doesn't think they'll let us do that .. Anyways, here are some pictures of the floor plans- Old floor plan vs new floor plan.
Old Milan Layout - 1st floor
New Milan Layout - 1st Floor
Some other things we had clarified at our visit:
1) We can pick two-toned siding.
2) Our current lot does NOT have a drain easement in the actual lot. It is in between our lot and the neighbors lot but it weirdly does not appear on the blue prints. Apparently, they asked if they could just allow our house to hang over our propety line in the back a little but the only reason they can't allow it is because it would creep into the drain easement territory, which is not on our property. I'm not sure why they didn't explain this before because I definitely would have been less mad lol.
3) They're changing a lot of stuff with these new homes. They limited their options lists by about half. It's crazy. We don't have to use this limited option list because we signed everything so long ago but the new people do. One change, for example, is they are only allowing people to add a full bath in the basement and not a powder room. Weird, right? They also don't show flooring options on the new list .. I guess you just figure out prices once you get to your flooring meeting? They're also including a lot more in the base price (which of course is higher). Some new "standard" options are double vanity in master, recessed lighting in basement, Elevation B (they got rid of Elevation A). They say it's to make the process easier for people.

4)Our building has definitely been delayed. We originally were going to have our pre-construction meeting on the 20th but that won't be happening now. We haven't rescheduled a meeting yet because the length of the delay depends on what we choose to do. 
Overall, this whole process sucks. On top of that I think my boyfriend and I are on different pages on which option we would prefer. I think he wants to just move lots while I would rather get the Milan and stay on our current lot .. so many choices!
I'll keep things updated on what we choose and what we're actually offered by Ryan Homes.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I'm sad, mad, dissapointed, confused, and frustrated (to name a few)

So as I mentioned in my last post, we were told that the Palermo is too wide to fit on the lot we chose. Just as a reminder, we were told it would fit on that lot, we signed contracts for that house and lot, and then while they were staking out our home on the lot they realized .. "Whoops .. this doesn't fit here."

Anyways, after speaking with our SR (aka, my boyfriend spoke to her, because I'm a lunatic) we found out a few things.

1. Our current lot has a "drain easement" in it. This is something we were NEVER told about even after voicing concern about all of their draining systems for the community (our community is right by a Canal). This drain easement makes our building restrictions line a lot narrower so only two of the homes they offer will fit on it (The Milan and the Venice). This drain easement, that they conveniently didn't tell us about, can also cause really bad flooding if it breaks or something goes wrong with it (Cool, right?!). We also would not be able to build anything over it so we couldn't put our fence over it so essentially it would make our yard a lot smaller. Also, if something were to go wrong with it they can come in and dig up our yard to access it and fix it. Sounds great ...

2. One option we have is moving our home to a new lot. Only two lots will fit our Palermo. One of them is on the other side of the street so it will back up to other homes in the development .. Basically, this is not an option. We don't want to go from our gorgeous lot backed up to protected preserves to a lot backed up to someone else's house. The other option is a lot that is on the same side of the road as our current lot but it's right by the road and it doesn't back up to the preserves (it backs up to some bushes and the backyard of a house that isn't in our community).

3. A second option we have is to pick a new home model that will fit on our lot (we don't even know if we want our lot anymore since it has that drain easement) or another lot near our current lot (not as nice as our lot but better than the other two). Since, all of their lots are too small for most of the houses they offer they are going to add some options to the list (duh!), so they're going to let us know what those are soon. The one good thing is that our SR asked if we had any models in mind .. we asked her to look into the Naples and the Shakespeare .. we'll see if they fit on the lot or if she thinks they "fit" in the community.

4. Ryan Homes really does not seem to care that they made a mistake and really inconvenienced us. The first time we spoke to our SR about being compensated somehow for this huge inconvenience (and crushed dream) they offered to generously (*sarcasm*) give us back our money for the premium price of our lot ("thanks for giving us money back for something we're not getting .. I guess."), not charge us the premium on the new lot (Wow .. $2500 .. thanks) and give us a discount for walkout stairs from our basement. They normally charge over $6000 but they are willing to only charge us $4000 ... out of the goodness of their heart .... We don't even want a giant staircase in the back (Our current lot comes with a walk-out basement but the new lot they want us to take does not. I guess this is their way to compensate for that ..).

5. We were told we could not get a two-toned siding(Shake siding and regular siding are different colors). We have been getting up at 5:00AM, before work, the last couple days to go check out all these lots they want us to take. On these trips we saw that the model home (a Rome) now has it's siding up .. and guess what? That house has two different color siding ... They could have just made a mistake (and I understand that people make mistakes) but it's just the cherry on top of everything else.

I don't really want to settle for a lot or a house I don't like. I'm kind of hoping that they offer a new home that we like but the downside of that is that we have to COMPLETELY start over and everything will probably be delayed to the end of the year .. Plus, my boyfriend just doesn't want to go through all of those choices and upgrade lists all over again, and I can't blame him for that.

We really don't know what to do. Are we making a huge mistake with building with Ryan Homes? They're now only offering us a few thousand dollars as compensation which in my opinion is a joke. If they want us to settle for a lot we don't really like, they will need to make up for this mistake big time .. Decisions. Decisions .. I can't handle it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Soooo .. Our home is too big for our lot now???

We got some pretty bad news last night on the home front.

Our SR emailed my boyfriend about our home telling us that our Palermo is too wide to fit on the lot we chose .. Apparently, the Egineers measured wrong on the blueprints or something so they thought it would fit, but it can't. Nice, right? You would think they would have double checked before they had us sign a bunch of contracts, but I guess that's too much to ask ....

Their solution was for us to take one of our neighbors lots (they're on a contingency contract) and then they would have to move lots. Awesome. "You can just take their lot .. no big deal." So we went to the community and looked at the lots. We still really like our lot a lot more than the other one they want us to take from our neighbor.

Basically, we came to the conclusion that this doesn't fly. We need to be compensated for this mistake. It's not a small mistake .. at all. It's funny because they're acting like it's not a big deal and "it happens from time to time." I understand some homes don't fit on certain lots, but shouldn't you know that before you have someone sign a contract?

**As I was writing this post our SR emailed my boyfriend again and told him that, oh wait .. the lot that we want you to take from your neighbor is also too small! Whoops! The only lots that will fit our home are not even comparable to the lot we picked out... I'm beyond annoyed right now and truthfully we don't know what to do. The only thing I am really willing to accept at this point is them letting us pick one of the other (more expensive) models and letting us build that at no extra charge (with the same options we currently have).

I'll keep things updated .. Hopefully this all works out.