Tips and Tricks

I figured I would make a page solely on tips we've learned along the way. I'll update it regularly throughout the process.

1. You CAN negotiate

This was the one thing my boyfriend worried about the most. He's a business man through and through and wanted to make a deal. After reading through some blogs there were mixed reports on this. Some people say that your incentive (for going with NVR as a mortgage company) is your deal. Some say you MUST bring a realtor to your first meeting to get a discount. I'm sure all situations are different but this is what we did.

First, we already were getting the incentive of the finished basement. In our community this is about a $12,000 upgrade. Not to shabby BUT we also did some negotiating. We priced out our home with pretty much everything we wanted. We were preapproved so they knew what our realistic budget was. After adding everything in we ended up around $20k over our preapproved amount. Our sales rep told us she would take it to her manager and she said that we would probably get a discount but probably $9,000 at most. $9,000 ... That's a good amount of money. We waited around 3 or 4 days and eventually they gave us about $10,300 for a discount (that is in addition to the free finished basement incentive). We were later told that some of our discount came from the fact that we did NOT use a realtor. Since we didn't use a realtor they didn't have to pay one so that money came back to us. Just negotiate. They can easily afford to give you a discount so just ask. Seriously.


We got extra money off for some problems that arose (our house not fitting on the first lot we chose fiasco, being told we were getting Trex when they really meant some generic brand). If they do something wrong, don't be afraid to call them out on it. Seriously. This is business. You may have the nicest sales reps in the world but you also have to look out for yourself, and quite frankly, they can afford to give you extra discounts EASILY. Just ask, ESPECIALLY if you have something to support you in writing!

2. Cabinets - Color is not the only difference

So if you have started to look at cabinet options you know that there are several different options varying from 0$ - $4300 or more. The main differences are that the top two tiers (Portfolio Select-Rushmore & Wyoming) are solid wood and are made better than the lower levels. I won't go into too much detail but definitely take a look at their website Timerlake Cabinets . This will tell you why some are more expensive. The color isn't what makes them expensive but unfortunately it looks like Ryan Homes almost forces you to pick by color. I read a couple blogs saying they were able to pay a $500 custom charge to get exactly what they wanted but we were told that wasn't an option for us. We ended up opting for the pricey cabinets, because cabinets sound awful to change out later and we know the quality is better.

3. Structural Changes - Just Do It

If you want the morning room, just get it. If you want the home extension, get it. If you want a certain elevation, get it (not including stone or brick - you can have that add that later if you want to). These things are MUCH harder to change later on and MUCH more expensive to do later. Yes they are normally the most pricey of the upgrades, but they also add the most value to your house. You can get granite or hardwood later (most likely at a much cheaper price AND a much broader selection to choose from) but if you decide later on that you wish your house had that second or third peak .. good luck. We heard that some people in our neighborhood got appraised for less than they paid for their home, but it seems they put a lot of money into cosmetic upgrades and didn't get the morning room. We put upgrades that added square footage to the front of the line and our home was appraised for more than we paid for it.

4. Think Ahead! - Get an Options List from your Sales Rep (SR)

Once you sign those papers you have about 21 days to make decisions. I think this may vary by location but that's all we had .. and structural changes we only had about 12 days. That is barely any time to make decisions that are this big especially if you're not prepared! Do some research and ask your Sales Rep (SR) for a list of options and their prices for the model's you are looking at. They should give it to you! They sent us ours in a PDF over email. It really helped us plan things out and I even made an excel sheet with all the different options so I could easily add or subtract options. I saw that their recent Option Lists don't include some of the flooring prices so that will make it a little more difficult, but I would budget in at least $2000 for this, although, I'd guess the average amount spent on flooring is probably higher.

5. Bathroom Ceramic Tile - One thing that is actually cheaper with Ryan than on your own
This is definitely not something everyone needs to get but I thought it was worth mentioning. We went to our flooring appointment and they explained to us that they actually lose money when it comes to ceramic tile. The guy told us that Ryan gets the tile so cheap from them it allows them to price it VERY well as an upgrade. He said it would be impossible to do tile cheaper, even if you had the ability to do it yourself later. Plus it does add a lot of value to the home and it's pretty! haha! Definitely something to think about. This post is in regards to upgrades C and D for tile.

6. Fan in the Master Bath! - Change location
So after a friend of ours built a house with Ryan Homes he told us one thing he hated about his home was where they put the fan in the master bath. With layouts where you access the closet through the bathroom and the toilet has its own little room they tend to put one fan above the toilet. That means he has make sure her turns on the fan above the toilet and leave the door open and even then the room gets really steamy. Some layouts (Roman Shower -Larger shower) include fans above the toilet AND in the main area of the bathroom but others (Shower and Tub) do not. You are required to have a fan above the toilet but you can add a second fan to the main area. Just make sure to tell your SR you want to add this so they can price it out for you. Do this BEFORE your final selections are made.

7. Get EVERYTHING in writing
Sometimes it's hard to not trust the people you're working with because they seem like really nice people, and they may be, but it never hurts to get extra confirmation for your sake. We were pretty good at this, but there were a few things we didn't get in writing that is coming back to bite us. One example is we were told all windows would have trim around them as a standard .. this is not the case, but they told us this in person and we didn't get it in writing so we're kind of out of luck. Another case that almost hurt us was in the beginning. I asked about the fan location in the master bath and our SR said we could just have the PM move it during construction. At our final choices meeting I brought it up again and she told me we would have had to price that out ahead of time to get a second fan. Thankfully, our bathroom layout comes with two fans, so it worked out, but she definitely gave us two different answers. Send a follow up email to every meeting you have with your SR, PM, etc and have them confirm via email (in writing) what they told you. Once you do this you're pretty safe, plus it will make them double check on things they really aren't postitive about.



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