Sunday, July 13, 2014

No More Changes and a Field Trip!

This morning we signed our final change order for the items we added with Guardian and signed our waiver to make any additional changes.  It's crazy to think that 30 days have already gone by since we signed our purchase agreement!  Our options and selections are now locked in and our Road Map / Pre-Construction meeting is set for July 30th.  Things seem to be moving pretty smoothly so far and we're hoping that it continues this way.  Anxiety dreams have already started with thoughts of our movers damaging our walls and tracking mud and debris on our new carpets and hardwood!  It's way too early in the process to start having these dreams!

Here's an aerial view of our development. This photo is more recent than Google Maps which only shows 4 homes constructed.

Orchard Springs - Our Future Home!
After signing our change addendum and waiver paperwork, we decided to take a trip south towards Canton to a Ryan Homes development called Emerald Estates, located in Jackson Township, since they have a decorated Venice Model.  It was about an hour away, however it was worth the trip.  This model had a lot of upgrades compared to the local Venice model that we saw and included a lot of the options that we selected for our home.  It is also built in the non-reversed plan (what we have) which allowed us to get a really good feeling of how our new home will be laid out!

We were excited to see that this model had the same cabinet color (Cherry Java) and hardwood flooring (Dundee / Saddle) that we selected for our home!  It also had the hardwood instead of the carpet in the living room, hallway, and powder room that we upgraded to as well.  We love the color combination and are extremely happy with our decision!

Kitchen w/ Cherry Java Cabinets and Saddle Hardwood

Another Kitchen Photo Showing the Cabinet and Flooring Combination

Looking into the Morning Room

Saddle Hardwood in the Foyer, Hallway, Powder Room

Hallway from Foyer

Living Room with Hardwood.  We will be using this as a Dining Room

This model has the upgraded kitchen with the built-in cook top and double wall oven, which looks pretty amazing.  It also includes the glass inserts in the cabinets above the microwave.  We like this look, but talking to the SR at the model, he said that there have been some issues with condensation and difficulty with cleaning it.  Still looks really nice though...

We didn't really know how awesome the upgraded kitchen set-up is, it wasn't discussed during our upgrade selection conversations, and we didn't see it on our options list that we received.  This probably would've priced us way over budget anyways, but if we saw this model before we made final decisions on our selections, we just might have splurged on this....

Double Oven and Fridge Surrounded by Cabinets/Storage
Turkey in the Bottom and Pies in the Top Oven, that would've made for some convenient holidays!

Glass Inserts in the Cabinets above the Microwave

The basement in this model was pretty spectacular as well. The standard option that we received is to finish half of the basement with the unfinished side being a storage area located under the kitchen and morning room.  This basement had a non-standard custom upgrade to finish the ENTIRE basement!  We have already started to kick around ideas of making this a future upgrade to our home and having this area finished.  While it removes some of the storage area, it does make for some really great livable space.

"Bigger" Side of Basement

Looking into the Non-Standard finished Basement
Area that would typically be a non-finished storage area.
Pretty Awesome!

We saw some good decorating ideas (Ryan Homes really does a nice job staging its models) and we are really excited about getting our new home started!  Today's visit to this model really reinforced to us that we made the right decision on the Venice Model and we can't wait to start building our home.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Guardian Update

This morning we met with our Guardian Sales Rep to go over our low voltage wiring selections.  The meeting took about two hours even with the research and preparation we completed. Oddly, the selection of our low voltage wiring was the most challenging part for us so far.  

Wires Wires Wires!

Going into the meeting we had a general idea of the type of selections that we wanted to make.  The other Ryan Home blogs that we have read were very helpful in this process and making it easier to get through this quickly.  

We knew that we wanted:
  • Flat Panel TV pre-wiring for the family room
  • Cable outlets installed in all of the bedrooms
  • Rear surround sound speakers pre-wired for the basement
  • Security System
Our sales rep was very knowledgeable, able to provide good answers to our questions, and provided some nice guidance and assistance in our selections.  He was very low pressure, only sold us on what we were interested in and did not push hard on the other services that Guardian provided.  Adam had to probe him a little bit to find out more and see if there was anything that we might be missing.  

There was no price sheet available, instead we would ask about a service or product and the sales rep would provide us a price.  One of the things we wish we had seen on other Ryan Homes blogs was pricing, so we've decided to include what was quoted to us.

Flat Panel TV Pre-Wire
There were a couple of options that were available - same stud flat panel pre-wire, same-wall flat panel pre-wire, and an option to run wiring to another location such as a closet to place your a/v components.  We made the following selections. 
  • Same stud flat panel pre-wire
    • $330
  • Includes Single HDMI/CAT5/Coax
  • Added 1 additional HDMI for $85
  • Unable to swap out the CAT5 or Coax for other outputs like the HDMI
  • Need to add an additional outlet to be raised for the TV - $125
Cable/Data/Phone Outlets
Our home plan comes with 3 cable outlets and 2 phone lines.  We asked if we could swap out the phone outlets to have cable outlets instead. We could change one, however we were told that Ryan Homes makes Guardian install at least one phone line.  

We aren't huge TV-in-the-bedroom people, but we decided that we wanted to add cable outlets to all of our bedrooms, so that in the future if we ever wanted to have cable in any of these rooms, they would be pre-wired.  We aren't comfortable with the thought of someone from the cable company coming in and drilling holes in the side of our house and through our walls....
  • Additional outlets are $100 per or $495 for 6
  • We choose to add the 6 additional on top of the 4 cable and 1 phone line that we get with the house
  • 1 Cable in the family room
  • 1 Cable and 1 CAT5 data in the bigger side of the basement
  • 1 Cable in the smaller side of the basement
  • 1 Cable in each bedroom
  • 1 CAT5 in the smaller upstairs bedroom that we will be using as an office (putting the phone line in here as well)
  • 1 Cable in the morning room
That's a lot of places to put future TVs!!!!
Wall o' TVs
Speakers and Such
Lots and lots of options with speakers.  We settled on only having the rear speakers pre-wired in the basement which will fit our needs.  It would have been nice to have all room audio and outside speakers but we just couldn't justify the cost.

Here's some pricing that we wrote down on some of the audio options that might be of interest to folks:
  • 5.1 speaker pre-wire - $495
  • 5.1 speaker with speakers included - ranges from $965 to $1800
  • 2 room audio speakers with the built in amplifiers - $1735
    • Just pre-wired - $620
  • 4 room audio speakers with the built in amplifiers - $3000
    • Just pre-wired - $1245
  • Outdoor speakers - $720

Security System
We went back and forth before our meeting on whether we felt a security system was worth the cost. We decided in the end that it is.  This home is a huge investment and we want to be sure that we protect it as best we can.  The peace of mind knowing that we will have some protection while we are away from the home is worth the cost. 

Locked Up!!!!
  • Base Alarm System - $250
    • Includes
      • 1 motion detector
      • All 3 entry doors
      • 1 Keypad
      • Cellular Communication
      • Interactive Package
      • 30 hour battery backup
    • We added
      • 2nd floor keypad which will be placed in the master bedroom - $140
        • Includes chime - when doors open will chirp/chime
      • Smoke detection - located on all floors including basement - $450
  • Monthly fee
    • Two Options with or without warranty - $44.95 or $39.99
    • We choose with the warranty option just in case something did go wrong in the future
    • We had to sign a contract but received 6 months of coverage for free
The security system is hardwired which is nice.  We inquired about Carbon Monoxide detectors, however our sales rep said they weren't worth the investment, and made a good point that we could get some plug in ones to alert us when we were home or entering the home.  With their detector, if we were away from the home and Guardian was unable to reach us, the fire department would come and potentially knock down our door!

Per our sales reps suggestion, we are placing the motion detector in the morning room to allow for maximum coverage. The motion detector detects temperature changes and movements.  At no additional cost, we were able to select the "pet immune" motion detector which will not give false alarms for anything under a combined 100lbs.  

We both liked Guardian's security application that we could arm or disarm the alarm via our smart phones. This could be convenient if we forget to turn the alarm on or if we needed to disarm for visitors coming to our home while we were away.  The application also has ability to control lighting, thermostats, video, locks, and even garage doors (not compatible with the garage door opener that Ryan installs).  Our sales rep said that we could add these items after closing, as Ryan Homes does not allow these to be sold to customers during this time.  

We asked if there were any options or services that other folks either get or are interested in.  He mentioned central vac and intercoms but we weren't interested and we weren't pushed at all. All in all, our sales rep did a nice job providing us all of the info we requested and getting through our paperwork quickly.  

Well folks, that's it for now and all of our selections should be finalized!!!  No more decisions, no more money on selections, and now we wait for our pre-construction meeting that is scheduled for the end of this month!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Loan Approved!!


Well, conditionally, but we only have a few outstanding conditions remaining which include updated pay stubs and bank statements.  No crazy or unreasonable requests.

After reading a few fellow Ryan Homes blogs, we were anticipating the worst when it came to dealing with NVR. The process for us was relatively quick and has been painless thus far, so no complaints from us!  In all, it took about two and a half weeks from the time we submitted our paperwork to today when we received our conditional approval.  And about 4 days from when we were advised that our loan went into underwriting to our approval.  Not too bad considering we were told it would take about 28 days to hear back from them.

In other news, our Guardian appointment is scheduled for Saturday, so we are still rolling right along!

Monday, July 7, 2014

A few Updates and Now We Wait!

Just a few updates, nothing major but we're making progress!

On Thursday we received a from our Loan Processor from NVR that our loan was being submitted to underwriting and that due to the 4th of July holiday, that things might be a little slower than usual.  She estimated 7 to 10 days before we hear anything back.

Just waiting around

We met with our SR yesterday afternoon to sign off on our final color selections and to acknowledge that we are over 14 days from signing our purchase agreement and can no longer make any structural changes.  We also finalized the locations of our exterior gas line in the rear of the house, moved some cable outlets around, and locations of electrical outlets that we added.

We will need to go back to sign off on our wiring selections after we meet with Guardian which was scheduled for today, however had to be cancelled by the the Guardian sales rep.  We are hoping that this will be rescheduled this week.

Some things that we are considering with Guardian are:

  • Flat Panel wiring for the family room
  • Adding additional cable outlets in the bedrooms
  • Security system
  • Surround sound pre-wire hookup in the basement

We received clarification on our timeline for construction which is exciting and pretty unbelievable that they will be able to clear our lot of all the trees, dig a hole, and build a house in such a short amount of time!

  • Last week of July - Pre-Construction Meeting
  • August 10 - Construction/Clearing Lot Begins
  • Last week of October/First Week November - We received Keys!

And now we wait!!!