Showing posts with label selections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label selections. Show all posts

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!!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Floored by Flooring!

Thursday we had our appointment with Rite-Rug.  Our only major complaint was the availability to schedule appointments during convenient times.  We both had to take some time off of work to make the appointment.

Upon entering Rite-Rug, we were welcomed by.... no one.  I counted 3 people that were sitting at their desks and didn't lift their heads up even though they had to have heard the hanging jingly balls bouncing against the doors as we walked in.  We walked around and found our sales person who was in a back corner and had a "Selection Center" sign on the wall.  Our sales person was friendly, so that was a good thing, and was helpful in making our selections.

Coming in to the appointment, we knew that we definitely wanted to upgrade the carpet padding to 8 lb and that we wanted to extend the hardwood into the dining room, powder room, and hallway.  The choices were a little overwhelming since there were a lot of combinations that could be put together and mix and matching different levels/upgrades.


Here's what we found out about carpet.
  • Level A is the standard and does not have stain protection.  There were only a few color options available.
  • Level B included stain protection and had a few more color options. 
  • Level C had some nicer designs, textures and colors and seemed to be made a little better than both A and B.
We decided that we definitely needed Level B, if for nothing more than the stain protection.

We also felt that since the family room will be an area where we will be spending a lot of our time, the upgraded carpet Level C would be a good investment.  

Here are our final carpet selections:
  • Level C in the Family Room
    • Intuitive/Sweet Tea
Sweet Tea

  • Level B in the Basement, Stairs, and Bedrooms.
    • Collinsville/100 Sahara Buff
Sahara Buff


Our included options for the home included Hardwood A in the Kitchen, Morning Room, and Foyer.  We will be putting hardwood in the dining room, hallway up to the family room, and the powder room. The differences to us between Hardwood A and B were pretty significant.  B brings a few more colors and 3.25" planks. The overall look of B is smoother and more refined.

We initially decided on upgrading to Hardwood B - 3.25" Dundee/Mocha. After some second guessing, reviewing other blogs and talking to both of our mothers, we determined that with our Cherry Java cabinets the Mocha would just be too dark.  Nora went back on her own the next afternoon and changed our selection to Saddle, which we feel is going to look awesome in the house with our other selections.

We also decided on Black Cherry stain for our railings which will have the white spindles.

Master Bath

There were 4 different tile selections, A, B, C and D.  Selection D was significantly more expensive than the other options so we decided not to even look at those choices. The ceramic tiles included with the upgraded owners bath (A) are just basic white or almond colored tiles.  B was almost the same as A but with a few more colors.  C had larger (12x12 ) floor tiles, (10x14) wall tile, and accent pieces.

We'd already made the decision that the Kitchen, Family Room, and Master Bathroom are the areas of the house that we wanted to focus attention on.  Having already decided to upgrade the Master Bathroom by adding granite counter-tops and upgraded cabinets, we decided to go ahead and upgrade to level C tile.

Also, after looking at our choices, we decided to change the Burlywood Granite to Santa Cecilia Light to keep a lighter, less busy feel in the master bath.

Our Master Bathroom tile selections:

  • Floor
    • 12x12 Dorian Gray
  • Wall
    • 10x14 Dorian Gray
  • Accent
    • Universal Mosaic

Master Bathroom Selections!

Second Bathroom/Laundry Room

Choices for our second bathroom and laundry were a bit easier.  For both we went with the same laminate vinyl flooring.   

We know that we could have probably gotten some of these and other upgrades done at a lesser cost if we went with an outside contractor after we closed, however for the convenience and knowing that it will be done, to us it is a wise decision and expense to take care of now.  

Only our Guardian appointment left, which is in a week and a half.  Hopefully we've made some good selections and we can start to sit back and enjoy our home being built!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Colors, Cabinets, and Granite, Oh My!

Wednesday afternoon we met with our newly assigned SR at a nearby Ryan community to go over our color selections and review our options.  We met for about an hour which was a lot quicker than we anticipated, but we already had an idea on the colors that we liked which made this process easier for us.

Exterior Selections

The SR showed us a few different exterior color schemes.  We had to stick to these color schemes and there were no variations that could be made, which I guess is a good thing so that your neighbors don't make any crazy choices!  The only color scheme that we couldn't choose was with gray siding since the neighbors to our left have gray siding, which was fine by us.
  • Siding
    • Sandy Tan
  • Shutters
    • Dark Berry
  • Stone
    • Bucks County Ledgestone
  • Door
    • Marooned

Exterior Colors!
Bucks County Ledgestone

Now on to our cabinet and counter-top selections!


Included in our original agreement was kitchen cabinet upgrade 1.  After reviewing the cabinet selections, while some of the choices we liked, we ultimately decide to upgrade to the kitchen cabinet upgrade 2.  The selections in this upgrade have a solid wood center, instead of the veneer, and to us have an overall nicer look to them.  Plus, the Cherry Java that we originally liked was in this upgrade. We opted against adding any handles. 

We decided on Santa Cecilia granite.  None of the other options really stuck out to us and we like that there are some darker streaks in the texture that should blend nicely with the cabinets that we selected.

Cherry Java with Santa Cecilia


The standard bathroom cabinet selections are pretty limited, a light oak or maple color.  We decided that this would be fine for our second bathroom, but for the master bathroom we went for the vanity upgrade 1 and selected Maple Espresso.  Since we were making these upgrades to the bathroom and we knew that we would want to upgrade the tile when we visited Rite-Rug,  we selected Burlywood granite.  What a great master bathroom we are going to have!

Maple Espresso with Burleywood

For the second bathroom we went with the Oak Honey Cabinet.

Oak Honey Cabinet

Other Options

Here are the other options that we decided to add:
  • Exterior Floodlight
  • Address Stone
  • Exterior Gas Line Hookup
  • Paint Package 3 tone
    • Sun Dew paint
      • We went with the paint package so that we would have the entire house painted a color other than white and we could focus on just painting accent walls.  There were a couple of paint color options available but we liked Sun Dew the best.    
Sun Dew - 7SW688
  • 1 Additional Recessed Light for Kitchen
    • We like the look of having pendant lights above the gourmet island.  The kitchen comes with 9 recessed lights.  After speaking with the SR, who contacted the PM, they agreed to center 3 recessed lights (2 existing and 1 additional) over the island so that we could swap out and put in pendant lighting.  Here's a picture from someone that has done the same thing and where we got this idea.
Kitchen with Pendant Lights

WOW how quickly these options add up!  An upgrade here, an add-on there, and before you know it $$$$.  Our thought process for where to add upgrades or options was to make them in the areas where we will be spending the most time - the kitchen, the family room, and the master bathroom!

Rite-Rug appointment tomorrow, more selections!!!  Whew, this is exhausting!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Visited the Model and Signed our Purchase Agreement!

We signed our purchase agreement on June 13, 2014!

We started the day by meeting the sales manager at another nearby Ryan Home community where they had a Venice model.  This model used to be the original model and sales office at this community and from our understanding was in the process of being converted back to the owner/investor.

An interesting sidebar about the Ryan Home models that we learned is that all of the model homes are purchased by investors and then leased to Ryan Homes for their use. Sounds like a pretty smart and sound business model for their business and was something that we didn't know.

The model home was a bit messy inside with a lot of the sales office furniture being stored in the living room, however it did give us a good idea of the true size and livable space that we would have.  Walking through the model confirmed that this was the home for us and we drove back to Orchard Springs to discuss our options and pricing further.

We had a few days to go over the options list and pricing and decided to make a few changes, mainly removing the 3 car garage and basement bathroom.  While the 3 car garage would have definitely be nice, we feel that if we do end up needing additional space that we can always get a shed for the backyard.

For the basement, we were told that changes were made to the floor plan and that a powder room was no longer available in the basement and that they only option was a full bath. This was space that we didn't want to give up due to the layout of the basement in the Venice and taking up too much room.

The sales manager told us that the section where the bathroom was in the model home would be finished without the bathroom, however we discovered that it would actually be sectioned off as a storage room.  The sales manager stood by the error in his statement and submitted a change order request to ensure that we will get this area finished.  So definitely a win for us and a huge plus for Ryan Homes and the sales manager!

Here are the list of options that we finalized:

  • Elevation B

  • Finished Basement

  • French door for basement

  • Morning room

  • Gourmet kitchen island

  • Kitchen cabinet upgrade 1

  • Granite countertop kitchen upgrade 1

  • Range gas hook up

  • Upgraded stainless steel appliance package (we went with the package above the standard - nicer range and better dishwasher)

  • Gas fireplace with the stone veneer, higher hearth

  • Owners bathroom type E w/soaking tub with shower seat and ceramic

  • Banisters with white spindles

  • 2 additional outlets - additional for garage and kitchen island

  • Recessed lights over fireplace

  • 8 recessed lights - 4 in family room and 4 in master bedroom

  • 5 ceiling fan rough-in's - all bedrooms and family room

  • Floor drain in the garage

  • Hardwood A in Foyer/Kitchen/Morning Room

  • Dining room chandelier (we will be using the living room/dining room as a formal dining room)

All of this totaled to about $57k in options.

Nora and I took a few minutes to take a quick walk and gather our thoughts and came back to the sales manager with a counter offer.  Our offer was accepted and we signed our purchase agreement and addendum's!!!  We ended up receiving about $32k in incentives and all in all we feel that we received a fair price for the home.

Paperwork Signed!

Picture taken a day later, hence the different clothes for you eagle eyes!

We're looking forward to beginning the process which will have the home completed in late October!

Meeting with the NVR loan officer, choosing our colors, working with Rite-Rug on flooring, and working with Guardian are next on our list.  Hoping that the process continues to move smoothly and that the level of good service continues!

2nd Meeting - Initial Pricing and Options

We scheduled another meeting to discuss pricing and options with our SR.

Adam went to this meeting himself to get some preliminary pricing and ask a few more questions.  Upon arriving to the sales office, Adam was met by the sales manager, who was covering for the SR, as she went into labor earlier in the morning!   We were told that all went well for baby and mother, so that was good news to hear.

The sales manager was expecting that we would be coming in to discuss the Palermo (which he studied up on before I came in), so we threw him a bit of a curveball with our decision on the Venice.

The sales manager was a very down to earth guy, we had a few laughs and he definitely made me feel comfortable through our meeting. It was obvious that he hasn't been on the front line for quite some time, something that he openly admitted, but was very knowledgable about the process. Anything that he wasn't 100 percent sure of he took note of and promised to get back to us with the answer.  I got the sense that he was honest, was not pushy, and truly wanted to find the best deal and home for us.  The customer service levels that we have received thus far in the process have really been great and we're hoping that this level of service continues.

There were incentives that were being advertised and we wanted to be sure that we took advantage of them. What we discussed were the following incentives:

  • Morning Room included

  • $5,000 towards elevation upgrade

  • 4 light rough-ins

  • 1 ceiling fan rough-in

  • Garage door opener

  • Granite Level 1 - Kitchen

  • Hardwood Level A - Kitchen and Foyer

  • 42" Timberlake Maple Cognac Cabinetry

  • Stainless steel Microwave, Range, Dishwasher

  • Recessed lighting in kitchen

After our 2 hour conversation, we put together some options and pricing, and I was on my way home to the boss lady with our initial price quote to review and discuss!

Additional options that we had quoted:

  • 3 car garage

  • Finished basement

  • Bathroom in basement

  • Banisters w/white spindles

  • Gas range hook up

  • Fireplace with stone veneer

  • Upgraded owners bath with soaking tub and ceramic

  • 2 additional outlets - 1 additional for garage/1 additional for the island

  • 8 recessed lights - 4 in family room/4 in master bedroom

  • 5 ceiling fan rough-ins

  • Floor drain for garage
Lot's to think about!