We Got Key! & Moving In!

In all the excitement, we got keys on the same day that we closed.  Our SR did a fantastic job in keeping tabs on the title company to inform her that the keys were ready to deliver.  We appreciate that she understood how excited we were to get into our house and get things started.

Yesterday we rented a Uhaul and moved everything over from our temporary house.  Today the moving van has come and is unloading everything else; furniture, beds, fridge, dining room, etc.,  Going to be another long day.

We Closed! Now Waiting On Keys

We closed this morning!  Yay!  Finally!  Yay!  Other than the appraisal debacle, this process has been a great.  I would recommend our development, sales team and project manager in a heartbeat.

We also did our final walk through.  Now our sales rep is waiting to hear from the title company that all is good (and it is as we wired our closing funds yesterday morning) and then she will notify us to get our keys.  So hopefully later this afternoon or tomorrow morning we get our keys.

Pics of the final house will be taken.  This time I will use my Sony A6000 to take the pics.  Time for some good ones if I do say so myself!

Ryan Homes & Using a Outside Lender: Some Advice

I know others have used outside lenders when choosing to build with Ryan Homes.  From other various blogs I have read, typically there is an issue with financing that forces the buyer to go to what appears to be a lender that works with subprime mortgages.  I've tried to search for those that opted out of NVR for other reasons and I can't say I found any.

Quick recap.  We are corporate relocation and moved back to our hometown.  We looked into the preexisting home market and found that Ryan Homes could deliver a home with more of what we wanted and still be in the home in a reasonable time frame and within our budget.  So we made the decision.

If you have followed my blog, you will understand that our relocation company also serves as our mortgage provider.  We have perks to stay with the relocation company, this is why we chose to stay with them and didn't opt for NVR.  Part of me wonders what perks and incentives we could have had if we did go with NVR, but one of the problems was that if we did go with NVR, we would have then had to go through the entire approval process with NVR all over again.  This would have delayed our move in, I am sure about it.

But I do have some advice and thoughts for you to consider if you are curious about choosing a lender other than NVR.

  • Get a Realtor!  All you need to do is scour the internet and you will find blogs where buyers GFE (Good Faith Estimate - this gives an estimate of what you will need to pay at closing) increases thousands and thousands.  A good realtor will help you avoid possible issues and should have a firm grasp on what to expect for closing costs.  
  • Make sure your lender has worked with Ryan Homes & NVR in the past.  This is important as Ryan Homes does not require a traditional "new construction" loan.  
  • Make sure your lender, the Ryan Homes Sales Rep, and all responsible parties communicate what is expected for each step that they are involved.  Make sure in this discussion that potential roadblocks are discovered, discussed, and resolved BEFORE they become a roadblock.  This includes loan, appraisals, inspections, down payment, closing costs/GFE, etc.,
  • Educate yourself on Ryan Homes build process and timeline (available on RH website)
  • If this is your first home buying experience, educate yourself on the loan process.  Too many people are surprised by the potential amount of paperwork, documents, letters that are needed, etc., etc., in the home buying process.  
  • As a home buyer, set expectations with your lender about communication and that it needs to be proactive, verses reactive.  In other words, your lender should communicate to you first without you needing to reach out to them.  
  • If you use an outside lender, Ryan Homes & NVR will want confidence that you are a strong buyer and that there is very little chance that the mortgage will fall through.  Your lender will need to put your application through underwriting first and provide to Ryan Homes a letter indicating what many would call a "Clear to Close" letter.  Ryan Homes will NOT start construction until this letter is provided.  Do not confuse this with a "Pre-Approval" letter that many buyers get in the initial phase of buying a home.  Your loan will need to be almost completely underwritten and verified for Ryan Homes.  That is why NVR takes 30 - 45 days to approve people as they are verifying and underwriting the loan before hand.  
  • If I would have thought about this before hand I would have a contingency based on the appraisal that said that if the appraisal comes back lower than the sell price of the house, than the buyer can withdraw from the contract and receive 100% of the down payment back.  Why?  NVR, more than likely has a list of appraisers in their little black book that has no problem appraising a house for the contracted sell price.  However, when you finance outside of NVR, your mortgage company will order an appraisal and more than likely source an appraiser outside of the ones that NVR normally uses.  This could potentially cause an issue if the appraisal comes back LOWER than the contracted price.  When this happens you will have to negotiate with Ryan Homes to lower the sell price, or come up with the difference out of your pocket.  Good luck with that.  This doesn't happen often, but when it does, most of the time the buyer is having to come up with extra cash at closing.  Why would you do this?  Why buy a house that is not worth what you are paying.  Again, another reason to have a realtor help with negotiating a buying price, especially if you add-on upgrades.  An appraisal contingency will be a must the next time around.  
  • Get a quote from NVR.  Compare it with the outside lender.  I think we should have done this.  Would have been interesting to see what would have happened. 
  • Don't be afraid to be a bother.  There are "Those People", you know, the ones that constantly have to be asking this or that, demanding this or that, changing this or that, or the ones that are never satisfied. I never want to come across that way, but we should also understand that building a home is a big investment and with that is what I would call the "buyer privilege".  This privilege affords you the right to ask questions, even maybe dumb ones.  This privilege allows you to go to the home, see it, ask questions that come up about issues, or something that you don't like.  However, this does not allow you to talk to someone like an entitled douche bag either.  Be sure to choose your words wisely, spoken with grace and mercy.  It will go a long way.  

5 Days Till Closing - We Can Finally Relax

Two days ago I told my wife that we should be in excitement mode, but because the appraisal had been seriously delayed, we were in this limbo status.  When it finally came through and appraised for the right amount we finally could relax and start thinking about the house and finally getting in there.

We are now 5 days till closing.  The house should be technically done with nothing to stop us from closing.

This morning I stopped and grabbed a Dunkin Donuts large dark roast coffee, one of my favs.  So I decided to drive by the house since it was only 2 minutes away.  I grabbed a couple of pics.

You might be a little confused when you see the pictures, but yes, that white stuff, frickin' snow.... in April!  However, the house was lit up from the inside.  Not every light appeared to be on and the garage lights were not on, but it still looked very nice.  I love the lamp post, and can't wait till it is actually permanently set and plumb.

Appraisal Finally Came In.....

And were good to go!  This entire appraisal process was a hot mess.  Our mortgage provider is giving us a $500.00 credit to compensate for the cost of the appraisal.

6 Days till Closing, We Have Dirt and Still No Results on the Appraisal!

Frustrating and nerve racking is an understatement.  We have been told multiple times this week that the appraisal was coming in Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  It is now Thursday morning and no appraisal results (the appraisal was done last Friday).  We are now, and maybe a bit too late, in getting the on-site representative for the company we work for involved.  (Yes, this company has to have a relocation specialist onsite due to the amount of relocations)  We are asking that we do not pay the $550.00 fee for the appraisal.

We have had to ask multiple times for updates and information when the mortgage team has said they will provide updates.  They don't act no communicate that there is a sense of urgency.  The appraisal is close to being 4 weeks overdue from the original order date.  The mortgage company failed to make a decision to change appraisers in a timely manner.  In fact, we have had to suggest and demand that certain actions be taken to get the appraisal done.  We almost feel that if we hadn't been involved, we would still be sitting with NO appraisal at all.

Drove by last night.  The painters are done, the appliances are all in and they moved dirt for a preliminary grading.  There will be a final grading done at a later date.

Looks like they have a little bit of siding around the front door to be done, a corner siding piece and the exterior will be finished.  

Oh and the granite is all done and looks really good.

Stone Exterior and Front Door Painted & Still Waiting on the Results of the Appraisal!

Drove by yesterday real quick and they were about 85% done with the stone exterior. Once the stone is complete, piece of vinyl trim will go the edge of the stone and vinyl siding on the side that we can see in the pics below.  Then shutters will go on the first floor window.  The front door had also been painted which will match the shutters.

As a reminder this is Elevation K, or the Cottage Elevation.

As for the appraisal, it has been done.  The appraisal results were suppose to go back to mortgage company on Monday, however, it was not.  My wife actually talked to the appraiser yesterday morning who said the information will be sent in yesterday morning, it was not.  Our mortgage provider said that they were supposed to get it by end of day yesterday, but they did not contact us either way.  So we are now one week away from closing and still don't know the results of the appraisal.

Think about this for a moment.  If the for some reason the appraisal comes back lower than the sell price of the house, we are then going to be in a battle between RH and ourselves on who adjusts what with only a week before we are suppose to close and our rate lock expires.  Also keep in mind that our appraisal was suppose to take place over three weeks ago.  Let's just say that the last three weeks have been a bit stressful.  We are this far along in the process and still don't have the results of the appraisal.

We Caved! New Pics & 8 Days Till Closing!

8 Days till we close and it can't come fast enough.  But our RH team seems to be pushing everything till the last minute.  I did stop in last night.  A few things were taking place.

  • The stonework for the outside was delivered to be done today and tomorrow.  
  • Installed the stove top and the double wall oven.
  • The granite is 90% complete, they still have to install the back-splash behind the sink and the shelf.  
However, the painters have about 2-3 days worth of work in the house due to touch ups.  It's amazing how marks and gouges got on the walls when nothing should have been remotely close.  Some walls are having to be completely repainted because of marks, gouges, and in some places a thin coat was applied and you can still see the drywall coming through.  Another concern is that the carpet is down and they are going to be painting again.  I hope I do not find paint splatter anywhere on the carpet.   

What irks me a bit is that a house caddie-corner from us literally popped up over-night.  It was under roof, windows, full siding and a team of dry-wallers muddying and taping the hung drywall in two weeks.  We had 1 guy to mud and tape the entire house.  That is what slowed us down. 

Also, when my wife and I were in the house together the last time, my wife noticed that the cook top, which was still in the box, was laying upside down.  And in big bold letters it specifically stated, DO NOT LAY THIS SIDE FACING UP.  Well, guess what, when they opened the box, one of the cast iron grates was broken.  Of course they will order a new one and get it in.  But it is disappointing that the instructions on the box were completely ignored.   The question is how quickly?

That leads me to this.  I was chatting with our PM, who is really a nice guy, and I said well you have till the 12th to get it all done.  Yet, I was mistaken.  He said he has till this Friday, the 8th, to get it all done.  This is due to the 3rd party inspection that is done on the house on Monday.  I forgot about that.  So the pressure is on for them to get the house completed.   

Now, when we were thinking that we had plenty of time and that the house was ahead of schedule, guess what, I'm a bit uneasy now.  I'm prepping myself for the call on Friday from our SR that the closing will need pushed out because the house just isn't finished.  

Here are a few updated pics from the kitchen and morning room. 

The cook-top.  Still needs connected to the gas line. You can see where the missing grate should be.
I'm thinking some type of back-splash between the counter top and the cabinets, but which color?  Black, dark grey, light grey, off-white?  

The vinyl flooring, first time we got to see it without the protected covering.  We think it turned out pretty nice and has plenty of texture and colors to coordinate with.

The double oven.  Almost complete.  There are two trim pieces that will go on the bottom and the top of the oven that cover the screws where the oven is attached to the cabinet.

12 Days Till Closing and Final Walk Through

12 days and we close.  We are scheduled for the 13th at 8:00 am and then our final walk-through with our PM at 10:00 am.  We are getting very excited.  We have decided that we will not be going back inside the house anymore until our final walk-through.  However, we will go by and take a look at the outside as we want to be sure the correct stone is installed.

We are getting pretty excited and can't wait to get in.  It's been great that as a family we were able to find temporary place to rent, but the house is very small and we are extremely cramped.

Currently RH is finishing the:

  • Granite
  • Kitchen sink
  • Remaining light fixtures
  • Remaining faucets
  • Ceiling fan in the morning room
  • Guardian and surround sound in the basement
  • Install all appliances
  • Final touch ups and minor repairs
  • Poured finer gravel for temporary driveway
  • Garage door opener
I mentioned last week that we were having problems getting the appraisal done.  It was ordered to be done almost 3 weeks ago.  The appraiser and RH's went back and forth for 2 weeks along with our finance company about the blueprints.  We finally put our foot down and told our mortgage company that it was absurd that we are having this issue still after two weeks.  We told them that we want an appraiser scheduled for the next day or Monday. 

Monday came around.  I stopped by the office and talked with the SR and they had not had the appraiser stop in.  I talked to our PM, he also confirmed that he hadn't noticed anyone at or inside the house.  I asked my wife to call our mortgage company and ask if it had been done.  They got back to us on Tuesday, of this week and confirmed that it was not done.  They contracted the same appraiser that wouldn't go out unless he had blueprints prior to going to the house.  Why would our mortgage company contract the same guy and not CLEARLY explain that the blueprints weren't coming before hand?!  Why did our mortgage company NOT follow-up to be sure it was done?  Why was the SAME appraiser asked to go on site after what was now 3 weeks of bull-crap?  These were all questions that we asked while we fully detailed our displeasure in regards to the poor customer service and follow-up.

That same night, this past Tuesday, a very nice appraiser contacted us and asked for contact information for those with RH.  The appraisal will finally be done today and he appraiser has said that he will get the appraisal back to the mortgage company on Monday.  This is costing our mortgage company more because they are having to put a rush on it.  But we are not paying the added cost. 

I told my wife that I think it would be appropriate to advise our mortgage and relocation company that we will not be paying for the $400.00 appraisal fee.  We are the ones that had to keep asking for status.  We are the ones that had to make everyone understand the urgency.  I have a feeling that if we hadn't watched this closely that we still would not have an appraisal and wouldn't even know that fact.

As a consolation, this has really been the only hiccup in our entire process.  We broke ground on time thanks to the abnormal temps in January in Ohio.  We have had no delays.  Everything came on-time, correctly ordered and delivered and installed.  There were a few minor issues that were quickly taken care of.  Overall we have been very impressed with the process.  

Let's Talk Appliances

So what does Ryan Homes provide?  Stove, Dishwasher, & Microwave.  You're on your own when it comes to the fridge.  As a buyer you will be presented with a few options. What is included and then the ability to upgrade at a higher cost.

RH also appears to be going exclusively with GE Appliances right now, at least in our area.

Since we chose the gourmet kitchen option with the double oven we had several options.  What's included with the gourmet kitchen or upgraded options.  For us, what was included was an upgrade so we chose to go with the default, included appliance.

I thought I would show you what is included when we signed with the gourmet kitchen if you choose to go this route.  The electric cook-top and the dishwasher are both discontinued now.  I am now curious what model dishwasher we received.  I will have to check next time I am at the house.

Start with the cook-top.  You have two choices, gas or electric.  We chose gas.


This is model number JP356SMSS.  This model has been discontinued.  I would assume then that RH has replaced this model with another option.


Gas Cook Top

Model # JGP329SETSS


Model # JVM7195SFSS  

Actual picture of our microwave.


Model # GDF510PSDSS -  This one is also discontinued now.

Double Wall Oven

Model JT3500SFSS

Carpet Installed and Granite Started!

Carpet was installed on time.  The Granite was a few days late, no biggie.  Were still on time and on schedule.

Quick reminder on carpet.  We chose a level 2 carpet and level 2, 8#, padding for the first floor.  The steps and the second floor and the basement are a level 1 carpet on a level 1 pad.  Let's just say that flooring is EXPENSIVE.  Please keep that in mind when you think about budget.

This is why we have two different styles of carpet.  What is disappointing is that the carpet that is laid on the first floor will not be the carpet that goes up the stairs, WHY?  We don't know.  But that is how it is.  The only thing I can think of is an attempt for you to settle on the same carpet upstairs as well.  But we chose carpet that matches the colors and tones of what is downstairs.

The upgraded carpet in the first floor is stain treated and also a higher wear rating than the rest of the house.

Here is the first floor.  As you will see it has light and dark tones.  It is a slightly longer shag than what is on the stairs and on the second floor and basement.  It works well with the color of the walls and blends real nice with the kitchen and morning room flooring.

Here is the carpet in the rest of the house.  It's not light, it's not dark.  We chose this so that it would blend better with the first floor carpet.  It actually feels pretty good under the feet.  We keeping in mind however that it does not have the wear rating that the first floor has.  I do remember seeing in a 4 year old Venice that we toured how the carpet in the house was a level 1 and you could really tell where the high traffic was in the house.

Let's take a look at the Granite!

We are very happy in how the granite turned out. This is the base granite.  The combo of the dark cabinets with the light and dark tones of the granite are splendid.  As you can see it's still not completely finished yet as they are leveling and making sure everything is square.  What is weird, and you maybe thinking that wall color doesn't match to well.  It must be something in the way the camera is interpreting the color of the walls.  I think the color in the pictures has an almost peach/skin tone to it.  But in fact it's really a beige color and it does work well with granit.

A nice back splash under the cabinets will be a great touch.  That will come after our first year is up.

I don't know if you can see it too well, but under the microwave they have notched out where the cook top goes.  I thought that it would be great to keep that whole piece so it could be turned into an item that you could put hot skillets on, or other items that you wouldn't necessarily want to come in direct contact with the counter-top.  I think what you would do is trim the granite to size then glue a nice soft velvet or something on the bottom so it would not scratch the counter-top.

These pictures represent what I am thinking of.

Fixtures! A pleasant surprise.

One of the things that has really impressed me is the quality of of the fixtures going into the house.  I wish I had more pictures, and I think I will go back today and grab a few more.  When my family and I first moved to NC we rented a house that was just over a year old.  It was almost 3000 ft².  One gripe I had was how cheap all the fixtures were.  I'm talking about faucets, light fixtures, ceiling fans, shower doors, etc.,  Nothing felt solid.  For example, we were there a month and had a handle on a faucet in the mast bath that could spin 360 degrees, which was it was not supposed to do.  It didn't leak, but something internal went bad.

Most of the lighting fixtures and some of the faucets have been installed in the house.  I will say that the faucets feel substantially better than some of the other "builder grade" components.  In fact, the faucets are all Delta.  Granted, I don't think they are Delta's top tier, but they really do feel solid and that the quality is much better than I had anticipated.  

Here is a picture of the faucets used in the bathrooms.

I was curious where this product sits in Delta's line up.  I found it.  

Delta is asking for $148.00 for the faucet.  Seems kind of high and who would buy directly from the manufacturer as they are almost always higher.

Here it is on Homedepot.com

They are asking $86.00.  What I appreciate is that RH didn't go for the bottom of the barrel, builder grade, no name garbage.  Instead are installing a brand name product that comes right off the shelf at one of your major retailer and if you had to replace yourself because it is out of warranty, you could find the piece and replace it yourself.

Here is the kitchen faucet.  Again, Delta Linden collection.  I don't have an actual picture of the faucet, but I did look at it while in the box.

As for the light fixtures, they are very nice and well appointed.  Again, probably not top of the line, they don't appear to be cheap builder grade appointments either.  What is very impressive is what we think is the pendulum chandelier that hangs down in the stairway.  My picture isn't the greatest, but it is very nice and is actually a rather large piece.

Here are the remaining fixtures.

I think it's great that RH chooses to use decent options when they build.  This means less for the home owner to have to worry about when it comes to selections and options.  I do wish that they would use brushed nickel on all the fixtures, but still we are very happy with the selections.  

Post Easter Update; Appraisal Status, Paint Concern, Cabinets, Ceiling Fans, Pics and More

First I hope everyone had a great Easter.  The weather was beautiful for a late March Easter, couldn't have asked for better weather.

Now on to our appraisal update.  It's supposed to happen today.  For over a week and a half we saw the appraiser and RH homes go back and forth on what each other won't do.  RH stood their ground and would not send out an electronic copy of the blueprints as it was against their company policy.  The appraiser wouldn't go unless they had the blueprints.  My wife and I read emails for a week and half that basically sounded like two 5 year-old kids arguing over who was going to get to play with the new toy first.  Neither the appraiser nor was RH going to budge.  UGH! Thursday afternoon I stepped in and told our mortgage company that after watching this scenario and nothing being resolved that it was time to get a new appraiser that will meet the conditions of the builder and that I expected a new appraiser to be contracted out by end of day.

This was very frustrating because we have two entities, our mortgage/relocation company and the builder who both could have done something sooner to get the appraisal done closer to the original appraisal date.  But instead, everyone involved was more concerned about their processes than the actual CUSTOMER buying the home.

Sirva responded to my email saying that they will get it resolved that day.  No resolution Thursday evening came across our email. We gave Sirva till 12:00 PM Friday to provide an update.  Noon came, no update.  My wife emailed asking for a status update.  Update came, and the appraisal was scheduled for today.  We shall see.

As for the house, here is where we are at.

So first, we were supposed to have the granite installed this past Saturday, so we thought we would drive by after our Easter lunch with the family to see if by chance they left the door unlocked.  They did, but that is because they didn't install the granite.  No biggie, I'm sure it will be done this week.


AC installed.  My concern is that the size of the unit will not be efficient enough.  Our home will be 2300-2400 sq. feet above grade.  The unit is a Goodman system. Never heard of them till I saw the unit.  But research shows that they appear to be a decent system, heavily favored by builders because of the lower costs, but they appear to be built using the same components as the name brand units.  I will have to get the model number off the unit to see what the tonnage is and its capacity.  I know the finished basement will put our house closer to 2800 - 3000 square feet, but basements are usually more moderate in temperature.  The other thing to consider is that RH builds a very efficient and air tight home.  So the AC unit shouldn't have to work as hard.


We love the color we chose.  It's not "Ryan White" (RH's default paint color).  It's a beige/tan color that is very neutral and works well with the white trim.  We really like the color. Why RH charges $1900.00 to paint a different color, I don't know.  The paint is not upgraded.  We don't get to choose, satin, matte, or any other finish style.  It's just a different color.  What is odd is that they paint the inside of the closets with the Ryan White option.  Very strange.
I am concerned however.  Upstairs we noticed that there are several areas where the drywall was not sanded well, and then painted over.  The paint makes it stick out like a boner in sweatpants, and it doesn't look good at all.  The painters have also applied their two coats of paint to the walls and are technically done except for some touch up work.  This means that the walls will need to be sanded and repainted all over again and there are many places that need fixed.  I have texted my PM so that he knows that we know.  Perhaps he is aware of it and has it planned to be fixed.

Ceiling Fans

In all we have 6 ceiling fans installed; living room, morning room, and all 4 bedrooms.  We opted for the brushed nickle that looks very nice.  Another great feature that RH adds is that they mount fan speed switches right by the light switches.  I should have taken a picture of it.  It's a great feature that is included with the fans.


We really like the fireplace.  We added the fire place and basically went with the default options.  There are a bunch of options available, but since we didn't want to push the budget too far, we opted for the basic slate.  We I really enjoy most about the fireplace is that actual face is very large.  This is a newer fireplace that RH is using.  The finished Venice that we toured (3-4 years old) had a smaller fireplace.  Our SR said that it was bigger, but we are really excited about how much bigger it is.  The hearth also comes out about 18 to 24 inches from the wall.

Kitchen Cabinets

I know I already posted pictures of the cabinets.  I do want to add a few details.  The cabinets are all nice and deep.  Especially the cabinets that make up our "pantry" that surround the fridge.
We also get a Lazy Susan and all the other cabinets in the island and around the wall have pull out shelving! This is something we didn't know we were getting and are very pleased. I don't know if the pull out shelving is something that is standard with all the cabinets or if they are included with upgraded cabinets.  Ask your SR if you are looking at buying through RH.

By the way, you will notice that we have hardware on our cabinet doors.  This is not standard.  But, we did get RH to throw them in free of charge.  Just smile and give your SR a wink.

The Double Oven.  Can't wait for Thanksgiving.

This week will see counter tops, carpet, all faucets and sinks installed, guardian, and the majority of all the other mechanicals done.  Then touch ups and fixes before we close.