Monday, July 30, 2012

New contract signed, cabinet conundrum

In an almost 4-hour marathon this morning I made the semi-final upgrade choices and signed the new contract.  We will probably still make a few changes, and I have some non-standard requests submitted that need to be priced out, but we're almost done with this part!

Right now I'm agonizing over cabinet colors.  When we first priced out the Rome, cabinets came first in the discussion and so I didn't really think about upgrading the cabinets.  The standard Fairfield Maple Spice cabinets are fine for me in and of themselves.  Once we decided to do hardwood in the kitchen, though, I started to worry...that's a lot of wood!  I don't want to be overwhelmed by a lot of same-general-color-tone in my happy new kitchen.  So today I upgraded us to the Espresso cabinets, with the thought that any of the hardwoods would work with it.  Does anyone else think it's really stupid to have us choose cabinet colors and lock us in before we've even seen the flooring choices?  That makes it WAY more stressful for me.  The obvious drawback to the Espresso cabinets is that they're an additional $2000.  And that money is really just for looks...they won't function any better than the baseline cabinets.  Sure, they'll probably hold up better in the long run, but not THAT much better.  We're not that hard on our cabinets.

Does anyone have any insight on this dilemma?  Are there flooring choices that go well with the Maple cabinets without being the same wood-tone?  I'm guessing I'd want to go darker with the floor if I got the Maple, and lighter with the Espresso.  I used the Maple to simulate flooring against my counter choice and the Espresso and it looked pretty good.  The other question would be, how...builder-grade?...would the lowest level Maple cabinets look in a kitchen?  They're pretty plain...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Howdy, Neighbors!

Well, we've officially decided to move to the #2 neighborhood.  Our SR did a really good job of exploring options to keep us in the #1 area, but the options didn't pan out.  We would have had to lose some of the things that made us love the Rome (morning room, side-entry garage), so we decided to go where we could get exactly the house we want.  #2 isn't all THAT much farther out, and it's closer to my in-laws (and therefore closer to my babysitters!).  We're feeling pretty good about things.  Right now we're just waiting on our SR to get back to town on Monday so we can do the contract and such.  When we first priced out our home in this neighborhood the expected delivery was mid-November, which is actually earlier than we could have gotten in #1, so I'm hoping that's still the case.  I'd love to be moved in before the Christmas hubbub!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ethical Dilemma

We're at a bit of a crossroads, here, and I'd like to hear some opinions from you all.  The plan all along has been to sign a non-contingent contract in our #1 neighborhood.  Well, a few things have come to light that make our lot choice significantly less-than-desirable, and there are no other open lots in the neighborhood.  That leaves us with three options:

1.  Build on the undesirable lot in the #1 neighborhood.
2.  Move to another neighborhood where we can get the exact same house on a pretty good lot for the same amount of money, but farther away from where we really want to live.
3.  Bump somebody who is contingent off their lot to stay in the #1 neighborhood.

None of those options is particularly appealing, but #3 is the worst.  I can only imagine how it would feel to be bumped off, especially since the only three sites left aren't great.  At the same time, we don't particularly want to drop this kind of money on less than the home of our dreams, because this will be our forever home.  I know I've read at least one blog that mentioned being bumped, but I don't remember whose it was.  If you got bumped, could you chime in?  If you know someone who did, could you point me to them?

#3 isn't going to be an option after all, the SR has confirmed that there are no contingencies remaining in the neighborhood (it's almost complete, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised).  But since this hasn't come up on any blogs that I've read, please chime in with your thoughts anyways...we might help someone else down the road!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

I've read 20+ blogs about Ryan Home building, and it seems there aren't too terribly many Romes being built out there.  The ones I've found are now listed on my sidebar on the right, and I just spammed requested all of them  to follow me and put their two cents in.  If you know of a Rome blog that I haven't found, could you let me know?  And if you know of another Ryan blog that's chock-full of good info (like Thomas! :) could you pass that on as well?  There's no such thing as too much information!

Edited to add:  If there's anyone else in the Richmond VA area, I'd love to know about them as well!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Working it out

My dad came and watched our boys for us today so we could put in the official mortgage paperwork.  We've got great credit so our Loan Officer was confident that we'd get the lowest available rate when we get to the lock-in point, and maybe even a rebate if one's available!  Exciting news.

When the baby (err...16 month old...) went down for his nap, we trekked out to the Rome model in a nearby-ish neighborhood to check it out.  I love it!  Love love love.  I do wish there wasn't quite so much space allocated to the master bedroom, since we won't really spend much time in there, but my husband is sure I'll figure out something to do with all that room.  ;)  We did run into a bit of a snag because this layout isn't quite the same as what we're expecting, so there are a couple things we're still unsure about...but I've typed up a bunch of questions to email our SR so he's prepared for us on Saturday.

On our list:
light switches and outlets
extending the driveway
finishing a storage area of our basement
getting a single-piece bathtub/shower for the boys' bathroom (no grout to clean!!)
depth of the windowsills (never seen this on a blog...I like a sill deep enough for plants and kitties)
changing the location of sump pump etc in the basement
finding out whether our cul-de-sac will be paved (we're the last house on the street, but only our side is part of the neighborhood and the street goes past our lot, so it's not obvious what the plan is)  and whether there will be sidewalks

Our only two non-standard requests (so far!) are getting that wall oven in the kitchen SOMEWHERE (and thanks Nadase for your help with that!), and removing the closet in the mudroom so that we can put a bench and coat hooks down there (idea credit: built-in hall tree from WodyJ, here's a picture of what it will somewhat look like: closet mudroom).

Did we miss anything?  What things have you wished you did differently?  Feel free to just link to the appropriate post on your blog if you don't want to type it out!  :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Back and forth

Well, the high of making the decision and signing the contract has worn off, and now we're starting to second-guess ourselves.  I wouldn't be surprised to hear that everyone goes through that, but strangely that doesn't help me any! The most recent downer for me is realizing that I can't get the wall ovens in the Rome, and that was something I really wanted my forever home to have. We have GOT to get over to the model and walk around in it...not having been inside a finished Rome is hurting my ability to make good decisions. The virtual tour makes it look like I could put cabinets against the wall of the powder room, but I can tell that those pictures are distorted and I might be getting the wrong impression of the space. So now I'm wondering if I picked the right model.  Does the Verona come with the "gourmet kitchen" upgrade? That's the only other model offered in our neighborhood that has the space we need. My husband is exasperated with me for being wishy-washy, but I've read about others having difficulty getting add-on cabinets that match if it wasn't done through Ryan.

On a related note, has anyone gotten Ryan to install cabinets in their laundry room? What about wooden shelves instead of wire? I hate those wire contraptions. Especially in the pantry. And do we get to customize the kitchen cabinets in any way (drawers instead of doors here, stand-mixer lift there, that sort of thing)? That hasn't come up with the SR and so far I haven't seen anyone talk about it on the blogs.

Oh, and my husband got freaked out by some of the horror stories you can find online.  How did you get past those?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Just starting out

We just signed a contract to build a Rome with Ryan Homes.  I've learned a lot from reading other people's blogs on their experiences, so here you'll find my humble efforts.

I feel a little rushed here at the beginning, because we had the "pricing" meeting to see if this was even a viable option the day before I left husband ended up doing the initial contract over the phone with the Sales Rep.  We haven't even had the basic siding/shutters/paint discussions yet, much less the flooring or other options, and I'm concerned that so much of our 14 day window for changes will elapse before we even see the options.  The SR definitely put the pressure on us by offering additional incentives then telling us that other people were looking at our lot of choice, and there were no other lots that were acceptable to me.  Rather annoying and not a good start to this relationship!

Here's what we've got so far:
Rome Elevation C, with side entry garage
Finished Basement with finished half bath, walkout
Morning Room
Gourmet kitchen island
Ceiling fan rough-ins for pretty much every room
Brushed Nickel fixtures
No fireplace
Deck (whatever the smallest size was) in composite material
Recessed lighting in basement and kitchen
Laundry tub (going to try and get it put in the garage, though)
Standard kitchen cabinets (maple something or other)
Granite-look formica countertops
Upgraded master bath to shower with seat

Our next appointment is with NVR Mortgage on Wednesday, then next Saturday we go over the siding/shutters/paint/whatever else.  Can anyone give me any pointers on those two appointments?