Sunday, January 25, 2015

Now an Exciting Post! DECOR!

So instead of all these muddy and snowy pictures I wanted to post some pictures of some of the goodies we purchased this weekend! 

I found this set (minus the mugs) on clearance at Pier 1. I spent about $40 (With 10% off coupon) on 4 large plates, 4 small plates, and 4 bowls. I love the colors. Only downside is they are discontinued so if any break they cannot be replaced. 
I think Chad & I will use this set for everyday casual dining. 

Of course after I made my Pier 1 purchase, I took a look on Amazon and fell in love with this Rachel Ray Ikat set! This is a 4 person set including mugs for less than $60.

Rachel Ray Ikat set of 4 appetizer plates. I really wanted square dinnerware so I just had to order these as well to add to the mix. Amazon $17.

While searching on Amazon I also came across the Oneida Stanhope 42 piece flatware set. The set was listed for  $65. After doing a little more research online, I came across this same exact set for $28 at Kmart! Thats almost a $40 difference! So today we made a trip to Kmart and purchased the last 2 remaining sets for less than the price of 1! I love a good deal!!! 
(I will be returning my Amazon order.)

Murano cobalt blue tumblers set of 4 I purchased from Target $14.

And for the most exciting purchase... A little garage decor!
Chad FINALLY got his Polaris RZR 900! 
We should be picking this baby up later in the week! 

And We Have Walls!

Our walls are up! Here are a few pics from Thursday with the wall frames...

Front of our house!

 Walkout basement to the left.

Inside the basement.


Here is the progress to Saturday with the frames removed...

 Our Garage will be to the left & porch to the right.

Inside our basement with the future bathroom rough-in.

Our neighbor's house looks like a house!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

One Expensive Pile of Dirt!

Last Thursday we broke ground! Woohoo! Such excitement! We/(I) have drove by our lot about a gazillion times in the past week! I hate to be such a creep, but I do not want to miss a thing! (Sorry neighbors in advance!) 

On Saturday Chad & I took our parents and grandmother's to check out the lot. We had a great day with everyone and a delicious lunch to celebrate the ground breaking! 

Today (Wednesday) our PM called to inform us they will be pouring the walls tomorrow! I might just have to sneak away from work a little early to check it out! :)

Here are a few pics of the progress so far...

Our Future Home!


Keeping it Warm!

Our Neighbor's House

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Dig!

Today is the day! Last night we had our Pre-Construction meeting and we were very surprised to hear they will be digging today! It makes me smile not only that this is really official, but of course important things happen on really good dates like I have mentioned before… Today is my Grandfather's Birthday! He passed away over 20 years ago. I wish he was here, but I am sure he is looking down smiling! :)

The Pre-Construction meeting went very smooth. It lasted about an hour and a half. Our Project Manager seems like a really nice and straight forward guy. He went over all of our selections, answered any questions we had, reviewed the blueprints, and topography. He gave us a lot of great information. Getting to know him a little, he has been a PM with Ryan Homes for about 10 years now. It was also nice to know he actually built his house with Ryan a couple of years ago. We are looking forward to working with him. 

After the meeting we swung by our lot to check it out before the dig. Here is a pic!

Ready to dig! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pre-Construction Meeting!

Today is our Pre-Construction Meeting! I can't believe it! I have composed a list of questions I plan to ask when we meet our Project Manager. I will post the answers I receive under the questions. 

  • If there is shelving in the laundry room can we not install it? (We have elected for a 2nd hook up for our washer & dryer in the basement so we will not need the shelves above the washer & dryer upstairs as we saw in the model home.)
    • Yes not a problem.
  • Can we purchase our own sink and under mount it with the upgraded laminate we chose?
    • No
  • Where is the location of the thermostat?
    • By the bottom of the stairs.
  • Can we review light switch locations?
    • Did not feel it was necessary to ask.
  • Are there going to be any windows in the basement?
    • Yes, 1 window.
  • Where will the 2nd laundry hook up be located in the basement?
    • Very left front corner of basement, near sump pump and furnace.
  • Where will the basement rough in be located?
    • Very back right corner of basement.
  • Can we create an under the stairs closet?
    • Didn't ask, figure we can do this later.
  • Can we insulate the garage?
    • Yes, if you want to pay extra. 
  • Can we widen the driveway & add a driveway pad next to the house?
    • Better question for concrete company.
  • Will there be a concrete pad poured in front of our walk out basement doors?
    • No.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rite Rug Selections

Here are the selections we have chosen! Well we made a few trips to Rite Rug... But our cabinet selections, countertop and exterior colors were pretty easy to choose.

Trip #1- Well meeting with Rite Rug was somewhat overwhelming and a little disappointing. I knew not to get my hopes up having read so many other blogs. The options were not that great, upgrades were pricey, and the rep was not very helpful. I got a little frustrated and decided not to upgrade anything. Chad did upgrade the upstairs bathrooms to a Level B tile (Brixton Bone) which I really was not a fan of. We also extended the vinyl into the dinette area, as carpet was standard. 

Original Carpet and Vinyl Options:
White Fox Carpet
Glenville Sandy Taupe

Trip #2- I took my Mom and Grandma to Rite Rug to get their opinion on the selections we originally chose. They were so helpful and gave me better ideas of what looked good together. I ended up changing the color of the carpet to a lighter selection and I also changed the vinyl flooring. I felt so much more confident about the choices we had come up with. While we were there we ran into another Rite Rug rep. She was very helpful and answered a few questions I had. I also ended up deleting the tile in the bathrooms and went with the vinyl as we will pick out tile we like a little better and have installed on our own. We also plan to change out the vinyl in the kitchen, living room, powder room, laundry room, and dinette to a luxury vinyl or laminate dark wood. We priced it out at Lowe's and can do it for about half the price Rite Rug was charging and get to pick a product we actually like.

Travertine Silver Formica Countertop
Ancient Slate Peacock Laminate
Wool Skin Carpet
Pavilion Beige Paint (Did not select paint package)

Trip #3- Chad and I stopped by Rite Rug yet again to take one last look. We decided to upgrade to the 8lb. padding to the family room and living room areas since we will be spending most of our time in these areas. 

Monday, January 12, 2015


It's 11:10pm on 1-11! As you know, big things happen on easy to remember dates... Today is 1-11. This is an important date to me because my Dad's favorite number is 111. That has always been his semi truck number which has been a very prosperous and lucky number for him throughout his career. :)

So today we met with our Ryan Homes manager that we have been working with to go over a few of the very last details before our Pre-Construction Meeting this Wednesday! Bigger news! We wrote the check for the remaining balance of the earnest money! I know Chad was very nervous to write that check... He even wrote in the memo "Signing Life Away" lol! 

We met with Chad's parents for dinner this evening. We are very lucky to have their support and guidance through this process. They also have built a home before so it nice to be able to talk to them about their experience. It is truly getting very real and a little overwhelming thinking that we are really going to be first time home owners in the next few months! So many questions are going though both of our heads... Are we making a wise decision? Are we getting in over our heads? Are we purchasing too much of a house? Will that deal of a century pop up on the market after the fact? Ugh. Only time will tell. On a positive note, we are purchasing in a growing area that has great schools, lower taxes, central for both Chad and I for work, and close in proximity to several main highways. 

Lessons Learned...

Along the way I will be noting some important "Lessons Learned" in this whole process. Hopefully they can help someone in the future! 
  • Lesson Learned #1- DO NOT sign a contract without thoroughly going over it!
  • Lesson Learned #2- KEEP ALL estimates, paperwork, & emails! Even if you change models, options, colors, etc. KEEP EVERYTHING! 


Luckily, We Always Seem to Have Big Events Happen on Really Easy to Remember Dates!

  • Thanksgiving 2013- Saw Each Other for the First Time in Years.
  • November 29th 2013- Chad's Birthday/Black Friday Shopping.
  • NYE 2013- NY Trip
  • Valentines Day 2014- Chicago Trip
  • St. Patrick's Day- Chad Started His New Job & Moved Closer to Me.
  • May 27th- My Birthday! (Got a Little Bling for My Finger!)
  • 4th of July- Chicago Trip
  • August 4th- Chad's Mom's Birthday & Chad Started His Dream Job!
  • Halloween 2014- Signed Papers & Put Down a Deposit on Our New Home!
  • November 29th- Chad's Golden Birthday! (29 on the 29th!)
  • NYE 2014- Unofficial 1 Year Anniversary!
Halloween 2014

So anyways, on Halloween we had went to the Ryan Homes Model to speak with the Sales Rep. She informed us that as of November 1st the pricing would go up on the homes due to an increase in material cost and our incentives would be lost so it was crucial to sign the contract and put down a deposit if we were going to go forward. Granted this was at almost 6pm on a Friday night after work, we had a party to get to, (As well as pickup some costumes!) and our SR had plans with her family as well. So feeling pressured for time, a price increase, and loss of incentives we signed the contract. (Lesson Learned #1!) We very briefly went through the contract. Our SR told us to come back in the next couple days and we could review the contract in full as well as go over a few items we had expressed to her at that point that were incorrect on our Cost Estimate Sheet. 

Saturday, the next day we stopped at the Florence Model Home about an hour away from us. (See previous post for picture & a little description.)

Sunday, we visited our SR to review the contract and discuss the discrepancies we had told her about on Friday. First, she had us meet with a new SR to go over options. After reviewing we let the new SR know that we had an issue with one item in particular- a $5,500 lot premium fee that had been added. From the very first time we had met with our SR she had told us that there was a $5,500 lot premium because it was a walkout lot. But, that $5,500 had been waived. (Our relator was there to witness that as well. And I have at least 3 different cost estimate sheets previously showing no cost for the lot premium.) (Lesson Learned #2!) The new SR had gotten our original SR and asked her to come over to discuss this issue. At that point she had told us there was no more negotiation we signed a contract and that was it. She also had stated that she would give us our deposit back if we did not want to go forward. WOW! Not only did she push us off onto another SR but she went back on her word. And we still hadn't even reviewed the contract like she had said she would. Huge disappointment! So she gave Chad & I some time to discuss if we wanted to go forward or take our deposit back. We did not want to loose the lot or incentive so we ended up going forward but were not happy about it. We met with our realtor and discussed the issue. She agreed we should not have been charged the premium lot fee as she also was present when we were told it was waived. She said we should reach out to our SR and if no luck she would contact her manager. 

We did receive a phone call from our SR's manager. She was very nice and understanding of our situation and the discrepancies we had. She told us she was going to speak with the SR and would be back in contact with us. She contacted us back when she said she would and updated us with the information she had gathered. She had offered to meet us and discuss further a resolution. Going into this meeting Chad and I were very unsure if we really even wanted to continue forward with Ryan Homes due to the issues we had so far. We met with her for almost 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon. She had answered all of our questions and concerns and leaving the meeting we felt so much better about going forward. We appreciated the time she took to listen to us and the steps she was taking to find us a solution. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The House Hunt...

We have been on the house hunt for almost a year now. 

First, we started off by looking at condo's… Nixed that. Then the fixer uppers… Nixed that. And then newer homes… 

We realized that the newer homes in our area are priced very close to what you could build a brand new home for. So after looking at countless homes that just didn't feel like "The One" our realtor suggested visiting a Ryan Homes model in the area.  

We met with a sales rep who was very informative and enthusiastic. She introduced to the whole Ryan Homes building process. We really liked how the whole process was structured and organized as you move along each step of the way. She showed us a few floor plans that might fit our needs. We discussed a new community in the area that we found interest in. There were a few lots left, one in particular had a walkout basement capability. I LOVE walkout basements as my parents have one and it has been priceless throughout the years. At that point I knew that lot was the one. 

Now to narrow down the floor plan for the lot...

We visited a Sienna model. I immediately fell in love with it! It was decorated so cute, white cabinets, dark floors, pops of blue decor, and very clean looking. I really liked the open layout even though the kitchen was a little small with minimal countertop space. But the upstairs was very spacious! The bedrooms were large, the master bedroom had a walk-in closet with a window, (LOVE!) and there was a second floor laundry room that was very convenient. Unfortunately, Chad was not a huge fan of the Sienna, and there is no option for a 3rd car garage with the Sienna like he had wanted. 

So we decided to take a look at the Florence Model. I was against it because I felt like it had extra space that really we had no need for. Specifically, a living room, and a loft. I felt like the living room would be an empty space as we would use the family room as the main entertaining room and I was not really ever a fan of a loft. But, Chad could get his 3rd car garage option! 

We went back and forth about the Sienna and Florence. I think the deciding point was realizing that with the Sienna we would be automatically adding the Morning room to accommodate my office area. By doing that we would essentially be at the same price point of the Florence with more square footage, an extra room, (living room) and loft. I could easily use the living room or the loft area as my office space. And of course we can't forget about the 3rd car garage! So with that being said I think we both agreed going with the Florence would be our best option. 

Visiting the Florence model really reassured our decision. This model was an Elevation D. It had higher peaks and a large porch on the front of the house. Absolutely adorable! I originally liked the included Elevation B of the Florence, but after seeing the D, I really had to have it! Walking in the house I was amazed at how the 9" ceilings made the first floor feel so huge! The kitchen had so many cabinets I couldn't even imagine filling them all up! Plus a walk in pantry! Perfect! And I actually took a liking to the living room area in the front of the house. I saw this area as becoming a formal dining area. The upstairs felt really bright with many windows in the loft. It actually was staged with a desk so it was really easy for me to envision my office in the loft. The master bedroom was a good size too. The secondary bedrooms were a little smaller than I had hoped but we would just be using them for guests for the time being. I was so glad we took a look at the model. Overall, Chad and I knew the house would be a better fit for us in the long run. 

The Florence Model Elevation D