Thursday, December 31, 2009

Advice from experienced Ryan Homes owners

Earlier I wrote about the opinions I gathered before taking this leap into home building. Here's what I learned:

#1 - Everyone who has built with Ryan told me to upgrade the carpet padding

#2 - Some mentioned regretting not having a Morning Room added or finishing their Basement

#3 - Someone mentioned about adding the Utility Sink for cleaning up messy stuff that you don't want done in your kitchen sink!

#4 - 8" Deep sink in kitchen is something a customer regretted not getting

#5 - Check who your utility providers will be and get estimates on average costs

#6 - Was warned that the home security company comes off as high pressure sales

#7 - Heard of someone's negative experience by using their own mortgage finance company instead of using Ryan Homes company NVR.

That's it for now - Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This part can get real expensive, real fast!

The interior options and upgrades are plentiful - and if you're not careful, you could get in over your head. Here's what we did:
  • 8" deep sink on one side of double bowl kitchen sink (I have this now and can't live w/o it)  $125
  • 2nd light mounted to front of garage (you only get 1 and it looks so unbalanced) $125
  • Move laundry room from 1st floor to basement $150 (what a steal! The original location to have the laundry room is a small walkway between the garage and kitchen - where do you hang your clothes, what if you don't feel like taking the laundry upstairs and you want to leave it in a basket in your laundry room until tomorrow - everyone sees it then and I didn't like that)
  • Additional closet in basement under stairs $350 (you can NEVER have enough storage space)
  • Upgraded to oak floor in foyer and 1st level 1/2 bath $425
  • Upgraded carpet padding throughout entire house $875
  • Garage Door opener (yep, it doesn't come with an opener) $425
  • Upgraded interior lights to Level 1 upgrade $425
  • Upgraded faucets in master bathroom and 1st level bathroom $100
  • Upgraded kitchen faucet with handle vegetable sprayer $175
  • Utility Sink in basement (unfinished portion where laundry room will be) $550 (ouch! - but where do you clean up after painting, clean muddy shoes, etc.?)
  • No bedrooms come with ceiling lights - only outlets to plug in lights and then a wall switch to turn it off/on. We upgraded the Master Bedroom, Morning Room, and Child's room to have a ceiling fan/light fixture for $350 each
  • Cabinet upgrade 1 level ($1050) and got taller cabinet height of 42" ($350) $1400
  • Ceiling lights for 2 remaining bedrooms $125 each
  • Recessed lights above fireplace (2) $100 each
  • 2 additional windows in Morning Room (there's 3 walls and only 2 walls came with windows) $800
  • Floor drain in garage $300 (think of all the snow that drops off your car's under body in the winter and not having a place for the water to drain into)
  • Interior Painting of whole house - every wall will be painted 1 color throughout the entire house, rather than walking into a plain white walled house (then to add more color, I could opt to paint just 1 wall as an accent wall when I have time) $1700
Tomorrow I'll talk about the advice I got from Ryan home owners.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The fun stuff - Upgrades, oy vey!

We've settled on the style of house - The Florence. It's base price is $166,990 Florence Floor Plan pdf. 3 pages

Now we need to pick a lot. There's 2 kinds of lots.
  • Free lots
  • Premium lots - extra $3k-$4k
The lots that were included in the price were just fine with us. We could have paid a few thousand to live on a premium lot. Premium lots are a little bigger and have unobstructed views of the golf course. We chose a lot that was standard, and we're lucky enough to have it facing the part of the golf course which will ensure us that we'll never have houses built behind us. Sounds like a premium lot to me without the premium price!

Now lets talk about the many, many options you have with the structure of the house and interior options. First, let me start off by saying that I'm a practical person and almost always look at getting the most for my money and resale value. Here's the options we went with:
  • Elevation of house, there are 3 styles to have the front of your house to look like, we chose to have the "B" style (out of A, B, C).  Click here for elevations  With each elevation there was a little more brick on the front and the front of the house has different peaks. When asking about the elevation, I inquired if we could upgrade our elevation but omit the brick. Yep, we can! So for $1400 we changed the style of the front of the house, which included an overhang over our front door. If we wanted to look of a brick house, we could have done this for a couple of thousand more. Why do this - we all know it's not a brick house!
  • option to have the loft area converted to a 4th bedroom - $1500 (this was a no-brainer, only $1500 to make another bedroom? Resale value just went way up)
  •  Finished basement $6450, with 1/2 bathroom + $2550 = $9k
  •  Morning Room with Gourmet Island $9950
  • Fireplace - there are 3 styles, I picked the least expensive one @ $2850 (I waivered on this, but realized a house at this price range, a fireplace is expected)
These are the major structural changes we did. We were able to do this because Ryan is currently offering to pay for half of your upgrades up to $16k (that's $8k to be paid by them). This essentially gives me the finished basement for free.

Come back later for more details on the interior options.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The advice so far...

When we first looked into building with Ryan Homes I scoured the web for reviews of Ryan, talked to anyone I knew that built a home (regardless of builder) and asked for references of current Ryan homeowners that are new home owners (<1yr.), owners in our development, and owners of at least 3 years at any location.

  • the web, I found, is not too nice to Ryan Homes or their mortgage company NVR Mortgage
  • talking to friends who have built a home provided me advice that money can't buy
  • talking to Ryan Home owners at with different levels in length of ownership was fantastic
Knowledge is power. Some accuse me of "over-thinking", but it's how I make my decisions. I put alot of time and research into making major decisions that will affect me and my family. Heck, I can't even buy a blender without getting advice or opinions (x-mas gift to me: Oster Fusion blender).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Florence

We picked The Florence to build.

This was the least expensive model in our development and it truly fit all of our needs. We're going from a 3 bedroom 2 full bath home to a 4 bedroom 2 full bath 2 half bath home. Our current home is a little over 1800 sq. ft. and our new home will be over 2700 sq. ft. Currently there's only 3 of us along with 2 cats and a dog.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hi, I'm new here!

I'm starting this blog in hopes to help people out there like me: building a home for the 1st time. I searched the web looking for information about Ryan Homes. I was surprised and disappointed, to only find negative reviews and information about Ryan Homes. I talked to our real estate agent about Ryan Homes and the negative backlash out there about them, she said something that I believe makes alot of sense, "happy customers just go on living their lives, it's the unhappy customers that take the time to post their opinions". I hope to change this. My blog will be an unbiased, detailed account of our journey - from start to finish and hopefully will be a sounding board for those of you thinking about building with Ryan, in the middle of building with Ryan, or have already built with Ryan Homes. I hope this helps someone out there struggling with all of the same anxieties I had and am still having in my home building journey...