Friday, January 29, 2010

Ground breaking! 1/28/10


Yeah! They broke ground on Thursday. Here's our "rustic" driveway and our mud room (ha! ha!).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Small delay

Our ground-breaking was supposed to happen this afternoon but there was a problem at another lot. Our basement should be dug out tomorrow morning now. The project manager has done great in keeping me updated. I couldn't ask for more!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pre-Construction Meeting

This meeting lasts around 2 hours. You meet with your Ryan Homes sales agent and the construction manager for your development. He goes over every option you've picked and talks about the details of building your home. It's a very informative meeting and something that didn't feel like 2 hours that's for sure. Ground breaking will happen for my home next week. Yeah!!!!

**Oh, and every Ryan Home is now Energy Star certified and they are giving you free programmable thermostats. And they are also keeping one step ahead of the EPA by hydroseeding your lawn and rock hounding it. They feel the EPA will make this mandatory in the near future so Ryan decided to do it now! Lots of $$ saved there now too!! Yahoo!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pre-Construction Meeting

Tomorrow is our Pre-Construction Meeting. This happens a couple of weeks prior to breaking ground. The meeting takes about 2 hours. You meet with the project manager and your sales rep. It's to go over all of the final details of your upgrades and options. I'll update the blog after this meeting.

*BTW - our house has officially sold!! The sign in our yard proudly states "SOLD" - wahoo!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A side note...

This isn't a blog about realtors or about the experience of trying to sell your house. My blog is supposed to be just about building with Ryan Homes. But I do need to share this. If you are buying a home - make sure you get an EXPERIENCED agent. We're going through Hell with our buyer's agent has 27 years under her belt - their agent has less than 2.

Enough said.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mortgage Approval and Costs

The mortgage approval proess has changed drastically over the last 2 years. The amount of documentation and verification needed is really strict. The whole approval process takes longer now too.

We have been formally approved since Friday, but not without some hiccups. My husband and I both have individual credit scores over 800 - and even with that, we were put under the microscope and still have plenty of documentation to provide at our time of closing, such as bank statements from now until then, paystubs from now until then, etc.

Here's one of the biggest problems we ran into with our loan. We applied for a conventional loan and were denied during the full approval process because my husband has no credit! Remember, his score is over 800 - but here's the catch, all of our "credit" is in my name. That was done for no other reason other than I'm the one who takes charge and does all of the buying, spending, and budgeting for us. He doesn't take the lead on this and it's not important to him. So...we are now getting a FHA loan. Confused on how we could be a homeowner and get an FHA loan, so were we! Our loan officer explained that anyone can get a FHA loan - regardless if it's your 1st time getting a home loan or 5th time. The criteria for an FHA loan is that you can put less down more easily compared to a conventional loan and the approval criteria is not as stringent. There is an additional cost to us by doing and FHA - a second mortgage insurance is required and has to be paid upfront by being rolled into the mortgage. After all is said and done, our net difference in our mortgage payment rose by $12 a month. This was acceptable to me. And we can drop the mortgage insurance once our home reaches a higher level of equity.

Our loan officer with NVR has been fantastic. He's very attentive and has stressed to us that we are free to call him any time. He gave us his cell phone number and I can tell you from experience, I had to call him on a Sunday evening - and he answered. Our experience with NVR up to this point has been phenomenal.

I truly can not say enough about our sales agent with Ryan. She has come through with all of the requests with honest and open answers. I've truly made her work for her commission, but it's only because I am a very detail orientated person. She also has shown a genuine interest in how the process is going with our current home's transaction too.

Ryan has just raised it's prices on many of it's models, including our's. This includes price increases to options and upgrades. This will not affect us because we're already under contract. Here's an example, those floodlights we added for $200, they're now $250.

Stay tuned....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Keep good records

I'm in the process of getting updated costs from Ryan Homes based on the initial upgrade meeting and our additional changes we made as mentioned earlier. I have found a couple of mistakes, one of them was $3k. If I didn't catch this, who would? Remember, it's your money - no one is should be more careful about its comings and goings then you should be.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Meeting with Guardian Technologies

This was a long (2 hours) meeting with lots of items they try to sell you on like:
  • home security system (base package installed free - and then a monthly charge)
  • central vacuum system (almost $3k)
  • video monitoring system (starting at almost $2k)
  • additional cable, phone, data outlets
  • intercom (almost $2k)
  • Home theaters, TV's, and whole house audio
  • Pre-wire for flat panel mounts
There was tons of technical jargon that I couldn't even understand - and I'm the person in our house that hooks up our audio/video components. Honestly, I could have cared less about this meeting. All of their options are pricey. It's all about having your house wired into the walls at time of construction. The rep. we met was nice, but definitely trying to push many of his products.

You pay Guardian directly with 1/3 down at the meeting and then you are invoiced for the balance 30 days after moving in. None of this is rolled into your mortgage or closing costs.

You get 2 phone jacks and 2 cable outlets standard with your Ryan Home (only 1 of each if you are not finishing your basement). We did spend $495 to have the other rooms cable/internet ready.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let's add a couple of more upgrades!

Tonight the contracts were signed for our house to be officially sold - pending inspection within 7 days. Based on the selling price (what we were listing the house for!!) we've got some extra money to put into our new house. Here's what we added:
  • Instead of just having the hardwood floor in the foyer and powder room, we did the whole dining room which is between the foyer and powder room $1850
  • Upgraded our kitchen lights to have 5 recessed can lights $500 ($100 for each light)
  • Flood lights on back of house $200
  • 2 additional ceiling fans in the 2 bedrooms we originally omitted - additional $450
  • Upgraded kitchen appliances to include smooth top electric range and digital ultra-quiet dishwasher $575
And our wonderful sales person got the $200 penalty waived for making changes after the standard 14 day time period - we used that towards the flood lights.

Tomorrow I'll discuss our meeting we had tonight with the Guardian Technologies sales rep. Trust me, it was no fun.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Moving up/back your closing date

I spoke with our Ryan Homes sales agent. Rather than over-commit themselves and disappoint, they're not going to be able to move around our closing date with 100% accuracy. This should be fine as our buyers on our current home are ok with waiting for our optimal move date.

Ground breaking will happen on our new home by the end of the month.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Side Note: our house sold!

We sold our house today! Less than 1 month on the market, endured 2 weeks of holidays, and had 7 showings. We got our asking price too!! Our agent ROCKS!

*Now to ask our Ryan Homes sales rep. about moving up our move-in date from April 1st to ASAP.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A timeline prior to ground breaking

Once you pick your development, your style of home, and your lot - it's time to work on the finer details of your new house!

  1. Sign your contract and give Ryan Homes your deposit. Your lot will not be held without this. We were able to give them a small amount ($1000) at the initial contract signing and then a larger amount 30 days later.
  2. Meet with their mortgage broker within 7 days of signing your contract to complete the necessary paperwork for loan approval.
  3. Within 14 days of signing your contract you must make all of your exterior and interior decisions at a 2nd meeting with your sales representative. During this 14 day time period you also have to meet with their flooring company (in North Olmsted) to finalize that portion of your house also. *If you make any changes to your options and upgrades after the 14 day time period, you will pay a $200 change order penalty.
  4. About a month after you sign your contract you'll meet with a representative from Guardian Technologies. This is the company that tries to sell you a alarm system, sound system, additional phone, cable, and internet outlets. This company is paid directly by you to them. The costs are not rolled into the mortgage. This must be why you can meet with them after the 14 day period.
This is as far as we have gotten in our process. We'll be meeting with Guardian this week. We're also trying to sell our home, but were approved for both mortgages so there's no chance we'll lose our new lot and home. If you are not approved to own both homes, your Ryan Homes sales agent will talk to you about being on a contingent plan. Essentially what this means is you can pick a house and lot, but if someone who has been approved to own 2 homes wants your lot, you get bumped to another lot. I will come back and update my blog as we move forward.

Our sales rep stated it takes about 72 days to build a home - even in the dead of Winter. Our ground breaking is set for the end of January with possession in April.  She said to keep her updated on the progress of selling our current home and if we need to move our closing date on the Ryan home up or back to let her know and she'll work on this for us.

Say a prayer we sell our house in time!