Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pre-Settlement Meeting

We had our walk-through today. It took over 2 hours and was very detailed with our project manager. We started on the top level and worked our way down. He explained how the house works and I picked out any flaws I found. There were minor flaws: wall nicks, paint touch-ups, paint runs, etc. Nothing that was major - everything was reasonable and can be fixed before we move in tomorrow afternoon!!!

I can not begin to tell you how happy we are with this whole experience up to this point. We can't wait to get into there and start making the new house our home.

Driveway, sidewalk, and yard grading/rock-hounding/seeding will begin in another week or 2 - depending on the weather. Tomorrow we load up the Uhaul (with the help of a couple of friends) with all of our boxes. Friday we have the pro's come to move the big/heavy stuff and all of our new purchases are delivered. We hope to be completely done and have our current house clean for the new owners all by Friday and say good bye to our current residence forever.

YEAH!!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The shorter the wait...the harder it gets

I'm not going back to the house until our final walk through on Wednesday. I last went on Sunday. It's getting hard to wait at this point. When I get stressed, I lose sleep. That officially happened today - up at 4:30am, and you can see I'm up late now. I doubt I'll sleep well until our first night on Friday - this is partially due to the fact that I'll be sleeping on our new mattress/box spring set (a really, really nice set), and the fact that we should be completely moved in at that point. I'm sure I'll just pass out once the adrenaline shuts off.

Thank God the weather forecast for our move days is being predicted for 70 degrees or better with full sun. Our internet service will be off beginning Friday and not turned on at our home until the following Friday. I know I'll go to a Wi-Fi hotspot in-between that time and I'll try to update the blog whenever I can.

Wish us luck! (I should be able to post something after Wednesdays inspection)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Win some...lose some (4 days until move-in!)

I spoke to my sales agent. Here's the outcome of the 3 fees in question:
  1. The HOA of initiation fee of $1065 is wrong- there was an increase, but it was not effective with any sales that were under contract. Ours was under contract - but someone mistakenly charged us the new rate. That will get changed ASAP with our loan specialist once Ryan notifies them. Our charge will be $850
  2. Capital Contribution $150 - this stands. It is on our initial contract, but as $250. I didn't notice it during the dispute, but it's clearly there. We get a pro-rated rate of $150 based on when we're moving in. This fee has to be paid annually by all residents in our development. 
  3. HOA monthly pool/clubhouse fee - this stands. Again, it's in there. It shows $40 on my cost estimate sheet with Ryan. The nice part is that this is actually a little lower than stated. This is also something that all residents in our development have to pay on a monthly basis.
So, I'm a little embarrassed about points 2 & 3. They were disclosed, but among my mounds of paperwork, I wasn't able to find it - but it wasn't hidden at all. It really was clearly put on our initial paperwork. Our sales agent was very nice in discussing these 2 items. She was also upset that our initiation fee wasn't charged correctly.

As you can see, it costs alot to live in a community with an association.  Annual fees of approximately $730 for grounds maintenance, pool, and our promised 10,000 sq.ft. clubhouse with restaurant and fitness center. Supposedly our monthly pool/clubhouse fee is only supposed to increase by $5 once that clubhouse is built. Only time will tell...

All is well again - we went to the house and our temporary driveway is in. The gravel rocks are much smaller than what was initially on the driveway during construction and it's much more compact and graded up to the garage and front porch. It doesn't look like any interior work was done since Thursday. They still have to stain the stair railings, paint over the patches that were repaired, and do a final cleaning. Only 3 days until our  walk through meeting with our project manager on Wednesday and we get our keys Thursday afternoon!!!!!!!

And yes, packing is still going on and it sucks. As of today we are only using disposable plates, cups, and cutlery. Our house is almost completely boxed up. And we sold some more stuff on Craigslist - now were well over $2,000 worth of items sold!!

I'm not too happy right now...

NVR provided me with the final settlement statement and there's over $400 worth of charges that differ from anything I've received in my contracts from Ryan Homes. My loan specialist with NVR told me to go back to Ryan Homes and my sales agent there for a resolution.

Here's the increases that are in question - and they are ALL issues with the HOA (homeowner's association).
  1. HOA initial enrollment: my contracts all state $850, now they're claiming it's $1065!
  2. HOA capital contribution: $150 I have no idea what this is, it's not in any contract
  3. HOA monthly pool fee: April - June $75 this was never documented in my sales contracts
This happened on Friday. I've contacted Ryan Homes and am waiting for a phone call back. This has left me with a bad taste in my mouth with regards to our HOA. I'm also concerned that the planned club house and fitness center may be a long time from actually being built. I spoke to a resident of the development who has lived there for a year already. She has asked about this and isn't really getting straight answers. I spoke to management at the golf property and he said he's hopeful they will break ground on this in the Fall. The actual developer of the land (not Ryan) is having some financial difficulties...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The carpet is in!

I made my daily trip there today. The carpet and all flooring is completely installed. There's lots of little patches made to the walls and touch up painting needs to be done. All of the lights are in and functioning. All appliances are in. All plumbing is done. Most of the cleaning has been done - except for vacuuming and dusting - lots of that needs to be done. The cracked window has been replaced too. I pressed my doorbell today - LOL!

Our "winter driveway" will be put in sometime over the next few days. This is something they do in our part of the country until the weather cooperates with no more snow and consistent warmer temperatures. The gravel and rocks that are in some of the pictures I've posted is what my driveway will be like until next month or the month after. They just have to add more of it so it's high enough for us to pull our cars into the driveway.

All of the options we picked from Guardian are installed also - but I am waiting to hear back from the service rep. on the delivery of some extras we did and how to operate some things. I call them this morning but haven't heard back yet.

We get our KEYS in 7 days!! Saturday morning we sign our paperwork with the title agency for our current home. There are 2 pieces of paper I need from that appointment to submit to the IRS to get my $6500 tax credit back. Gotta love that!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Who Am I?

Some have commented that they are "suspicious" of me. I would be too if I was reading this blog! But, I have pointed out both my positive and negative experiences with Ryan Homes thus far - and there's lots more time for me to settle into our home. I can continue writing this for up to the next year at least - which would be a fair assessment of our home and how it has held up the first year, don't you think? I've truly laid it all out there for all of you. My words are my honest words - and not a paid endorsement. The folks at Ryan Homes have no idea I am doing this. But, I will tell them once I am in my house - so I can help other potential folks in my same position. I like to be a resource for people and to help

Why not Google my screen name - ThrifyAmy - you'll see me around and what I'm about.

I'm a very open and honest person. I am not getting anything from Ryan Homes for doing this. I live in Ohio, and Ryan Homes is the #1 home builder here - check the BBB site. Being suspicious is good - you're being cautious, I'm not offended.

Why not be suspicious of all the "haters" of Ryan Homes? Don't you think they are trying to get something? Why do they have such an ax to grind? Are these the same people that always send their food back when in a restaurant for hopes of getting their meal discounted or free? Are these the same type of people that have nothing better to do than complain. Ryan Homes builds thousands of homes, I can't be the only happy customer - but I might be one of the very few that has taken this medium to express it. My ONLY hope is to help someone out there like me, who was looking for down to earth comments and a different perspective on all of this.

Monday, March 22, 2010

10 days and counting

Next Wednesday we'll be meeting with our project manager for the final walk-through. This is the day before we close and get our keys. We have an appointment for next Thursday morning to sign our papers at the title agency. That afternoon we'll get our keys!!

I find myself going to the house almost daily still to watch the changes. When we went today I saw all of the light fixtures up, some of the lighting is working and our fireplace is working! We are so close to coming home!!

I've made all of the phones calls to the utility companies for my old house and for the new house. This gets done about 2 weeks prior to move in/out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

We made a major change...

We decided to change our loan type and down-payment. I'm doing this at just about the last possible minute. We're going with a Conventional loan with enough money to put down to make this change. Our loan officer @ NVR has been very helpful at getting us the revised Cost Analysis Worksheets that show the new payment, money required, etc. for the different scenarios we can now use. There's actually 3 different scenarios, some with taxes/insurance rolled into the monthly mortgage amount and some without it being rolled in. I feel this is one of the smartest things we could have done with regards to our finances and our future at this house. Rather than get into all the details about this, I felt it would beneficial to let you know that it can be done - even this late into the transaction and that our loan officer with NVR is amazing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Oops - we have a problem...

Went to the house today - started b.s.-ing with the painters. One topic led to another and then I said, "so when are you guys going to paint it with the color we picked out". The guy looked at me and said, "this is pretty much the color. There's primer on here but it's going to be just like this color". I looked at him and said, "um, no - it's supposed to be tinted". One thing led to another and we both found out there was a problem. However he is communicated to about the paint didn't jive with with the paperwork posted in the house for reference to the trades working there. He felt this wouldn't delay our move-in date and it would be an error that would financially affect Ryan Homes and truly wouldn't affect us.

I left feeling somewhat confident all would be well. As I got into my car I saw my project manager. He was on his cell phone. I motioned over to him and said that there was a small problem - he looked at me as he was listening to the person on the other end of the phone and said "I already know, it will be ok". He was on the phone with the painter I was talking too. And just that quickly...all was well again.

More pictures to share

Kitchen and view of pantry












 Fireplace in 1st floor family room












Sneak peek of counter top/cabinet/floor in kitchen.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Letter from title agency

This weekend we received the letter from our title agency stating when our new home orientation meeting will be (3/31) and our closing/keys to our new home will be. The date for closing was off by 1 day - so I called and it was no problem moving it up a day. The funds from our current home will be wired to them so we can close when we need to. You get your keys the afternoon of your closing. In this part of the county we do not have round-table closing, so this is why I can't take possession of the home the same day we transfer title on our old house. We're doing it the very next day - which is as fast as it's going to get here.

I stopped by the house again today. All cabinetry is in! All flooring (except carpet) is in! All doors are hung! All trim is in! All window sills are on! And all of the flooring is being protected by a layer of corrugated paper. Ask your project manager about keeping any of that so your floor can be protected when you move in. We're doing that and I think it's better than walking on old sheets.

Our project manager is really doing a great job communicating to us and staying on schedule!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A side note...

Packing sucks lol! Even with selling lots of things on Craigslist - including large items like furniture, TV's, etc., I still have so much to pack. We are lucky enough to both work where there's numerous package deliveries each week and we got tons of boxes for free. We did buy some big boxes from Home Depot - they cost was very reasonable. I've gone through 3 rolls of packing tape and counting...

We are SO READY to get this over with already. Our families and true friends are excited for us and ask us all the time about the progress of the house. We have lost some friendships over this move - but that just means they weren't our real friends to begin with, and we didn't really know them and they obviously didn't know us. It's too bad some people can be so jealous.

18 days and counting....

Friday, March 12, 2010

Things are moving FAST!!!

First coat of paint was put on all walls within 1 day this past week along with interior of closets and ceilings being painted. All cabinetry and doors have been delivered. Flooring is being installed today and this weekend. Next week all cabinets and counters will get installed. We can go in/out of our house whenever the contractors are there or if they're not there we can go to the model when it's open and get the key to our house!

I find myself going every day now to see measurable progress towards our move-in date. I also like seeing where the sun shines in at different times during the day in our house. I did notice one of the 2nd floor windows had a stress crack in it. My project manager called and already knew about it. It will get replaced right before our move-in.


Hardwood floor in dining room


Morning Room and view of back yard












1st floor family room with gas fireplace












The BEST quote we got for our home owner's insurance was from Liberty Mutual. Less than $300 for the year.

I've called the utility companies for our current home and have given them the switch over date.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Paint & Flooring

My project manager called today. First coat of paint is gong on the walls Thursday and flooring will begin to be installed Friday. All is on schedule up to this point!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Now it really looks like a house - from the outside!

The siding and shutters are on! Lots of drywall hanging and finishing is going on - what a total mess in there! I can't believe that our house will be ready in just over 3 weeks! The weather here as been beautiful and it's helping to move things along. The installer from Guardian Technologies was there to work on the different systems we're getting from them.

As a side note - I bought 2 awesome TV's for the house from HHGregg today! Those guys were desperate to make a deal and I'm just the person to wheel-n-deal with them!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Drywall is going up

I stopped by my house around 5:30p to see if the siding was up yet - and was surprised to see a van in the driveway and my garage door up. So I decided to go inside - and it was the drywall guys still working on my house! I was surprised they were still there at that time - do you ever see construction guys working past 4p?!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's only a closet....

but it wasn't what I thought I was getting. We did alot of our meetings at a model home in a different development because it's located closer to our present home and it's the exact model that we're building. The model home has the optional closet in the basement and rather than it being walled off, it continues to go under the stairs. I liked this option when I saw it in the model and paid $350 for it.

During the pre-drywall meeting on Thursday when we went to our basement and looked at the closet under the stairs - and something didn't look right. The area that goes under the stairs had a frame as though that part of the opening was going to be walled off. The model home version is bigger and did not have 3 walls. I mentioned this to my project manager and he said this is the way they are built and the model home had it differently because it's where the sales reps put the carpet sample pieces, flooring samples, etc. I let it go.

Over the last 4 days or so, this disappoint grew larger. I just couldn't let it go. I decided to call my sales rep. and explain my disappointment. She understood, and asked me to give her some time and she'd get back to me. The next day, I was pleasantly surprised with a phone call from my rep. with the news that the closet in my house WILL be just like the one I saw at the model home. I am so happy that I decided to say something!!!

I got the call today that my house has passed all city/county inspections and the dry wall is going up the rest of this week and next. The garage door was put on our house now too. I can't wait to see the vinyl siding and shutters on it!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Time to look for home owner's insurance

Now is the time to begin the search for home owner's insurance. I'm getting 5 quotes. The prices vary widely. And everyone wants to quote you for auto insurance too. It's a bit time consuming.

The mortgage company has asked for all of the final documentation of our personal accounts. We've faxed that all over and now it's just time to wait for our closing which should be April 1st.