Framing Is Complete

On 08/18/2011, the framing was officially complete!  It only took the crew 4 days.  Wow.

Second Floor Is Framed

The next day 08/16/2011.  The framers were done with the second floor!  I can't believe how incredibly fast they work.  Basically they work from sun up to sun down.

Framing Has Begun

Framing officially began on 08/15/11.  The framers were there bright and early about 7:30 am.  I was there to see when they arrived.  I felt like a stalker but hey,,,,,this is my first home building experience so I don't want to miss a beat :-)

About midday, I went back again (I currently live very close to the new site) and to my surprise, they were almost done with the first floor!



PICTURE ABOVE: Back view from street

Awesome Backyard View

When we sit in our morning room or in our backyard, this is the beautiful view that we will see across the street.  It is so peaceful! What a blessing!

Plumbing In Basement

We opted to have a full bath in the finished basement.  Here are a few pictures of the rough ins for the basement bath.

The Wood Is Delivered

The wood was delivered on 08/09/2011.  The framer that we requested was already working on another house when our wood arrived, so the framing did not actually start until 08/15/2011.

The Next Week To Come

According to our schedule (which is only a rough draft), the upcoming week should consist of pouring the basement & garage, and starting the framing.  Our lumber is supposed to be delivered on Tuesday so I will post pictures when it arrives.  We ran into a little snafu this past week with a few questions we had about the waterproofing, but other than that, things seem to be going pretty well. 

Random Pictures....Big Back Yard!

Here are a few more pictures:

Our future backyard!

The future driveway and garage with the rocks.

Foundation Wrap and Waterproofing

Here are a few pictures of the waterproofing:

The Foundation Is Poured and Dried

Here are a few pictures of the foundation after it has dried:

My First Problem........My Fast Resolution!

The Problem
I stated in the beginning of my blog that I would be totally honest about our experience so I will be doing just that.  The other day my husband drove by our home site and snapped a few pictures of the foundation.  I immediately noticed that something wasn't right when I looked at the picture.  We immediately drove back over to the lot and sure enough I was correct.  The guys that poured the foundation did not place my basement window in the right place!  The window should have been on the side of the basement but instead it was placed on the back of the basement.  Some of you may ask....Why does this matter?  Well the answer is simple...Natural Light!  The spot in which the window was incorrectly placed would be in the unfinished part of the basement, in which we plan to have that door closed at all times.  This would mean that if the window was not corrected we would have no source of natural light in the finished part of the basement at all.

Here is an illustration of the incorrect and correct placement of the windows:

The Resolution
Upon seeing the error, I immediately went home and emailed my project manager.  It was a Friday night so I did not expect to hear from him until Monday morning. I sent a long drawn out email to my project manager about the error and the reasons why I needed to have the window in the correct place.  To my surprise, he responded Saturday!  His answer was short and sweet...."No problem Tarra, the window is in the wrong place.  I will have the company come back out and add another window in the correct place before the end of the week.  Also, instead of one window, you will now have two!"  I was so impressed and happy that he got back to me so quickly.  I was also glad that the resolution was simple and painless.  I wasn't sure if it was going to be an easy fix since the concrete had already been poured and dried.  Apparently, it's as easy as cutting a new one!  I am satisfied with the outcome. Thanks "C", your the man!

Update 08/05/2011
The window has been installed in the correct location, and insted of having one window, I now have two!  :-)

Here is a picture of the new window:

We Met Some Of Our New Neighbors!

We drive by the house nearly every day so it was inevitable that we would soon meet some of our new neighbors.  In  the cul-de-sac we have met two of four neighbors and everyone is very nice!  The thing that I am most excited about regarding my neighbors is the fact that they all have children!  To my surprise the cul-de-sac is full of kids.  I believe in total there are about 7 or 8 kids between all the neighbors and it's a good mixture of boys and girls so both my sons and daughter will have friends to play with.  The fact that we are on a cul-de-sac is great because there is very minimal traffic and the kids can safely ride their bikes and play outside without constant traffic up and down the street.  I am very satisfied with the lot we chose.

The Structural Specs Of The House

Here is the floor plan and some of the  structural specs we decided upon:

Main Floor

Up Stairs


Here are some of the upgrades that we chose:

5 Bedrooms instead of Loft-  We upgraded the option to remove the loft and add a 5th bedroom.  The dimensions of the 5th bedroom are quite small, but we are only going to use this room for guests.  It should be fine for what we are going to do with it.

Study instead of Living Room- We decided to upgrade from the Formal Living Room to the Study option.  I really needed an office and we would not have used the Formal Living Room, it would have been wasted space.

Finished Basement- We decided this was a must have option.  Due to our family size, we wanted enough room for the kids to play indoors and enough space for us to entertain.

Finished Full Bathroom in Basement- This was another upgrade that we selected because most of our family is out of town, this would enable us to have multiple bathrooms for our overnight guests and for our growing family.

Gourmet Island in the Kitchen - This is one of my absolute favorites! It makes the kitchen look so grand. Can't wait to cook in it.

Up Stairs Laundry -The main thing that I can say about this is THANK YOU LORD!  I have to wash for 5 soon to be 6 people and it is a drag washing clothes, and having to carry them upstairs.  I am looking forward to washing clothes and folding them and taking them directly to the room they belong in.

Deluxe Master Bathroom- We decided that we would go with the deluxe master bathroom.  This means that we will have a separate tub and shower.  The tub and shower will be divided my clear glass all around and it will be covered in ceramic tile with mosaic glass accents. 

The Foundation is Poured


The day after the hold was dug, they poured the foundation!  These guys move really fast.  It's hard to imagine this will be my house in a few short months.  When I look at the foundation it looks small, I asked my husband "Are you sure this is the same house?".  My mother told me that the house appears to look small in this stage because she had a new home built also (not with Ryan Homes).  It's pretty amazing to see what actually happens when they build a home.

We Have A Hole!



I didn't know they would get so much done today!  The have the hole completely dug for the basement and have began to pour the cement for the foundation!

Pre-Construction Meeting Today

Now that I have gotten you all caught up-to-date, I will discuss what happened today at our Pre-Construction Meeting.

I must say that I am VERY IMPRESSED with our Project Manager.  I feel that we are in excellent hands.  I have read some of the other blogs and some of the Project Managers seem to be total jerks.  Well I am happy to report that ours is just the opposite.

"C" as I will refer to him in this post, was very knowledgeable.  He explained everything in great detail which I appreciated.  He also took time to answer all of our questions, and although some questions may have been redundant or silly to him, he answered them all very graciously.  I ask a lot of questions and I need to understand every aspect of this process even if it is something that someone else may feel I really don't need to know.  I like the fact that he gave us the impression tonight that we can ask him anything without hesitation.  He advised us that he usually responds to all emails or messages within 24 hours unless it's the weekend. We have his email, cell phone, and office telephone number.  That's all I ask for, a knowledgeable staff, great customer service, and a high tolerance for questions!  So far, so good.

Also, tonight at our meeting, our sales rep was there.  She's a gem too.  It was good that she was there because we went over all the final options and having her there made everything go smoothly.  The only snafu we ran into was they had our laundry room in the basement but it was supposed to be on the second floor.  That issue was quickly addressed and we continued with the meeting.  She transferred to another office which is about an hour away, but she still travels back to meet us because we really didn't want to work with anyone else after she transferred.  She has a lot of patience, and she also has made us feel like we can ask her anything.  Very gracious and exceptional customer service.  Ryan Homes, you are on a roll.  Please, please, please keep this up.

We finally received our Dig Date...............................Wednesday, July 27, 2011
OMG, I can't believe the time is here! It has seemed like it would never get here, but it is. YES!

The day before the digging begins!

Stay tuned for pics of "THE HOLE"

Finally,,,,,The Official Approval!

Before I start this post, I would like to take a moment to thank GOD for allowing my family this wonderful opportunity!  With the economy falling everyday, we are truly grateful for this blessing.  We know that without him none of this would be possible.  THANK YOU LORD!

The normal underwriting process takes about 1-2 weeks for NVR Mortgage.  Our process took about 3.5 weeks. I am so thankful and happy that is behind us, now I can relax!  LOL

We received our notification via email.

Decisions, Decions, Decisions......

One thing I must say that I think is pretty backwards with RH is the fact that they have you choose out all your options, floor plans, siding colors, etc, BEFORE you are actually approved.  For people like us (we have had small credit issues in the past), it makes a time that is supposed to be happy and exciting a little nerve wrecking.  I was excited about picking all the options but I kept thinking in the back of my mind.....What if we don't get approved?  That would be devastating.  So in order to keep myself grounded and not face too much disappointment in case underwriting fell through,,,,,,I always ride the middle!

Despite the fact that I knew we hadn't received our official Approval yet, I did enjoy picking the options for our new home!

Also, another thing that I wish RH would do is set up a design center where you can actually see bigger samples of the choices they have available.  Mainly RH has most of the available choices (Cabinets, Counter tops, Siding, Brick/Stone) in the basement of the model.  Usually they are small swatches and one cabinet door to see what the cabinets would look like.  If RH had a design center it would make things a lot easier.  The fact that most of the swatches are small, it makes it hard to feel confident that you have made the right choice.  Needless to say,,,,,We did have fun making our selections!

Here are some of the options we decided on:

Cabinets (Kitchen & All Bathrooms)
Wyoming Square Cherry Bordeaux

Counter tops
Formica Butterum Granite

Standard Laminate (We will install wood flooring later)

Standard all over except upgrade in Family Room & Padding

Siding Color


Front Door
Classic Burgundy

Front of House
Bucks County Partial Stone

Standard Black (planning to sell on craigslist) we want Stainless

UPDATE 07/29/2011: I was quite upset when I went into the Model yesterday and I saw in the basement that they actually had a pretty nice size slab of the high definition laminate counter tops on display now!  From the small swatch we saw initially we thought it wouldn't look nice, now after looking at the larger slab this is exactly the look we wanted and we settled for the old style laminate.  I will have to follow up with my sales rep regarding this issue.  This is what I mean when I say they should have bigger slabs available for viewing. SMH!

UPDATE 08/05/2011: This past week we spoke with our sales rep regarding the high definition laminate and she stated that she needed to check with her manager and our PM to see if it was too late to change.  Well unfortunately, she informed us that our PM said that is was too late and that they have a very strict schedule to stick to and we would not be able to change our counter tops at this time............

Getting The Pre Approval

When we initially signed our contract, we also filled out the initial NVR Mortgage Application.  It was actually a very basic questionnaire that asked simple questions about income, address, etc.

The next day we received a phone call from our Loan Officer (LO) and he stated "Congratulations, on your new home!".

We were happy and we were relieved, but as you will soon find out, I am always thinking about the next step.  After my initial excitement, I began to ask questions yet again, lol!  When do we start? How long does it take? What's the next step? What do we do now?

Our LO explained that the next step was to complete an actual mortgage application that would go directly to underwriting so that we would receive our official APPROVAL.

Did we just sign our life away?

As you can tell by the title of this post, we were experiencing so many different emotions when we actually decided to sign the contract.  We literally had a million questions and we wanted to make sure that all of our questions were answered BEFORE we signed anything.

TIP:    Never be afraid to ask questions!  Don't leave anything to speculation.  The time to ask is BEFORE you sign the contract, specifically if the question is pertaining to the contract itself. 

Following the philosophy above, we never had any reservations after signing the contract because we asked any question imaginable and we felt comfortable enough to proceed.

The contract signing itself was pretty uneventful.  They will have you sign a HUGE stack of papers.  Don't let that intimidate you though, just take your time, read everything, and ask questions about anything you do not understand.

After we signed the contract, we were told we would have to submit our initial NVR Pre-Approval application the same day as well.

It Was Love At First Sight...

When my husband and I decided to build with RH, we were amazed by all the beautiful floorplans.  Initially we were able to eliminate a few right away because there were things that we definately wanted and things we definately did not want.  Here was our laundry list:

Must Haves
  • At least 4 bedrooms
  • No Master Bedroom on First Floor
  • Morning Room
  • Large Basement
  • 2 Car Garage
  • Large Kitchen
  • Walk In Closets
As you can see, we had our wishlist pretty together before we decided on an actual plan to build.  It actually made the process quite easy because we knew exactly what we wanted.  After going over plans with our sales rep, we had narrowed it down to 3 floor plans.  The DUNKIRK, The VENICE or The NAPLES.  We first saw the Dunkirk and it was very appealing and it seemed to have all of our wants but something just didn't feel right about that specific floor plan.  Next, our sales rep showed us the Naples model (we actually had to see a finished NAPLES home of a RH employee because at that time the model was not built yet).

Let me tell you, when I saw the NAPLES that day........IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!  It was perfect, everything that I had dreamed of and so much more.  It was the perfect size for our family of 5 at the time, now soon to be family of 6!  I could not believe it, I had never seen a house and felt this way.  I knew this would be the one!

NAPLES it is!

How Did We Get Here?

When my husband and I decided it was time for us to buy a home, we looked around at houses for sale in our neighborhood and nothing stood out to us.  Pretty much every home we looked at appeared to need some type of updating in order for us to even consider.  My pet peeves are outdated kitchens and outdated bathrooms, and most houses we looked at had both!

There was this specific subdivision in our neighborhood that we used to ride through just to admire the beautiful homes.  The first time we rode through there, it appeared that the original builder had stop building there before all the lots were full.  We always dreamed of living in that subdivision one day, we had no clue what we would see there a few months later.

A few months later, we saw that a new developer (Ryan Homes) had moved into the subdivision and we were ecstatic!  We had always toyed around with the possibility of building a home, but that seemed to be a far away dream.

We spoke to a few New Home Builders in our area and we were almost locked in with another builder when I decided to research Ryan Homes.

Hello Blog Land!

I would like to say a great big THANK YOU & HELLO to all my fellow Ryan Homes Bloggers.  If it had not been for some the of valuable blogs I have read, I may not have become a Ryan Homes customer myself.  After much skepticism from reading other websites where unhappy Ryan Homes customers voiced their problems, it was refreshing to see there were actually a great deal of Ryan Homes customers that were indeed satisfied.  Having said that, I decided that I would too join in the RH blog roll and maybe I would be able to help someone by sharing my journey from beginning to end.

I will be providing the details of my experience in hopes this blog will enlighten, inspire, and provide insight on the experience with Ryan Homes/NVR.  Strap in your seat belts, we are going for a ride!