Monday, October 29, 2012

Moved in, update

Kitchen, bought the pendant lights at Lowes for $14.  I love how the blue really POPS

View from the back of the house.  I can get used to looking at this while sipping coffee in the morning room.

Sweet fridge

Family room fireplace.  I needed to hang something on the walls.  I was going crazy looking at bare white.

Bedroom from the master bath.  It's still a mess in there.

Loft.  I love how its open to the stairs/hall

Looking down at the family room from the stairs

Light fixture I hung int he morning room.  It's not easy installing a light this high.  Note to homeowners: buy a ladder taller than 6 feet.

Living room

That's a whole lot o' boxes for me to put away
Now I see why people disappear from here once they close and move in.  We've been in for a little over a week now and got a lot accomplished, but there is still a ton more to do.  Who would have thought it would be so much work?  Since moving in, got in all the furniture, obviously, and assembled some new furniture.  Purchased new bar stools, a couple tvs and tv stands, ladder shelf, decor, lamps, pendant lights for the kitchen, lights for the morning room and stairs to walk out the sliding glass door from the morning room.  Day number 9 in the house and I still haven't figured out what light switch does what.  Here are some pictures of the house

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Closing in 24 hours

The process is almost over.  Had my final walkthrough yesterday and for the most part went well.  There were a few items that needed attention, but nothing major.  It was mostly drywall issues.  Here's a list of items that need attention:

-Master bathroom poor joint compound sanding/finishing
-Master bathroom settling crack at top of the wall along the ceiling
-Master bathroom no caulk where the vinyl floor meets the shower stall
-Master bedroom door stop not installed
-Upstairs hall bathroom false door on vanity not level
-Wall at bottom of stairs has a dent
-Exterior door overhang post needs to be painted
-Touch up paint on spindles where wood stain hit spindles
-Install screen at sliding glass door

Items should be finished up today.  Can't wait to go to the house tomorrow and crack open the campaigne!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Closing Friday?

We are back on track, at least from the building process.  Ryan Homes is on track to be finished Oct 17 (Wednesday) and close on the 19th (Friday).  Now we have a new issue, just found out 2 days ago that NVR will not be ready.  And it's the stupidest excuse....the loan officer quit and the one taking over needs stuff that HAS ALREADY BEEN SENT TO THEM!!!  This is why they need to push closing back to the monday the 22nd, yeah meaning we have to wait until the following weekend to move in.  I'm so freaking annoyed and pissed.  We were supposed to be in 2 weeks ago, becasue Ryan had issues with their drywallers it was pushed back 2 weeks, now because NVR is incompetent we have to go back now to a 3rd week?!  Really?  So, first thing yesterday morning I sent everything they asked for hoping we can rush this and not push back.  I hear nothing, so I ask again "are you all set?"  I hear at 3:45 pm "Oh, yeah I'll look later today what you sent and let you know if I'm all set"  What the F have you been doing all day?  They screw up, then sit on their ass, and the only one that gets hurt from this is me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Progress and the home stretch

My last post was weeks of frustration of nothing getting done and our closing date slipping by two weeks.  I was getting nervous it was going to slip again.  But, I have to stay they really stepped up last week and made a lot happen.  Here's what got done in the last 7 days:

-All light fixtures installed
-Circuit breaker panel wired
-Power on throughout the house
-Garage drywalled
-Granite countertop installed
-All plumbing fixtures piped up
-Hot water tank installed
-Sanitary piping installed
-Air conditioner and refrigerant piping installed
-Laminate flooring complete throughout
-Carpeting complete throughout
-gas to fireplace complete

Here's what's left:
-towel bars
-exterior light post
-1/4 round trim around laminate
-touching up paint
-final cleaning

So it seems we are on track for the Oct 17 walkthru and Oct 19 closing.  Less than two weeks to go!  Here are some progress photos:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Frustrated with no progress and delay after delay

Well I haven't been posting much since there isn't much to talk about.  That and I'm so annoyed with the whole process I just don't want to revisit it by blogging.  Well, way back when we wanted to close the beginning of October for various reasons.  Ryan Homes said "sure, ok we can do that."  So they held off starting our home until early July.  Well, July they break ground, going on and on about the 70-90 day process.  Our PM said over and over how there would be NO issues with finishing the first week of October, and it would most likely be the last week of September.  Things were moving along great until the drywall came.  The drywall sat, and sat, and sat some more.  Finally, the PM said "Ok, we had an issue with our drywall crew, but we have another crew coming and they will have the entire house hung in a day, I promise."  That day came, no progress.  A couple days later drywall started.  Whole house in a single day sounded quite aggressive, and turned out to be unrealistic.  They hung the second floor ceiling and a couple walls upstairs only.  Eventually, they finally hung all the drywall.  Took them almost two weeks do tape, mud, sand all the joints 3 coats.  And they still hadn't touched the garage.  PM calls, apologizing for the delays, they were new drywall guys, now it's looking more like the second week of October.  Painters were supposed to come over the weekend to start priming.  Nope, they didn't show over the weekend.  No paint Monday, or Tuesday.  Get another call from the PM, saying the painters came, saw issues and needed the drywall crew to come back and correct some items.  Ok, delaying again.  Well painters did come.  Since then, there hasn't been much progress at all.  Was told flooring was to start mid last week and granite was coming.  Well, as of Sunday night, no flooring, no granite, and all the walls were marked up with more corrective action for the drywaller and the painter.  Now, we get a letter saying closing October 22, which by the lack of progress, its still a bit ambitious.  I called my PM talking about how we keep getting delayed and delayed because of issues with his subcontractors and he needs to do something to make up this schedule a bit so we can at least close on the Friday before, October 19.  He promised ot make it happen, but since that promise the only work done was painting the trim work and staining the railing, which was the sloppiest staining job I ever seen in my life.  There was absolutely no care taken.  So, to even hit the October 19 closing date, everything has to be completed by October 17 for the final walkthrough, yes two weeks from tomorrow.  In that time the following is what needs to be completed:
-laminate flooring
-vinyl flooring
-fixing drywall issues
-fixing painting issues
-hang doors
-install granite countertops
-finish joint compound in garage
-install light fixtures
-install toilets
-install pedestal sink in powder room
-pipe up bathroom and kitchen sinks
-install sink fixtures
-install hot water heater
-pipe gas to hot water heater
-install all receptacles and switches
-run all wiring to the electrical circuit breaker panel
-hang shelving in closets
-install smoke detectors
-install all exterior lights
-final coat on railing
-install dishwasher
-install stove
-install microwave
-install garbage disposal
-final cleaning

There's no way all of this can get done in 11 business days, even if they are aggressive.  By the show of progress in the past month, it's looking more like late November.  So now, that October 19 date isn't looking at all like it can happen.  I'm in limbo with what schools to send my kids to, when to turn on utilities, when to start homeowners insurance, when to hire movers...all of which they need advanced notice, but I have no idea when it will be.  I can't live in my in-laws house much longer.  I just want my own home again, with my own freedom, my own space, doing what I want to do when I want to.  I'm tired of the false promises, I'm tired of the lack of progress.  I'm tired of the generic excuses.  Houses that started a month after me have caught up to me and are going to passing me soon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First home purchase...many more to go

Made our first home purchase over the Labor Day weekend...refrigerator.  Just couldn't pass up the deals this weekend and let it slip away.  Got this Samsung refrigerator for $1,100 off regular price!  Went to Best Buy because they had the best deal, but they were out of black.  So went to the other side of the shopping plaza to Lowes, asked them to match the price and they did!  They're going to hold off shipping until we know the closing date, but we got the awesome price.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Drywall, granite and kitchen cabinets

Another visit to the house revealed drywall is hung upstairs and a big shipment of kitchen cabinets has arrived!  Photos below are from Monday evening.  Tuesday we had our granite meeting with the countertop people.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  I guess I thought they'd have a few slabs from different sources and we could pick which shade of Uba Tuba they had.  They seemed to be a smaller outfit.  They only had 2 slabs of Uba Tuba, both from the same source so they looked identical.  Turns out they both have my name on it.  The sales rep there went over what the seams would look like, talked about pitting and fissures that naturally occur in stone and showed what the reveal would look like where the under mount sink is. 

They didn't drywall the loft as of Monday evening.  You're looking at the backside of the kids' bathroom and our closet.

Our room looking towards the door into the closet.

Boxes and boxes of kitchen cabinets...Andover Maple Spice

This little piece of granite.  Not sure where it goes.  The main slabs were at the shop not yet cut as of Tuesday night.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Delayed update

So it's been a while since I've updated what's going on.  It's been a busy, stressful and emotional time lately.  We fully moved out of our house over the weekend and now living with the in-laws until the new house is done.  Our old house closed yesterday, so there's some other person living there now, which is such a weird feeling.  I guess technically we're now homeless, no place to call our own.  I'm very grateful my in-laws took us in for 6 weeks and disrupting their lives, but at the same time, it's such a weird feeling, like you're a guest in the place you live.  So, we had to say goodbye to the first place we had together as ours, bought the house at the age of 22 right out of college.  We had to say goodbye to the only home our children ever knew.  My younger son burst into tears the final time we left and said goodbye.

On top of that, during all of this, there were a bunch of layoffs at work, including my work partner and best friend.  I now have to do the job of two people, the emotions of her losing her job, worrying about how she'll support her family and children, the feeling of rejection.

So, anyways, onto the house.  There hasn't been much progress since the pre-drywall walkthrough.  They finished insulating and the ductwork and furnace have been installed.  I did remember to take a couple pictures.  Remember the exterior lights fiasco from my last post?  Here are pictures:
See the light to the left?  That's supposed to be there.  See the light to the right?  That was supposed to go at the front door.  Freebee for me!

See the lack of a light?  The electrician will return to add it.
 Here's an update on the interior:
Family room.  Fireplace is behind the cardboard.

Looking into the kitchen/morning room

Friday, August 17, 2012

Check pre-drywall meeting off the list...and a free light

Had my pre-drywall meeting yesterday.  Overall, it went well.  My PM walked through all the energy star features, what switch controls what, etc.  There were a few things that need to be changed.  Here's what was found:

-No keyless light in the attic.  The plans call for it, but wasn't installed.  Special shout out to CHARISSA for finding that and posting in her blog, it's the only reason I was looking for it, otherwise I would have overlooked it.
-The flex duct from the return air main upstairs is hung from the attic trusses with straps.  The final strap before it turns down into the chase downstairs is right against the bend in the flex duct and its somewhat pinched.  I asked the strap be moved over to give it a nice smooth radius bend to not choke airflow.  Not having enough return air upstairs would cause issues.
-The ceiling fan in the morning room has two switches, one for lights, one for fan rotation.  Only one switch was wired up to the fan.
- I asked the cable location in the living room be moved over about 4 feet to jive with my anticipated furniture layout.  All other rooms looked good.
-We are supposed to have one exterior light by the front door and one exterior light by the sliding glass door off the morning room.  Well, the electrician put them both by the morning room sliding door, one on either side.  It looks awesome and I like it, but I'd really like a front light too.  My awesome PM is giving me a freebee.  The mistake will stay and a light will be installed at the front door.  Yippee!

Some advice going through the process:
- Be sure your kitchen island/peninsula is drawn out on the floor so the electrician knows where to hang pendant lights.  It's hard for them to know exactly without the island there, and it also helps you visualize they're where you want them to be.  My awesome PM took it upon himself to do this and I'm very thankful he did.
-If you want under cabinet lights, pay for the Ryan Homes option to add this.  I first balked at the $500 price and was going to add them myself after moving in.  Well, after you pay the $175 for the additional outlet, buy the lights, you're only about $100-150 away from RH's price.  Trying to do it yourself means all wiring under the cabinet, drilling holes through the cabinet wall to get to the outlet behind the microwave.  Overall, an ugly install and not much savings.  This is one of the few options that is worth it for RH to do.
-Outlets near a corner, in particular I'm thinking in the master bath over the vanity, be sure your electrician adds a block or two of 2x4 so that the outlet box isnt close to the corner of the room.  If it were placed on the 2x4 of the framed wall, when the drywall finisher goes in to do the corner he's going to have a tough time sanding it right and it'll look sloppy.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of everything.  Next time I'm in I will.
Schedule: next up is insulation, then next week start drywall.  Drywall from start to finish should be an 8 day process.  Furnace goes in next week.  Siding starts about halfway through drywall.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Prepping for the predrywall meeting in two days

Pre-drywall is scheduled for 7:30 on Thursday morning, so tonight we went to the house to go over everything to be totally ready.  Forgot the camera, unfortunately.  I looked over locations of outlets, switches, cable, etc.  I'm thinking I'm going to ask for the cable in the living room moved over a few feet to fit with our planned furniture layout.  All others look pretty good.  I checked over wiring to be sure the sheathing wasn't torn while pulling through studs, all looked good.  I checked to be sure all the ductwork was sealed properly between fittings, again all looked good.  Looked to be sure the fittings on the PVC piping had a good amount of PVC cement, again looked good.  The flex exhaust off the one bathroom fan upstairs is pitched kinda awkward.  It takes a sharp turn up, then hangs off a strap under the roof truss, then heads outdoors.  My thought is because the attic space is cold, the air in the flex duct will get cold, the moisture in the air from the shower will condense, and because of the sharp pitch up will drip back down once the fan is off.  I'm going to see if they can run it flatter along the ceilling rather than how they have it now.  I'll try to take a picture next time I'm there.  If anyone else ran into odd things for their pre-drywall meeting and has any advice I'm all ears.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Was denied putting in my own path to pull cable

I remember reading back a suggestion from another blogger, Sgt. Rich I believe, to run a blue flex conduit from the basement to the attic before drywalling so that you have a path to pull wiring in the future.  I thought that was an awesome suggestion.   My thought was to pull ethernet cable from the computer upstairs down to the computer in the basement.  Asked my PM today and was denied.  Got the company line "Ah man, I wish I could but can't because of inspection and liability issues blah blah blah."  I bet RH would be more than happy to charge me $500 to do it for me lol.  Ah well, a bit of a bummer, but not the end of the word.

I have 6 more days until the big move out of my current house...and the dreaded 6-7 weeks living with the in-laws until the house is finished.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Building update and met the neighbors

Latest update: all hvac, plumbing, electrical and roofing is done.  I asked for pendant lights over the kitchen island independently switched, but doesn't look like they're switched separately.  Not the end of the world I guess.  Looking at it now, it would be switch overkill on the wall.

We met our new next door neighbors today.  They have one kid, a 9 year old boy.  It's amazing news and perfect for our 9 and 10 year old boys!

Few update pictures included:

Recessed and pendant lights in the kitchen

I love the garage door, the small details make it

Not pleased with the giant return air grille in the kitchen, but knew it would be there from day one

Monday, August 6, 2012

Shopping for light fixtures

So everytime I take a trip to Lowes or Home Depot I have to stop by the lighting department.  I think I found the pendants I want for over the kitchen island.  What do you think?

I'm in the air about what to do in the morning room.  Here are a few ideas:

Framing complete

It only took three days, but the entire house is framed, all windows in, sliding glass door in, front door in, garage door in.  So of course, over the weekened we popped in again and took a few pictures.  This week should be putting on the roof and I'm not sure what else.  I guess I'll see what they do with the houses across the street that are a few days ahead of me.
Woops, took the pic with the garage door part open.  The best feature are the windows on top.  Oh well, next time.

View from the back.  Just imaginging the awesome patio next spring.

Yeah, I don't even remember where this was taking from.  Its the upstairs somewhere.

From the kitchen looking into the family room

Friday, August 3, 2012

Second day, second floor

Dropped by the house last night after day two of framing.  They have the second floor complete now, minus the roof trusses.  They also installed all the windows.  Man do these guys fly!  They should be completely done framing today.  It was awesome to go in and actually start to visualize our new home.  Ok, here's where the refrigerator is, here's where we'll be sitting on the couch watching tv, etc. 
Wrapped like a baked potato

Still love this awesome view from the yard.  Can't wait to sit in the morning room sipping coffee looking out at this everyday

Looking past the powder room into the family room.  One of the workers left his banana peel in the bathroom....odd place to choose for lunch.

Stairway to heaven?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

First floor framed

Framing has begun.  Got the text from my PM yesterday, so we had to make a trip out to check it out.  It actually looks like a house.  Can start to visualize, ok the couch will be here, will be sitting here at breakfast, etc.
Look at this amazing view out the morning room sliding doors

Friday, July 27, 2012

Got screwed...beyond annoyed

So, lets go back to mid has been on the market for three weeks and no offers yet.  Realtor calls.  "I have great news for you.  We have an offer, very close to your asking price, no issues with him qualified for the mortgage and willing to rent back to you until your new house is done.  Oh, there's another offer coming tomorrow, but just not on paper yet today."  I'm thinking, this is too good to be true.  Of course we take the offer!
Lets fast forward a couple weeks.  Buyer wants all windows replaced, stovetop range replaced, furnace replaced, electrical service upgraded, shower tub surround replaced, attic fan replaced or a $5,000 credit at closing.  Nope, not happening.  Windows are fine, yeah they're not brand new but fine.  Stovetop is fine, not brand new, but fine.  Besides, you're getting every other appliance practically new for free from us, so stop complaining.  Electrical service isn't a code requirement, but may be for his insurance and mortgage.  Fine, we'll do it.  Attic fan, I can do that myself for $75.  Same with tub surround.  Furnace, yeah I'll give you that it's old and about to die.  I finished the attic fan replacement myself.  New furnace is in.  Electrical service upgraded to 100 amps.  All for $2,000.
Now, fast forward a bit more.  We're 4 weeks from closing.  Hmm, haven't heard a whisper about the renting back, for how long, for how much?  I call my realtor for those questions.  She comes back to me the next day "well, his lease is up September 1 and needs a place to live, not renting back." 
1. When was I going to be notified of this change?  Were they really waiting for me to ask?  Was he going to show up on closing day and be like "dude, why are you still in my house?"
2. Did he change this?  Or was it my moron realtor that screwed it all up?
So here I am 4 weeks from closing, haven't started packing because I thought I had another month and a half after that, no plans on where to live.  So, now I'm scrambling to pack up, rent a storage unit, make plans to move in with the in-laws, make sure the kids dont have to change schools for a few weeks, cancel all utilities, etc.  Oh the stress!  My realtor sucked from day one and this is the final straw.  I have a strong feeling the buyer back in June said he could probably negotiate with his landlord and we can stay here until October, and she probably never said a flipping word back to him and his realtor.  Who gets screwed in the end?  Oh yeah, that's me!
On the bright side, our lumber arrived yesterday and framing starts Tuesday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We have basement walls!

Basement walls are formed and poured.  Who would have thought concrete walls could be so beautiful?  There are four houses on the street about two days ahead of us, so its a race to the finish.  We should all be moving in around the same time.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Feeling not that kind of high

I know, nothing to do with Ryan Homes.  Back from vacation....just had to share this amazing photo.  I set up the tripod and timer on the camera.  This is 5,114 feet up, yes clouds below me with mountains poking through.  Started at 5am, 13 mile round trip hike, almost a mile up, 9 hours, 9000 calories, up in an alpine zone above the tree line.  All worth it for a summit all to myself in the morning with a view like this.

Did I hear interest rates dropped again?

Lowest ever, yet again.  Down to 3.52% for 30-year conventional.  Keep on dropping until our 60 day lock in!  Even lower than the 3.8% when we estimated our monthly payments.  All good news!

Thats one big hole!

Our PM texted me today saying excavation was almost done, so tonight we rushed out to see our new hole in the ground.  We were surprised to see not only excavation was done, but footers were poured today too!  So early next week forms go up and basement walls will be poured.  Let the fun begin....................

Stakes and steaks

We have stakes!  So to celebrate, steaks for dinner.  Well, sort of.  Philly cheese steaks.  Wife and kids went while I was at work, so didn't get a picture to show.  They'll be digging and pouring the footers next!  So it begins......

Monday, June 25, 2012

Preconstruction meeting and kitchen lights

Today was our preconstruction meeting.  We met our PM Mike, who was very helpful and great fielding our multiple questions.  We don't break ground until the week of July 9, but since both us and our PM are out of town on vacation next week, we pushed it up to today.  Overall, I walked out with a good feeling, knowing we're in good hands with a guy that really knows his stuff and really makes you feel like he truly cares.  He said "Never, ever feel like you're bothering me.  I don't care if you text me at 3am, I will respond to you the second I look at my phone."

We even got to meet our new neighbor across the street.  His house is the furthest along, being the only one framed yet.  He stopped into the model home to drop something off during our meeting.
There's a lot of activity going on.  His house totally framed, three basements poured, piles of lumber and windows, and another hole dug waiting for concrete. 

One thing we talked about in detail was the under cabinet lights.  I was looking at buying the "hockey puck" type at Home Depot or Lowes, and added an additional receptacle in the kitchen.  But, when the PM and I discussed it, he changed my mind.  Either there's a wire hanging down to the receptacle, or I have to drill holes into the cabinets to get to the receptacle behind the microwave.  Either way, it's hokey.  So, we're going prewired.  It was a $595 add, but deducted $75 for the receptacle I added and about $100 for the purchase of the lights afterwards.  So, a total add of around $400 so that it's done right, worth the price.

Overall, I left today feeling good and knowing I'll be taking our PM up on his offer of always bugging him and visiting a lot!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

We have a buyer!

Yes, the house is sold!  Was on the market 20 days, and after all the traffic and nobody putting in an offer we were starting to get a bit discouraged.  But alas, we got the call from our realtor, two people were interested and wanted to put in offers.  We got the first offer later that night, only $2,900 below asking price, he's willing to rent back to us if needed and no problem being approved for his's the perfect scenario.
We have our preconstruction meeting tomorrow and get to meet our PM.  Things are starting to fall into place.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We have a date!

Well, my SR called yesterday to schedule our preconstruction meeting.  They're going to start digging a big ol' hole in the ground July 9.  She wanted us to have our precon meeting and meet our PM the week before...however, we're out of town that week, so we're doing it next week.  Yep, exciting stuff.  Thankfully, we won't miss any action as we arrive back from vacation the day before they start work.  Although I wouldn't mind them starting early, I don't want to miss out on anything.

We'll be spending a week and a half in the Adirondacks up in northern New York State, specifically Lake Placid.  It's an awesome little village along a nice lake, surrounded by mountains.  Lots of olympic sites to go tour (the 1932 and 1980 winter olympics were held there).  Just for fun, I decided to post some pics from last year's trip.  The next round of pics to post will be progress on the house!
awesome panorama from part way up a mountain we climbed

This one is the panorama from the summit, Cascade Mountain.  Yes the stitching is really bad, guess I didn't hold the camera still while spinning around.  It was too windy at the summit to use the tripod.  Overall, 5-1/2 hour hike, top at 4,098 feet.  Buned 2,500 calories, so we ate well that night.

A cool bobsled on the sidewalk along the main drag in town

Day trip to Montreal.  What a cool city!  It has a European vibe to it.  Too bad I didn't remember a lot from high school French class.

Bet that would do some damage to your car!

So quiet and relaxing along the lake

This one we cheated, drove up the mountain.  But still, at over 5,000 feet up, you can see a lot!

These guys are insane.  They start off going down this ramp at the top of a tower a couple hundred feet up and I swear they're in the air a good 10 seconds.  Its crazy.  You can see a bit of the ramp at the top left of the picture.

The boys felt such a sense of accomplishment making it to the top of the mountain.  You get past the tree line and it opens up to this huge rocky summit.