Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Today was the settlement.  We used the NVR settlement company (which NVR mortgage choose for us, but I think we could have requested someone else).  Settlement took forever because they weren't quite ready for us.  We waited around for 30 minutes before they had our paperwork.  There is a large stack of papers to sign.  The settlement guy in there with us was happy to explain any of the documents we were signing, wait patiently while we read anything we wanted.  I had mixed feeling about reading all of the documents, on one hand it is good to know what you are signing, but on the other hand if you didn't agree with something you have no negotiation power to do anything about it.  Plus these same forms are being signed by thousands of other people.  I did a speed read of all the documents, I wanted to roughly know what was going.  It took about 2.5 hours to sign everything.  But at the end they handed over the keys and we were on our way.

We obviously went straight to our new home.  There we found a welcome basket from Ryan Homes.  There isn't much advice to give for this stage of the process so this post will be short.  I'll just say make sure that the sprinklers are watering the new sod often.  New sod needs lots of water.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pre Settlement Inspection

Today I met my home inspector and did my pre-settelment walk through with him.  As I have mentioned in other posts it is important to have a home inspector take a look at your new house as it is for them to look at old houses.  My inspector told me about how he was looking at a deck on a new house and found one of the footings cracked completely through, it was just a matter of time before it broke apart completely.  The whole inspection took about two hours (although I hear it varies quite a bit).  I scheduled it for the day before my walk through with the project manager (which is tomorrow), that way we didn't need to rush.  The cleaning crew was also there making sure it looked clean for settlement.

I walked around with my home inspector and some of the things we examined were:

  • We turned the AC on and measured the temp of the air coming out of the vents (he had a meat thermomitor looking thing to do this) and then turned the heat on and did the same.  It looked good.
  • We ran all of the appliances in the kitchen and made sure they worked and that if everything on the stove (all the burners and oven) was on the breaker didn't trip.
  • We opened up the furnace down stairs and ensured the proper filters were there.  He also found that the safety switch for the furnace cover was taped down which wasn't good.  It is designed to turn off if the furnace cover is open so you (or your kids) can't electrocute yourself. 
  • Checked the toilets, he found one that had a slow leak, wasting water.
  • He checked that all the breakers work as they were supposed to.
  • He checked the sump pump.
  • He checked the GFCI outlets.
  • He also found a couple scratches on the cabinets and mirrors.
  • He checked every window making sure it was sealed well, opened and closed well.  One window was a bit tight.
  • We walked around the outside, he made sure the spigots worked well, found a piecie of siding that wasn't tucked in as it should.
  • There were end caps missing off the molding near the garage door.
  • He checked that garage door and the safety features of the garage all worked as they were supposed to.
He checked a gazillion other things as well, but this was some of the stuff that we checked and found wrong. In the end I had a list of about 12 things to give to the project manager that we wanted fixed.

The inspection was about $200, and considering how small that is compared to the home I think it is worth it.  He also found problems that if I hadn't found on my own would have cost more than $200 to fix.  He just knew to look for things that I wouldn't have looked at.

I emailed the list to my project manager and I will see him tomorrow and we can go over the list and he can do his walk through.

Our kitchen

The outside of the house with the new sod.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Walk through to look at cabinets and stuff

We are a few weeks away from closing on the house.  Today we had a walk through where we verified that some of the selections we made are correct.  The project manager couldn't make it so the assistant project manager met us.

All the drywall is up and the house is very close to being finished.  We checked out the kitchen cabinets and marble counter top.  We also checked out the bathroom tiles.  The flooring (carpet and such) was not in yet (I don't know if that is normal).  All of this took a total of 15 minutes at most.  Afterwards he let us roam around and look at the whole house.  We measured some of the windows and locations for appliances (Fridge, washer, dryer and stuff like that).  We didn't get any additional appliances from Ryan Homes and plan on replacing the basic stove, vent and dish washer that comes with the house so this was a good chance to get measurements because we'll buy the appliances before we settle.

Not much else to say.  The only point of this meeting was to verify some of the selections so if they made a mistake they had time to fix it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Just a quick update and a picture

There hasn't been much to talk about lately.  With the pre-drywall behind us we wait awhile until a quick walk through to just verify a few things like cabinet type/color, counter tops and stuff.

Here is the outside of the house.  As you can see we are a corner lot.  I like it because we have a large side yard on the south side of the house which will get a lot of son.   We also got half siding and half brick on the front.  This looks stupid on some houses/elevations because brick suddenly turns in to siding.  With the Rome (Elevation C)  there is that part that sticks out in the middle of the second floor.  This is nice because it made that bedroom bigger (or the loft area if you don't enclose it) and it makes it so the brick just doesn't turn in to siding in the middle of the house.  Look around the community you'll probably see what I mean.  I also thought the brick would wrap around the house for about a foot, it does on some of the other homes, I don't know why it doesn't on ours.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pre-Drywall followup

I showed my wife the pictures of the house and she loved seeing them.  She couldn't make it to the meeting with the project manager.  It's really interesting to see your house in this state.  I still think the pictures will come in handy down the road when I am doing some home improvement projects.

I stopped by and took a look at the house to make sure the stuff that was supposed to get fixed got fixed.  It looked good, but I caught one more thing, a stud without a nail protector.  I emailed the project manager about it.

One thing I do wish I had done was adding a second outlet to the garage, there is only one (technically two, one on the ceiling for the garage door opener).  I can always add an outlet if I want down the road myself, but it will be a little bit of a hassle since it is an outside wall I would have wanted it on.

I don't think I'll have much to post on except pictures of the progress for awhile.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pre-drywall with the project manager

My previous post talked about my pre-drywall inspection with my home inspector.  This post is about my walk through with my project manager and the types of things that were done.

The project manager will show you some of the features of the home, but I learned more from my home inspector than I did with my project manager.  We started by going room to room.  One of the big items that is done here is verify that the options selected are all correct (at least the ones installed).  This includes fireplaces, light fixtures, ceiling fan mounts, extra outlets, low voltage cables for TV, Internet and phone.  Almost all these you should check that you like there position.  I asked them to move a ceiling fan mount since it was centered in the room, but since there was a bulk-head in the room it wasn't centered on the ceiling, so it looked funny. (I'll include a picture once we have the house finished and the ceiling fan is put in). I also had a wall mount phone outlet, but I felt it was too low so I asked him to move it up.  Both of these things was no problem for him.  You should also look to see if you want any of these moved.

As we went around I also pointed out things that my home inspector made notes about.  My project manager pushed back on fixing some of them (there was a stud that I thought bowed too much) but in the end agreed to fix them, mostly to get me to shut up.  In this case the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

The whole meeting took about 2 hours, after wards he let me stay in the home to take pictures.  Taking pictures at this stage will be very valuable later.  I now have pictures of where all the pipes, power lines, sprinkler lines, and duct work inside the walls.  If I want to renovate something later this will be valuable.  You are not given any paper plans (Ryan will tell you there are proprietary) so this is your only way to know what is where, plus paper plans can be different that what is done.  I also took a lot of video of me slowly scanning the room, I think these will be valuable because you can get a better perspective of the room.  When taking pictures, remember to try to get landmarks in the photo, things you will see when the house is finished like windows, doors, outlets (you'll have to make a note of what outlet it is because they all look the same).  This will let you know where exactly in the house the picture was taken.  Trust me when looking through walls it all looks the same.  Post it notes are also nice, you can label things and then take a picture of it so you have a note of what you took a picture of in your picture.  These are just my 2 cents.

Lastly, I asked the project manager when I could come back and see that things were fixed.  He told me I can come back in 3 days and everything would be done.  This way I know that things actually got fixed, instead of just being told they did.  Remember that the project manager works for Ryan, not you so he doesn't have your best interests in mind.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I had my pre-drywall inspection today.  First I had my home inspector come out and give it a look over, then the project manager came and we went through it together with me pointing out things the home inspector pointed out to me.  We had about a dozen things to fix, but all were small stuff that didn't make me question the quality of the home.  I am going to break this in to two posts, thus one about my home inspector walk through, and the next one how it went with the project manager.

My home inspector came in the morning and we walked through the house together.  I had the option of letting him do it himself; however, I would recommend against that for two reasons, you'll learn a lot about your house by watching and listening to him, and you'll need to know what things need fixed so you can tell your project manager.  Being there in person will help with that.

We started by walking around the outside of the house.  We found a couple spots in the housing wrap that needed patching, around a window and vent.  We then went inside.  We spent 15 to 20 minutes in every room just looking at everything carefully.  He spent a lot of time showing me things and explaining why they do cretin things, so I learned a lot about the home.  We found some studs that needed nail plates to protect the wires running through them.  Some of the steal beams running through the house were missing bolts or had nuts that needed tightening.  We checked that there was foam insulation behind all outlets, which is required for energy star rating.  Overall we probably found a dozen things that needed to be fixed.  Nothing was detrimental but having them fixed decreased the likelihood of problems down the road.

Even though we didn't find any major problems I still recommend a home inspector at this stage, the reason is that there is a chance something major is wrong.  If there is a problem and the project manager didn't catch it  chances are you have no chance of catching it.  A home inspector will most likely find any problems, plus compared to the cost of your house having a home inspection is cheap.  I think the people that are posting horror stories about building a home on the internet would probably have been saved if they had hired a home inspector.