Saturday, February 22, 2014


Now that we're all approved and our final selections are locked in, we just have to wait for them to start building.  They said we would definitely start by the end of March, but since we're approved and ready we might be moving up.  I am hoping we start soon, I can't wait!  They estimated it would be done mid June and we are still on tract for that.  Now all we have to do is wait... (I hate waiting)


So the past week I have been worried if we were making the wrong decision on the model type.  This is because of many reasons.  One being we can't see a house like it in person or even find pictures of it because it's so new of a floor plan.  The second being that last week we got to look at a studded Savoy being built, which is really similar to the Sewickley, and I thought it was too small of a downstairs.  This could be because it was only studded and I couldn't image it I wasn't sure so I was freaking out.  I then proceeded to go back to the Palermo, which is 250 sq. ft larger and had a mudroom.  It was also more expensive, so most of the upgrades we had we would have to give up if we changed our minds.

I drove my husband crazy for a week saying we should change our minds because we have a Palermo model near us and we know what it will look like and what it will be.  I really would love having a mudroom too.  We finally sat down and made a pro and con list for each model and we then realized again why we picked the Sewickley.  We picked it for it's better floor plan, more deck space off the back, and all the upgrades we could get and wouldn't have to worry about doing ourselves.

As for right now I am still worried about how it's going to be, but I have trust in our decision and in my husband who thinks we are going to be very happy with the Sewickley.  He even said he'll give me half of his garage for a mudroom if I'm not happy.  He's the best!!


Our meeting with NVR went good, we sent all the requested information beforehand.  All we had to do was go over the mortgage documents and sign paperwork.  The meeting only took 2 hours, which was way better than the 4 hour contract signing meeting with Ryan Homes.  After the meeting there were some things we needed to get to them and questions we needed to answer.  All in all it wasn't a bad process.

There was one hiccup in the process, we couldn't get approved if I was on the mortgage.  They would approve just my husband.  They gave us the reason of that I was contracting at work and they could fire me at any time.  This was true, but my company told them when a position opens up I was the first to get hired.  Plus I am making over 4 times minimum wage!  No matter, they still said I can't be on the mortgage.  I was able to the house title, so I did own the house.  Still it is very stupid!  My husband and I agreed it would be okay since were married and I did technically still owned the house, but still wouldn't me being on the mortgage with him help not hurt him.  I mean he can get the mortgage by himself, so how was I hurting him.  Annoying and weird...

Anyway, the process took about 30 days to finally get the approval with all this back and forth.  My husband did finally got approved two days ago!  So now we just got to pray the interest rates will stay low for a little bit longer and wait for them to start building!

Some Changes

During our electrical meeting we noticed the service door off the garage was on the side of the house, but we wanted it on the back.  In order for them to do this is would cost an extra $250 because there would be stairs.  This is because our lot is a garden view lot.  We decided stairs on a service door would be useless, so we removed the service door and saved $995.

We also didn't know how the shower came.  It ended up not coming with a door, so we wanted to add one.  Not sure why that wasn't including in the upgrade to the roman shower, but it wasn't.  You also don't get tile or anything with the upgrade, pretty stupid in my opinion.  So we added a chrome glass door to our roman shower for  $950.

Electrical Meeting

The electrical meeting went good, we didn't have many questions or things to add.  We did end up adding 2 network cables ($200), and 2 more cables lines ($120).  The house comes with 4 cable wires.  We also added 4 speakers in the family room ceiling for surround sound ($670).  Thankfully we didn't have to add too much.  He also made one of the recess lighting in the kitchen above the island a regular light rough in so I can put a chandelier there.  He went over where each plug would be, where each light switch plug would go, where the cables would go, and what we planned on doing with each room to make sure the electrical would work for us in each room.  He was very helpful and super nice.

Note to others: when you go make sure you have a list of items to go over because time is limited and you only get 2 hours with the electrician.

Flooring Meeting

Our flooring meeting was pretty easy, seeing how I was picky and I already knew what I wanted.  Plus the only upgrade we didn't add to the initial papers was hardwood flooring (added $5,360).  I researched prices and they were similar to their prices, so instead of doing it ourselves we thought we might as well have them do it.  I convinced my husband to get hardwoods in the family room too because I wanted them in the dinette, foyer, and kitchen and there would be no easy break to them.  There would always be a square part of the carpet getting walked over every time you go from the dinette to the foyer and my thoughts were that the carpet would get ruined too quickly.  That was one downfall with this floor plan.  He just hates hardwoods in the family room because it makes it cold, but I told him I would buy him a nice fluffy area rug.  He agreed and so we got hardwoods in the family room, kitchen, dinette, foyer, and half bath.  I also knew I wanted white kitchen cabinets and black granite counter tops and my husband didn't care what we got there.  We both fell in love with the dark hardwood floors, and it was a plus that it matched our pups fur (Haha!).

For the bathrooms we just picked from what was standard.  We also picked from the standard carpets, figuring we could get better ones a few years down the road.  We picked black granite to go around the fireplace and wood hard rails to match the hardwood floors.

Maple Linen Cabinets, Dundee Mocha Strip Hardwood, Uba Tuba Granite Counters
Black Cherry Railing Stain, Baseline White Fox 106 Carpet
Baseline White Fox 106 Carpet, Initiator 66263 Laminate, and Maple Honey Bathroom Cabinets
Absolute Black Granite for Fireplace Surround

Floor plan & Upgrades

Our floor plan was so new that at first the brochure they gave us was wrong.  It was printed with a $12,000 upstairs upgrade on it.  We were pretty disappointed when we found this out and almost stopped going forward with Ryan Homes.  Luckily we found this out at the beginning though, but it was still annoying.  The difference was that they used above the garage space for the master bedroom and opened up the foyer, instead of having the 4th bedroom over the foyer.  It also gave a walk-in-closet off the master bathroom, which I wasn't a fan of.  It wasn't too much of a big deal, but I did like it a bit better (although not $12,000 better). 

Anyway I posted pictures of our exact floor plan below and here's a list of all our initial picks for upgrades:

-Garage Service Door ($995)
-Basement Egress Window ($1,295)
-Kitchen Island ($1,295)
-Sonoma Square maple linen Timberlake cabinets ($3,095 minus a $795 credit for old cabinets)
-Granite counter tops ($4,495)
-Stainless steel appliances ($1,495) (microwave, oven, and dishwasher)
-Fireplace ($3,395)
-Study doors ($995)
-Roman shower in master bath ($1,595)
-Double vanity in master bath ($995)
-Air conditioning ($3,495)
-Recessed kitchen lighting ($995)
-2-ceiling fan rough-ins ($450)
-Study light ($200)
-Scenic scape color scheme ($895 ->gave us free of charge as a bonus for us)

What was included in our neighborhood:

-Fairfield Square maple honey Timberlake cabinets ($795)
-Cabinet hardware finish satin nickel
-Upgraded bathroom cabinets to Fairfield Square maple honey Timberlake cabinets
-Dinning room light
-Foyer light
-Dinette light
-Hallway lights
-Large walk-in closet lights
-Bathroom lights
-Morning room ($16,495)

Note: Prices are specific to our model and our location.

House Outside

We got a free upgrade to darker siding colors called scenic scape's.  Here's three colors that we narrowed it down to:

At first we decided with river bend with black shutters and a black door.  The door and shutters were the easy part.  I wasn't sure about the color and I tried to look up the color online, but I couldn't find it anywhere.  Our SR was able to find us the granite color and we loved it, so we decided to change our mind and go with that.  We thought it was better to see the color then get one and hate it.  Plus we're already gambling with the house layout, we don't want to gamble with the color too.  Also, I can always change the color of the door to any color and it would still match the house.  Here's what the granite color will look like:

Also, we picked elevation A, which was standard.  We didn't feel like paying for upgrades on the outside seeing how the standard was good looking to us.  Plus any upgrades to the outside were very expensive and we'd rather use that money to make the inside the way we want it seeing how that's where you spend most of your time.  Here's what elevation A looks like:

Signing the Contract

After looking at lots and models/options for weeks, finally on January 20 we signed the contract and we started the road to our sweet Sewickley.  It took 4 hours to sign the contract!  I feel like everything went so fast from the moment we decided to build, to putting a hold down on the lot, to picking options/model, to signing the contract.  I will write more about the exact options we picked in the my next posts, but here's a picture of us and our lot (thanks so much to my sister-in-law for taking the pictures!).  We had to wait until the next day because it was around 10 PM when we got done signing the papers.  We really couldn't wait to put our sold sign up!

Lot 116

There were three different Ryan Homes neighborhoods near where we wanted to live.  We didn't like one of them for scenic reasons (cell phone tower).  Of the other two, one was cheaper and was more expensive mainly because of the school district and location.  Since we really didn't mind either, we thought why not go for the cheaper one.

We looked at a couple of lots and prices for the lots that were left in the cheaper neighborhood.  Of the few lots that were left, there were two lots that were big enough for a back yard.  Only thing about them was their backyards were butted up to other backyards.  We figured it would be okay with a fenced in yard and we could live with it.

We left to go think about it and think about exactly what we wanted in the house.  I also looked at the specials going on in the different neighborhoods on their website.  For the less expensive neighborhood their was a special for a fireplace using NVR, their mortgage company.  For the more expensive neighborhood, the special was for a free morning room using NVR.  In the back of my mind I wondered could we exchange the morning room for cash towards other options we wanted, but my husband seemed to think that wouldn't be the case.

About a week later we went back to get it all priced out with everything we wanted.  After we were done getting it priced out,  I asked if their were any lot specials going on.  He told us that there was one at the more expensive neighborhood for $2,000 off the lot.  He said most of the lots over there cost $2,500-$10,000 extra.  I then remembered the special about the morning room and asked if we could use the credit for other things instead of the morning room.  To our surprise, he said yeah we could do that.  He asked if we wanted him to price it out for that lot in the other neighborhood and we said why not lets just see what it could cost us.  It ended up being a couple hundred dollars cheaper then the first neighborhood!!!  We were so happy: same house, better neighborhood, better schools, and a little cheaper!!

To top it all off this lots backyard was facing a side road outside the neighborhood, which means no neighbors behind us.  This also meant a busier road behind us.  They are putting up trees and a hill for the noise and the street was only a 35 mph street and not a main route to anywhere.  With a fence we thought it would be perfect!  We just hoped the noise would be okay and that the road wasn't too busy.  We went and checked the lot out and realized we could definitely make that work and liked it better than being behind other houses.  We gave them a lot deposit to hold it while we thought about it for 5 more days and eventually went back to take it!  Here's a pretty good picture of our lot (the road is behind the hill and those houses are condos in the neighborhood across the street):

Lot 116

Thursday, February 20, 2014

About Us

Hi my name is Ashley.  Me and my husband, Cody, are buying/building our first home ever.  We just got married late last year.  We also have a puppy named Daisy, I'm sure I'll post some pictures of the cutie during this process.  She is one of the reason of moving, so we can give her a fenced yard to play in.  Last year we started looking for a house on the market and could not find anything that we liked, we are sort of picky.  We finally took a look at Ryan Homes to see if we could afford to build a house and we could!  It was awesome being able to get new and not having to repair an old house.

Anyway, this is my first time blogging ever.  I've gotten a lot of advice recently from other Ryan Home blogs.  I was however not able to find one about the new model we are building, the Sewickley.  I thought a blog would be a good way to document our home building process and to help others who are interested in building a Sewickley.  We are taking a leap of faith and just diving into the Sewickley, although for me its hard to trust a floor plan on a piece of paper and not be able to see an example in person (it's too new to have a model or any houses built).