Thursday, June 28, 2012

21 days.....

It's hard to believe that we're scheduled to close three weeks from today. The house is coming along quite nicely - we should have electricity in the next few days - and my parents are coming from Florida for their first look at the house this weekend.

When they get here, they'll see a house that is really close to finished, as these pictures demonstrate:

Interior lights are going up quickly. We have outlet covers on, and could have electricity soon. (It'd be nice to have it this weekend, since the forecast high is 103 Saturday - yikes!)

The workers have been really cooking in the kitchen too. Just need the stove and refrigerator.  

We're really happy with the color of the railing. It really makes the spindles shine. 

A good look at the light in the stairwell and the spindles. 

A good look at a coach light on the outside We have one at our front door, and two for our garage. 

The time is getting close - but we are ready. Almost everything is set up at this point - the movers are scheduled and so is the furniture and washer and dryer delivery. There are only a couple loose ends with Ryan left. We are still waiting for final approval on our loan, but all indications are that everything is fine. We also don't have a resolution to the rock situation yet, and that may continue pretty close to closing (and perhaps, beyond closing...). But we're not thinking about that right now, we're just enjoying the progress we are seeing and looking forward to sharing it with family this weekend. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

For those without a rock, we salute you...(with flooring pics)

We're still waiting for an update on our massive rock in the backyard. Ryan Homes is getting their regional managers involved to try to work something out with the developer. We've made it clear that we'd much rather have no rock at all than anything else, and Ryan Homes is really trying to make this work. (it may just come down to who pays for the removal of the rock - Ryan or the developer). But, we don't expect any kind of resolution for several days.

While we wait for the rock to be resolved, there have been many other much more positive happenings at the house. Closing is less than four weeks away, and the house is really coming along fast. We've started checking every few days, but the locks are probably coming soon on our doors. But here's some of the exciting things that have happened in just the last week:

The pillars have been painted and so has the front door. Just waiting on the trim for the garage door windows and coach lights for the front at this point. 

Cabinets and faucets are in the secondary bathrooms now. 

Take a peek at the flooring in the secondary bathrooms (we also used it in the laundry room). 

Hooray Uba Tuba black granite. We really like it with the Maple Cognac cabinets. 

Our 60/40 sink, with the disposal on the big side (it's a little different than usual, but that's how I like it). 

Getting the appliances here too. Might be seeing the doors locked soon. 

A closer picture of the granite with the tile. The tile backsplash should be coming soon. 

Here's our kitchen floor. We are really happy with it. 

That looks cool. (get it?)

Here's a photo of the shower with the brushed nickel enclosure and nice corner caddy, along with some crazy girl who entered our house (only kidding Hannah). 

Another look at the shower (and that is just a reflection of the window above the tub). 

We can not wait to use our key for this in less than four weeks. 

We can get mail now! (but please wait on sending us any bills people).

There is also another update that we wanted to share. In a previous post, we mentioned how someone in our neighborhood lost their Florence right around the final walkthrough, and were unable to close. There is a good news/bad news update with this. The bad news is that the buyer could not get the home in our neighborhood back (it sold in five days). But the good news is that the buyer ended up buying another Florence in a Ryan community just 10 minutes away. It was an inventory home, so they should be able to move in quickly. 

We're happy that they were able to get into a Ryan home, and that neighborhood is quite comparable to ours. So maybe everything worked out for the better. 

Now, we're hoping we can say the same thing about our rock. We're keeping our fingers crossed. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stuck between a rock and a hard place..

Some of you may recall us mentioning the grading that we needed done in the back yard by the developer. The back yard sloped down toward the house, and we knew there was a big rock in there too. Here's the way the backyard looked when we first had the slab poured:

As you can see, the rock looks fairly big, but we felt confident that it could be removed. 

We had been asking for a few weeks, and then finally on Wednesday, we noticed that they had done the grading in the back yard. The good news is that we have a fair amount of flat yard close to the house (maybe 20 feet or so), which isn't that bad considering we have a small lot (we'd still like more, but it was encouraging). However, the grading also revealed the size of the rock. Take a look at these two pictures: 

The above picture is the view straight from the morning room. It's almost 6 feet high. 

The picture above is the view of the rock from the master bedroom upstairs. It shows the depth of the rock and just how wide it is . 

Our SR Amber and our PM Abe both have known for a while that we've wanted the rock out. And, to their credit, both have called us within the last 24 hours to say that they are not at all happy with what the developer has left in our lot. Both of them have pledged to help us out as much as they can, but Abe admitted that there may be a problem. 

Our property line splits the rock in half. Some of it is on our property, and some of it is on the undeveloped lot behind us. Abe said they may only be able to get the rock on our side of the line out, and the rest may have to stay. He's going to go to bat for us, by talking to the developer and even getting his manager involved. But none of us are sure what will happen next. 

So, that leaves us with a dilemma. What happens if some of the rock is left? We're trying to come up with possible landscaping ideas, but we can't seem to think of one that will look good at all. 

Needless to say, we're stuck in a bad spot if the rock remains.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pillars of progress

We tried a little experiment this week. How long could we go without seeing the house? We had been going almost everyday for a while, and the 25-minute drive after work everyday made it hard to keep up our temporary apartment (hello, piles of laundry!). So, we vowed not to go to the house for a week, to let us catch up on our apartment, and then get the added surprise of a lot of things done.

It wasn't easy - I kidded Lauren a couple times about seeing the house on my lunch break from work - but it made for quite a nice Friday night. Here are some of the things we saw:

Yep, they added the shutters to the outside and the pillars to the front porch. (The pillars and door will be painted later, and the trim is also yet to come). 

We have paint! (at least a first coat). Here's a view of the family room (with the outlet for the mounted TV). 

This was quite a surprise. We thought the door to the study was going to be just a standard inside door, but we got a French door 15-light door (thanks CMM) instead. If that's not right, we aren't going to complain. 

Lauren's spindles are in with the railing too. Can't wait to see them really pop when they paint the railing to match the hardwood downstairs. 

A good look at our bonus room closets. The room, which we created ourselves, is actually a lot bigger than it appears. It is about 22 feet long, and 13 feet wide except for the 2-foot bump out shown in the picture. We created the idea ourselves, and we are pretty pleased with how it turned out. 

A view from the front door into the house. 

Woo-hoo!! A lot of other bloggers chose Maple Cognac too, and you can see why. It looks so good in the kitchen. (we have black Uba Tuba granite to come). 

Our bathrooms all have Andover Maple Spice cabinets. 

Upgraded tile in the kids' bathroom (we also did that in the guest bathroom). 

Here's a lot of our Rite Rug money. One thing we noticed is that they are planning to put one of those corner caddies in our shower, even though we actually wanted them in the secondary baths. We think we may just keep it in our shower anyway. (we don't know yet if they have a spot for one in the guest bathroom, so that tub might go without). 

So, obviously, waiting a week was pretty cool. Unfortunately, they still haven't fixed the grading in the backyard, something both Abe and Amber said should be done this week. We'll have to get something in writing to ensure it is done at this point (Amber said that won't be a problem). We understand that the developer has been busy (they've cleared almost an entire road for new lots and things), but we've been requesting the grading in the back for six weeks now and nothing has been done. So, we'll get that this week and get our buyers' agent involved too. Our official closing is July 19th, and this needs to be done well before then.

But other than that, it was a pretty exciting week. Waiting was pretty fun, but something tells me we won't be able to hold out that long in the next few weeks. :) 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Be careful out there...

So we got a call from our SR Amber Saturday, letting us know that while the developer didn't grade our backyard as promised last week, he expects to do so this week. (yes, we are a little skeptical, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt for one more week - after that, time to bring in the big guns).

She also told us something else that should serve as a reminder to us and everyone else in bloggerland. Apparently, the buyers of the Florence that I had pictured earlier in the blog had their loan fall through after their walkthrough. Amber couldn't get into specifics, but said they had a "major life event" and just wanted to let us know that was why we now had an inventory home one street over from us with a for sale sign.

Apparently, the original buyer is still trying to buy the home through another financing option, but Ryan had to move ahead and list it. (We think the home had been finished for a month or so). I can't imagine how that buyer must feel. To be so close, and then to see it all fall through. We never met them, but we are still saying a little prayer for them.

Their plight reminded us how fragile the whole homebuying process can be, especially nowadays. We got an email from NVR late Friday asking for a few minor things as we move forward, and rest assured, Saturday's news got our attention about being diligent with loan matters. This should go without saying, but anyone looking to buy a home should avoid changing jobs or making any major purchases (through credit) until right up before closing. You never know how that might change things, as the prospective buyer of the Florence in our neighborhood sadly found out.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Stone in love...(with drywall too...)

Once framing week ended, we thought things might slow down a little bit with our home. Things had calmed down Monday and Tuesday after our pre-drywall last week, but then Wednesday the drywall was up for the entire house. What do you think about that Alden?

(Looks like he's pretty happy)

That wasn't the only surprise. We came back at lunch today, and saw the stoners (huh-huh, stoners) working on the front. When we came back tonight - wow! A little music from the maestro please...

Yes, we were pretty thrilled, and with good reason. Check out these photos:


(a few quick notes - the garage door will have added trim on the glass, and yes we noticed the window to be replaced on the porch - Lauren's OCD helps :) ). The stone gives off a bit of a reddish tint in this photo, but the photos below better illustrate the color. 

Now, that's what I call a porch! (again, we know about the window) :)

Detail around the front door. :)

And, yes for those wondering, the mystery shelf mentioned in the last post is gone. But we're O.K. with that. 

We are really pretty happy with the stone. It is actually a little darker than we expected, but we think it adds a lot to the house. We are also glad we went with the full stone up the side. It was a little bit pricey, but it was worth it in the end. It really makes a big difference in the house. 

Again, it is amazing how much things change. The drywall really gives a better sense of how big each room will be, and it really helps you to envision the rooms. The only bit of a bummer today was that the developer still hasn't removed the big rock from our backyard. (Amber, our SR pledged that he was coming today to our buyer's agent). But, we'll give him another day before we start to really get upset about it. 

We can't wait to see what's next. The kids are so excited - they've already made a couple friends in the neighborhood, and we've gotten to know a couple neighbors too. We only have six weeks until our expected close date, and we're just counting down the days and getting excited about all the great things to come. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Step by step....

Things are progressing nicely at our new home, and we have a lot to look forward to. The outside front of our house could be finished by the weekend (a small question on that for other bloggers in a minute), and we could have the drywall up too. 

As exciting as that is, I think we are even more excited that the developer is expected to finally grade down our backyard this week too (and remove a big ugly rock in the process). We have been asking about this for weeks, and our SR Amber had promised it would be done. Our backyard will probably have a bit of a slope to it, but we're hoping it won't be too extreme. Our PM Abe said he may be able to grade it down a little more after developer gets in there, but he can't do anything until the big rock is gone. 

So, we're optimistic on that front. It's really quite a thrill to see the house coming along so fast. Lauren said the other day that she feels like our temporary apartment is really like a hotel now, and that our house really feels like a home. Here are some pictures of progress (with a small question for the final picture):

The stone should be on this week, and that will really make the look of the house. Of course, the kids are pretty excited already. 

One of our favorite pictures. The kids were in the bonus room looking out to the front of the house. I'm sure they were imagining all the fun times they will have soon. 

The porch is looking good!

O.K., here is our question. If you look to the right of the picture, you can see a wood shelf. What's up with that? We have no idea if that is just a temporary place holder or if something actually goes there. (there will be stone under the siding and trim there and surrounding the door and remainder of porch). Any clues to this are appreciated.