Sunday, November 16, 2014

30 Day Change Request

We met with our Ryan Homes sales rep and completed the 30 day change request for all of our options.  Our meeting only lasted about a half hour and we only had to sign one paper.

Our sales rep is the best!  I feel like we are always bombarding her with questions when we see her, but she's very patient and answers all of questions thoroughly or follows up with the project manager if necessary.

It's fun driving out to the community and seeing all the progress.  They are almost done with the first building of condos and finished another row of townhomes.  They have only sold one more house in our row, so that has slowed down.  However, they have sold a ton of condos in the community.

We're getting very excited to see to start seeing our house under construction in January or February!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

TAC Tile & Flooring Meeting

We had our meeting with TAC today to pick our tile and flooring.  This was the meeting we were most looking forward to and also most anxious about since we had no idea what everything would cost.  Since we signed our purchase agreement we have been visiting lots of Ryan Homes models in the area to get ideas for tile and flooring and also for general decorating.  I am so glad we spent the time going to other models because we went into the TAC meeting knowing what we wanted.  The samples at TAC's showroom were the typical sample size, which in my opinion isn't really enough to show you what your home will look like.  

The sales rep at TAC was very helpful and patient when we were trying to make decisions.  She started by pulling out our granite and cabinet selections.  We are getting the Santa Cecilia granite in both the kitchen and master bathroom, and we are getting the Lausanne cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms.  We wanted a nice sleek, modern look, but we also wanted our choices to be timeless.

After we had the granite and cabinets out, we started by discussing what type of flooring we wanted.  We decided on vinyl in the laundry room (which is standard), 12x12 tiles in the bathrooms, carpet in the bedrooms, and hardwoods everywhere else.  First we selected our hardwood.  We could only get engineered hardwood in the basement since it had to be glue down with the concrete slab.  That worked for us since we had decided we wanted the dark engineered hardwood that was in the model home.

Our flooring selection with the kitchen cabinet sample.
 After we decided on hardwoods, we moved onto picking the carpet for the bedrooms.  We went with a neutral color but not too light.  We also upgraded to the next level up since it is more stain resistant and we have a puppy.  We also picked a basic vinyl for the laundry room.
Our carpet selection with our hardwood and cabinets.
 After we finished up our flooring selections, we moved on to tile.  We started with the master bathroom.  We went with level C tile in the master bathroom.  This gave us a listello, 9x12 wall tile, and 12x12 floor tile.  We selected neutral colors with grays in the stone listello.
Our master bathroom selections with the cabinet and granite samples
Close-up of our master bathroom selections

Next we moved on to the hall bathroom tile. We had seen the basic tiles in a hall bathroom at a model and hated how cheap it looked.  However, We didn't want to upgrade the tile in here too much, so we went with level B tile which keeps the basic white 6x6 tile on the wall but includes a 12x12 floor tile.  We also added a listello, since it was only $65 and will make the bathroom look nicer.  We stayed neutral again with a natural stone and glass listello.
Our hall bathroom selections

Close up of the listello for the hall bathroom
We finished up by adding a tile backsplash for the kitchen.  We chose to mix and match with a neutral off white main tile and a gray stone and glass accent band.  We wanted the off white tile instead of the gray tile that the accent band was shown with in case our granite ends up more yellow in color.  It was $1295 to add the tile backsplash, but we knew we wanted a backsplash and like the option we chose.
Kitchen backsplash option with the small tile accent band instead of the brown/orange color one

Close up of the accent band with the granite
 We walked out of the meeting spending $10,000, but we felt like we got everything we wanted.  This was definitely our favorite meeting.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Guardian Technologies Meeting

We met with Guardian Technologies to make our low voltage wiring selections.  Our Guardian Specialist was not pushy about adding all of the extras.  He did recommend the security system, but he didn't push it.  It was $250 to have the security system installed and $50 per month for a minimum of 3 years for the basic home monitoring package if you got the security system installed.  There were also options to add security cameras.  

After we went through security options, we discussed phone and cable outlets.  Our home came with 2 phone outlets and 2 cable outlets.  Since we don't plan to have a phone in our house we were able to switch one phone outlet for another cable outlet.  We put a cable outlet in the rec room, living room, and master bedroom.  We put the phone jack for our wi-fi in the living room since it's the most central location.  It was an additional $150 for each additional phone or cable outlet.  Since we don't plan to have TV in the two additional bedrooms and we only use wi-fi, we opted not to add any additional outlets.  

There were also options to pre-wire for a wall-mounted TV ($415 per TV), add an intercom ($2845), and add a surround sound system ($1185).  We didn't opt for any of these.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NVR Mortgage Meeting

Within a week of signing the purchase agreement, we had to meet with NVR Mortgage to get approved for our mortgage. You have to meet with them even if you are planning to get a mortgage somewhere else.  We were planning to use NVR anyway since we get $15,000 in closing costs covered if we go through them plus we bank with Ally, which doesn't offer mortgages. Our loan officer emailed us a list of all of the documents we needed to bring with us to the meeting within a day or so after signing the purchase agreement. The fee for the loan application was $550. We emailed all of our documents to the loan officer in advance, which made our meeting go quickly. Our loan officer was very friendly and easy to work with. When we showed up he had already filled out a lot of the paperwork and ran our credit report.  They use all three bureaus and pulled reports on both of us.  They use the middle score of person with the lowest scores for the application.  If you don't have the full down payment already in your account you will have to fill out a budget worksheet, so NVR can see that you have a plan to save for the down payment.  We filled out a lot of forms for NVR, state, and federal.  We got a copy of all the paperwork including our credit reports at the end of the meeting.  We also got an updated copy of our estimated closing costs based on today's mortgage rates, but this didn't really mean much since we hadn't made your tile and flooring selections.  We were approved within a week of our meeting. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Homesite Reservation on our Second Visit to Greenbelt Station

About a month after our first visit, we went back to view the model home at Greenbelt Station again after viewing other houses in the area.  I had crunched the numbers and knew we could definitely afford a Strauss townhome while living comfortably and paying off student loans within the next couple years.  Still my husband was waiting on his bar exam results, so we were going to hold off on purchasing until November.  We showed up to the model and about 5 more homes had sold in the past month and the base price had increased $5,000.  We walked through the house with this information in mind.  Once again we loved everything we saw.  This house was perfect for us.  We knew we wanted to be in this house in this community.  The sales reps were now selling homes with delivery dates in May 2015, which lined up with our timeline to buy.  We didn't want to risk another price increase, so we put down a $1000 homesite reservation fee.  This gave us a few more days to think about it without risking the price increasing again.  

We went back on 10/23/14 with our realtor to sign our purchase agreement.  Signing the purchase agreement paperwork took about 3 hours.  We got our $1000 homesite reservation fee back and paid $5000 as an initial deposit.  We also got a list of companies that we would be working with to finalize all of our options.  We had to meet with the vendors within 30 days to make our selections even though our house wasn't going to be ready until May 2015.  In our area, Guardian handled security, phone, internet, and in-home sound systems, and TAC handled carpet, tile, and flooring selections.

We were so excited to be getting our first home!

The laundry room in the model.  It's located on the same floor as the bedrooms.

The kitchen at the model.  We ended up selecting these cabinets.

The main floor of the model

The master bedroom

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Introduction and our first visit to Greenbelt Station

Since I couldn't find many blogs out there about building Ryan Homes's Strauss model when my husband and I were trying to make a decision on whether to buy, I wanted to start this blog to document my experience.  We are already in the process of building a Ryan Homes Strauss Townhome. Our home will be in the Greenbelt Station community in Maryland.

When we first discussed buying a home, we researched what was on the market in the greater DC area for about a year.  We knew we wanted to be close to metro if possible, since traffic in this area is terrible, and we only have one car.  We decided that we would aim to close on a house in May/June 2015, and thought we would end up with a fixer-upper not very close to metro.  Then one of our online searches showed Greenbelt Station, and we thought that it must be too good to be true.  We are familiar with the Greenbelt area since we both went to University of Maryland.  We knew the area wasn't perfect, but it has a lot of potential with talks of the new FBI headquarters being in the area and the new Hyattsville Arts District just down the road.  We decided to get a realtor and schedule a tour of the model home.  (With Ryan Homes you have to have your realtor with you on your first visit to the model home or Ryan Homes will not pay the realtor's commission.)

We made our first trip to the model on September 28, 2014.  At the time, the community had hardly any homes built.  The sales reps working in the model home were very friendly and not too high pressure.  My husband fell in love with the home immediately.  I really liked the home, but wanted more time to crunch the numbers and see what else was out there.  After we left the house, we set up more home tours with our realtor to see more new construction since we were now sold on the idea of a new construction townhome.  We saw homes by Lennar and Beazer as well as another Ryan Homes community.  Nothing else compared, so we set up our appointment to go back to Greenbelt Station.
Strauss Townhomes at Greenbelt Station on our first visit 9/28/2014