Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Signage - Check!

On our weekly drive-by, we were excited to see the most recent addition to our future neighborhood:

That's us!  Buckingham Drive!  Word on the street is that the lot numbers have been painted on the curb, but we haven't had the opportunity to scope things out yet because the road is blocked.  We hope the heavy duty machinery is gone soon so we can drive down our street.  And maybe Santa can bring some stakes for our lot - that would be very exciting!  That's not asking for too much, is it?  I've been a good girl this year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Security Question - Help!

My husband spoke with our insurance agent today and recieved a quote for our homeowner's insurance.  We were both surprised to see that the security discount was only $41 per year.  Now I understand that quotes vary based on home value and location, but can anyone tell me if this is a competitive discount?  That's only $3.42 a month!  Any input is appreciated!  Thanks!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Last week, I emailed our SR to see if it would be possible to change our bathroom cabinetry.  Not only did he respond within 24 business hours, he scheduled us to sign the paperwork two days later!  I should also mention that I emailed him the evening before Thanksgiving.  Talk about great customer service!  The change was minor - just upgrading the bathroom cabinets to match what we have in the kitchen.  We originally chose the Andover Maple Spice for the bathrooms.  But the more we thought about it, the more we wanted something darker.  So, we now have Wyoming Cherry Spice in both the owners and hall bathrooms.  We did not change the countertop or floor choices.  Not yet, at least - lol!  I think the longer we wait to break ground, the better chance there is for more changes! 

There is also one major change that I would like to share with you.  Drumroll please!!

 In general, blacktop doesn't really do it for me.  But, since we expected to see the road paved three months ago, this is pretty exciting.  Hopefully by the end of the month our lot will be staked and we can get a good look at what we puchased.  Keep your fingers crossed it was the right choice!  We haven't heard anything about whether or not they are on schedule with groundbreaking.  We have a three month cushion between when we are scheduled to close and when the lease on our current place ends, so we still have some flexibility with our timeline - thank goodness!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Over the weekend, we took the 45 minute drive to the Oakmont model in an effort to re-ignite our ethusiasm.  Mission accomplished!!  As I mentioned in my last post, there appears to be no visible progress on our future road despite the persistent work of many pieces of heavy machinery.  We assume they have fallen at least a month behind schedule from the last time we spoke with our SR and plan to follow-up this weekend and get the scoop.  Anyways!  Here are some photos of our future home!  I have to admit that it wasn't my first choice in floorplans, but after what was essentially "analysis paralysis" the Oakmont beat all other contenders.  Here she is!


Dining Room


Morning Room

Family Room
Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom w/ Sitting Area

Heaven on Earth!

Master Bath
(the loo is behind door #1)

Hall Bath

I hope you enjoyed the tour!  I plan to show a few comparisons between our current place and our future home (like Coleen and John) in a future post.  To give you some insight, we'll be moving from 750 to 3000 square feet!  We can't wait to have space for entertaining and be able to accomodate overnight guests!  Did anyone else drastically increase the size of their living space?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hello Homebuilders!!

It's been waaaaay too long since I've made a post, but I've been following the progress on everyone's new homes!  Congratulations to those of you who have recently closed or signed a contract to begin!

Unfortunately there is not much to report here in Western PA.  The men and their diggers have been working diligently (weather permitting) to complete the storm sewer and drainage system on the land where our future home will be located.  When we began researching in June we were informed that the road would be paved in August and the new model homes would open in November.  Well, it is November and the road has not been paved.  The rain and wet weather have set them behind quite a bit and who knows what other obstacles they've encountered.  They have made visible progress, which is promising, and you can even get a sense of where the homes are situated by the location of the green and orange wooden posts.  Here is a shot from a week or so ago:

We can see the future road!  We'll be the third home on the right!  Since we have a delayed delivery of June 2012, we're not sure whether or not the delay will affect us.  As long as we're in our new home by the end of August, we'll be happy.  Our excitement level has lost some of it's momemtum, but I think once the road is in and the building starts, we'll be back on track.  It's been about a month since we've been to the Oakmont model, so my DH and I are thinking about taking a little drive this weekend to re-ignite our enthusiasm!  I will keep you posted!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Loan Approval - Check!

We were surprised when we received a call yesterday from the LO.  It had only been five (business) days since we submitted our loan application, so I assumed NVR was asking for more paperwork.  Instead, we were congratulated on our loan approval - yay!  That was fast!  After hearing so many NVR horror stories, we expected there to be a few bumps in the road.  Hopefully this is an indication that they have made changes in their business procedures to help better serve their customers.  We have over seven months to go before closing, so we can only hope that the remainder of our interactions with NVR will go just as smoothly.  What was your experience with NVR?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Exterior Color Selections - Check!

Over the weekend, we met with our Sales Rep to choose our exterior colors and finalize our options and upgrades.  We fell in love with the color scheme at the right on our first trip to the Oakmont model.  Unfortunately, the shutter and door colors are no longer offered, but there were similar colors available.  Here is our exterior color scheme:

Brick:  Biscay
Siding:  Stone Mountain Clay
Trim:  Almond
Shutters:  Black Watch Green
Front Door:  Fine Wine

We are still unsure about the front door color.  The small sample door in the design center appeared red, but it appears more purple on the Sherwin Williams website.  Did anyone choose Fine Wine for their front door color?  How did it turn out?

We also reviewed our selections from Rusmur flooring and Guardian and added a few outlets to complete our options.  We also learned about some upgrades for our phase that RH has included in the base price of our home:
Icemaker RI
Poured Wall Foundation
3 Dimensional Shingles
Knock Down Stipple (Textured Ceiling)
Upgraded Landscaping Package with Black Mulch
Upgraded Garage Door (Carriage Style)
Passive Radon System

The township will be paving the first 3rd of our road within the next few weeks.  After that, we'll meet with our sales rep again and meet with the PM to thoroughly inspect our homesite.  Hopefully we'll get to put a "sold" sticker on our lot sign at that meeting too!  After that, there won't be much going on until our pre-construction meeting in February.  Of course, the hubs and I will be browsing for furntiture, appliances, and some other items we want for the house while we wait to break ground!

Here is a photo of the current view from the top of our street.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Flooring Selections - Check!

We spent about one hour at Rusmur making our flooring selections.  I took a few photos, however, the overhead flourescent lighting distorted the coloring a bit.  I think we made some choices that are fairly popular.

Family Room Carpet:  White Fox with 6# upgraded padding
Foyer, Powder Room, Kitchen, Morning Room, Laundry:  Initiator 66178
Kitchen Cabinets:  Wyoming Cherry Spice
Kitchen Countertop:  Butterum Granite

Upstairs Hall Bath:  Andover Maple Spice Cabinet
                              White cultured marble countertop
                              Flooring:  Initiator 66180

Luxury Owners Bath:  Andover Maple Spice Cabinet
                                  White cultured marble countertop
                                  Tile Flooring & Surround, and Listello:  Brixton Bone

We chose to carry the White Fox carpeting throughout the rest of the home including the study, dining room, and upstairs.  We selected a chestnut stain for our banisters/handrails.  Overall, we were pleased with the selection at Rusmur.  We were advised to not upgrade any carpet unless it was to at least level 5 from several people we know who already own a RH.  We followed that advice and only upgraded the padding in our family room with the expectation that the carpet will need to be replaced within a few years - at least in the high traffic areas.  What did you do about the carpet?  Did you find the selections offered at Level 1 to be of low quality as well?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Loan Application - Check!

My husband and I met with the loan originator from NVR this evening to complete our loan application.  Everything went smoothly and there were no surprises on either end.  We obtained a pre-qualification from NVR prior to finalizing our selections and negotiating a sales agreement so we don't expect there to be any issues with our loan approval.  However, given the reputation of NVR, we expect it to be a lengthy process with a few hiccups along the way.  How long did it take for your loan approval from NVR?  Did you experience any issues along the way?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Selections

Our strategy for choosing options was to begin with a "Pie in the Sky" configuration of options and upgrades that included everything we would love to have in our new home.  Our sales rep gave us the options list for the Oakmont which we took home and reviewed for a few days.  When it came time to negotiate we couldn't quite get to a number we were happy about with our "Pie in the Sky" so we needed to remove some items.  Overall, we are very happy with what we ended up with and feel we negotiated a fair deal.  Here are the dirty details:

Elevation E
Brick Front
Partial Porch
(see photo on the right)

Egress Window (req'd by code)
2 Foundation Windows
3 Piece Plumbing Rough-In

Main Level
Morning Room
Gourmet Island
Wyoming Cherry Spice Cabinets
Brushed Nickel Hardware (kitchen & bathrooms)
Recessed Lighting in Kitchen
Icemaker RI
Gas Range Hook-up
4 Foot Extension to Family Room
Side Fireplace (slate) with 2 recessed lights
Window in Family Room (rear)
Interior Cased Openings
Crown Moulding & Chair Rail
Pine Banisters

Upper Level
Closed Foyer (adds sq. ft. to bedrooms and hall bath)
Luxury Owners Suite
Ceramic Tile Upgrade – Owners Bath
Andover Maple Spice Cabinets – Owners & Secondary Bath
Double Bowl Sink in Secondary Bath

Dedicated Circuit (for basement level refrigerator/freezer)
6 Ceiling Fan Rough-Ins (4 bedrooms, family room, morning room)
Floodlights (rear of home)

Garage Floor Drain
Laundry Tub


We are within our 30 day window so we still have the opportunity to make non-structural changes.  Does anyone have any comments or recommendations on items to add or remove? 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Choosing a Floorplan

After visiting several models in the Pittsburgh area, we narrowed our decision down to the Victoria Falls and Oakmont floorplans.  Luckily choosing the Oakmont was easy because the 3 lots in our phase that could accommodate the Victoria Falls were either sold or on hold.  So the Oakmont it is!  Floorplan.  Check!          Here is a link to the interactive Oakmont Floorplan on RH website:

It's official! We are building a home!

Hello, fellow home builders!  After several months of talking, researching, and reading blogs, my husband and I have decided to build our first home – with Ryan Homes!  We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone that has been blogging about their experience.  The information we’ve gathered from the E-Community has been tremendously helpful and knowing there is a support network has eased much of our anxiety about the entire process.  Congratulations to those of you that have recently closed on your home and good luck to those who are mid-build.  We look forward to communicating and sharing our experiences with all of you!