Thursday, February 28, 2013

Initial NVR meeting.....done!

I met with my LO today from NVR - easy as pie. That part, at least. I had all my documentation ready, and she was extremely pleasant to work with. As I'd mentioned, my application will be submitted to an outside broker first, before coming to 'in house' NVR underwriting. The LO says she usually gets approvals back quickly from the outside we'll see. I'd just planned in my mind not to hear anything for a month.

In other news, I did get a call from CTI to make my flooring selections. They didn't have any available slots until March 23!!  Seems sooooo far away. I do get to play around in their cool design center though. Soooo many choices of carpet. I'm sure I'll scour the website, make some choices, and change them all once I get there. LOL!  Fun times. :-)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Starting with NVR

Got a call from the Loan Officer to schedule my appointment to submit the application. That will happen this coming Thursday. As I highlighted in an earlier post, I did a short sale almost 3 years ago - I reach the 3 year mark in May. FHA guidelines state that I cannot get financing until after the 3 years are up, but I was told I could proceed with the buying process now.

The LO explained today that she would be submitting my application to an outside broker for an initial approval; I cannot go to 'in house' underwriting until after the 3 year mark, which should work out fine since I'm looking at an August settlement date. The LO stated that this initial approval would allow Ryan Homes to have the go ahead to start building my home.

Praying, praying, praying that this all works out well.

Prepping for Guardian

I got a call this morning from the Guardian rep...we're on for a meeting this coming Monday, March 4th. I've had the same alarm company in two different residences over the last 6 years, so in order to prepare for the Guardian meeting, I called my current company, told them I was looking at building new construction and moving again - I wanted to see what they were offering in comparison to what the Guardian rep would try to sell me.

My only resource for Guardian pricing and services has been the blogs (EXCELLENT resource!) and what they have on the website. The Guardian installation appears to be just the doors, one motion detector and a keypad. And it seems that the basic monitoring (using a land line?) starts at $40 or $45 a month. My current alarm company is offering me a 3 year contract, and they won't raise my rate. I'm currently paying $90 a quarter (I like paying quarterly), and I have a land line installation. The current place doesn't do land line installs anymore (wow! land lines...the way of the buffalo), so my new install would be cellular. It would include all doors, two motion detectors (I lobbied for the extra!), one keypad and the hand held remote. I was informed that window contacts cost approximately $75 per window, but the more windows you get, the cheaper the price becomes. And no installation fees. Not too shabby. Sounds like it may be cheaper than Guardian.  I guess the big difference would be the wired system versus the wireless system. I don't know if this is a big thing for me....should it be? My reasoning is, ultimately, if the system keeps people of the unwanted nature out....does it matter if it's wired or wireless?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

YaY!!! Purchase Agreement Signed

Today was the day!! I met with my SR this morning and signed the very long purchase agreement. I'm so very happy and excited!! I'm planning for an August delivery; it works well since my current rental agreement is not over until December. And I'll get to be all settled in (prayerfully) before school starts.

I took the picture of my very awesome mound of dirt! Oh, and an aside, my neighbors on one side settled yesterday, and were moving in today. I'm hopeful that I'll meet them before I move in. It looked a little chaotic over there today, so I didn't try to intrude. And the neighbors behind me (I'm on a corner) just had their basement poured. Looks like I'll be the last one to the party.


Finalizing colors is such a hard thing to do!!  Here's what I've chosen....for now.

For the outside, it seems Ryan has some new brick colors - in the design center, they still had the old colors on the wall - the new colors were just leaning in the corner. This being the case, I didn't have to worry about what was chosen by the surrounding home owners. For the brick, I chose La Cava, which I absolutely LOVE!!!

This left me with 3 siding/shutter/door options. And on this note, shouldn't the shutters and the door match? I always thought that they would, however, none of them matched in the color combos I had to choose from. I think I would have liked brown shutters and a brown door....but alas, this was NOT one of my options. There was a brown shutter option, but I wasn't super fond of the siding. It looked too light. Ultimately, I decided on the black door and the wine color shutters. This went along with the Silver Mist siding.

Not sure how that's all gonna work out, but I think it'll be okay.

The kitchen wasn't a cake walk either. So much so that I had a minor lapse, and didn't take any pictures. LOL.  I selected the Tahoe Cherry Bordeaux, the St. Cecelia granite and the hardwood color is Saddle. I also have stainless steel appliances. Fortunately for me, there is another Ryan Home model not far from my home that has these colors in the kitchen, so I've had the chance to see how it will all look together. Didn't take a pic of that model either (doh!), but I did find a picture on the web that shows the combination here:

 For the hall bath (my daughter's bathroom) and the master bath, we chose the Espresso cabinets. And my daughter got to select her own ceramic! She LOOOOVVVVED that. This is what she selected:

So my baby girl got on a roll, and wanted to pick my bath ceramic too. She narrowed it down for me, and let me have the final say (thanks, baby girl!!) . My ceramic pick:

Today has been quite a whirlwind. I've got the wheel barrel full of documents to read. The HOA document is like 400 pages long!!!!
Next up....NVR. Off to start finding every document I've ever signed..............

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Opt for Options

Oey-vey. What a day!! I met with my SR yesterday (she's awesome!) to build the house out on paper and crunch the numbers. As indicated in my previous post, I wanted a LOT of I took along the one person who is my voice of reason, and who can shut me down with just one look - my mother. LOL.  I know she only wants the best for me, and will tell me when I've 'gone too far'. Soooo, off we went. 

I know you all know how quickly these options can add time at all, and you're like 'what in the world did I get!!!' By the way, I have this exact experience every time I go into Target - but I digress.  Like most folks, I had a range in mind of what I wanted to pay for the house, and where I'd like to end up for my monthly obligation. Here was my game plan - add all my wants in, see where it gets me, and then implement my back out plan (which I had written down) for things I could really live without. For all of you who have yet to reach this point, please note: THIS IS A BAD PLAN. lol.  No. Seriously. It's bad. Why? Because unless you are going to back out THOUSANDSSSSSS of dollars, you will see little to no difference in your payment, so you think...well, that only removed $5.00 - I may as well keep it. I dunno. Maybe it's just me. I am happy to say that with all these things, and the great incentives, I stayed within my range. I'm at the top of the range, but nonetheless, I made it. My goal is to pay cash at settlement for any upgrades in flooring and with Guardian.  Well, here's what I ended up with (as of now....these are subject to change decrease only!)

  • Elevation B - Brick Front
  • Garage Door Opener (I thought it was fairly priced, so I went for it)
  • Double Patio Door for basement (I've got a walk out lot)
  • 3 piece rough-in for basement
  • Finished rec room in basement (this was free!!)
  • 9' ceilings on the first floor
  • Side windows for study/living room (either or, in the Savoy)
  • 2' family room extension (I'm really debating this one, it may go)
  • Side windows in the family room
  • Morning Room (got this on an incentive as well!!)
  • Side windows for morning room
  • Kitchen gourmet island
  • Current promo includes SS appliances, granite counter tops and free hardwood floors for kitchen!!
  • 42'' Cherry Bordeaux Timberlake cabinets with crown molding
  • Recessed lighting in kitchen and rec room
  • Granite fireplace in family room + blower
  • Cabinet upgrades in master bath and guest bath
  • Upgraded owner's suite, which included soaking tub and separate shower
  • Ceiling fan rough ins for Master Bed, Daughter's Bed, Morning room, Study and Family room
  • Dedicated circuit in basement (adding a mini kitchenette later)
  • Extra windows in all bedrooms upstairs (these are free...apparently due to some county code, we have to have them. Thank you county...I love windows; however, I won't love covering all of them. lol)
Sorry these post have been so long. Hopefully I'll get to post fun pictures soon. :)

FYI - I have the 'master' upgrade sheet - of course it's for the Savoy and my area, but if anyone is interested in prices of anything, let me know. I'll gladly share. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wants, Wants and More Wants!

My appointment with my SR is quickly approaching. I'm soooo excited. Still a little apprehensive. I want this all to be real, but it's not feeling real yet. :)

This is the appointment where we build the house out on paper...decide on all the options and work the numbers. I'm sure this is in anticipation of being able to write out the purchase agreement. Here's the thing - I want a lot of stuff. Want. Want. Want. So I figure before I come crashing down to reality, I can at least write out aaaallllllll the things I'm hoping for. Knowing that I probably won't get it all. It's the 'b' word causing my hindrance. Budget. Sigh. Yes. I must stick to one. So here's my list. A lot of it has been inspired by the blogs I've read - so thank you Ryan Homes e-family!!!

Basement (the lot currently on hold is a walk out)
--Finished basement (currently free via incentive)
--French doors, instead of a sliding glass door.
--Upgraded carpet and padding
--Dedicated outlets for stove and fridge
--Recessed lighting

Main Level
--Morning Room (currently an incentive going on with this. I don't think it's free, but reduced)
--Extra windows in Morning room, family room and study.
--Upgraded carpet in family room
--Recessed lighting in the family room
--Hardwood flooring in kitchen, morning room and study.
--Island in the kitchen.
--Gourmet kitchen:: here's the thing about the kitchen...currently there is an incentive where Ryan Homes is offering a free 'gourmet kitchen'. The thing is, I don't know right now what all that entails. I do know my SR said free hardwood. And I think SS appliances. I don't think it includes the island. Not sure if it includes granite countertops (want that) or upgraded cabinetry (want that). Oh, and recessed lights. Want those for the kitchen as well.

Upper Level
--Extra windows in guest rooms.
--Upgraded padding
--Upgraded cabinets in guest bath.
--Upgraded tile/countertops in guest bath.
--Elongated toilets.
--Upgraded master suite:: this is the want that pains me the most. Because its SUPER expensive. I can get a few other good ones for the price of just this; however, this upgrade would give me the separate soaking tub and nice shower. Plus two walk-in closets. Plus a bigger room. It's a great upgrade. Now I can just go with the bathroom upgrade. It's not as expensive. But man. I reeeaaalllly want the whole suite upgrade. We'll see how this one goes. :)

--Ceiling fan rough ins in morning room, family room, study, and all bedrooms
--Alarm system with monitoring
--Garage door opener
-- Extra outside light on garage (I think there is only one?)
--Data/cable ports in study, family room, master bedroom, one guest bedroom

So what do you think?? Sounds like 2 million dollars in options, no? LOL. All in all, I just feel extremely blessed to even have this amazing opportunity to perhaps build a home. If necessary, I would take the house option-free. But a girl is allowed to want, want, want, right???

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fits and Starts

I'm really early in this process. Almost so early, that I debated starting to blog. But good or bad, whatever the final outcome is, I wanted to have it documented. I'm sure I'll have good days and bad ones. And my, oh my, how I have LOVED all the Ryan Home building blogs. You folks are a God send. Really. I've learned soooo much and I know it will be useful to me as I take this journey. I only hope I can be helpful along the way.

My SR (I learned that from the blogging peeps - that's Sales Representative), is wonderful. I've had little interaction with her up until now, because I'm still so new, but I like her. She's already worked above and beyond. Let me tell you how....

Like most folks, I have issues. The thing plaguing me most was the fact that that big ole house that I had when married was disposed of via short sale. And we weren't current in payments when the sale occurred. More like,  deed in lieu of foreclosure. I know. It's horrible. But it couldn't be avoided - at least I didn't know how to avoid it. At any rate, I'd learned via my own research that I wouldn't be eligible for a loan for at least 3 years. The house was sold in May 2010. So all this time, I've just been waiting (impatiently) for May 2013, so I could jump back into the market. The community where I'm looking has about 10 to 12 lots left - 87 homes in total - so they are winding down. I explained all this to my SR, asked her if I could write a contract, have it held up until May. She called the loan folks right then to ask about the short sale situation. The LO (loan officer) informed her that she wouldn't be able to even submit me for a loan until 30 days AFTER the sale of the house, and I'd have to provide the HUD1 from the home sale. So now we're talking June. (I'm looking at FHA financing, btw) And my SR started talking to me about being 'contingent'. Sigh. At this point, I was feeling a bit discouraged. I was still feeling hopeful about my good credit! I have really good credit, even post short sale. Then, my SR explained to me that the FICO numbers we pay to see aren't necessarily the same as the ones they will see. SAY WHAT??? I didn't know this. Then why am I pulling FICO numbers? Double sigh. Nonetheless, I pressed on to find the HUD1 indicating the details of the short sale. My SR told me she was going on vacation, but before she left, we did do a lot hold. I didn't get too attached to the lot, since I'm 'contingent'. My SR told me that as soon as I got the documentation, email it to her, even though she was going to be on vacation. I told her I would...and I did. She immediately got all the documents over to the LO, and two days later, all while my SR was still on vacation, I got an email from her...she says her LO says we're good to go. We don't have to wait. We can proceed full steam ahead right NOW! I'm like...floored with excitement. I don't know why....I don't know what happened to the 3 year thingie - I just know I'm counting this blessing as mine.

Onward we go. Next step - I have a meeting scheduled with my SR on the 18th. She told me at that time we'd build the house out on paper, monkey with the numbers and all that good stuff. Soon after that, I guess I write the purchase agreement. I'm happy, nervous, excited...fill in the blank...all at the same time. And it's great to share with folks who know the feeling. :-)

How I Got Here

All of this started because I arrived at a baby shower too early. Well, let me go back a bit further, and explain....

I am not new to the home building process. I did this once before in 2004 with Caruso Homes. At that time I was freshly married, and starting a new life. Now I'm freshly divorced. But that's a whole 'nother blog for a whole 'nother time. :-) Sadly, I don't recall a lot of the first go round of this home building process - I really wished I'd kept a blog so I could look back and see what transpired.

So here I am, doing it once more again. Now I'm a single mom (loving it!!!) of one very happy and well-adjusted first grader. We are currently renting a townhouse in a very nice community, which is five minutes from my church, and my daughter's private school. I really love this area, and was thinking that when I went to buy again, I would purchase a townhouse. BUT, I feel sooooo cramped in this particular town house. Yes, I'm spoiled. I can acknowledge this. My first single family built was 6,000 sq ft. Way too much for me now, but I'm feeling tight in the 1200 current sq ft. But never fear....they do make large townhouses!!!  So off I went in search of a larger townhouse. Hit a snag. Well, sorta. I'd have to move to a different city/area to get the type of townhouse I desired....2500 sq ft...two car garage. I really was having heartburn about having to move further out, but I didn't feel like I had a choice.

Then I started poking around on, and realized a crazy thing. So many of the single family homes in my current area were the *same price* as these super fancy townhouses in the different city. I'm in the Washington DC Metro area, so I'm not sure if that's a common thing, but I was finding this to be the case. I started thinking, well maybe....just maybe....I could get a resale single family, and stay in my same area. I started saving some homes in my phone app, to take a look a bit later, closer to when I would be ready to make a move.

This is where the baby shower comes in. I was heading to a baby shower for an acquaintance, and the baby shower was being held in and around the area where I'd saved some homes to see. I show up for the baby shower only to find out that they'd decided to change the time to 3 hours later!!!  Apparently, I hadn't read the 'updated' evite. Sigh. No way I was going home and coming back 3 hours later!!! Then the thought hit....let's ride around and take a look at some of these resale homes that I saved on my phone app. And I did.

I passed a Ryan Homes community, and saw the sign for the starting price. This starting price (which we never pay, by the way), was lower than pretty much all the prices on the resales. And yeah, the resales are always negotiable, but who doesn't like new??? I always just assumed 'new' would be out of the ball park for me. But you know how it goes....looking never hurts. So I looked. And I LOVED!!  And more importantly, I wanted.

And so my journey began...