Friday, April 22, 2011

Still Around!

Been a busy couple of weeks with all of the packing and storing of our things.  We closed on our existing home yesterday, and are living with relatives until our closing on the 29th.  We've visited the house once since the last pictures I had posted.  There wasn't much different at the time since I had taken those pictures 2 days earlier.  Since then, I'm told the carpeting and countertops are in, as well as all of the fixtures.  I'll be sure to post some pictures once we are in next week to show everyone the finished product.

Now I'm off to catch up on all of your updates.  Hope all is well!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Updated Pics - Cabinets, Railings, Flooring...

I went over to the house yesterday to get a few pictures of the back and to my surprise, it was unlocked, which was both a pleasant surprise and a concern.  I'm glad I was able to get access and look around, but also surprised that in this stage any random person could let themselves in.  However, we don't technically own it yet, so I guess it shouldn't matter.  As you can see, they've made great strides.  The linoleum is in, as well as the tile floors upstairs.  All the cabinets and vanities are in as well.  Basically everything I had mentioned in my previous post.  It's just nice to actually see these things in place and it begins to give a good idea of exactly how everything is going to look and feel.  I took a peek at the basement and I'm glad I did.  There was a bit of water in there which took me by surprise. The sump pump isn't operable yet, but to this point we had no signs of water in there and I had thought to myself that if we would, it certainly would have appeared sooner than this with all of the melting snow we have had over the previous weeks.  Then I quickly realized that someone hadn't shut off completely the valve where the water comes into the house.  It was a steady leak that must have been happening for hours.  So if anyone from Ryan is reading this (and I know you are), there are some advantages to your customers breaking the rules!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Our PM called with his weekly status update:

- They finished the tiled floors in the upstairs bathrooms.
- All the vinyl flooring is in.
- Trim and baseboard goes in tomorrow.
- They will do the tiling in the master bath next week, which includes around the soaking tub and the shower walls.
- Cabinets go in tomorrow.
- They paint Monday and Tuesday.
- Then in the middle to the end of next week it's lights, fixtures, toilets, etc..

Based on that information, I'm a little surprised our pre-settlement and closing is 4/29.  What's left to do after that?  Carpeting? Grading of the yard?  No complaining here though.  I'd rather wonder why it's not sooner, then wonder why it's taking so long.

We plan on getting another walk-through during the middle to end of next week.  In the meantime, it's more packing and storing...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Locked and Loaded!

We locked in our rate yesterday at 4.875%, which was a relief since they had jumped up to 5.125% on Friday after sitting around 4.875% for weeks.  One less thing to think about...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Updated Pics & Closing Date

We had a walk-through today and the house looks much different inside and out now that it's almost completely sided the drywall is complete.  For the first time we were able to get a real feel for the house and its size, and we are loving the 9' ceilings.  Everything looks great and is on track.  One of the front windows got a crack in it, but our PM had warned us that on every house at least one window gets broken during the building process.  They'll finish up the siding today and tomorrow, then next week it's painting, the tile work, and then the cabinets.  Everything is moving along very quickly and we are extremely excited.  We also got a letter from Ryan today stating that our projected closing date will be the same date as our pre-settlement, which is 4/29.  The only bit of bad news today was that the rates went up for the first time in a while due to the good news with the economy and the jobs report that came out today.  Hopefully they'll dip back below 5% so we can lock in next week.  Here are some of the updated pictures from today:

         Ladies and gentlemen, making her blog debut, my beautiful wife Lisa!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Friday Walk-Through

Spoke with our PM today and asked if we could do a walk-through on Friday and he's more than happy to have us come by.  He said they'll be sanding the walls in the morning, and finishing up the siding by then.  Still can't believe how fast it's moving.  It's hard to believe they'll still need another 4 weeks to finish it completely.  I'll be sure to bring the camera to get some more updated pics.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The siding of the house has officially begun.  I didn't have my camera with me, but was able to grab this shot with my phone...

Pre-Settlement Date

Our PM called this morning with our pre-settlement date which will be 4/29.  He said our closing is typically 2 days after, and since 4/29 is a Friday, that means we are most likely looking at 5/2 for closing which is right about where we were told it would be initially.  The good thing about our closing date being so early in the month is I believe our first mortgage payment won't be due until 7/1, but I could be wrong about that. 

I plan on doing a drive-by soon since the siding was supposed to be delivered today.  They probably haven't started it yet, but I'm going to check anyway.  I also would love to see the inside once the drywall is up (which should be complete by this Friday).  Has anyone requested a walk-through with their PM prior to your pre-settlement?  I don't want to annoy them, but since I can't get in anymore on my own, I can't imagine waiting until pre-settlement to see the progress they are making on the inside.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Exterior Pictures

This is the best I could do since I can no longer get inside.  These are the first pictures I was able to take of the back so far.  Can't wait until we put the deck in place off of the morning room.

Once the yard is graded and top soil is added, the egress window will be less noticable from the outside

A view from the other side of the street.  Our neighbors' siding is complete, we narrowed it down to khaki and gray initially, and since they got to choose first and went with gray, it made our choice easy.

Friday, March 25, 2011

They locked me out!

No more late night excursions.  I went over to the house tonight to take a peek, and the garage door is on, as well as the service entry door.  The front door has also had its doorknob put on, so I am no longer able to get in and poke around.  The downside of progress I suppose...

The PM called today and stated that the insulation is done, as well as the required inspections.  The couple of electrical errors/oversights have been corrected.  The drywall has been delivered and they will begin that tomorrow and finish it up sometime next week.  The basement and garage floors have been poured, and the siding will be delivered on Tuesday, so they will begin that next week as well.  By next Friday he should also be able to pin down the target date for completion, which should be somewhere around 5/1.  I'll add a few pictures tomorrow that I was able to take tonight.  I was hoping to get some more of the inside, but obviously that didn't happen.  I did walk through the mud to grab some of the back of the house.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Few Missed Items, Wasted Space and a Suggestion

We had our meeting yesterday, getting our first "formal" walk through, and confirming where exactly we'd like our cable/phone hook-ups to be within the house.  Everything went great, outside of a couple of small details we had requested that had been missed.  For example, we had asked beforehand that one of the switches in the diningroom be moved to the other side of the doorway which wasn't, and the extra outlet we had asked be installed out front was being put in the wrong spot.  Our PM was going to contact the electrician about those couple of small items.

The plumbing is done, the electrical is run throughout the entire house, the only piece remaining there is to connect the wiring to the panel itself.  That will be done within the next day or so, and then the inspectors come in to do their thing.  The garage floor and basement are going to be poured soon (might have even happened today). Once the inspectors come, they'll insulate this week, and drywall begins on Monday.  As it stands now, they actually are a couple of days ahead of schedule (looking right around 5/1 at this point).

We had noticed some seemingly wasted space upstairs in between the two bedrooms where the cold air returns run into each of the rooms respectively.  It's hard to explain without having taken a picture, but it's an area the size of a linen closet (maybe 5 feet wide) in between the two closets that the ducts for the cold air return sit on the floor of.  Everything above it, up to the ceiling, is wasted and unused space.  It was explained to us that this floor plan of the Ravenna, which is a more popular model down south, utilized this area to house all the duct work for the furnace, pipes for the water heater, etc.  I guess everyone down there keeps that stuff in the attic as opposed to a basement like us northerners.  You learn something new everyday I suppose.  I wish they could simply frame out the unused portion and expand our closets a bit, but they aren't allowed to deviate from the blueprints.  Perhaps it will be a project for me many years down the road...

Lastly, if there is anyone out there who is considering building and plans on finishing their basement after the fact, I strongly recommend taking the time to try and make sure that all of your mechanicals, if possible, are together on one side.  I took a lot of time with our PM at the pre-construction meeting trying to figure out what portion we'd eventually be finishing, and making sure our furnace, sump pump, electrical panel, and water heater were all together in what will be our storage area.  Luckily, based on where the electrical was coming into the house and where the the furnace was, everything else was able to fall into place.  When we walked through the basement yesterday, it was nice to see that there was absolutely nothing we would need to hide or work around when finishing off the basement.

That's it for now, hopefully I'll have more updates soon including some new pictures.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pre-Drywall Meeting

We got a call over the weekend and our pre-drywall meeting is scheduled for today.  This is the part where we have to pretend that we are seeing the inside of the house for the first time.  I'm not entirely sure of the purpose of this meeting other than making sure everything looks like it's in the right place before the drywall and insulation get put in and to give us our first formal look inside, right?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lots of Progress and Pics

Took the wife and kids over to the house tonight for their first walk through.  I know we aren't supposed to be snooping around yet, but what can they expect?  Things are coming along nicely, it looks like all the duct work and plumbing are done.  They also started the electrical today and it appears they made a lot of progress with that.  The fans are in the bathrooms as well as the canisters for the lights, and many of the boxes for the switches and plugs have been run.  The shingles on the roof were half way done as of Tuesday, I would have expected them to have finished it by today, especially since it was over 60 degrees here in NY, but for some reason the other half is still unfinished.  Hopefully it'll get done before any more rain passes through.  Here are some pictures, I can't get any of the back as of yet because it's way too muddy from all of the melted snow.

                                                 Isn't she glorious?   

                                               Finish the roof already!

                           View from the kitchen into the morning room

                           Looking into the familyroom from the kitchen

 Where our kitchen and morning room will be, 1st floor office is beyond that

                                    Upstairs, 2nd bath (kids bathroom)

                                                    Master Suite

            Master bath - shower, toilet and walk-in closet are to the right

   The Dynamic Duo, Marisa and Noah, trying to lay claim to the same room

Monday, March 14, 2011

Couldn't Help Myself

I was making trips to our storage unit yesterday (Sunday) and assumed the workers wouldn't be on the job so I took a trip over to the house.  Sure enough, no one was there so I was able to get inside for the first time and take a look around.  Although we don't have a roof yet, I was able to walk the entirely framed out first and second floors.  It was nice to be able to visualize the layout, as I had mentioned before that the floorplan is the mirror image of the model we walked and I was having difficulty picturing it in my mind.  It also provided for me an idea of how big our yard will be and just how large the house really is.  I don't have any pictures since I wasn't really planning on going over, but hopefully I'll be able to get some up soon.  Our pre-drywall meeting should be right around the corner I assume.  I also believe our roof should be up within the next day or so.

By the way, does anyone know of another blogger who is building a Ravenna?  I haven't come across one, but was wondering if I had happened to miss any. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

When a Lot Becomes a House

Swung by the lot today, and needless to say, they've made quite a bit of progress.  We also got a bit of good news this past week as our projected closing date was moved from 5/4 to 4/27.  We haven't had a chance to walk inside yet, but looking forward to doing so soon.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Lumber Has Arrived

Everything has gone exactly as we were told it would thus far.  They waterproofed the foundation and got the sign off from the inspector early this week.  Then they backfilled and partially graded the dirt around the house, and the lumber was delivered Thursday.  I received a call from our PM this morning and he said framing will start tomorrow (Saturday).  Everything is moving according to schedule, and by this time next week the house will be almost completely framed out.  The pictures of the lot are about to look really different, really soon.  I suppose at that point I'll stop calling it a lot and call it a house...

                                         Lumber, windows, door, etc.

View from the backyard looking at the back of the house

Temporary driveway

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Foundation Walls and Neighbors

I was able to run over to the lot today and grab some pictures of the foundation walls without the forms on them:
                       The view from the road of the front of the house

Our front stoop

The view from the back, on the right is where the egress window will be

I'm still having trouble picturing the layout of where everything will be.  The model we walked through twice was the mirror image (complete opposite) of what our house will be.  That, combined with the fact that the layout online is also the mirror image as well, makes it hard for me to picture where everything is going to be.  But basically, my office on the first floor will be right over where the egress window is, and the small window is under the morning room.  The slider will be on that other side, which is why we placed the egress where we did.  We didn't want to have a fire escape exit underneath where a deck will eventually be.  That would kind of defeat the purpose.  The rough-in for the bathroom in the basement is towards the front/middle of the house, or in the last picture, about where you see that pile of materials.  The mechanicals (furnace, electrical panel, sump pump, water heater) will all be on the left side of that picture too.  The idea was to make that area storage, and leave the rest to eventually be finished in a way that prevents us from having to work around those things.  That's also why we placed the windows where we did, to make sure they'd be in the portion of the basement that was eventually going to be the living area.

The other thing that happened today was that I met one of our neighbors.  I happened to be talking to one of my neighbors (here where my current home is) the other day and she mentioned her son lives in what will be our new development.  As we were leaving today, I happened to see her outside what was her son's house so I stopped by to say hello and meet him.  It turns out that he also has 2 boys, aged 4 and 2 (our kids are also 4 and 2), but even more exciting for our daughter was that she goes to pre-school with his older son.  Marisa was very excited about the fact that he's in our neighborhood (about 8 houses up from us).  We were told that there were a lot of couples our age with young children in the neighborhood, so it was nice to see that was the case already.  Where we are now, our street is not only much busier than the new neighborhood, but it's also an older community.  There are a lot of families who have kids in high school, college, or who are already grown with kids of their own.  I'm hoping the entire community is full of Mets fans too, but that probably won't be the case.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I received a call from our Project Manager this morning who makes it a habit to call every Friday with an update of the progress they've made, and an outline of what to expect in the coming days/weeks.  He said that they have finished the foundation walls and will remove the forms today. 

The next steps are as follows:

- Tuesday the waterproofing of the foundation walls will occur
- Wednesday morning the inspector comes out and signs off on the work
- Wednesday afternoon they backfill (push all the dirt in and up against the walls)
- Thursday lumber arrives
- Friday/Monday framing starts, and based on the size of the house and the crew he has on the job, they should be done within 7-10 days after that

I was going to try and grab some exciting pictures (sarcasm) of the foundation walls but we got hit with a storm today.  Perhaps I'll grab some this weekend.

Nonetheless, based on this schedule, we should have a completely framed out house in only about 2-2.5 weeks from now.  It's starting to feel real and all of this hard work is about to pay off.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We've Got Dirt...

I thought I'd be better about updating this, but quite frankly, there hasn't been much to talk about since I last posted.  We had the meeting with our PM on 2/9 and there were no surprises.  He walked through the process, timelines, etc..  We spent some time deciding how to layout the basement so that we could keep the furnace, electrical panel, sump pump, and such in the same general area which will become part of the storage section of the basement.  The idea was to keep the rest wide open so that we could finish it the way we like later without having to work around or hide those items when designing it.  We also have an egress window, so we needed to make sure it wasn't put in a place where we'd eventually be building a deck outside and also an area that made since for when we finished the basement.

The official groundbreaking took place yesterday morning, they hope to pour the foundation within the next couple of days.  I know from watching other houses in the neighborhood that once that happens, things occur quickly.  I'm looking forward to seeing that happen as it will give us a good idea of how much of a yard we will have.  It's hard to picture it now without any frame of reference.

Here are some relatively uninteresting pictures of our lot before they broke ground.  I anticipiate I'll be posting a lot more now that the construction has officially begun.  Well, at least I will try to fit it in between all of the packing we have to do at our current home...

                                                           Our Lot

Our neighbors to the right

Lack of neighbors to the left, although the lot right next to us recently sold

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Ravenna

Here is the link to the Ravenna:

Ravenna - Floor plans & tour

It gives you a good idea of the layout of our house.  However, it also includes a lot of features that ours will not have such as the Bonus Room, brick exterior, hardwoods, etc.  We did add quite a few updates including (but not limited to):

-Morning Room
-Gourmet Kitchen
-Upgraded carpet and carpet pad throughout
-Tankless water heater
-Upgraded kitchen cabinets
-Upgraded master bath w/ ceramic surround
-Premium lot
-Recessed lighting in kitchen and family room
-Gas fireplace
-3-piece bathroom rough-in in basement

The main things we held off on initially that we'll do later are hardwoods on the first floor in the kitchen/morning room/ hallway area and finishing the basement.

More to come, including pictures...

Monday, January 31, 2011

We're building a Ryan Home

This isn't new news, it was actually decided a month ago today.  We've been so busy the last couple of months deciding whether to buy or build, then once we decided to build, we had to determine which model Ryan made sense for us.  Sparing you the lengthy and boring details, we decided on the Ravenna because of its standard 9 foot ceilings, large bedrooms, first floor office - and most of the all - the kitchen/morning room/familyroom area.  The model is fairly new to our area, and would actually be the first one built in the community we are moving to. 

The part I was not looking forward during this process was selling our current home.  It turns out my worrying was a waste of time as our house sold in 4 days.  So our lumber was to be ordered today and our pre-construction meeting will be scheduled soon.  I hope to utilize this site to document the process and also to help others who are considering building with Ryan as well.  I found other blogs to be very informative for me, so I'm doing my part in paying it forward. 

Thanks for stopping by.