Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Carpet, Lighting, Driveway and Front Door

Looks like they are kicking it into high gear now.

They were installing the carpet and front door today. I imagine they will finish the carpet today. Between yesterday and today they managed to put in all the lighting too.  But, one thing that concerns me is the driveway.  They were able to pour it and add the finishing to it.  But, just as I was leaving it started to rain.  They rushed to cover the driveway with plastic, but I don't think they had enough, though.

Moving along on the siding.  Say cheese guys.

Finishing up the driveway, right before the rain....

Carpet guy, busy at work.  They still need to add the chair rail to the Dining room.

Dining room lighting.

Railing stained and installed.

Very busy in our little cul-de-sac.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two More Weeks...

There are only two weeks left until we close.  I'm still not sure how they plan to pull this off before then, but the PM says we are on schedule.

We hired CertaPro to paint the house.  We are using the four following colors from the Sherwin Williams Rustic Refined paint collection:

These colors don't always look the same
on computer screens.  The paint chips
show the color better.

Morning Room - White Raisin
Family Room - Bittersweet Stem/Copen Blue
Dining Room - Cascade Green
Living Room - Bittersweet Stem
1st Floor Bedroom - Cascade Green (Amish Quilt theme)
Master Bedroom - Cascade Green
Master Bathroom - TBD
Bedroom 2 - Copen Blue (Boy's Bedroom)
Bedroom 3 - Bittersweet Stem
Bedroom 4 - White Raisin
Upstairs Bathroom - TBD
Downstairs Bathroom - TBD
Laundry Room - TBD

We opted not to have them paint the bathrooms and Laundry room yet.

We also purchased our blinds from Lowe's.  We were still undecided on where to buy our blinds from, but the Lowe's sales rep called me Saturday and told me the Levolor rep was there and offering another 5% off.  I told him if they could also match Home Depot's labor charge, it was a deal.

So, we purchased the Levolor Visions, 2" custom Faux Wood blinds, in Lush Oak.  They we 25% off due to the sale, plus we got another 5% off, installation was only $100, and we were able to use the 10% off mover's coupon on top of everything.  $1600 installed, including tax, for 29 windows.

Finishing up the siding.
Driveway getting ready to be poured.

Cabinets are in.  Too much white.  Can't wait to paint walls and add back-splash.

They had to repour the front porch again - not enough overhang.  Third times a charm?
View from Morning Room.  They are staining the upstairs railing. 

Master Bathroom.  Cabinets, fixtures and toilet are in.  Gonna need to do something to give this bathroom some spice.

A/C installed.  I'm still not sure why they mount these on a cantilever so far from the house.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Still on Schedule

I emailed the PM some questions and here are his responses:

1. Are we still on schedule to close on July 13th? This is only 3 weeks away. I want to start scheduling deliveries and movers for the week of closing and want to make sure the date is still good. Yes, we are still on schedule.

2. Will there be another coat of paint on the walls? Yes. The walls only have primer right now.

3. There are two new window panes on the front of the house that have a different tint than the others. Are you aware of this? I did see that. The window sash was installed facing the wrong way, and I’ll get it corrected.

4. Will there be any trim around the inside of the windows? The blind guys are coming tomorrow (at the same time as the painter estimators). I want to know if their measurements will be off. Yes, there is window stool trim on the windows. It is best to wait to measure these until after they are trimmed.

5. When will the basement insulation be installed?  Friday is the scheduled date.

6. If there is any leftover brick that will be thrown away, can you save it for me instead? “leftover” brick is sent back to the supplier so that we do not pay for more than is needed. How much were you thinking?

So, it looks like we are still going to close on July 13th, which is good news.  But, I expect they will be really busy for the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


So, we are now finally seeing some progress.  During my visit today, I noticed trim was doors were being put in.  Also, the laid the vinyl flooring and installed the bathroom cabinets.  Someone was finishing up the electrical work (installing receptacles and switches).  The front porch has been re-poured and the siding has been delivered.  I think this will be installed tomorrow, since the scaffolding is also being set up.

Lowe's came out and measured.  I'll check with them later tonight to see about pricing.

Also, CertaPro Painters gave me an estimate, which was really well priced.  Painting our entire house, minus bathrooms (up to four different colors) will run about $2200.  That price includes a 10% off coupon from the Home and Garden show.  I'm not having them paint trim or the ceilings.

Front of House.  Graded for sidewalk and driveway.

Siding has arrived.

Vinyl is in.

1st floor bathroom cabinet is set.

They are getting ready to install the kitchen cabinets.

Second Floor Bathroom vinyl and cabinet are in.

Master Bathroom cabinets and vinyl are in.

Lastly, there may be an issue with the vinyl flooring.  The first floor is supposed to have this vinyl:

And the second floor is supposed to have this:

But, I think they used the same vinyl for the entire house.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Three More Weeks...

We have had a lot of rain last week and it looks like more is in store for this week.

There hasn't been much construction activity on our house, except for the brick and the one-coat interior painting.  I asked the painters if they were going to do a second coat and he said "no".  He didn't speak very good English, so maybe he didn't understand me.  There is a definite need for a second coat.

Tomorrow, we have Lowe's (blinds) and CertaPro painters (interior painting) coming out to measure and give us estimates.  I was going to order blinds online through Blindster.com, but Lowe's installation is pretty cheap ($99 for up to 9 and $10 each for 10+).  With the 10% off mover's coupon, this may be a really good deal.  I am also going to price Home Depot, since their installation cost is only $118 total, for as many blinds as you want installed.

Previously, I received a ridiculous estimate from College Pro Painters.  They were supposedly going to give me 30% off.  But, the final price ended up costing about $50/hour not including supplies, making the cost over $5000.  I think CertaPro will be a lot more reasonable.

I am going to install my own sprinkler system with the help of a pro.  I did my own design for the sprinkler layout thanks to Sprinklerwarehouse.com.  They have a design installation guide to help you out as a beginner.  (Here is the LINK).  Or, if you prefer you can have RainBird design one for you for free. (Here is the LINK).  Then you can order the parts directly from Sprinklerwarehouse.com for a lot cheaper than the big box stores or local irrigation supply stores.  What would have cost me around $4500 for a sprinkler system will only cost me about $2000, installed.

I've asked our PM if they are still on schedule to complete the house in 3 weeks.  I see a lot of work that needs done and I see some houses further along than ours that are scheduled to close after us.

View of back porch.  Heavy rains filled up the basin and my backyard.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Four More Weeks...

We are now down to four weeks left.  We will close on Monday, July 13th.  True to their word Ryan Homes mailed us a four page letter that outlines our Pre-settlement meeting, Settlement, Utilities, and moving reminders.

Today, I called the utility companies to schedule turnover of utilities and stopping our current ones.  This was a bit challenging since our address doesn't exist yet in many databases.  I also set up mail forwarding at USPS for once we move.  There are some really good coupons available from Target, Wayfair and Best Buy (10% off).  Also, if you go directly to Lowe's website you can sign up for a 10% off coupon.

Got this email about Ryan Homes house wrap: "The metallic housewrap was discontinued division-wide with all sales beginning in 3rd quarter of last year."

So, I guess that means we only get the "Ryan Homes" logo house wrap; which doesn't seem to be up to par.

We have been looking at appliances, since we still need a Washer, Dryer, and Refrigerator.  I would love to also purchase a dehumidifier, water softener and back-up sump pump, but we'll see.


We are planning to buy:

Samsung Activewash with Built In Sink 4.8-cu ft High-Efficiency Top-Load Washer (Platinum)
Model #: WA48J7770AP

Samsung 7.4-cu ft Top Load Electric Dryer with Steam Cycle (Platinum)
Model #: DV48J7770EP

Samsung 28.15-cu ft French Door Refrigerator (Stainless Steel) 
Model #: RF28HMEDBSR

Lowe's had the washer and dryer on sale for $748 each (regularly $999).  However, they are going to price match this to a local appliance store for $699 each.  Then, this coming weekend, there is an additional 10% off.  This will make them $628.20 each.

Also, we found the refrigerator on sale for $1999, regularly $3299, at a local appliance store.  Lowe's will price match this too.  Plus, when you buy two or more 5-Year Major Appliance Extended Protection Plans, they only cost $96.97 each.

Lastly, Lowe's will allow us to use the 10% off moving coupon on top of everything.

Total savings: almost $2500.

Now, I just need them to deliver it shortly after we move.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Grading, Drywall, Bricks and Other Goodies

I was starting to wonder why our house was falling behind when others in the neighborhood are starting to get stonework and siding up.  But I noticed those homes don't have drywall yet.  I think they alternate the workers.

There was a small bulldozer pushing dirt around our our house (rough grading?).  Also, I noticed the developer finally got around to stabilizing the soil in the detention basin.  I am assuming the landscape berm is next on their list.  

Here are today's pics:
Brick has arrived.  I wonder if they are going to start  putting it up tomorrow?

Closer look at our brick - Sugar Creek.  Can't wait to see on the wall.

Here is the detention basin.  It looks a lot better.  They regraded the slopes and added hay/grass seed.
They still need to do something about all that water.

Rear of the house.  The small bulldozer was grading the rear of the lot.

Drywall tape up and pasted.  They may still come back and do some touch-up.

Picture from kitchen.  Wouldn't it have been easier to clean up where they mixed
the paste by putting down a tarp?

Goodies!  Cabinets, hardware, doors...  (Can you see the front door? - It's wrapped in plastic)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Drywall is Up

Update:  PM got back to us about the sprinkler system.  They sent us a form to sign that will allow us 10 days after closing before they install the sod.  So, that's really good news.


Drywall went up Friday.  They had about 10 guys there and flew through it.  The drywall still needs taped, but it's all up.  I was a bit peeved that most of the HVAC vent temporary covers were damaged/removed.  Trash and drywall dust has made it's way into the exposed ductwork.  I emailed the PM about this and haven't received a reply yet.

I entered a contest back in February at the Columbus Home and Garden Show and "won" 30% off of a paint job from a local paint crew.  They came out and gave me an estimate Sunday.  In a nutshell they still wanted way too much.  He told me it would take 84 hours to do.  Once I subtracted out for supplies the discounted price ended up being $30 an hour.  (This seems a little high to me).

I'm looking to have a sprinkler system installed.  I do not want to be watering, by hand every day, a half an acre of newly laid sod, in the Middle of July.  I asked one of the guys installing a sprinkler system for a neighbor to give me a estimate.  Also, the city that supplies our water gives a discount if you install a second water meter to be used exclusively for irrigation.

Now that we have a settlement date, we started looking at appliances more intently.  I have seen a lot of good deals, but Lowe's seems to be offering the most affordable protection plans (almost half the price of the others).  My plan is to buy from Lowe's and price match the competitors.  Plus they offer free delivery and free installation on appliances.

Now for the latest pics:

Front of house - not much new progress outside.

Temporary cover removed - drywall dust and trash falling in

1st floor bedroom

Looking across Kitchen to Morning Room

Looking towards Family Room

Looking from Morning Room towards front of house.

Looking from Family Room towards Kitchen

One of the second floor Bedrooms

Looking into Garage

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pre-drywall Meeting

No pics today, but I updated the panoramic photo above.

The pre-drywall meeting went well.  They put up all the insulation already, so it was a good thing I took over 200 photos on Monday to make sure I know what will be where inside the walls.

Our "firm" Pre-Settlement walk-through is scheduled for July 9th and our Settlement date is set for July 13th.  Excited to have a date now.

They are planning to rough grade the site next week. Brick is scheduled for delivery tomorrow.  If the brick guys finish up this week siding will be going up next week.  Drywall is going up this week.

They had to rip out the porch concrete slab because they didn't allow for the brick around the base of the porch.

The developer has revised the landscape berm grading and now the berm will be off of my lot.  They are planning to grade this starting next week.

Interesting fact about our Property taxes in our county:  I called the county auditor asking when our property taxes will go up because of the new house.  (Property taxes are paid in arrears, so the first 12 months or so, will be based off of vacant land and the taxes will be lower for those months).  Our county only assesses once a year in January.  If your house is less than 50% complete by January 1, you only pay the land tax for that year.  This means we won't be paying property tax on the house portion until January 2017.  That's about $500 a month in savings (yes, we have high taxes).  This may not apply to you, so check with your county.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Ryan Homes gets a B-

(Sorry for the long post)

Our pre-drywall meeting is coming up tomorrow, so I had an inspection done.  The home inspector did a great job and pointed out several issues that need fixed and even some suggestions.  The problem is our PM is not going to do quite a few of these items.

Unlike custom home building where you control the purse strings (since you have the construction loan), when you build a new home with a builder such as Ryan Homes, you don't have much control over some of the details.  This creates a problem, since Quality is no longer the top concern.  Instead, things like the profit and speed become paramount.

Ryan Homes is no more to blame than any of the other "non-custom" home builders.  The process is similar to buying a car at a dealership.  You can pick all the options you want and possibly view it being built at the factory, but you can't truly customize it (i.e. pick a non-oem stereo, alarm system, etc) until after you drive it off the lot.  Also, you can't oversee the assembly process and request the manufacturer make small changes to the design (move interior lighting, add more cushioning to the seats, etc).

The true problem lies in the fact that the home builder only needs to comply with local building codes.  Anything above and beyond this is at their discretion.  Ensuring quality requires time and additional resources, which affects the bottom line.

Builders get reputations on the value and quality of the homes they build.  Our inspector gave Ryan Homes a B-.  This is a decent grade, but I think Ryan Homes can do better.

First off, this is my house.   I am paying a lot of money for it (much more than a car).  If I want you to replace a stud, do it.  Note to Ryan Homes: Quit taking shortcuts and trying to use what should be scrap lumber.  Stop "repairing" warped studs by cutting them and attaching a short stub to it - just replace it.

Second, remember I am the customer and the customer is always right.  Well, not always, but at least treat the owner with respect and acknowledge their problem and suggest possible solutions.  Note to Ryan Homes: If I want additional electrical wire protection brackets, just do it.  It doesn't cost much and will make me happier.

Third, stop "nickel and diming" us for all the options.  When it is cheaper for me to add things after the house is built, than when it is being built, something is wrong.  Note to Ryan Homes: Why should I have to rip out my carpet (and waste it) to put in hardwood floors that are cheaper than what you sell.

Here are my inspection notes to the PM: