Wednesday, August 25, 2010


There isn't much going on with the house so I thought I'd post some pictures from our recent visit.

                                          Looks like we'll have deer in our backyard!

                           We now have flat land!

We have a port-a-potty in our front yard!

Some pictures of our "neighborhood".  This will be the culdesac road across the street from us.

The two pictures below will be the road as it goes down a slight hill.  It's so hard to believe that in a year this will be a road with several houses along it.  I LOVE the trees!


We're so excited.  We can't wait until there is not only progress with the land, but progress with our house.

I apologize for the poor formatting of this post.  No mater how I tried to line things up, this program has a mind of its own.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What We Didn't Get...

I am so happy with the house and upgrades we decided on.  It's going to be a great house!  Of course, we couldn't get everything we wanted.   Here's a look at some of the things we didn't get.

Quoin Corners - I can't really describe what this looks like, but considering it was a $1,200 upgrade, we can deal with regular brick corners!

Landscaping Packages - we opted not to do this since my best friend's husband is a landscaper.  To upgrade the package, and I'm not sure what all that includes, can cost up to $1,500.

Service Door for garage - We figure we can just open our garage door :)


I would have loved to finish our basement, and we plan to do so in the future.  However, since its just the two of us right now, we have plenty of space.  Finishing it would be around 12 grand.  You can also add a bathroom.  We opted to get the plumbing and will eventually put a bathroom in on our own.


Granite. granite, granite.  How I would love granite counter tops!   With the type of island we're getting and the fact that we're getting the breakfast bar with the morning room, $7,000 was way more than we wanted to spend.  The laminate we're getting does look like granite.  We figure down the road we can change this as well.

The other thing I love is stainless appliances, but we decided just to stick with the black.  There was a range of prices for the stainless.  We passed.  I'm just happy to be getting a dishwasher!  It will be the first time in my life I've had one!

Owners bath - Neither one of us are big bath people, so we didn't feel that we needed a separate bath and shower.  We figured that money could be spent somewhere else in the house where more than just the two of us would enjoy it!
We also stuck with cultured marble rather than granite counter tops in the bathrooms.  The model home was great because it showed one bathroom with granite and one with the cultured marble so we knew exactly what to expect.  We'll have a pedestal sink in the downstairs bathroom, so these counters will only be on the vanities in the upstairs bathrooms.
Faucets - I'll be honest.  I HATE the chrome faucets that come standard.  But switching out faucets is an easy task.  We found faucets that we liked at Home Depot that would cost far less than the $1,000 - $1,850 upgrade.  So I'll live with the chrome faucets for a short time before we replace them.  Replacing the faucets is at the top of my list!

Those are all of the big upgrades that we chose not to get.  Yes, they would have been nice to have, but I think it will also be nice to live in our house for a bit and decide what we want to do with it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What We Ended Up With

It's been a while since my last post.  Aside from the fact that not much has been going on with the house, my husband and I went away to celebrate our first anniversary and as a teacher I'm scrambling to get ready for school to begin!  But this is a fun post, so I don't want to put it off any longer.  We decided on the Venice model.  Here are the upgrades we chose:

- Elevation B
- Full Brick Front
- Egress Window in basement (this one boggles my mind, see below!)
- Plumbing for future bathroom in the basement
- Upgrade to level 2 kitchen cabinets
- Gourmet island in kitchen
- 42" cabinets in the kitchen (this was a no brainer for only $350)
- Kitchen sink upgrade - deeper bowls
- Gas hookup for stove (I don't really consider this an upgrade!)
- Microwave to be mounted above oven
- Ice maker rough in (refrigerator not included!)
- Fire place in family room
- Oak handrails and banisters for stairs
- Upgraded lighting package
- Recessed lights in kitchen, family room, and morning room
- Floor drain in garage
- Upgraded carpet and carpet padding
- Laundry tub (yep, that's an upgrade!)

The price of upgrades does vary from loctation to location.  For example, a finished basement for my model in Pittsburgh is close to $12,000 but in Ohio is $6,000 for the same model.  While they may not be the same, if you're interested in cost, feel free to email me at

So some of the upgrades we're getting are hardly upgrades in my mind.  For example, we are REQUIRED to have a window in the basement - it makes sense.  However, this is an $850 upgrade.  My feeling is that if something is required to meet code, it should be included in the price of the house.  Other absurd upgrades (in my mind) were the gas hookups, the floor drain, garage opener, and wash tub.  Also, I was very disappointed in the standard lighting package.  I know we could have changed the light fixtures ourselves, but I think that cost would add up very quickly if we did it on our own.

All of that aside I am very happy with what we're getting.  Sure there are things I wanted that we didn't get, but we're going to have a great house.  I'm most excited about the morning room!  I can't wait to be in our new home.

Next time I'll post about the upgrades we didn't get....and why.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Guardian Meeting

We had our meeting with the guardian technologies guy last night.  It wasn't as bad as I expected.  We stuck to our guns and only got what we set out to get - cable, phone, and internet hook ups.  In addition, they also try to sell surround sound, a central vacuum, and a home security system.
I didn't notice this, but my husband pointed out that our sales guy directed the entire sales pitch of the security system to me.  He didn't look at my husband once!  I guess he was trying to play on my "womanly" fears.  I actually did think the system was a pretty good deal, but we're passing for now.
We also finalized our selections last night!  I'll write more about that in the next couple of days.  I'm very excited!  Now the long six months of waiting begins.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Not Much Going On

There hasn't been very much to write about this week.  We have our meeting with Guardian Technologies on Monday.  This is where they do a presentation and try to get us to buy a whole bunch of things we have  no intention of buying - a security system, surround sound, and other such things.  The only thing we plan on getting are extra phone and cable jacks since you only get one of each per floor.  This is probably the only time where my husband could be sucked into buying something we didn't plan on buying :)  We'll see what happens.

And since I don't have anything else to report, I'll just complain about incentives.  My complaint is that WE AREN'T GETTING ANY!!!  I've known this all along, but after reading about the awesome incentives other people are getting, I really am disappointed.  My favorite Ryan incentive out there is the free finished basement!  How awesome is that!  That's an $11,000 savings (at least for our model)!  My next favorite is that Ryan will pay for half of your upgrades up to $16,000 - so they'd actually pay for $8,000 in upgrades.  I could think of quite a few things that  money could go towards.  Then there is the free upgrade to stainless steel appliances.  Its not as big as the other incentives, but it's still a pretty sweet free upgrade.  I'd take it!  But, no.  Our plan is in such demand that they don't need to give incentives because they know that they will sell the sites regardless.  Oh well.  I guess our incentive is that we'll have an awesome house in a great community!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Inside

Here's a link to a quick tour inside the Venice.  Some things will be different .  Our morning room will be larger and we'll have a different island.  Plus, our decorating won't be quite so nice!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Still Sticking with the Venice...

We had a quick meeting tonight just to go over some of our changes and make our flooring selections official. 
My friend is very disappointed that I haven't posted any pictures of the house yet.  So (Beth) today you'll get to see the outside.  We'll probably get vinyl siding, but there's still a small chance of brick.  I think it looks good any way.

                                             The Venice with all siding.

The Venice with Partial Brick.

The Venice with Full Brick.

I don't think we can go wrong.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our Land

Hard to believe that in 7 months this pile of dirt will be our new house!

We're trying to get that dead tree removed before they start building.  We haven't heard the status of that yet.

The Venice

Yesterday our sales person (who rocks!) was able to take us to two Venice models -  one was under constrction and the other was finished a few weeks ago.  The visits were great.  We first visited a Venice that had no morning room and decided that if we couldn't get the morning room, we couldn't get the venice.  It was just too small.  We were okay with that and still going to go with our plan of getting the Florence (more on that later).  The other nice thing about seeing that house was that they had the wild berry cherry cabinets, which are the ones we chose.  They looked awesome!  At least one decision has been finalized.  The upstairs was great, as we already knew. 

When we went to the model that had the morning room, we instantly fell in love.  It was beautiful!  The morning room added so much to the downstairs!  It was awesome.  We also couldn't get over the gourmet island.  We had decided to just go with a small island, but this thing was awesome!  It really felt like we were standing in a gourmet kitchen.  So while we were hoping this trip talked us into the Florence, it didn't.

We were still thinking at this point that while we loved the Venice, getting the Florence would be so much more comfortable money wise.  Then we learned that if we build the Florence, there would be 3 Florences in a row, as 2 of our new neighbors are also building Florences.  While the elevations would be different and the exteriors would have a different look, we don't like the idea of our house looking awfully similar to our neighbors.  Plus, if we get the Venice, we'd be the first in the neighborhood to build one.  That would be cool.

So last night we did some number crunching again.  We found that if we put a little more into our down payment, we CAN afford to get the Venice, still have a comfortable payment, and still have a decent safety net.  We will not be able to get the brick, but we're okay with that.  We figure we can't really use the brick.  We can look at it, but we can't use it like we can the extra space we're getting inside the house.  So for now, we're going to move forward with the Venice.  We have another meeting tomorrow night to update the changes that have been made.  Unfortunately, we still have 12 days to change our minds.  I just want everything to be finalized so we can move on!