Monday, April 30, 2012

The Big Decision!!

The big decision is in....drum roll please (LOL) and we have decided to switch to the alternate lot that was proposed late last week and we have decided to go with the Jefferson.  There are a couple reasons why we choose the Jefferson.  The master bathroom in the Jefferson is a step above the Ravenna and so is the Jefferson's kitchen...Lisa really likes the ability for wall ovens without sacrificing to much cabinet space.  The other big reason was the ability to add an extension onto the garage because in our community sheds are prohibited by the HOA and so my snow blower, lawn tractor and other tools and items will all have to fit in the garage plus the Jefferson has a little corner bump out in the rear of the garage that can accommodate storage.  So as much as we love the Ravenna I think we will grow to love the Jefferson just as much.  I truly believe that you can't wrong with either house.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Some big developments occurred today!!  Yesterday we had a meeting with our sales rep.  Our sales rep who has been wonderful through all of this has come through big again.  Our appointment yesterday lasted several hours and we explored several options some good some bad.  I guess I will start with the not so good choices.  We looked into the two corner lots from the previous phase that could of accommodate our walkout Ravenna or a walkout Jefferson.  Besides the crazy lot premium the lots were not very attractive because of the nearly same depth of both houses (Jefferson is only 4 ft deeper at the morning room ) no matter which house we would have built there we would have no back yard to speak off.  From the back of the morning room there would be a steep drop into wetland.  The hillside would be rocky and unusable.  Not very attractive at all besides no privacy to speak of.

Of course we could always decide roll the dice and gamble by waiting for our current cul de sac lot that my wife Lisa truly loves the most of all the lots in the development. 

However has I stated earlier our sales rep who is wonderful came up with a compromise solution.  She showed us a lot that was slightly bigger than our current lot however its not on the cul de sac but it would have a level back yard that goes right into the woods.  Its a very nice lot but on paper it says that this lot can't accommodate a walkout basement which of course is a line in the sand for me.  This lot could accommodate either a Ravenna or a Jefferson.

Our sales rep who has been speaking with the Project Manager about our situation on a regular basis  inquired if it would be possible to find a way to build a home with a walk out on this lot.  The project manager to a good look at the lot and the current grading and said that a walkout would be possible but would have to be placed on the left side of the house which is the lower side of the lot.  There is a home in the development where the same thing was done.  I drove by and checked it out and to be honest I like it.  Have the luxury of the walkout door and yet your morning room in the back would be low enough for a nice patio instead of a high deck!!  I think its pretty cool!

Now comes the choices....what to build??  As I said we started this with the mindset that the Ravenna was truly our favorite but because of the delays we had the opportunity to explore the Jefferson which is also fantastic.  We have another apt. tomorrow to sign paper work to switch lots and begin construction ASAP but we have to decide by tomorrow morning which house to build...decisions, decisions....makes me think that I'm at the casino playing black jack with 14 showing and wondering if I should take a hit or stay!!....LOL  Both houses have strong and weak points.  I think the Ravenna's biggest strong points are the bonus room, and rear staircase, and I think the biggest strong points in the Jefferson are the owner bath, the kitchen and the 2 story foyer.

Either way we have a house before the baby arrives which is most important to Lisa and I.  So what do you all think??

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

At the end of my rope!!

Well as most of you know we have a lot reserved that we have no idea when we will be able to build our home on because of this retention pond issue.  As I have explained before we were initially told that we picked a lot that was good to build on as soon as we sold our existing home.  We find out later that there are issues with the lot.  We have tried to be reasonable and work with Ryan to build our dream home.  If I am going to build the home I intend to live in the rest of my life I want a home with a walk out basement. I don't think I should settle for less I currently live in a home with an unfinished basement with no walk out.  Its not like you can go back later and add a walk out after its built.

There is the lot next to us which as I have said before is not desirable.  So my wife and I went to a neighboring Ryan community yesterday to see if there was something we could work out over there.  However at this neighboring community the Ravenna is not available.  The cheapest home we could build there would be a Jefferson...I must say its an awesome home!  My wife and I like it a lot but the pricing in this community is over $110,000 more just to start...ouch! there is only 1 walk out lot available over there and its a $25,000 lot premium fee.  This basically makes the walk out basement out of our reach.  So I even was going to settle for a Jefferson with no walk out but after running the numbers we would have to give a lot up to be able to build in this community and it would not be the home we truly want option wise.

So we went back to our current community were we still have the currently "water lot" reserved.  At this community there are two remaining lots in the older phase both are walk outs however both would be surrounded by homes on all four side however we could build our Ravenna with a walk out or the Jefferson which my wife likes better with a walkout as well.  In my opinion these two final lots in the old phase did not sell for a I said surrounded by homes on all sides...however I am willing to build a Jefferson a more expensive home on this lot and give up our cul de sac lot we currently are holding.  I just want to build our house before the baby gets here.  I am even willing to spend more money because my wife really likes the Jefferson.  So we inform our sales rep of our thoughts and this way we can get on the build schedule ASAP.  She tells me there is a $25,000 lot premium for these lots ...I am so frustrated  at this point....According to our sales rep Ryan will not budge on the lot fee.  A $25,000 lot fee for a house that is surrounded on all sides by other homes!!  Apparently there answer is wait for your current lot or take the lot right next door....which are Ravenna only lots (I like the Ravenna anyway) blows my mind that Ryan does not want to work with us at all and I am even willing to build a slightly bigger more expensive home.   We have a meeting tomorrow with our sale rep and I think I am going to tell her tomorrow to schedule another meeting next week with the sale manager so I can basically plead my case to him or ask for our deposit back.....I feel so frustrated because I sold a great house to build a new one with Ryan.....By the way there are two other lots available in the newer phase however neither is a walkout....I could use some advice

Friday, April 20, 2012

Final Selection, Mortgage approval, More Lot issues

Well we received a lot of updates this week.  First the good news we received mortgage approval this week from NVR.  All our color choices and upgrades were completed last week and locked in and we mapped out our electrics last week with our sales rep.

Now for the bad news  I received a call today from our sales rep.  She informed me that the water issues on out lot that are still awaiting state DEP approval to address isn't going to be happening anytime soon.  Initially we were informed that DEP approval to deal with the water was expected no later that April 30th.  According to the meeting that occurred with the DEP and the developer earlier this week the DEP has decided to delay approval for 4 more weeks.  The DEP wants to more grass grown in on the lot before they will decide...something to do with  how the drainage will be affected once grass is established on the lot.

Unfortunately for my wife and I this is a huge heartbreak.  We feel that we did everything that was expected of us.  We completed all the mortgage forms in a timely and correct fashion.  We did not delay or drag out any of our vendor meetings and most importantly we sold our the first week it was listed and on the first day that it was available for showing to the public.  Ryan is saying that if they receive the approval  in mid May to start construction that we should have our house by mid September.  My wife is pregnant with our first child and the due date is the first week of October.  Thats cutting it close!!  I really don't want to be moving my wife from temporary housing into our Ravenna two weeks before the baby is born.

So I promptly asked our sales rep today to ask the sales manger to waive the premium lot fee that were being charged for a Cul-de-sac lot.  The sales rep didn't think that was going to be possible.  I pleaded my  case to the sales rep that we understood at the time of contract that we would not be able to break ground before April 30th however now that time line is being pushed back four weeks at the minimum.  We feel that this lot is no longer a premium lot since now they don't know when we can start building.  I was adamant today that the lot fee should be waived.  I presonally would like to know why this lot was made available back in early March if we can't build until at least mid May.

So now I'm waiting to hear back from Ryan on the home premium fee and I am going to have to make a decision on what were going to do.  Do we take a chance and wait whether they waive the fee or not and hope our house is done before the baby is born or I do I walk away and go somewhere else the whole thing sucks because we have to be out of our house next month and construction on our new house will not have started.

Here are some pics of our final choices

Buckeye Stone for the front and the fireplace

Black shutters and stone mountain clay siding

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Were making progress on our selections.  We have pretty much finished all of our selections except flooring and carpet and we will be meeting with Rusmur Flooring this coming week.  We have decided in Elevation B with partial stone and Stone Mountain Clay siding.

We have a walk out basement with a front entry garage.
Scottsdale Portfolio series Square Maple cabinets...Espresso colored
New Caledonia granite in the kitchen
Buckwheat granite in the master bath
Satin nickel finish fixtures

I have also asked our sales rep to price out the installation of a additional water line in the kitchen for my Rocket Espresso Machine

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Follow Up Meeting with Guardian

Well we had out final meeting with Guardian today to finalize our selections.  We chose a few extra cable jacks and a couple of data jacks.  We also signed up for the security system and chose to add an additional keypad for the master bedroom and a smoke detector in the upstairs hallway.  We have also opted to wire the basement and our master bedroom for wall mounted tv's.  I am struggling with the fact that Guardian wants you to purchase their speakers but have no way for me to at least hear them before I would decided to make a purchase on these items.  The other deal breaker  for me was the lack of a brochure, and price list really turned me off.  So we have skipped all the audio options.

I do have a question for my fellow Ravenna owners out there....In our development there is a Ravenna model however the garage has been turned into the sales reps office.  I'm concerned about the height of the garage as I own a 2011 Ford F150 four door with a 5 1/2 foot bed.  Do any Ravenna owners out there  own a four door truck?  Does it fit in the garage height wise?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Guardian Meeting

This afternoon my wife and I met with the Guardian sales rep at the Ravenna model home in our development.  It was very helpful that a model of the home were building is available for us to meet in and to be able to visualize changes and options.  Now lets get to the Guardian people.  I do have a Guardian security system in my current home and I will say that I am quite happy with it.  To be honest I was not happy with the sales person we met today.

I felt he put a lot of preasure on us to but all kind of packages and upgrades and when my wife and I asked for a copy of the price list he did not provide us with one and told us that he would email us a a cost sheet based on the options that we spoke with him about at our meeting.  Lisa and I prefer to take information home and have to time to look over and do research.

My biggest question is what are the majority of you opting to purchase?  I thought that the surround sound was very expensive especially when I can purchase a quality wired or wireless system from Best Buy.  We asked about that intercom system and I thought that was pretty pricey as well.  I'm thinking about purchasing cable outlets for all the bedrooms, 2 hardwire internets connections one for my wife's office in the study and one for the bonus room which will be my office.  On the issue of phone jacks two or three at the most being that we currently have four cordless telephones  in our home but only one plugs into a phone jack.    Would love to hear some comments

Thank you