Friday, June 22, 2012


For weeks I have been posting that we're still waiting on our loan approval, and guess what?  We're still waiting. I guess the difference with the wait has a lot to do if you're doing an FHA or conventional loan. Sorry for  us, we're going the FHA route because I still own my home in Virginia and well, the debt ratio thing prevented us from going conventional. Our loan associate from NVR sent an email yesterday asking for guess what?  Man, you guessed right again, more paperwork!  I know for certain we cross checked all the items we needed but nope, they needed more. 

Having brought a home in 2002, I'm really amazed about how difficult the process is now. They want everything--I'm surprised they did not ask for our first born.  As my father stated it has everything to do with the crisis our country went through and is still in.  I have very good credit, but I was last on paying a bill twice, and I had to write a letter explaining why. Sheesh!  

Speaking of letters, I managed to write a total of 4 and we still need to get proof of something my husband paid off two years ago to show that the debt is settled.  I hope to have these items to them by Monday and finally then, our loan will be sent to the underwriter.  From your experience was it smooth sailing once it went to the underwriter.  Time is getting close, we have to be out of our current apartment by November, so we need to break ground by mid-July and that is just about 3 weeks away. So, let's take some bets--when do you think we will hear back for loan approval?  Well, guess I need to get back to work and then off to see the new movie, Brave with my favorite nephew.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Eye" would like to get your opinion

Hey everyone!  Just wanted to get a quick poll on how many of you are getting the eye-ball recessed lights over your fireplace.  I currently have this as an upgrade, but now I'm rethinking my decision and may go ahead and delete it. Here is why I'm recanting my decision:

1. The eyeball lights look a little 80-ish to me;
2. I plan to place a TV over the fireplace, will the light cause a distraction;
3. Do you think it is easier to do the lighting now, or wait later to get the smaller recessed lights, and is it cheaper etc?

Overall,  I wonder why Ryan uses the 7 3/4 sized recessed lights? Is this size used because of the 9 ft ceilings on the first level? Looking forward to your feedback on this one. I know it's only a charge of $250 but maybe I should invest that in recessed lighting in the family room opposed to the "eyeball".

Also, next Friday we will have our Guardian appointment.  I know we can't afford to do the security system--are we crazy for not getting this?  Can someone give me the breakdown on what wiring is necessary to have in the house  to make it wireless or can we just get a cable jack and run wireless through a cable company?  I am so confused and really need help to be prepared for this meeting.  I'm thinking we would just add 3 more cable jacks and be done with it--so help me out Ryan Blogger Family…give me a breakdown, and if possible what type of cost is associated with these upgrades. By the way, have any you asked Guardian to supplement a second phone jack for a cable jack? I would like to know what type of bargaining I should try with the sales rep of Guardian.  Thanks!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Floors and a little more...

This weekend we checked another item off of our building a new home process, we met with the floor consultant.  Although I went to the showroom armed with my confirmed selections,  I left the meeting paying for additional upgrades.  In all honesty, I thought I would keep everything standard but switched the game plan once the meeting started.  Staying true to form, we did not add any special tile to our bathrooms (gratefully, white ceramic is standard in our community). Another great standard item is hardwood floors in the foyer, kitchen and powder room. Although I love, love, love the dark wood color, I noticed from visiting the model home that the darker the wood the more dirt it shows.  The sales rep agreed that the dark wood is pretty, but really hard to maintain. Therefore, it made our life simple to go with the standard gunstock color. Gunstock is a traditional choice and color. It's a golden carmel brown and really is a neutral color .  The sales rep noted that gunstock has been the most popular color for hardwood since 1992. So, its longevity says a lot about the color selection.

Going back to how I added additional floor upgrades, I thought we would carpet the dining room, family room, and study room. Last week, I visited the model home in our community and with hardwood everywhere, except the family room, I became intoxicated with that look! As I mentioned in a previous blog, the model we selected is the smallest model in the community. Truth be told it is only two of us living in the house, so we will have more than enough space. But I'm coming from an aesthetic perspective, and having hardwood throughout the first floor would not only assist with the "flow" of  our home, but would give an illusion that our house is bigger. Unfortunately, I could not afford to put hardwood in both the dining and the study, so we selected the dining area and kept carpet in the study, family room, the hallway upstairs, and all the bedrooms.  I'm sure it's quite obvious that I am disappointed. And my husband, the sweet man that he is was willing to work even longer hours so that we could put hardwood in the study. I had to be a big girl about it, and say the hardwood in the study will be another project down the road.  We will have a beautiful house and the fun part of living there will be to decorate it and make it our very own.  The more I think about it, the more I want the upstairs hallway to be hardwood too…so projects, projects, projects here we come. 

On another note, it just blows my mind how upgrades add up so quickly and it gives me that nagging feeling that maybe we would have been better  off in buying an existing house. Ok, I need to shake it off, we're doing the right thing in building and when it comes to an existing home, one really needs to do work to make it there very own, right?    Anyway, we upgraded the padding to pad B,  in the family room.  We figured that we would spend most of our time in the family room and kitchen area, so we wanted that to be a little more plush.  I also read online that builders grade carpet lasts about 4-5 years, and I'm sure we will be switching out carpet in at least 3 years, so no need to add extra padding upstairs. Hell, I walk on standard building grade carpet and padding every day in our current apartment, so I will not know the difference!  Our carpet is also the baseline--I think the color is shadow (see the picture below). The picture makes the carpet look lighter than what it really is, but the carpet has a golden/amber undertone.  Well, folks thanks for reading. Enjoy the week and I will catch you cats later!

Baseline carpet, the color is Shadow.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grand Opening of Greenbriar Estates

Today I took a drive down the turnpike to visit the grand opening of our community.  I was excited to see the model home, The Courtland Gate open; it made it all real that this community is starting. The Courtland Gate is gorgeous!  I must admit, I was feeling a little envy that our house is the smallest in the community, but in applying lessons learned from this recession, we are buying a house that we can afford.  And we're still buying a beautiful home that will serve our family well!

Besides the excitement of walking through the model, I was really encouraged by the"foot" traffic the model attracted. Our sales rep (SR), Nancy was very happy with the first showing too. Nancy said that Ryan didn't do any marketing, and that people were coming on their own.  Again, I have to disclose that my husband and I were the first to buy in our community.  And with being the first, of course one is taking a risk. Your mind wanders--will this community sell out, did we choose the right model, will the incentives be better, will they drop the costs of the homes, and will they need to sell to another developer--and if so, will the quality be the same?  So, it was very encouraging to see that people came without any deliberate advertising and that the community had two deposits and two homes under contract or "almost sold" category.   So with a total of 16 lots…I am hopeful that Ryan will be able to sell them all.

Another thing that my husband and I were concerned about was our lot choice. We knew from our budget that we could not afford a premium lot and there we a few "free" lots in the community. So, with much deliberation we chose a lot that was about a 1/3 of an acre.  To us, it's enough land to enjoy and to give us a feeling of some privacy.  Therefore, I was very happy to hear our SR state that many people were interested in our lot, and a couple came in today and said that they've been waiting for the grand opening of the development and were bummed to see that  lot 7 (our lot) was already sold. Yes….another good choice made by us!

Community site plan

A007 is our lot…red dot has an "s" for sold.

Here is our sign…shows we are in the process.

Here is our land…love the house that we will back up to.

Finally, I told my SR how the Ryan Homes blogging community is a thriving and informational place for potential home buyers.  I mentioned that I started a blog and that she may want to tell future buyers to check out the blogs for themselves.  Truthfully, it was through these blogs that I felt confidant in buying a Ryan home…so thanks to all my blog peeps!   I guess it is time for me to do my other favorite pastime watch Food Network Star and then the season finale of Mad Men…enjoy a few model home photos below.
Courtland Gate, not our model, but the model of our community.
Pretty kitchen...

Family room 

Morning Room


Living Room

Stairs…love the dark wood, but I think it will be hard to keep clean.

Master Bedroom

Dining Room

PS Hopefully, I will hear something from NVR this week. I'm pretty anxious about hearing about the loan approval---still not able to celebrate just yet until we cross that hurdle.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Aesthetically Speaking...

I figured I would share what the outside of our house will look like. Thanks to a few other blogs and a good ole Google search, I was able to find our choices:

                                            Edenton Brick and Stone Mountain Clay siding.

Black shutters and Sun-dried Tomato door with white trim. 

Let me know what you think of the color combination. To me, it's a simple-classic look that will withstand time. 

I also bought a few accessories for the house. I found this Vera Wang for Wedgewood China 3 piece candle set at TJ Maxx. 
Funny thing is, I didn't know until I got home that it's a perfect match for my china and silver set…duh, no wonder I liked it! It was also only $29.99, so I could not pass it up.

I found this website:

I am thinking about purchasing this light for either the dining room or our master bedroom:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

For the Love of Model Homes

Don't you just love model homes?  They are perfectly decorated and have all the upgrades that one can imagine. As a little girl, I loved doll houses, so going through a model home is like viewing a real life doll house.  Anyway, I don't have any specific updates on our real house (still waiting on NVR for the loan approval) but I figured I would share some pictures from the Savoy Model and the newest fleet of Ryan Homes, the Palermo. We were deciding between both homes, but I think we made the right choice for us with the Savoy.  The Palermo, although nice, seemed less open and even though the square footage was larger than the Savoy, the layout stated otherwise.  One of the things that I thought was cool in the Palermo was the  basement; it's decked out with my Alma Mater, University of Maryland…go Terps!

So, enjoy viewing the pictures...

Catch you cats later,
Palermo, Dining Room

Palermo, stairs

Palermo, Powder Room

Palermo, Great Room

Palermo, Fireplace

Palermo, Kitchen

Palermo, Office/5th Bedroom

Palermo, Pantry

Palermo, Foyer (view from kitchen/Great Room)

Palermo, Mud Room

Upstairs in the Palermo. Hallway is very tight.

U of M tricked out basement!

Palermo, Morning Room with view of great room and part of the kitchen. 

Palermo, Gourmet Island

Palermo, Elevation ?
Palermo, Great Room and Kitchen, and morning room view

Palermo, 2nd Floor laundry room

Savoy Kitchen

Savoy Family Room

Savoy, Two Story Foyer
Savoy Powder Room

Savoy, Dining with Tray Ceiling 
Savoy, Foyer with view of Morning Room

Savoy, Basement

Love the wet bar in the basement!

Liked the wall display in the basement

Basement bath

Huge Laundry room…downside it is in the basement

Savoy, Morning Room and partial Family Room views

Savoy, Master Bedroom with Cathedral ceiling

Savoy, Luxury Master Bedroom Bathroom

Hallway from Master Bedroom

Savoy, small loft on second floor

Landing to display plants, etc.