Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Almost" Final Walk Through

Today my wife and I started out the day with a trip over to our future house for our final walk through.  Well under normal circumstances this might have been the final walk through, but we requested an additional quick walk through the morning of closing.  It was recommended to do so by some of our friends being that there was so many days between this walk through and closing, to ensure everything is in order before officially signing the papers.  That walk through should be quick and easy since we had this one. 

Our closing date is pretty much rock solid at this point this Friday June 20th at 10, at a nearby title agency office.  Our lawyer was in contact with the title agency and NVR Mortgage to secure the final documents ahead of the closing in order to get a jump on reviewing them as well as providing me the number that I will need to show up with at closing.

There have been a few additions to the house since our last look, so lets take a look at them before we go through the procedure of the final walk through.


The closets, pantry and laundry room are supplied with the white wire shelves.  In the pantry the shelves are supported by being screwed directly into the studs along the back wall with a vertical support.  The perpendicular shelves have one end in studs and the other with a brace at intersection with the back wall shelves.  

A picture of the pantry shelves
Pantry Shelves
A picture of the master bedroom closet with shelves.
Master Closet Shelves

Kitchen Final Touches

The kitchen has been finalized all the appliances are hooked up in their respective places and the plumbing is completed.  The kitchen sink is a shallow stainless steel two equally sided sink.  It is topped by a chrome Moen faucet.

A picture of the kitchen sink.
Kitchen Sink

The left side sink features a 1/4 horsepower garbage disposal, this is not standard option in most Ryan Homes unless its mandated to be included by the town as it was in our instance. You can get this as an upgrade if it doesn't come standard, and I would recommend getting one. If you never had one, it is a great option as it allows the evacuation of table scraps or unused food products without having them stink up your garbage or attach animals to your garbage cans.

A picture of the garbage disposal
Garbage Disposal

Banisters and Railings

The banisters and railings ship to the house and are installed unfinished and are stained to match hardwood floors or cabinets in the house.  The final product looks fantastic and we are so happy we went with the full banister setup instead of the partial wall or the customized.

A picture of the finished railing on the basement stairs.
Basement Stairs Railing
A picture of the finished banister and railing at the bottom of the stairway to the second floor.
Banister and Railing to Upstairs

A up close picture of the finished banister
Banister Close Up
Bathroom Finishing Touches

We have seen most of the bathroom work had been completed but there was a few finishing touches necessary to complete them.  The final steps are to install towel and toilet paper holders, and in the case of the double shower the shower door.  The fixtures are simple not to flashy, but go with the general silver look. The towel rack is one bar with rounded ends and has one in each bathroom.  We went out an bought back of the door racks that we will put up upon moving in for general use towel holding, leaving the single rack available for hand towels. 

A picture of one of the towel racks
Towel Rack
The toilet paper holder is simple design as well with the same rounded ends that match the towel holder.  The center is you typical plastic piece that shrinks to allow for the paper roll to be added or removed.  In the upstairs hallway bathroom the toilet paper holder is attached to the vanity.

A picture of one of the toilet paper holders
Toilet Paper Holder
The shower door in the double shower of the mater bathroom is a glass and metal design with the door closest to the front of the shower.  It is not a slider but a swinging door which swings from the middle out towards the front of the shower.

A picture of the installed shower door
Shower Door
A picture of the completed master bathroom
Completed Master Bath
Front Door

As you may remember from earlier post the front door always ships in white and is painted on location after it is installed.  Our door color is black fox, which completes the three color setup that is designed by Ryan Homes, Irish Thistle siding and berry shutters completes the pattern.

A picture of the painted front door.
Painted Front Door

The final outside item is the sod on the front yard, laid up to the front corners of the house and the rest is seeded and fertilized.  The sod looks great and will be the best lawn I ever owned once we move in.  Now it will be up to me to make sure it maintains itself that way.

A picture of the completed house viewed from the front
Completed Front View
The front yard is is long across the front which leaves us plenty of room to add additional landscaping, the spot in the very front left of the yard will ultimately be home to a pink flowering dogwood tree, my wife's favorite.

A picture of the front left corner of the completed house
Completed - Left Front Corner View
The front right is the shorter side of the property from the house to the end of the property line, but it is still much further than our current house.  When added up the space on the two sides of the house is about the same width of our current lots entire front.  Lots more yard work, but it will be worth it as it looks great.

A picture of the front left corner of the outside house
Completed - Right Front Corner View
I will follow up with an additional post on the results of the walk through and later a post the final results of the closing.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Final Walk Through Officially Scheduled

Hectic is the only word I can describe, I can't imagine what it must be like for people who are moving from their current house to the new one and have to close on the same day.  My wife and I are surrounded by boxes now, as we have been working on packing up every weekend and some nights after work.

We heard word from Bob, our project manager, that we are all set for Monday June 16 final walk through. For all you Ryan Home Buyers or prospective buyers this next set of information is for you.  The paper work from settlement and title agency are going to be cryptic, make sure to call and ask questions as soon as you are provided your settlement coordinator and title agency representative.  

About a month ago we received a message stating "Now is the time to contact utility companies and prepare to switch them over", well after talking to the settlement coordinator, this should not be done until a few days before closing, once the date is settled and finalized.  This way you don't end up having them switched too early.

Additionally you will be getting Title insurance information, review this close there will be a list of items it does not cover, be sure you know what you are getting and what you are not.  One of the last items you get is a survey of the property with the house drawn on, keep this and save it, as you will need this when its time to add a deck, patio, shed or fence to get town permits.  Without this you very well may be getting a surveyor out there to redo it.

Now that we have moved into the final week before closing the time to do a lot of posts diminishes, but I will do my best to post through it all and even afterwards.  One thing I am doing to help you visualize the build better is pages that capture each room through each phase, picture only view of the house.  I hope this helps you if you are looking to buy a Florence and want to see a particular room through the whole build.

I calling this series One Room View, and have the master bathroom page completed.  Check it out here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Carpets Installed

The carpeted area of the Ryan Home Florence model, is everywhere not the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, foyer and morning room (when applicable).  You are given the choice of one of five carpet selections to fill all the carpet areas and there is nothing darker than light tan.  The default options do not give much selection, and is a must upgrade in our opinion.  Read more here about the experience picking out our carpet and other flooring if you haven't already to know the trials we went through.

Our selection for the house was a Level B carpet which features base stain guard in it and a 10 year warranty versus the 5 year one on the base model.  Additionally there is a few more color options, including the one we selected "Fresh Coffee."  You are able to pick out different colors in different rooms when you upgrade, where as in the base model you need to pay for color changes if you selected different colors in different rooms.

When we entered the house we found that there was carpeting, but it was covered by plastic.  This protects the carpet as the crews continue to work on the other items throughout the house.

Family Room Carpet Installed but Covered

In some rooms the corner or some area of the carpet were exposed, so I was able to get a few different pictures.  The family room was one area were the carpets were exposed so we we able to see, and it looks great.  We are much happier with this selection over the base option which looked to have a pink undertone. The fact that we have animals it makes sense to have the stain guard in the carpet.
Carpet - Family Room
You will notice the dark brown color of the carpet is slightly lighter in natural sunlight versus the energy efficient light bulbs available in the lighting fixtures.  In the loft there is the two windows on the front of the house and thus the room has great natural light. 

The Loft with Carpet

The carpet and laminate floors come together at a number of places throughout the house and its important to see the two next to each other.  In an effort to simulate this while we picked I sat the samples directly next to each other.  Now that we see the real thing it looks even better.  The first area the laminate meets between the living room and the foyer.  If you remember the foyer was one of the laminates we decided to leave a the default.  The base laminate looks better than expected
Carpet and Base Laminate Meet Up
The other areas they meet up is between the family room and kitchen and this stretch represents the longest run between two rooms.  The carpet looks great next to the memories tile in the kitchen.

Carpet Next to Kitchen Laminate
I didn't take any pictures of the hallway bathroom next to the carpet, but I did get a look at the carpet in the master bedroom next to the tile in the master bathroom and it came out great. 

Carpet Next to Master Bathroom Tile
If the budget was there we would have upgraded the padding underneath as well.  Additionally we choose the neutral color and not something like blue, so that we had the maximum options when it came time to paint and decorate.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kitchen Improvements

As the days countdown until closing, it seems like the days are shorter, every minute is filled with something. Its a very busy time at work, the train I commute on is under construction, and we are getting all packed up at home.  There is so much to do, the weekends are not overly restful but there is certainly excitement to get us by.  On our latest visit there has been a lot of things done, lets take a look at the improvements in the kitchen.


The base options in the kitchen are very basic, functioning but very much an entry line of General Electric (GE) appliances.  We choose an upgraded appliance package that included upgrades to the microwave, dishwasher and range.  This was primarily for the range upgrade so we could get a glass top electric range, but an upgraded microwave and dishwasher came with the "Feature III" package.

The microwave is installed into the wall above the range and has an exhaust fan which can suck steam and air up from range and vent it outside the house through the vent we saw in the kitchen in the post from before the walls being closed up.  The microwave is a sharp looking GE device which contains a metal rack in the center.  This is odd to me as we have always been told no metal in a microwave.  I guess there will be some owners manual reading in my future.


The microwave had a note taped to the outside, a sort of checklist of items which needed some TLC.  It appears that Bob left some notes for the crew to take care to correct.  Just below the microwave is the space for the range.  Our glass top range also a GE appliance in jet black.  We had become accustom to the electric cooking, but not the typical exposed coils you see. This caused for a two level upgrade to get the glass top.  The upgrade is worth it the glass top range has two large elements up front, with the one on the right variable in size and featuring a speed boil option.  The back row is filled with three smaller elements. While the range was delivered it had not yet been installed on our last visit. 

Glass Top Range

A refrigerator is not included and can either be bought through Ryan Homes and installed prior to closing or you need to go out and get it on your own after the fact.  In our case we decided to go with the Ryan Homes option "F" a large black side by side with ice maker, ensuring it matched with the other appliances in the kitchen.  The ice maker has a dual function single spot for ice and water.  Its a really nice refrigerator with variable ice settings. 


The final appliance featured in the kitchen is the dishwasher.  The same as all the others is a jet black GE product, upgraded from the base model as part of the package deal to bring in the glass top range.  All the devices are energy star rated.  It will be interesting to get back into a house with a dishwasher, as our current house doesn't have one. 

Counter Top

Based on reading other Ryan Homes blogs, one of the incentive offers provided is a granite counter upgrade, however this was not the case in our development.  I am happy it wasn't, while a granite top would be fantastic, look great and last a long time it was certainly not on our necessity list.  Our incentive as you know was drastically price reduced finished basement.  The base option counter top is a laminate featuring about 8 to 10 selections.  Its been a while since we made the selections so I can't recall the exact number, but it was sufficient with varying color options.

Close up of Kitchen Counter

We chose a granite look featuring browns and blacks.  Dark enough to provide some variation from the oak cabinets, but not too one colored looking really dark option.  Our current house's counter top is a speckled dark counter top so we wanted something a little different.  As you can see from above it came out great, had you not know it was laminate and not granite you may not have been able to tell from the picture. Not going with granite was a huge cost savings option and it was definitely one you can hold out for until some point in the future, the base laminate is nice.  

Here are a few different views of the counter top, including a panoramic look at the counter.

Kitchen Counters as Viewed from the Morning Room

Kitchen Counters as Viewed From Family Room
The nice part about the laminate is there is no seems, if they have them they are impossible to see.  From the looks of it they brought one piece to cover from the gourmet island around to the microwave.

Kitchen Counter Top - Panoramic View

Kitchen Counter Against Oak Cabinets

The final kitchen item which was new on our last visit was the seating of the kitchen sink atop the counter. The laminate counters come with a stainless steel sink.  It sits above the counter not recessed like the ones that are installed granite tops.  The only complaint is the depth of the sink, it is very very shallow, and we are coming from a deep sink, which will be a tough adjustment.

A picture of the kitchen sink.
Kitchen Sink

Also completed the last time we were through was the carpet installation, which we will take a look at in the next post.  Bare with me as there is a lot going on these final weeks to prepare for the move its become tougher to get the time to keep up on the blog.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Our Calendar is Starting to Fill Out

We recieved an email from NVR that our loan was out of processing and had been moved to the closing team.  They have set a date of June 20th at 10AM for closing!   While is still called tenative it is pretty likely at his point that we will be meeting that date.

On my Friday call with Bob, our Project Manager, he mentioned that he is leaning towards setting the final walk through on June 16th, the Monday before the scheduled Friday closing.  It is all coming together fast now, it feels like it was just yesterday we were first walking through the model.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Electrical Fixtures Installed and Functioning

The next set of items up in the installation are the electrical fixtures there are a whole lot of them so we will move through them in two sections the first showing the outdoor fixtures and then we will take a look into the indoor ones.

Outdoor Electric

The standard outdoor electric on the Ryan Homes Florence Model is three light fixtures and two electircal outlets.  There is two lighting fixtures in the front of the house one on the corner of the house near the garage and one next to the front door.  The fixtures themselves are the same in those two locations.  The default fixture is nice a globe with spire on top and bottom.

A picture of the front door light fixture.
Front Door Light Fixture

The light fixture at the backdoor is much simpler in design than the front ones.  It does have the same dark metal finish but is a small rectangle fixture, a little larger than a standard light bulb.  The back door is much higher off the ground elevation so the angle on my picture is not that great but it gives an idea of the look of the fixture.

A picture of the backdoor light fixture
Backdoor Light Fixture
The two electrical outlets which come standard on the house are one next to the front door and one on the back corner of the house, behind the kitchen if you don't have the morning room and on the back wall of the morning room when you have that option.  They are your typical outdoor outlets covered from the elements with a plastic case.  We decided to get an additional outlet added to the back of the house on the wall behind the family room.  This is where we will ultimately be building our deck and it will provide us electric out there.

A picture of an electric outlet on the outside of the morning room
Outdoor Electric Outlet - Corner of Morning Room
 In addition to the extra electric outlet we added one additional element a flood light for the back yard.  Our yard is a big wooded lot and we thought the standard small fixture next to the back sliding door would not provide enough light should we need to light up the back yard for our dog to go out and my wife's parents have one on there house which works well there so we added it.  I highly recommend this option, as to add it later would be tricky since the light switch location would be next to the door and that's a long way to run power after the walls are closed up.  Ask your Sales Rep for the options cost list early in the process if not before signing so you can get an idea about all the upgrades, this one was not overly expensive and its highly functioning.

A picture of a flood light on back of the house
Flood Light

As you can see there was one nice thing about the flood light install, Bob mentioned they put it in right next to the upstairs window so bulb replacement didn't require a ladder.  A good thing since ladders are not my favorite.

Indoor Lighting

We have already seen the electrical hub of the house in the behind the walls posts, and now we will start to look at the connections on the inside that are connected to that box.  We will look at the different types of fixtures, most of which are standard base model as replacement of them will be easy later on.

First up lets look at the indoor lighting.  The one light fixture we noticed which stood out from the rest was the one in the foyer on the ceiling just inside the front door.  It is a bowl separated from the ceiling, we were expecting the standard ceiling dome here which we planned to replace, but now seeing this we may be able to wait a little longer.

A picture of the foyer light fixture
Foyer Light
There are two types of dome lights in the house the ones in open rooms and the ones in large closets like the master closet and pantry.  The lights in the open area are domes with a silver ring at the base butted directly up against the ceiling.  The ones in closets are simpler design a white ring with a muffin top dome of frosted glass.

The fancy dome light is located in the downstairs hallway between the living room and family room, as well as two of them one directly at the top of the stairs and one further down the hall closer to the master bedroom entrance.
A picture of light fixture used in the open areas of the house
Fancy Dome Light

The not as fancy version found on the ceiling of the pantry and one the wall just above the doorway of the master bedroom walk in closet.  The same fixture one installed on the vertical and one on the horizontal.

A picture of the simple dome light fixture used in closets
Basic Dome Light
The bathroom light fixtures has the silver look, in the master bathroom it is slightly larger than the ones in the other two bathrooms.  The master bathroom features a four light design with frosted glass cones over each socket.  The other bathrooms are the same fixture but only two lights

A picture of the light fixture in master bathroom
Master Bathroom Light Fixture
If you remember in some of the previous posts we discussed the kitchen lighting, and how we upgraded the lights from the standard long florescent fixture to recessed.  The lights we working this time so we were able to get a look at them all lit up.  They installed the new energy efficient bulbs in there so it take a minute or two for them to warm up, and actually shine bright.

A picture of the recessed lighting in the kitchen
Lights On Kitchen Recessed Lighting

One thing we found out is the house has an unbelievable amount light switches.  Since we added the rough ins that they install two switches to each, there is even more.  It will take a while to figure them all out, might need a p-touch to get us started. 

Other Indoor Electric Features

A lot of electrical powered items are throughout the house besides the lighting.  The first item is a door bell, which is situated on the wall in hallway between the living room and family room.  Its simple white box affixed to the wall.
A picture of the doorbell
Door Bell
Just down the hall from the door bell just near the end of the hallway wall where the stairway banister starts is the thermostat for the house.  The Florence is a one zone house and it is all operated from this device.  An electronic thermostat.  A Honeywell device also in white, it was set to 66 the day we visited, guess it gets hot working inside as the summer approaches.

A Picture of the thermostat in the house
You may have remembered seeing a lot of duct work in some of the posts before the walls went up, some of that was set for bathroom exhausts.  Each bathroom is equipped with an exhaust fan that sends the air out the house.  Its a white cover with two sets of slats separated by a wider plastic center. 

A picture of one of the bathroom exhaust fans
Bathroom Exhaust
The final electrical item is featured in a number of locations and provides safety for the house.  It is hardwired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, found upstairs, downstairs and in the basement.  The good thing about these devices is you never have to change batteries, but the bad thing is if you burn something on the stove you may not be able to turn it off until you clear all the smoke out.
A picture of one of the house's smoke detectors
Smoke Detector

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Plumbing Fixtures Mostly Installed

The previous post took us through the first of three new items we encountered, the laminate floors.  In this post we will continue to look at those items installed last week by taking a look at the plumbing fixtures, well at least the ones that are already in.  Since the kitchen counters are not in and therefore the sink is neither, there is no kitchen plumbing fixtures.

All the plumbing fixture we selected were the base option, no upgrades.  It didn't make a whole lot of sense to us to roll plumbing fixtures into a mortgage and pay for them for thirty years.  Its very easy to fall in love with upgrades of this type as they add some life to the house but, be cautious they do affect the sale price but not the appraised value.  If the appraised value is below the mortgage amount you will run into issues with the mortgage.

In the powder room on the main floor the bathroom features a white pedestal sink with a silver look Moen faucet. The toilet was a little shocking to us as it appears quite small, the back tank is much smaller than what we are used to seeing.  This must have to do with energy efficiency, as it will utilize much less water than older and larger tanks.

Picture of the powder room plumbing fixtures, toilet, sink and faucet.
Powder Room - Plumbing Fixtures

The master bathroom features some of the same plumbing apparatus as the powder room, as it has the same silver look faucet and same toilet.  The sink setup unless you upgrade to the double sink, is a single sink on the outside closet to the toilet with a large open counter on the other side.  The counter top is a porcelain white look.

Picture of the toilet and sink in the master bathroom
Master Bathroom - Sink and Toliet

The master bathroom also features some items not found in the powder room.  There are a few layouts of the bathroom which are the base options as you may remember we choose the double shower. If you choose the garden tub and small standing shower, you will have some extra fixtures not seen here but the shower fixtures will be the same. 

Picture of fixtures in the double shower in the master bathroom.
Master Bathroom - Shower
I love the way the shower all came together, with the tile and bright silver fixtures, it just pops.  In an up close look you can see the bright polished fixture against the deep tones of the tile.

Picture of the shower dial in the master bathroom shower
Master Bathroom - Shower Dial Up Close
The shower head is quite small in size, and might be one of the fixtures that is replaced early on, possibly a detachable one.  We will have to see how the pressure holds up and how good the water flow out of the current one is before we decide.  

Close up picture of the master bathroom shower head
Master Bathroom - Shower Head Up Close
The last place to with plumbing fixtures is the second floor hallway bathroom, it features the same toilet and faucet seen in the two other bathrooms and the same shower head as the master bathroom.  The counter is the same bright white as seen in the master bathroom.

Picture of the hallway bathroom sink and toilet
Hallway Bathroom - Sink and Toilet

The shower dial looks the same as we saw in the master bathroom but it is just above the spigot and overflow setup as seen in your typical tub shower.  The bright silver fixtures are still shiny bright against the white tile on the wall.  These items are definitely ones you can upgrade at a later date in my opinion.

A picture of the hallway bathroom tub fixtures
Hallway Bathroom - Tub Fixtures

The next item up is from our same visit through the house, where we will look at electrical fixtures some of which are base options and some are upgrades.