Thursday, January 30, 2014

Operation Verona is a go. Repeat, Operation Verona is a go!

Just heard from NVR today, and we have been pre-approved for our loan!!!  Yeah baby!!!  Okay, that is all for now folks.  Drinking a celebratory beer as we speak.  Cheers!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our selections

I told you earlier that I was going to dedicate an entire post just to all of our selections, and here it is.

If you haven't figured out that we're building a Verona by now, I want you to go ahead and hammer fist yourself in the groin and then get off my blog.  For the rest of you, please continue on if you'd like to know how we're setting up our Verona.  :)

For the elevation, we went with "L".  I really wanted a front porch, and my wife loves columns and/or pillars, so this seemed like a natural choice.  Here's a picture of a model Verona-L. Note the planter boxes. They aren't included, but we like them.  We'll probably end up doing that ourselves at some point.
Verona "L"
We were originally going to go with side-entry for the garage, but after looking at it both ways, we decided that the Verona just looks better with a front entry garage.  No offense to those of you who are die-hard side entry fans, but that saved us about $8k!  I just couldn't justify the extra expense for something that didn't have much of a tangible benefit, other than a slightly larger driveway.  Oh, speaking of driveways, we are planning on adding a parking pad on the left, something similar to this.  RH will do it for $6/sq foot, so I figure it shouldn't be more than $1500-$1800.
Parking pad for an extra car
For the exterior siding, we chose the boothbay blue siding, sandstone beige accent siding with the charlestowne brick, wicker exterior trim and sandstone garage door.  This is the only picture I took, which actually has 3 different brick and door selections in it.  The siding in the middle is what we chose, along with the brick/door on the upper left.
Exterior siding, brick and door (top left)
For the patio, we opted for the 3x3 concrete pad.  We tried to take it off altogether, but by code they have to put at least a 3x3 pad in.  We plan on putting in a really nice patio after we move in, with pavers and either a fire pit or a fireplace.  At $6/sq foot, that saved us a nice little chunk of change by coming down from a 10x12 pad.

That about does it for the exterior, now on to the interior.

I'll mix it up a bit and start from the top down.  We opted for the finished attic, without the bedroom or bathroom.  This is going to be my man-cave.  I haven't been able to find a picture of the floor plan with the attic, since RH only started offering this option several months ago, but at some point I'll get one and post it.  Only thing I added was a ceiling fan pre-wire, along with cable and data jacks.  Standard carpet for now.  Oak on both flights of stairs.

On the 2nd floor, standard carpet throughout.  On the bonus room, the alcove gets a 2' bump-out which is included with the 2' extension we opted for on the garage.  The alcove is going to be my wife's craft corner, and the bonus room will be the play room.  We put in 3 recessed lights and the ceiling fan pre-wire for the bonus.  We also added a laundry sink to the laundry room.  All bedrooms got cable jacks.  We did the tile-surround on all secondary bathrooms.  All bathrooms got the scottsdale maple cognac cabinets.

The secondary bathroom upstairs got the double bowl vanity.  In the master bath, we went with the upgraded shower, I think its called type E with alternate layout.  In the master suite, we added the tray ceiling.  We also added the ceiling fan pre-wire, but decided not to put any recessed lights in.  I don't want the bedroom to be lit up like Fenway Park at night, and during the day there will be plenty of natural light, so it seemed silly to put in all these extra ceiling lights.  Between the ceiling fan light and the night table lights, I think we'll be fine for lighting in there.

On the 1st floor, we went with vinyl for the foyer, kitchen and morning room, and standard carpet everywhere else.  I've already mentioned what we're planning to do for flooring in a previous post, but in short, we're going to put hardwoods and tile in the kitchen, morning room, dining room and foyer as soon as we move in, and basically get as much use as we can out of the cheap carpet they give us before upgrading to the mac-daddy of all carpets in a few years.  I also should mention that RH gave us the morning room for free, as it was part of the promotion they were having when we signed.  We added the extra windows in the morning room.  We also went with the fireplace on the back wall with the raised hearth and stacked stone going all the way to the ceiling, along with 2 recessed lights over the fireplace.  I'm super excited to see that!
Kentucky stone for the fireplace
On a side note, a wood-burning fireplace is something I've always loved (probably because I'm from up north originally) and we tried like hell to get one, but nowadays nobody will put one in new construction except for high-end custom homes.  The only exception we found was Legendary Homes, but after doing our research on them, I was not impressed with their record, and their prices were so low, I had to ask myself how they can be giving us so much house for such a low price.  There were just too many red flags, so we decided against them and went with Ryan.

Anyway, we put the ceiling fan pre-wire in the family room, along with a cable outlet.  We went with the guest bedroom up front, and the office in the back.  This will be my wife's office.  Data and cable jacks for her!  Ceiling fan pre-wire for the guest room, along with cable.

For the kitchen, we went with the peninsula counter along with the extra island, plus the double ovens.  We did the maple glaze hazelnut cabinets with santa cecelia granite.

Kitchen cabinets

We went with bronze hardware throughout the house, which is lighting, door hardware, cabinet knobs, and faucets.

In the garage, as I mentioned, we opted for the 2' extension. The nice thing about this is that it also gives the alcove in the bonus room a 2' extension at no additional charge. (I know, the cost is built into the price, but hey--it makes me feel like I'm getting a bargain!) We also added a utility sink in the garage.

I think that's everything...but feel free to ask about any selections I didn't mention.  Or those I did.  Or anything else.  Okay, I'm exhausted.  Stay classy!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cable Guy!

Okay, first off, the title of this post should be read in Jim Carey's voice.  If you still don't get the reference, you probably don't get any of my jokes or references, and are probably not even reading this anymore...

Anyhow, we went to Guardian the other day to meet with Jim.  This is another one of those 3rd party companies that Ryan Homes makes you go through for anything done during construction.  They handle everything electrical, other than the actual power outlets.  They do all the outlets for cable, phone, and data, as well as security systems, intercoms, surround sound pre-wire and installation.  We decided to pay the $125 each for 8 cable outlets and 3 data jacks.  We use cell phones only, so we're having them use CAT-5 wire for the data jacks, but for resale purposes it works out because you can use those for phone line as well.  We also had them do the pre-wire for surround sound in the bonus room.  I thought it was pretty reasonable price at $595 for the pre-wire.  I don't really have much else to say about Guardian at this early stage, but I WILL say that our sales rep, Jim, was absolutely awesome.  He's got a ton of personality, and he is super helpful and knowledgeable about the products, but he is absolutely not pushy about trying to sell you anything more than you actually want.  I liked him so much that I probably will go back to him if I ever need any of their services in the future.

That's about all for now...sorry kids, no pictures this time.

Monday, January 13, 2014

At Rite Rug, the price is...wrong.

So today we had our appointment at Rite Rug to make our selections for flooring.  It wasn't as fun as you might think, since we went in there already knowing that we weren't going to upgrade a thing, but we still got something good out of it, which I'll share later.

After reading some of the other blogs, as well as speaking to some other Verona owners, we did some research...and found that getting any of the upgraded flooring through Ryan is going to be way more expensive than if we do it ourselves.  And on top of that, we'll get a better product to boot.  We're also lucky enough to have a couple hook-ups in the contracting world, so we're very confident that we'll be able to put some kick-ass flooring in after we get the keys to the house, for much less than it would've cost to have Rite Rug do it.

I almost felt bad (but not really) for the sales rep at Rite Rug, because I know they bid for the flooring contract with Ryan Homes at a loss on the base level flooring, they make their money on upgrades.. but we stayed with base for everything.  Actually, I think she was a little annoyed with us. ;)  But still, a nice lady.

So this is my advice to all who are building a home, but especially those who must get their flooring through only one source:  Do your research BEFORE you have your flooring appointment.  Crunch the numbers and have a good idea how much you can expect to pay to get the floor you really want, either if you do it yourself or through a contractor or other installer.  That way, when you get the price at Rite Rug, or wherever your builder makes you go, you will know if it makes sense to have them do it.  For us, it was an easy decision, based on not only the price, but the quality of the product.  It was going to cost about $2400 for the level 1 carpet upgrade, and I couldn't even tell the difference between that and the level 0, which is what Ryan includes for free!  I can go to Home Depot and have carpet installed for $3500 that is so soft you'd sleep like a baby on it!  And tile?   Yeah, my father in law and I can knock that out in a day.  Hardwoods?  I have a guy for that too.  Some people are willing to pay an arm and a leg for the builder to do the upgrades, just so they won't have to worry about it, or so they can pay it off over 30 years, but we really want to keep our mortgage as low as possible, and on top of that, we can get it done better and cheaper ourselves.  Just consider all your options and know your numbers before going to your flooring appointment.

Oh, speaking of hardwoods, has anyone seen the "wood-look" tile they have now?  Holy crap, this stuff looks great!  You wouldn't believe its actually tile!  We saw some at Rite Rug, and fell in love with it.  I never knew this stuff existed!

Nice, huh?

So after we crushed the soul of the sales rep at Rite Rug, we went to Home Depot and priced the wood-look tile they have...and its actually cheaper than some of the wood floors!  I was anyway, now we're thinking of going with that.  If anyone has any experience with it I'd love to hear some feedback on it.

Okay, I will leave with a question:  Is dooring a real word?  I think spellcheck just answered my question, because there is now a red squiggly line under the word dooring.  But there's also one under the word spellcheck, so that just shows that you really can't trust computers.  The reason I ask, is because while we were at Home Depot today, in the flooring section...looking at floors, we then decided to look at guessed it; doors.  So when a helpful employee asked me if I was looking for something in particular, my reply, with no hesitation, was, "Dooring."  My wife immediately felt the need to follow that with, "DOORS", just in case the man was confused with my language.   He pointed us in the right direction, and as we walked off we had a good laugh over it.  Or, to be more accurate, my wife laughed her ass off at me.  But I will say this; the man never blinked an eye, so I'm sure that means he's heard the term plenty of times.  And if "flooring" is a real word, why not "dooring"?  I say it IS a real word.  But if anyone out there wants to weigh in on the matter, be my guest.

Okay, that's all for now.  Stay classy.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Phone tag…apparently I'm always "it"

I'll keep this one short because I don't have a whole lot to report…today in the morning we met with our loan officer at NVR. Hope to hear back soon that we've been pre-approved. Then we swung by the model and changed our exterior colors to the green. I don't have the exact name of the green, but I'll probably do a post dedicated to all our choices at some point.

But the thing that's got me slightly irritated already, is the fact that I've been playing phone tag with both Guardian and Right Rug (RR). It shouldn't take an act of congress to schedule an appointment, but I'm starting to wonder what the heck is going on…I missed RR's call on Friday, and called back in the afternoon. Got voicemail, left a message, no call back on Friday. Guardian called me on Friday also, but I told her I just needed to check my schedule real quick and then I'd call her right back. I called back in less than 5 minutes, but got voicemail. Left a message for her, but no call back. Fast forward to today (monday), and I've called Guardian 3 times today, voicemail on all 3, no call back. I called RR, got voicemail, left another message. Then RR calls while we are meeting with the loan officer, so I couldn't take the call. I called them back and was told the scheduler was away from her desk, but she'd call me right back. Finally, about a half hour later I got the call from RR. We set up an appointment for later this week, and she said she'd email me directions and confirmation. Well I get the email, but it's addressed to another person whose last name is nowhere near mine, and there is a misspelling in the lady's signature block! WTF??? Check it out below...

xxxx Distribution Stretet
Charlotte NC 28269

I'm really not such a spelling snob, hell, I'm sure there are plenty of spelling and/or grammatical errors in my writing. But on your SIGNATURE BLOCK???? For a BUSINESS????? Come on, that's just sloppy. Makes me wonder, if you're sloppy enough to have a misspelling on your signature block that's been at the bottom of God knows how many emails, how do I know your other work will be any better? How do I know your company will pay attention to detail when flooring my house, if apparently no one over there has noticed the misspelling in the signature block of one of their employees? Especially when this employee is the very first person from that company that I've had any contact with, and thus is influencing my entire opinion of the company? I tell ya, I'm not feeling good about this…Oh, and by the way? It's not even Distribution Street--it's Drive.

But honestly, we're not going to keep the flooring anyway. We plan on going with the very cheapest options, because we're going to upgrade the flooring ourselves afterwards for WAAAAAY cheaper, and higher quality also.

Okay, sorry for the rant, but I get irritated when a business doesn't seem to have their stuff together, especially when I have no choice but to deal with that business. Okay people, that's all for now. Stay classy!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Okay, here we go...

So this is my first time blogging.  I'm fairly certain this will suck, but what the hell, I'll give it a shot.

Me in a snapshot: Married, kids, originally from MA, I've been living in NC since 2000.

So how did we decide on the Verona?  Bedrooms.  We need a shit-ton of them.  And an office.  And a play room.  And a man cave.  In a nutshell, we started off looking online for existing homes, but we quickly found that in our market (Charlotte) it's virtually impossible to find a house that has enough room, on a decent lot, in a decent part of town, in our price range.  So then we started looking at new construction, and we started getting closer, but no cigar.  Then we saw the model version of the Rome.  We fell in love with it almost instantly, but we didn't like the neighborhood or the lots.

Then we found another neighborhood with much better lots and we saw their model, which is the Verona.  It also has a basement or attic option, which made it a perfect fit for us.

Okay, on a quick side note, I'm currently typing this while sitting on the couch watching Island Hunters on HGTV with my wife, and these assholes are buying an island.  Literally, a f@cking island.  Like, an island that is about an acre or two, and there is exactly one house on it.  I need a beer…

Anyway, we were able to take advantage of some great year-end incentives from RH, and got the morning room for free, along with $16k off the price of the Verona.  We got a great lot (.31 acres) and it's in a great location.  So on new years eve we signed our lives away.  Yay!
Home sweet home!

So here's what we've decided to go with so far:
Verona elevation L with a side-entry garage, with the 2' bump out.  The nice thing about that bump out is it also extends the alcove in the bonus room by 2'.  Sweet!  We also went with the finished attic, which is going to be my man cave.  Aww yeah!  

Today we also went by the neighborhood and met with +Stuart Singer , who's blog has been extremely helpful so far.  His Verona is immaculate, and very tastefully decorated, and he was kind enough to share his time with us, along with some great tips and information.  Thanks again Stuart!  

We also stopped in at the model and picked out our exterior colors.  We went with the blue siding, but as soon as we got home we got on google maps and looked at a house with that color and decided we hate it!  So I think we'll switch to the green.

Allright kids, I think that'll do it for tonight.  How do you end these things?  Do I have to come up with a catch phrase, or a sign-off?  I'll try to come up with something better, but for now….stay classy.