Friday, January 16, 2015

Our First NEW Home Building Experience: First 3 Months- Part 1

Hello! Welcome to our blog. This is our first new home building experience and after scanning the Internet for pictures of the Avalon I found so many blogs that have been very helpful. So we decided to document what we have been experiencing as well and what we will continue to experience on our journey to our dream home. We are so EXCITED!!! We started the process of looking for a new home (whether it be a new community or a preexisting home) last summer and finally settled on one of the Ryan Homes community in PG County Maryland in early October. We had the pleasure of seeing an Avalon model before and LOVED it!!! We are definitely over the top with, shall I say it again.... EXCITEMENT to have our very own Avalon built! We have a family of 6 and definitely need a lot of space. We are currently in a spacious 4 bdrm, 3 bath Single Family split level home and while it is approximately 3400+ sq ft, the layout is no longer conducive to what we need. We have 3 boys and 1 girl and she is in the need of her own bathroom and we are looking forward to giving our princess her own space. And the boys will be able to share a (Jack and Jill) bathroom which is great!

Avalon Model, Elevation C - we didn't get bay windows

We are currently in the 4th month of our process. I'll try to document our process to date in a chronological order and then attempt to keep up with this blog as we continue in our building process. So where do I begin???

First Month
The very first time we walked into the model home (Rome) on October 5th, the Sales Consultant at the community was very professional and personable which definitely put us at ease when we decided to buy in the community. We were able to get more information about the community and what it had to offer. Since we have kids, having good schools close by was as important as stores and access to major highways. We loved the way they decorated the Rome model. While we knew it was too small for us, we also knew that this community offered the Avalon model. Which we really liked. We priced out the house with all of the build-to options we wanted in the house. I wrote down prices for EVERYTHING!!! My husband thought I was crazy but hey, I wanted to know the price for each and every option even if we didn't select them. Also, I didn't want them to come back and say that something was at different prices. I must say that we had it set in our minds that this would be the home that our grandkids would come to visit so we went all out. We got what we wanted. I will admit, it cost a pretty penny, but it will be well worth it when the house is finished! Also, the incentives they had that month were awesome. Let's see, finished morning room (priced at $19,995), wood flooring from foyer through the kitchen (we found out that this is now standard in all Ryan homes), stainless steel appliances, upgraded cabinets and granite in the kitchen, finished Rec Room (priced at $19,995) AND up to $20K in closing costs. Talk about INCENTIVES!!! We couldn't pass up this opportunity. They were better than when we looked in another Ryan community in the summer! We really liked Elevation D but someone had already selected that, so we went with Elevation C with brick front. Although I have always wanted a front porch to sit on, I was willing to compromise;-) We also started our pre-approval loan process with NVR to get the additional closing incentive.

In addition to what comes standard with the Avalon we selected the following (I've included prices for those that are going through the same process. I asked people what they paid for certain options (Honest I wasn't being rude!) and the prices didn't seem to increase much in the last 7 years):

Exterior: Elevation C ($9,495)

Main level: Gas cook top ($275), gourmet island ($2,795 -well worth it. I mean what is a kitchen without one!), 4' extension in family room ($7,495), gas fireplace in FR ($3,495-we picked basic slate), Sunroom $17,995), first floor office as bedroom and first floor bathroom as a full bathroom as opposed to a powder room ($3,695 for both bedroom and full bathroom), trim package #2 ($1,295-crown molding) and oak stairs with the metal balusters ($6,495 - crazy right! but elegant looking). We planned on running the wood flooring into the morning room as well.

Upper level: Four bedrooms (in addition to master bedroom), sitting area in master bedroom and 3 bathroom layout (Jack and Jill bathroom PLUS bathroom in 3rd bedroom for the princess) ($19,995), luxury owners suite and bath ($13,995), upgraded cabinets in master bathroom ($895), jets in tub in master bathroom ($1,695! For JETS! In a tub! YEP!), granite counter tops in master bathroom ($995). Yep, it's all about the master bath!

Lower level: Finished media room ($5,995), full bathroom ($5,795), wet bar with base cabinets ($6,495), double patio door walkout basement ($4,595).

As I said, we went all out. Although we really love the way bay windows look, there were other things in the house that we wanted more ($3,995 each). Also, the base square footage of the Avalon starts at 2935 sq ft. Our top two floors are approximately 4119 sq ft. Mind you this does NOT include the basement, which is approximately 1600 sq ft (roughly). So we are increasing the size of our living space by roughly 2300 sq ft. Not bad. Not bad at all! We will love the extra SPACE!!!

October 11th and 12th we had family in town that were looking to buy a house and we took them to the same community. We also had the opportunity to visit another Ryan community not far away.

On October 19th, we had our first official "sign the contract" meeting. It was so exciting (and stressful). Unfortunately my husband couldn't be there so I was flying solo. I went through and selected all of the options. We had decided on the counter tops and cabinets ahead of time - for the kitchen at least.  The model home had the Espresso cabinets and we just fell in LOVE with them! So that's what we picked as well. I know they are dark but they are gorgeous. We picked the Santa Cecelia granite to go along with the cabinets. Another great choice for the kitchen. I had the fun task of selecting the brick, shutters, door and siding colors. Since our choice of the brown brick was already selected (darn neighbor again beat us to the punch), we chose the red brick with the red shutters and a red door with natural almond siding. I saw homes with those selections and they looked pretty nice. I did tell the Sales Rep that we may change our mind in the future after my husband sees the options. I also had to pick the counter top and cabinets for the wetbar. I went with the basic cabinets and counter top. So we went with Maple Honey for the cabinets (the only ones that looked decent) and Butterum Granite Formica for the counter tops. They went well together. Not granite but I can live with that. Of course I took pictures of the cabinets, counter top, shutters, and door selections. Since we didn't make the selection for adding ceiling fan/light rough-ins at our last visit, today was the day to bite the bullet and get them added. We elected to have ceiling fan rough-ins added that way we didn't have to have anyone come in after the fact to install lighting. ($225 per ceiling fan rough-in and $175 per light rough-in.) I never understood why ceiling lighting isn't included throughout the home. Just another way for them to make more money I guess. That goes for any builder.
Santa Cecelia  Granite - Kitchen
Espresso cabinets - Kitchen/Master Bath

Maple Honey cabinets - Wetbar

Butterum Granite Formica - Wetbar

Commonwealth brick

Farm House Red - Door/Shutters

 At this appointment I also had the opportunity to put the Sold sticker on the Lot plan that they have in the model. It was pretty cool. They gave me the SOLD sign so that we could come back as a family and put it on the lot sign. I was so excited to be able to do that with my family. I have owned 2 other homes but this is our first NEW construction. Oh yeah, of course a payment had to be made to make the deal official!

I was told that I would hear from the flooring (TAC) and electrical/wiring (Guardian) folks within about 3 days. And I did. We were able to set up our appointments locally instead of driving to VA. Especially since Guardian didn't have weekend appointments. It's hard to navigate that when you work and have to pick up kids from school.

More to come in the next posting.....