Friday, December 30, 2011


We met with our Ryan homes representative for the first time after signing our property papers to finalize some of the choices we had already made and to pick a color for the siding (i.e. the exterior of our house)....sounds like a fairly easy task right??....WRONG!!!

Every time you think about the money your putting in to build your dream home and realize you will have to live with the choices you make for several years to come, even simple decisions start looking daunting.

Ryan homes has a policy which does not allow you to select colors which are used upto two houses next to your own. Based on this, our Ryan home rep gave us a few options and we immediately gravitated towards two colors 1. Autumn Beige 2. Sandy Tan. As it was nearing their office closing time, we were a little rushed and ended up finalizing Autumn Beige as the color we wanted to go with.

On returning home, I started scouting blogs of other Ryan home owners to look at the popular siding selections and was shocked to find that autumn beige looked almost pink!!! (check this blog to see what I mean:

Worried about our selection, the next day we drove to a Ryan home township about 40-50 mins away from where we live. This township not only has the Florence model home but also several different Florence home constructions.  This time, looking at the swatch in natural light, the autumn beige did seem to have a pinkish tinge, while sandy tan had a touch of green.

Driving down through the community we fit into the role of stalkers almost perfectly. After our second drive thru the neighborhood we started getting dirty looks from the residents and had no options but to leave....however not without pictures of "Florence" style homes in both Autumn Beige and Sandy Tan.

                                                            Autumn Beige Siding
                                                                Sandy Tan Siding

We still haven't decided on the color we want on the siding, but we did call our Ryan home representative and let her know that we had changed our minds about Autumn Beige. I don't want a house which will have a remote chance of looking pink! In case you people have some suggestions or comments for us that might help us select a siding color, please let me know as we need to pick one soon!!

One mistake we made when selecting the siding color initially....we looked at the color choices in artificial light. The small swatches look very different in natural light Vs. indoor artificial light. Also, we let ourselves be rushed into making a choice without having given it too much thought and ended up regretting it pretty quickly( I don't want to imagine how much more I would regret it if I had waited until after the house was painted!!..YIKES).

I have realized in the few weeks that we have dealt with Ryan homes, they don't give the buyers too much time to make decisions, in the bargain, sometimes you end up making choices which you like, but don't necessarily love! However, this is "YOUR HOME".... if your going to build it from ground up, put in all that time, money and effort you should "LOVE EVERYTHING" about it not just LIKE somethings...This is my new only if it worked!!! LOL!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

NVR Mortgage

This week one of our scheduled meetings with regards to our home was with  our NVR mortgage agent.

At the time of signing our initial property papers, our Ryan home agent provided us with a check list on documents we needed to supply for the loan approval. Having this ahead of time gave us the opportunity to gather  all the documents together without feeling rushed or panicked. This was helpful for us especially, as we currently live in two cities and our documents are not all at one place.

Though Ryan homes lets you choose another lender, they do give you incentives to use their own lender ie. NVR mortgage. You miss out on these incentives if you go with another lender. In our case the incentive was a finished morning room which allowed us to use the money to get a finished basement.

                                                           Model Home Morning Room

We also got pre-approved by another lender prior to starting the house search. This was recommended to us by our realtor.  The theory behind this is that, being pre-approved improves your credibility especially if you are buying a resale home. It gives the seller assurance that you can afford to buy the home and works in your favor if you are a candidate in the bidding game against someone who isn't pre-approved. In our case we were asked by our Ryan Homes agent if we were pre-approved even before she gave us a cost estimate for our home. I don't know if being pre-approved helped our cause.

Anywho, we have submitted all our paper work for NVR mortgage, signed close to hundred papers (exaggeration...but enough that I want to get a signature stamp made!) and are waiting to hear back if we are approved. Being the holiday season we were told it would take maybe two weeks before we would find out). Ryan homes also offers assistance to find you another lender in-case you are not approved by NVR which is a good back up to have.

We plan to lock in our interest rate 60 days prior to our closing date which is in May. I did read on someone's blog that he tracked the interest rates for a few weeks before locking the rate it. I am not sure on to do the tracking yet as I still haven't started researching it but would love hear some ideas if you have any!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Decisions...Decisions and then some more decisions!!!

Ever since deciding to buy a house our life has been full of choices and decisions. Resales Vs New constructions, Town house Vs Single Family home, Heartland Vs Ryan homes, Washington County Vs Allegheny county. If these selections weren't enough, our options increased by multiple folds and the decisions got harder once we signed the zillion initial property papers!!!

The two weeks, since signing have been a whirlwind of activity. While the process itself is exciting, it has been frustrating as well. The most challenging and perhaps the best part of this procedure has been selecting what the interiors of our home would look like. Who doesn't want to have all the fancy upgraded stuff in the house???... if I had a money tree I would get it all!!!...but deciding what is worth the buck has really started testing our decision making ability to the limit.

Currently my husband is spending most of his free time, finalizing all the options we can get within our means.

After multiple late night discussions some of the things we have agreed upon are:

  • Elevation C with siding. (This elevation with partial stone finish  is gorgeous, but also way more expensive than the siding.)
  • Hardwood floors on the first level.(I liked the hardwood they had in the model home and am considering going with it-->see model home picture below). Carpet in the rest of the house with ceramic tiles in all the bathrooms and laundry room.
  • Granite(santa cecilia) counter tops in the kitchen with maple espresso cabinets. (If you put granite counter tops in the kitchen, Ryan homes gives upgraded kitchen faucets as well. The model home kitchen cabinets in the picture below are maple cognac)  
  • Stainless steel appliance package except the fridge. (We didn't like the fridge they are offering in their package so decided to get our own).  
  • Morning Room as a part of the promotion. 
  • Finished Basement.
  • Master bath with double sinks, shower and tub with granite(wheat) counter top and ceramic floors (we haven't met with Rusmur Floors yet so have not made a choice on the tiles).
  • Recessed lighting in the kitchen, basement, great room and master bedroom. 
  • Drainage system in the garage. 

We initially decided not to get the Fireplace installed through Ryan homes as we felt that we could put it in later. However, Nishant changed his mind after reading several blogs and fireplace reviews, unfortunately by then we passed our deadline for making structural changes to the house. So, we are going to try and have them put in a gas line so that we can install a ventless gas fireplace later else we will have to settle for the electric fireplace. If a fireplace is something you really want, its better to get the vented one through Ryan homes coz the fireplaces we saw at Lowes and Home Depot did not look authentic at all. If there are other stores which carry better ones please let me know! On talking to several home owners we found out that though gas fireplaces hike the bills more than the electric ones they tend to be more efficient than the electric. One of my colleagues stated that her husband only allowed her to use their gas fireplace when they had people over! LOL!!!  
We still have to decide on some more options and are still to meet with Rusmur Floors next week. We met with Guardian and the Ryan homes rep this week.. will write about that in my next post!
On a different note Here's Wishing  Everyone a Merry Xmas!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The year that was...

2011 has been a year of magnificent and big changes for me. I brought this year in by getting married to a charming man!!

Halfway through the year I moved to Pittsburgh from Boston leaving behind a well adjusted lifestyle and some wonderful friends.

As 2011 draws to a close we have added another life defining change into the mix...building our first Ryan home!!!

Our decision to buy a house was not something we planned for a long time. While having a mundane conversation with my husband Nishant, who is still living in Boston, we both agreed it was time to finally lay our roots in a city rather than live like vagabonds. In the few months that I have lived in Pittsburgh it has already started feeling like the city I would like to call home.  Already being on a lease in an rented apartment currently, buying a house into which we could move in at the end of 2012, was our general inclination. Since Nishant was planning to visit Pittsburgh for the Thanksgiving weekend anyway, we figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to start looking at homes to get an idea at what we wanted.

Little did we realize that by the end of the weekend we would not only find the perfect house...but build it ground up!  Our realtor introduced us to Ryan homes and the "Florence" floor plan  turned out to be the best fit for us in every way...and that's going to be out first home come MAY 2012!!

                                             Florence (Elevation -C ) model home

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