Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Locked Interest Rate

Today we locked interest rate for our FHA loan @4.75%. The rate has been static for the past 2 weeks and hence decided to lock today.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pre Drywall Pictures

Here are some pre drywall Pictures


Living Room:

Library/Study Room:

Family Room:


Dining Room:

Staircase to 2nd floor:

Laundry Room:

Master BedRoom:

Blocking for Flat TV (Master Bedroom):

Closet (Master Bedroom)

Master Bathroom:

Bedroom 2:

Bedroom 3:

Bedroom 4:

Basement Staircase:

Walkout Basement:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pre Drywall meeting

We had pre-drywall meeting today. The meeting went fine - we went through all selections (electrical/guardian) and location of the rest (windows/plubming/gas outlet) etc. There was nothing much i could find wrong with. The basement window is now in place (we now have 2 full size window in the media room).

Now comes the interesting part - in the afternoon the building inspector (whom i hired for pre-drywall inspection) went through the house. He took 2.5 hours and checked to minute details. He came up with 5 issues and 3 suggestions - one of them was a major structural issue.

Issue 1 - CRITICAL - Load points in family room dont seem to line up with blocking in the basement. There were no load bearing points in the basement that could match the load bearing points from the master bedroom on the family room. My picture does not show what i am talking about - but here is the illustration of the problem:

Once i understood the issue, i was very upset - and called the PM to come to the home site. The building inspector explained the problem to PM - PM acknowledged the issue and he blamed the blueprint for the mishap (blueprint comes from some central location). This issue was not noticed by the county inspectors who have approved the framing structure! Yikes!!!

Good that my money spent on pre-dry wall inspection was worth.

The rest of the issues were minor - draft stopping at various locations (can see light through the studs), additional metal hangers needs for blocking in the basement that were "Toenailed" - PM said he shall take care.

I shall upload the framing pics in the weekend.

Current Status:
Couple of inspections will happen tomorrow,
Wrapping, insulation next week
Drywall late next week or in 10 days
We can lock the rates now - PM said that the settlement would happen in the second week of June. Hoping the rates could come down little bit in the next one week (following this link daily for the past couple of months - his advice on when to lock the rates seem to be pretty accurate:

I still love Ryan Homes, Sales rep was awesome and the PM is doing his best. But it was unfortunate that it happened to our house - but happy that i went with a private inspection and fortunate that all ended well(so far) .

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Suggestion: "BLOCKING" for flat screen TV

Today, representative from Guardian came to the site to mark the locations of our selections (Structural wiring/Flat screen rough-in/phone&TV cables).

He suggested that we could request PM to install "BLOCKING" - a piece of wood that goes across the studs - which would help flat-screen TV installation. Posting this as i am hearing this term the first time.

Google search revealed that this is more useful for cabinets.

I called my PM - he said that blocking can be installed - i just need to let him know where the Flat screen should go.

Plumbing is half-way thru, Electrical connections in progress, bath-tubs have arrived.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pre Drywall meeting - Your experience please

The plumbing work has started. Guardian folks will be coming in tomorrow and electrical connections will start this Friday.

Our PM called this afternoon to inform about the Pre-Drywall meeting next Wednesday. I already found a building inspector - I told PM that i will be bringing the inspector as well with me. He wanted the inspector to fax his state license info to the Ryan office. (Since i requested the inspector to do both pre-drywall and final inspection, i got 15% discount :-)

Though the inspector would check the various aspects (building codes, proper installation etc), there might be other things that we need to watch out for - as we are the one who know the selections that we made earlier. I am going through various blogs regarding the pre drywall meeting. Please share your experiences as well and let us know the list of items that i need to watch out for.

Also - we have not selected electrical outlets outside the house (Christmas light, mowing etc). Does these connections come by default or we need to specifically request them?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Framing Day 3

Framing is continuing this week.

So far:
Day 1 - Sub-flooring
Day 2 - First Floor
Day 3 - Second Floor

Here are the pics:

Taylor Model, Elevation C (with porch):

Right Side Elevation:

First floor windows (side) : Study room (2), Family room (2)
First floor front: 2-car garage (ya, you guessed right)
Second floor windows (side): Bedroom #3 (2)
Second floor windows (front): Bedroom #2 (3 - includes 1 double window), Bathroom #3 (1)

Left side Elevation:

First floor windows (side): Dining room Bay Window
First floor window (front): Living room (2) - partially visible in the below picture
Second floor window (side): Large window on the Stairs (1), Laundry room (1), Toilet - attached to Master Bathroom (1 - small), Master Bathroom (1 - other one on the rear elevation)
Second floor window (front): Bedroom#4 (3) - partially visible in the below picture

Rear Elevation:

Basement Level windows/openings: Media Room (2 - should be large windows - this is yet to be fixed), exit to backyard
First Floor windows/openings- Family room (2 - separated by fireplace), 2 ft extension double door opening (this will blocked till we build our deck), Kitchen (1)
Second Floor windows: Master Bedroom (2), Master Bathroom (1 - second one on the left elevation)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Basement Poured

We didnt realize that the basement has already been poured. Yesterday, we sneaked into the basement. Here are the pics (90 degree view stranding from the corner of the basement)

View from basement

Friday, March 25, 2011

Framing started

Yesterday, we got our first status update call from our PM. He mentioned that the foundation work is complete and lumber is expected to arrive today - with framing starting from Monday.

But today when i drove-by the site, i was amazed to see the progress. The lumber has arrived, backfilled and framing of the floor started!!! Here are some pics:

I guess the gap in the above picture is for bay window in the dining room. Though i am not sure about the projection next to it (which would be the kitchen area).

In the below picture, the fireplace (left) and dinette 2 ft extension can be seen. The basement window is yet to be fixed as the gadget to cut the concrete is yet to come. PM said that this should happen around next week.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Waterproofing, plumbing and a MISTAKE

Foundation has been completed. These pics were taken on Friday (3/18)

Front porch & steps:
Basement Bathroom plumbing rough-ins:
Waterproofing (pic taken from the rear) - part of the foundation will be exposed:

View from the backyard:
We have a walkout basement - with 2 full size windows in the media room. But if you see the above picture (on the left side) - there are 2 small windows. We were surprised to see this. I immediately sent an email to PM with the picture and the contract page with our selection to add the full size window. Got an email today - apparently this was missed on their part and the PM assured that they will fix this.

View from the basement door - can't wait to build a deck/patio...:

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Work has started in our lot. On Tuesday (3/8) they started work and today i saw they excavated some dirt and started working on the foundation. Here are some pics:

Our lot (a month ago..)

View from the rear (in between the grey and yellow house). If you see closely, the backyard drops by about 6 ft - our neighbor (grey house) has raised the level using retaining wall...another 10K to do this :-(

Work started last Tuesday (3/8):

Preparing for Foundation (3/12)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Floor Plan & Selections

Our Selections:

  • Brick Front with Porch
  • Finished Basement - with walkout door to backyard
  • Wooden Floor for Foyer, Powder Room, Dining and Kitchen
  • Carpet for the rest of the house
  • Gourmet Island with Granite counter-top in the Kitchen
  • Fire-place in family room
  • Stainless Steel Appliances
  • Kitchen Vent-Out
  • Tray Ceiling in Master Bedroom
  • Ceramic tiles in Master Bathroom
  • Added extra bathroom (3 bathrooms on the upper level)
  • Bay Window in Dining room
  • Double window in one of the unfinished room in basement - we are planning to finish it next year as a 5th bedroom
  • 3 piece rough-in in the basement - again - planning to finish it later to convert as 4th full bathroom
  • Garage opener
  • Recess lights in foyer, kitchen
  • Chair railing and Crown Molding in the Foyer, Living, Dining room and the stairs
  • Gas cook-top, Electric connection for washer/dryer
(we bought the house in a promotion - so we got free basement, fire-place, brick front and porch & 33% off on all other upgrades :-) )

Morning room extension was not possible as the local code does not allow for our site :-( we just got a 2 ft extension in dinette

Guardian Selections
  • In-wall Speakers in family room (Kiplisch)
  • Flat TV rough-in for family room (over the fireplace), Master bedroom (we decided to pull the cables from family room to study room and from master bedroom to closet - so the accessories would be accesses remotely using logitech remote)
  • Security system (added 1 keypad & heat sensor) - negotiated for 6 month free services - but got a discount of $400 upfront - which is equivalent to 10 months of service
  • Extra 110v points for Flat TV connection, Closet in Master bedroom for the cable box/dvd player (Note: The Guardian upgrades do not qualify for the 33% discount)


  • Maple Cognac cabinets in Kitchen and bedrooms
  • Gunstock hardwood for the main floor (except living & family)
  • Tan Brown granite (went well with Maple Cognac cabinet and Gunstock floor)
  • Upgraded Stainless steel appliances with double wall oven
  • Kitchen Vent out - we are planning to buy range hood after we move in
  • Upgraded carpet for rest of the house with 6lb padding (i shall upload pictures of the selections soon)
Current Status

  • Loan approved (via NVR Mortgage - took 2 weeks for approval)
  • Construction started today, settlement in mid of June
  • Watching the mortgage rate fluctuations very closely - we wont be able to lock rate until mid of April
  • Today we had pre-construction meeting with PM to go through all the options - they missed couple of items (like Ceiling fan rough-ins that we selected for all bedrooms & Chair Molding). Need to closely monitor during this meeting as we went through all upgrades in detail.
So far, I am happy with Ryan folks (Sales Rep, Loan department & PM) - they have been honest and guided us with all pros & cons of the selections. Guardian rep was also good - he wanted us to get the 3-yr security contract - but did not push for rest of the stuff. We were not that happy with CTI - they didn't provide with much selections - in fact the model house had more selections (in their basement) than the CTI showroom. But we are now happy with the selections.