Friday, November 30, 2012

I have been hoodwinked, bamboozled......

**this is a long read but worth reading and will save you lots of stress**
plus my first RANT

Someone mentioned to me that she was looking for some information on my blog regarding the pre-drywall meeting.  So I am taking this opportunity to share what my experience has been and what some of you, actually most of you, need and may want to be aware of while building your home with the specific selections, upgrades and options you may or may not have chosen.

First, we did not have a formal drywall meeting because we had many mini meetings in between to discuss the different options in our home so it wasn't necessary to have a formal pre drywall meeting. We just kept it moving!

Second, let me urge each of you to schedule another meeting with your SR after you sign the purchase agreement to discuss all the details of the selections you chose for your home.  This meeting will be much shorter than your first meeting if you follow the next step.  Take the selection sheet home and thoroughly go over each item because 99% of the time most new homeowners will discover options that they are unaware of and this gives you the opportunity to make adjustments to your options and stay within budget.  Plus most homeowners are not privy to this selection sheet until after they complete the purchase agreement so it's impossible to know all the options available for your model/floor plan until you walk out with a big grin on your face with your purchase agreement in hand.

Third, Schedule another meeting and go over ALL your paper work and change orders to be sure that your paper work is reflecting the paperwork of your Sales Representatives including your paper work from Guardian and the flooring company. Be sure to get copies of your Guardian options and flooring options and over go that paper work line by line and verify the prices you are being charged for each item you selected.  DO NOT BE SHY ABOUT ASKING FOR A MEETING-- IT IS CRUCIAL TO YOUR NEW HOME OR YOU WILL BE TOLD, SORRY WE CAN NOT CHANGE THAT OR SORRY I NEVER TOLD YOU THAT OR YOU WILL DISCOVER THAT YOU OVER PAID FOR SOME OF YOUR OPTIONS.  ***BE SURE TO HAVE THIS MEETING WITHIN YOUR TWO WEEK DEADLINE PERIOD WHICH MEANS SCHEDULING ALL YOUR APPOINTMENTS WITH ALL THE VENDORS ASAP OR YOU MAY BE TOLD, SORRY IT'S TOO LATE.

Fourth, record in a notebook/journal all the discussions you have with your building team and record the date and time.  Be sure to verify the information with them to be certain you are only recording facts and not your interpretation before you record your notes.  After your conversation, back it up with an confirmation mail to cover your assets. Do not be shy about recording your notes in the meeting, you do not want to rely on your memory once you get home.

Fifth, If you follow these steps you should show up to your pre construction meeting with very little concerns because you checked your list and you checked it twice with your SR.  Bring your back up material to your pre construction meeting.  AND, be sure to go over every detail with your PM at this meeting too.  AND, yes, take notes in this meeting too.  Record everything in your journal even if it feels unnecessary.

Sixth, If you requested and were approved for any non standard customizations again, keep records and discuss with your SR detail for detail your non standard request and do the same with your PM before they start your build.  Also, ask for a copy of the customizations approval list from the costing/pricing department during this meeting to include in your records along with a copy of the change order until the official change order copy is returned with signatures in the mail.  Be sure to be very specific in your non standard request and ask for clarification from your SR to be sure it is going on your change order according to your specifics.  It is easy for your non standard request to be misinterpreted. Be sure your PM understands your request and don't forget to bring copies of pictures to provide to your PM for his clarification of your request.   

Seventh,  For all non - standard requests provide pictures, measurements, and if necessary, provide     the name of the company, your point of contact, phone numbers, address etc if you are working with a company outside of RH to expedite your request.  If it is a RH product that RH does not offer as an option, contact the vendor to verify that the product is available in their warehouse to request as a non standard request to provide to your SR.  Do your research before presenting your request so that you are prepared and to increase the chances of getting your non standard request approved.  If your non standard request is denied, ask what are they willing to do to meet you half way to have the non standard approved.  I have seen some very unusual requests that RH has approved for customers on this blog that I was shocked to see approved because I have been consistently told that RH is not a customer builder; however, these requests were approved. 

Eight, Keep all your documentation for NVR on a thumb drive for both you and your spouse, in a folder in your email box for easy access from your smart phone when asked to provide the same documentation, once, twice and maybe even a third or fourth time.  Go to your human resources department and/or immediate supervisor and alert them of your home purchase and to expect a call for verification of employment at different stages and better yet, get an official (notarized) employee verification letter a week or two before your walk through and also have all documentation in a binder with you at all times.

Nine, check on your home as often as possible to catch any mishaps.  It is much easier for your PM to make the changes sooner rather than later.  If possible, ask a friend or two to check on your home if you are not able too because the mishaps will happen.  For instance, my cabinets were installed the other day and some of the doors are not aligned, the wrong cabinet product was delivered, the wrong brick color was delivered even though my change order reflects the correct colors, etc.  If you discover an item isn't reflected on your change order chances are they will tell you it's too late.  Check all your supplies to be sure they reflect the colors you chose.  I caught the brick layers just in time before they installed the wrong brick color and the guy told me he was mixing the two styles of brick together because he thought that is what we ordered.  We had one stack of the right color and three stacks of the wrong color.  Imagine the set back it would have caused and luckily it was reflected on our change order.

Lastly, I hope this information supports you in your building journey and to at least prevent some of the common pitfalls throughout your build.  It will not in any way guarantee any mistakes from occurring but it will definitely reduce some of them.  I have had some very interesting mishaps over the past few weeks that made me feel highly discouraged and honestly, at the highest level of pissosity because I was misinformed by my SR that an option in the Rome was standard and when I discovered it wasn't there my SR rescinded what she told me.  If I had known otherwise, I would have submitted it as a non standard request several months ago while we waited six months for approval.  I feel hoodwinked and bamboozled because they did nothing to accommodate the miscommunication except tell me in so many words they were not going to do anything about it and they accommodated several requests that we are paying our money have these customs built into our home.   The bottom line for me is that regardless of the number of requests we submitted it has nothing to do with this issue.  I WAS MISINFORMED. PERIOD.  They suggested that I had several customs and they accommodated most of them and I should be happy about that which I am but DO NOT suggest to me that there is nothing that can be done to keep me a satisfied customer.  If RH has a cap on the number of upgrades, selections/options, and customizations that a family can choose to build their home it should be stated and have each family sign a form stating such.  As far as I am concerned, I do not see a limit of the customizations, selections, or upgrades in their model homes.  I have discovered that as much as your SR/PM/RH/LO would love for you to be in your dream home and will go to bat to see it through the key thing ALL new home builders need to know is cover your assets because they are definitely covering theirs; because at the end of the day--IT'S BUSINESS.  SO TREAT THIS EXPERIENCE AS YOUR NEW HOME START UP BUSINESS THAT YOU ARE PURCHASING AND WILL BE PAYING FOR FOR THE NEXT 15/30 YEARS.  DO NOT BE SHY OR FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE FOR ASKING FOR WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE IN YOUR HOME OR ANY QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY HAVE ABOUT YOUR HOME. IF YOU HAVE THE QUESTIONS--ASK. NO QUESTION IS TOO DUMB TO ASK FOR SUCH A CRUCIAL PROJECT BECAUSE ONCE THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY CLOSES, THEY WILL UTTER THE WORDS, SORRY WE CAN'T DO THAT OR YOU CAN ADD THAT LATER AFTER YOU SETTLE!



Monday, November 26, 2012

Scripturally Speaking.....

One of the many blessings of building a house is having God's blessing on your home.  As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord at all times because and we are eternally grateful for such a time as this to build a home especially with such wonderful LOW interest rates.  With this in mind, I decided to cover our home with scriptures in each room along with some other positive affirmations. I saw a couple of bloggers inscribing scriptures in the wet cement which is a great idea and I saw a fellow blogger Stark Ravin Ravenna (Emrose) who wrote scriptures on the frames before the drywall and decided to follow her lead and took it a step further.  Both husband and I are reading this fantastic book called "Renovating Your Marriage Room by Room" which speaks to using the eight bricks to enhance, improve or rebuild the foundation of your marriage.  I took the eight bricks and recorded them throughout our home too.  The Bricks are:

Brick #1 - Nurturance - constantly pump new energy, new life daily
Brick #2 - Honor - see your spouse as God sees them, see their goodness
Brick #3 - Encouragement - daily say one encouraging word or practice an act of kindness
Brick #4 - Acceptance - love your spouse for who they are, NOT who you want them to BE
Brick #5 - Grace - love without demanding changes in your spouse, we all make mistakes
Brick #6 - Truth - always remember the truth of God's word
Brick #7 - Humility - think more of your spouse and less of yourself (this is powerful)
Brick #8 - Commitment - Song of Songs 2:16 "My beloved is mine and I am his" (remain loyal)

I have to admit since the Rome is large it did take some time to cover all 21 rooms of the house; however, both my husband and I enjoyed the experience.  I took pictures of all the locations and it's interesting because as I walk through the house I can remember the scripture behind the drywall.  For instance, as we walk up to the second level, it is inscribed on the wall in huge letters, BRICK #8 COMMITMENT and a scripture beside it.  I later went back to the house and put additional scriptures in  each room.  Should you desire to partake in this wonderful experience you can use one scripture, blessing or affirmation for each room and use scriptures that speak to the space of the room.  For instance, the grandchildren's bedroom have scriptures about children etc.  Of course, it is not necessary to record as many scriptures as I did; however one per room will suffice.  Enjoy placing a hedge of protection around your home. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

You Can Get With This...

I decided to do this post because I understand the difference it made for me as I began to choose my selections/upgrades/customizations for our home.  This was not an easy task with some options. In order to know every selection for your floor plan you must study the selection sheet which most people do not have the time to do and/or are unaware of the selection sheet.  There are a variety of selections/upgrades to choose from and what about those non standard customizations we know that we want before we start building.  Bottom line, the the challenge when building your first home is knowing what to ask for from a selection sheet that you may not be aware of when you sit down to develop your house on paper.  It is a lot to cover and and a budget that most want to adhere too.  After you sign the purchase agreement, you are in possession of the selection sheet that some people take home and study like a hawk and others don't take another peek (they just want the house built).  We are given typically two weeks to make any changes. Not much time right?  My intention for this post is to share a few things I discovered along the way that can make a big impact on your home.  Some can be changed others you are stuck with.  

There so many to choose from but check out WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN GET WITH THIS OR YOU CAN GET WITH THAT!  The information below will support you in making up your mind. The choices are always personal to what your family wants, needs and desires are and can never be compared to anyone else.  So continue to make the choice that best fits you.  The choices in this post are coming from many bloggers who knew beforehand or found out afterwards when it was too late.  Again, I can not cover them all because I will be here for the next few days; however, here are a few:

This bathroom is under construction which is why you do not see the soap dish.  Consider whether or not you want your designer ceramic surround installed in your bathrooms with this towel bar directly above your listello.  The towel bar/soap dish do not match the materials of your designer ceramic. I took the picture and discussed this with our Tile Floor Representative to be sure they did not include these in the guest or master bathroom.  

Close Up Views

Another bathroom under construction; however, this homeowner chose to use the traditional 6*6 ceramic tile and kept both towel bar/soap dish which matches perfectly since they are made from the same materials.
  Our basement bathroom has this same tile and I kept the towel bar/soap dish; again, because they are made with the same materials and pleasing to the eye.

I was absolutely clear that I did not want to have the traditional towel bar/soap dish attached to my designer ceramic so I have two of the corner durango marble shelves installed in the showers of both guest and master bathroom. 
Each durango marble shelf in our community cost $100 each.  They also have a ceramic corner shelf that will cost you $50.  I do have a picture of it and the ceramic corner shelf has two lips on the edges that flip upwards.  They will serve the purpose--just be careful that the color matches up with your bathroom tile.

If you want to take your bathrooms to a whole another level try this option:  Seamless Showers (Pretty) and be sure to not disrupt the beauty of the shower with those traditional towel bar/soap dish that you see in this picture (unless of course, if that is your choice).  I love this idea and it looks fabulous.  If you want to read more about a fellow blogger named DWTimes2 check it out here she was able to get this non standard request approved.  We plan to install one after settlement because they really give the bathroom a beautiful face lift.


When we first visited to determine our qualification, our SR immediately asked me did I want capped walls or balusters.  I had no clue what she was talking about. lol  I chose the balusters and was grateful that she mentioned such an important detail.  A few months later, when it was time to purchase, we discovered and were blessed to be chosen for the ROME HOME of the MONTH Special and received the balusters along with ALL the other incentives.  WOW!  It was unbelievable!!  Once we signed the official purchase agreement the cost for the balusters were deleted because of the ROME of the MONTH special. YAY!
Uncapped Walls

Laundry upstairs

Laundry downstairs in Basement

 I chose the laundry downstairs in the basement because I am ole school when it comes to doing laundry.   The laundry room upstairs was way too small for the dryer steam system that we own. Even though this had nothing to do with my decision--I later found out from Sgt Rich blog that the laundry upstairs rattles the entire house when doing laundry.  Please refer to his blog before you make your decision.  I was so pleased that I made the choice I made because his findings were interesting.  He gives you some advice on how to remedy this problem if you have it or what you can do to prevent it.  Check him out here:

Friday, November 16, 2012


After the excitement of breaking ground and watching the framing of your house being built it appears as if nothing is happening.  Yet, to the contrary much is happening--your house is still being built.  Even when you cannot enter the house due to the rules and regulations that Ryan Homes wants the home owners to adhere to for safety reasons and beyond--again, there is still a lot of framing going on the inside of your home.  When you are finally able to walk inside your home for the very first time the excitement builds up again and shortly thereafter, AGAIN--it appears as if nothing is going on.  Let me repeat that---yet, to the contrary much is going on!  I call this the "bone of my bones" stage where all the internal aspects of your house is being put together.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

AND the refrigerator we chose is.........

Isn't she lovely!
The door handles go perfectly with the other kitchen appliances!

Love the Space!!
The perfect amount for both my husband and I!
Some people have complained that the ice box takes up some of the cubic feet on the top level; however, it's perfect for us!
I love the Flex Draw (middle draw) for our grandchildren to grab their snacks!  The possibilities are unlimited with the flex draw!

There are several fun APPS installed that are user friendly!  Calendar, Pandora, Weather, Twitter, Photo Album, Memos, Recipe/Cookbook App and a host of others

We chose this French Door Refrigerator for several reasons after doing much research around our personal preferences, needs, wants and desires:

1.  I have always wanted a larger fridge to manage food temperature for the variety of foods I store.
2.  In choosing a larger refrigerator the french door was most attractive to me and for some reason the side by side fridge never struck my fancy.
3.  When I discovered the Samsung with Apps, I was struck by the technology since I love gadgets and the unlimited possibilities of fun that both my husband and I get to have with the Apps application.
4.  The Samsung comes with the extra Flex Drawer giving us four doors instead of three.   I also love that our grandchildren will have easy access to the snacks stored in the Flex Drawer that Grandma keeps on hand for them when they visit.
5.  The Samsung has the gray sides instead of the black which would not interrupt the interior design in the kitchen.
6.  The Samsung's 28 cubic feet was just the right amount of storage space because my husband and I will be the daily consumers.
7.  The Samsung's door handles are very very close in design to our other appliances which doesn't give it that choppy look and feel.
8.  We did fall in love with the LG 31 cubic feet especially with the two way door which was fabulous; however, we had to deduce to what would work and what wouldn't work and the LGs structure and design conflicted with our other appliances.
9.  The Samsung's stainless steel match the other appliances perfectly; again, keeping with the uniformity in the interior design.
10.  We have a fabulous family member who will hook the refrigerator's wifi system up correctly to avoid the issues some people have mentioned with the wifi.  He is a manic geek with an IT degree and IT business which gives us great confidence with the hook up structure.
11.  The Samsung was on sale at the time of purchase and we got an excellent deal including several hundred dollars in rewards for a future purchase.  We have the best buy rewards that gives you a percentage of your dollars back from all your purchases which is sweet!!
12.  There are a host of other benefits and features that you can find on a fellow bloggers post Maria at who picked the same fridge.  She provided those details for your reading pleasure.  Check it out!
13.  Lastly, Best Buy was willing to delay delivery of our refrigerator without additional fees.

 AND, the refrigerator is just adorable and I can't wait to use it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Central Vacuum & Crumb Catcher

For those of you who have the Central Vacuum System, can you tell me whether or not you find it beneficial to use on hardwood flooring?  We were told that we need additional inlets because we change the configuration of the Rome floor plan.  The system comes with at least 7 inlets and beyond that you must purchase them, if necessary.  We are not interested in paying any additional money for inlets that we may never use for the hardwood flooring which will be installed on the entire main level. Please share your feedback/experience.  Thank you!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I am so WIRED!! (Thursday)

Literally and figuratively, I am so wired!!!! 

We met with both PMs today to cover all of our 65 wiring selections!!  This was another looooonnnnng meeting!  We met for approximately 3 1/2 - 4 hours.  

LOL  We look wired, too!!
So not only am I wired with excitement--I am tired and cold!!  We had to take a 30 minute break so I could warm up in the truck.  The best part about all of this:  Our house should be WIRED UP by tomorrow!  They had a bunch of workers onsite to complete the wiring, so I would not be surprised if they do finish today.  They tend to work beyond their regular shifts until the work is complete.  However, since it is a lot of wiring it may take an additional day which is what our PM told us at our pre construction meeting.  Today is class, so I won't be able to stop by to see if they will be finished this evening.  However, I am sure when I show up for my daily drive by tomorrow morning the work will be complete!  YAY!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

She's a BRICK..HOUSE!! (Tuesday)

When I arrived to the lot on my way to class I was totally surprised!  The guys were laying the BRICK!

*****wait a second, is that a liquor bottle, don't tell me these guys are drinking on the freaking job!! I just noticed this!!!*****
Somebody, please tell me that is NOT what I think I SEE!

Need to stop by when I get a chance to see the finished product. My visits have been less over the pass few days -- school work is calling my name.  They had a combination of two styles of brick color!  Glad I caught it because I wasn't going to stop by and glad I changed my mind.  It would have been horrible to see brick on our house that we did not choose!! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

FOR DWtimes2.....

Ok I read your RANT!  I must admit--the first thought that came to my mind is "I CAN'T TOUCH THIS".......
With that said, I am dedicating this song to you...JUST BECAUSE....I can and an attempt to put a smile on your face even under these circumstances (maybe it will work, maybe it won't) 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 26 & 27 They Do Work on Sunday!! (Saturday & Sunday)

Well, well, well.... the guys worked on both Saturday & Sunday this weekend to make up for the set back from Hurricane Sandy's visit.  The HVAC and left over window framing was installed.

Monday we are expecting sunny blue skies, plumbing installation and framing punch out list to be completed.  Wednesday we meet with our PM for the electrical wiring meeting that we could not complete during our pre-construction meeting with the expectation that wiring begins on Thursday.  

We will be going over all the additional electrical wiring options and placements for each!  I am expecting another long meeting.  I am totally excited about the electrical options!!  Whoo hoo!!  It's electric!!!

The garage is empty of all the HVAC stuff!
Our basement double patio door finally came in and should be part of the framing punch out list for tomorrow!
oh la oh la yeah!!!
boogie boogie woogie!!

Day 25 - Guardian Selections (Thursday)

We met with Guardian on Thursday at 1:00 pm to go over the placements for our options.  We have several different options and I am glad we met because some of the locations were not accurate.  For our Guardian package we chose the following: surround speakers throughout, security system with hook up by cell and land (just because), window sensors and motion contacts, two television mounts, two landline hook ups that comes with the package which I am happy about because I believe in having a regular landline with a traditional cord phone for emergencies which I have been doing for years especially with the innovative technology growing on the market, (6) cable outlets of which (2) are included for every RH builder and last but not LEAST, the Central Vacuum System with Crumb Catcher.  It was very clear in our meeting what was important to DH and what was important to me and we managed to work it out.  Thank you, God!  Photos below:

Main keypad in mudroom

outer speaker on deck and volume control

kitchen speakers

Random picture not Guardian related - the orange markings indicate to install laundry upstairs

markings in black -- our PM wrote for workers to redirect laundry to the basement

Glad I caught this!!!! Because I have NO desire what so ever to have the laundry upstairs!!!!

This is where the ole school comes out in me.  The laundry is cute upstairs but not practical for me.

Caution to new home builders:  I have heard and read some horror stories about huge rumbling sounds from the washer/dryer throughout the house when doing your laundry.

More Guardian Markings

Outlet for Central Vacuum

cable outlet for Loft

markings for volume and central vacuum in master bedroom

another marking for master bedroom

marking for motion contact in basement

Geesh!  I think I forgot what these are for - it makes so much sense to take pictures and record your data to understand the bones of your house.  one is for the volume control for the basement speakers and I believe the other is for cable???

Guardian Rep measuring the distance for each central vacuum outlet
wrong placements in kitchen

marking for telephone jack mounted high in kitchen

markings for family room

marking for internet and phone
I need to double check this -- seems as if second phone line is missing - there is only one marking and there should be two
window contact

marking for crumb catcher near kitchen sink - YAY!

markings for basement speakers

temporary marking for television mount in small storage room

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Support

As you know from Sandy's visit lots of families lost their homes during the building of our new homes. It's a blessing that most of us are safe and sound and experienced very little or no damage at all.  One of our fellow bloggers created a very informative site around the aftermath of Sandy and how you can contribute and support these families who experienced the devastation of Sandy.  Should you feel led to extend a hand of support, click on her page to choose the resource that works best for you to support the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  She outlined several different resources for you to choose from. Thanks Erica for creating this wonderful opportunity.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 24 - The ROOF is ON!!! (Wednesday) (Halloween)

Arrived on the scene yesterday before noon and the men were working on our ROOF!

These guys live on the edge and they stay harnessed for safety!

The winds are still coming in but not as heavy!  They had to get rid of the old tar paper.  I know the name of it now, THANKS M!

Look closely near the morning room and you can see the guy's harness and he is to the right of the roof!


What a mess; however, I am extremely grateful we were not hit like some other homes.  My heart goes out to ALL the families who experienced the devastation of SANDY!

The entire backyard and our neighbor's yard were cleaned up and looking pretty good!

I was able to test out the texture of the TAR PAPER and there was NO way it could have withheld the winds of SANDY!

Rick and I came back together later on in the afternoon once the guys were finished with the roof!  Rick is checking out the floors and they are looking pretty good!  The PM arrived while we were there to give us an update.  We have been set back on our HVAC  installation and plumbing this week.  The HVAC stuff was still wet from the rain. They don't plan to do any work on Thursday.  However, we do have an appointment with Guardian to go over the placement for the options we have chosen.

View from Bedroom 3

Looking good and all cleaned UP!