Monday, August 12, 2013

One Year Later, the things I did right and the things I'd change:

Well, we have been in our home for one year! Wow, does time go by fast! I decided that I would write on the things I love about our home and the things that I would change. let's start with the things that I would change so we can end the post with things I love and a good note:
 Things I would change:
 1. I would have not upgraded the carpet in the upstairs. Why? Because I really don't see much difference and I'm going to pay to have the upstairs and the downstairs flooring replaced within 5 years. Let's just say, even the upgraded carpet leaves much to be desired.

 2. I would have paid for the stone fireplace. I don't mind the standard but I still dream of the stone and it's going to be a task to alter the one I have. I can do it, but I cringe at how dry my hands are going to get with all the cement.

 3. I would have asked them to place an outlet on both sides of my kitchen island. It's amazing how many times I wish I had another outlet on the other end.

 4. Thermostat placement. It is currently smack dab in the middle of the wall that it is on. I had to decorate around it. That is just annoying.

 5. SWITCH for garage light INSIDE mudroom. It would be more convenient.

 6. Bannister? Maybe...I like the look and I occasionally would like that formality, however I do also like the extra wall to back my piano against. Even still, I think if I had gotten bannisters, I would not be wishing I had a half wall. I do like how my cat and dogs can be blocked out of the upstairs though.

 7. Add another basement window. I love light. I really would love another window or two in my basement.

 8. PAY for a deadlock sliding door or different type of walkout door for the basement. It makes me nervous that it is just a latch.

 9. Upgrade the master bathroom counter to granite. I don't mind the standard white, but I would love granite. But then again...I also like a lower mortgage.

 10. INSIST on better topsoil. Our yard is ridiculous. We have put a lot of time in it and we are actually treating it with something called Claymend. I feel that we shouldn't have to do this. The "topsoil" is a joke.

11. Upgrade trim. Can you upgrade to a real wood trim? The standard stuff we have seems to nick too easily.

 12. Paint the garage before hanging stuff up. I know it seems silly to paint a garage but I love aesthetically pleasing things. It's the first thing I see when I come home...I'm going to have to do some work to paint it now.

 13. Insist on seeing the new boxes from all the light bulbs. I know this sound crazy BUT I've had more lights than I care to count burn out just a couple months in the house. They are florescent and definitely shouldn't be doing that! They are not cheap to replace either.

 14. ADD A FRONT PORCH. I didn't realize how much I like to sit on our stoop. I would definitely love a front porch. It didn't come with our elevation but it should.

 15. BEG for the panel glass door to the basement. I've seen in it in other Venice models and still love it and wish I had it. If anyone knows where they come from, please let me know.

 16. UPGRADE the dishwasher. IT works...but that's about it. It's kind of noisy and it was already rusting on the racks! Fortunately we called GE before the 1 year warranty expired and they sent us new ones, but we know they will end up rusint too. It's just a bad design for a dishwasher.

 17. INSIST on a hose bib on the FRONT of the house and not in the garage. It is just annoying to have to juggle a hose through cars. We ended up moving our ourself. It would have been nice if it was already done. We did utilize the old hose bib for a utility sink that's nice.

 Things I would KEEP:

 1. I LOVE the recessed lighting in my kitchen. LOVE IT.

 2. Morning room. I would hate this house without it. I LOVE IT!

 3. Upgrade tile in master bath. It just looks and feels better.

 4. WAIT to paint until after my 10month/year inspection. This was a wise choice on my part. When they came to do all the little fixes, Ryan Homes easily painted them for me too. A neighbor of mine had to paint the fixes herself because she had already painted.

 5. Pay for a basement window. The benefit of this is indescribable.

 6. Upstairs Laundry room. It makes my life so easy and I love it.

 7. Pay for garage door opener. I like that we have never had to mess with this. I know we could have done it or hired someone, but I like that from DAY ONE we were able to get in and out with ease.

 8. Cottage Elevation. I love the way my house looks. I adore the brick and I think it will stay in "style" for a long time. I love stone and originally wanted it but didn't want to pay the extra. I'm glad we have the brick because I'm still happy with the money saved and the way the house looks. I LOVE the cedar vinyl siding on the face of the house. The flower box allows me to do a lot of creative things to give the house character too. I think it is much better than just plain siding (no offense).

 9. Placement of fireplace. I'm on and off about this, but when I have my deck, I'm pretty sure I'm going to love it. Our fireplace is on the opposite wall of the kitchen. The furniture placement is a little more challenging than if it were on the side wall, however I know I can deal with that and would be more annoyed if it was taking up deck space.

 10. VENICE house. I think that the venice is awesome. Sometimes I think I want a different model but then I always find something that turns me off. For instance, most other houses may have more rooms on the first floor or a beautiful foyer (like the Victoria Falls) BUT the size of the bedrooms are much less than the ones I have. I think the Venice is perfect for families who need space and don't mind that they don't have the "WOW!" facter upon entering the front door. The Vitoria Falls is a beautiful house with an amazing foyer and 1st floor layout upon entering. The Venice is more practical and utilizes every and all nooks and corners. I like that. Now wasted space. 9. Using Ryan Homes. I think Ryan Homes is great for a first time home buyer building a new home. The customer service has been exceptional in the sales office and from NVR for the 10 month check. Everything I asked to be adjusted, fixed and/or changed has been done in superfast time. I really appreciate that and I really appreciate the opportunity to have issues addressed close to a year after owning my home.

 10. Building in a subdivision. Although you run into a few grouches here and there or someone who knows everything about everyone, I really like the diversity and safety provided by a subdivision. When I enter my little development, I immediately feel safe and at home. Neighbors look out for each other and invite one another to little picnics and get togethers. I like seeing kids play in the front yards or selling lemonade down the street. I like a "Hey" or a wave from a passerby.

 So there you go. For us, it was the best decision of our life to build this home. Everyday we feel good about working hard for this house purchase. It is exactly the house of our dreams and we would definitely do it all over again if we had to....with maybe a little better topsoil. :)

 (Update/// One thing I did super super right!  It's right here:!  Not an mlm.  Just a super awesome way to take courses and learn how to stay at home or make extra income.  It's killer!


  1. Hose Bib I concur. Yup what a mess.
    Morning room can't live without one.
    Garage also hate mine NOT finished, we were all in such a hurry, now who wants to empty our garage and paint.
    THE GRASS. SERIOUSLY, its like the #1 complaint of ALL homeowners, RH cant you do something about this issue since its common theme with just about every single home owner!!

    Wish I had gotten stone fireplace also. But we are currently building a stone fireplace on our deck so I guess it balances out. There's an idea for you :)

    Placements of stupid thermastats and switches, where they thinking at all, right in the middle of the wall...gesh. If we only knew then what we know now huh? I hope we help out fellow bloggers building now!

    My home has the WOW factor, and I'd never give it up, but i understand its not for everyone, but crap everyone comes in through my unfinished shitty, hose taken up space, garage entrance! LOL no one ever comes in front door.

    Yup dishwasher is below par, yes ours is rusting too, its about 7 months now.

    Neighbors luv em, BUT never realized just HOW MANY kids there would be, I don't have small children! Didnt think about that!

    Would have gotten a vaulted ceiling in our MB and a bay window in my study, two big regrets I really cant or wont do myself....they are structural...

    I am so happy that overall you are happy with your home!

  2. Glad you are happy with your home.
    We are building the same model and elevation. We just started framing this week, so I noted a few items; especially the switch and thermostat placement.
    We did move our hose bib during our Pre-construction meeting. We have 2 cars that will stay in the garage, so E didn't want to be pulling a hose out of the garage and hit one of these cars.

    We had already asked for the glass panel door and were told that wasn't an option. We saw it while we were visiting either the Carlisle or Hagerstown model and really liked it. That would be really nice to have when we finish our basement.

    I feel the same about the cottage elevation. E is in architecture so this elevation really matches his personality. Unfortunately, they are no longer adding the flower box. They said too many people have not taken care of it and have mold. They did deliver the box to our lot so hopefully they will let us keep it and we can put it up ourselves.

    Have you done anything with window treatments yet? I am worried about how to decorate the small window in the one bedroom. I was thinking to treat it like it was a regular size window and have the same size treatments on both windows.

  3. Amanda -
    This link will take someone to the blog post I made about ideas and tips to consider when building (with Ryan). There are 13 comments with more. Always a good one to visit when building.

    To my knowledge, you cannot upgrade the trim. They have trim packages that add crown and such, but nothing that upgrades to a taller/higher quality/etc... trim. I asked.

    landscaping. ugh. If I could do it again, I would have hammered my PM on how much I will stake his survey on the landscaping. They don't remove rocks. Case in point, our sod came two-ish months AFTER we moved in. I had spent nice days racking all the huge rocks into piles with the idea they would scoop and remove. I got a phone call from my wife who stopped home for lunch telling me they guy in the bobcat was just spreading them back out. A quick call to PM and I was reassured that isn't right and he will get on it. Did he? I don't know, I wasn't there. So if I could, I would take that day off and camp out in the driveway. I would take pictures, video, notes, etc... and ensure they will do it right.

    I do know you can complain months later. My neighbor just had a retaining wall installed on Ryan's dime. He's lived there for 19months. He was persistent and logical and Ryan finally caved and had it done.

  4. I totally agree about the 'topsoil'. I asked if there would be some topsoil put down before the sod and was told that the current 'dust' was good stuff. It looks like dead dried out dust. I wish I could pay to get actual dark, moist topsoil put down. Most of the rocks are gone but there are lots of roots in the ground which in my opinion should be dug up. It is small things like that which stop the whole process from being amazing. How they justify putting sod on top of dust is beyond me.

  5. At least you got sod on top of dust. We got seed which turned to weeds on top of dust. That is my one major complaint. Even our lawn service guy throws up his hands in disgust!

  6. You can get the 15 panel door from Lowe"s or Home Depot. This is one of my major pet peeves. I requested the 15 panel doors for my basement and I was told the study would come with a 15 panel (NOT TRUE)! I was deceived. Had I known, I would have submitted a special request for the doors because they hang differently from the standard. You have two options. You can the store remove the entire frame and install the door or you can keep the frame, have the new hinges drilled into the frame and stuff and paint over the existing holes which is less expensive. I am choosing the second option. I don't want to pay additional money when there is little chance that you will see the old holes when done properly.

    We finished our garage completely. We painted the entire garage, epoxy the floors, painted the door, put in mini blinds and install a coat closet system. I really could not stand walking into the garage with it unfinished.

    Since you already have an existing electrical outlet on your island, you can have an electrician run additional wiring for the second outlet. We currently have three outlets on our island which is a life saver when we need to charge our laptops while working at the island. We love the sunlight that comes through the morning room and working at the island is awesome. We have an outlet on each end and one outlet in the middle because our island is huge.

  7. It's interesting reading many blogs about building Ryan Homes and taking some of the advice to heart, asking questions, sometimes the answer is no, sometimes it is yes. Right now I am at the framing stage of my Mozart townhouse. I wish you all the best as you build your house out.