Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 5 - Christmas Break

We traveled out of state to visit with family for most of the Christmas break, so there isn't too much new and exciting to report this week.

We stopped in to see our flooring lady twice over the weekend (on Saturday and Sunday) to look again at what we had chosen and to take some better pictures of some things.  We had wanted to think a few of the tougher choices over (all were minor), and we were able to come pretty close to finalizing our selections.  We are having a surprisingly hard time deciding on the kitchen backsplash and bathroom listellos, I think because they were items we had never really considered before, so we still don't know exactly what we want.  We spent a lot of our vacation down time looking at examples of each, too.

We also took a couple of road trips to visit several of the other Ryan Homes communities within a reasonable distance of where we live, including in two neighboring states, so that we could take a look at their models.  We wish more people did a Strauss model, but for our purposes in looking, the Mozart models are just about as good since the majority of the both models are the same, and even the single family home models are fun to see since at least in terms of color and flooring choices, they options are the same.  It has been a lot of fun seeing in person some of the design choices and room set-ups in the models.  We have found that a lot of the models share a lot of our choices, so it is especially nice to see them life-sized and still love them.  We also now have some good ideas of what we will eventually want for painting the walls and a few decorating ideas.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 4 - Guardian Meeting

We had our Guardian meeting on Thursday, and the Guardian rep was great - friendly, helpful, informative, and fine with us sticking to the basics.  Following the advice of many of the blogs, we went into the meeting with a plan to keep things simple, and we knew what we wanted and what we didn't want.  Surprisingly, when we brought up a few of the smaller things we had considered adding as extras after reading through other people's blogs and suggestions, he very honestly told us that we didn't need them and that they weren't worth the money.  He also didn't pressure us at all when we told him up front that we weren't interested in any of the speaker or sound systems.  He stuck to what we needed and gave us great advice.  We are looking forward to meeting with him again at the pre-drywall meeting!

We met with our sales rep this weekend to complete the change order resulting from our flooring selections from last week (unexpected lower price than we budgeted for!) and to make sure that everything else we wanted was listed correctly and included.  Our sales rep has been phenomenally helpful and has really gone above and beyond for us so far.  We are very happy to be working with him on this process.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week 3 - Flooring Meeting

This week was mainly spent pre-planning for our flooring meeting and reading up as much as we could on these early stages of building with Ryan Homes. (The blogs by fellow Ryan Homes builders are so helpful!  They are actually why we decided to start our own - we hope to be as helpful for someone else along with documenting our journey for our family.)  We revisited the model Mozart in our community to get ideas, and we traveled a bit to take a look at a nearby Strauss model in another community.  We, of course, also scoured the blogs to check out some of the choices others have made.

By the time we met our flooring lady (who was phenomenally helpful, pleasant, and patient!) at our flooring meeting, we had a good amount of choices either chosen or in the works, but we also still had a lot left to explore.  We were surprised at how difficult some of the smaller choices we hadn't given much thought to were.  Once you think about living with the choices for a lifetime, and once you see just how many good choices there are, it can be hard to make a decision!  One unexpected bonus (especially after reading a lot of the other blogs) - we had budgeted for level C hardwood in the basement foyer and the entire first floor.  We fell in love with one of the flooring samples that was actually done as a large area of the showroom floor, and when it came time to finalize the numbers, we found out it was actually level B (we had assumed C given the size of the planks and the overall look), so we ended up saving money by surprise at our flooring meeting!

We finally heard from our NVR guy via email on Wednesday (we had been told by our sales rep the Wednesday before that we would probably get a call from him within the next 24-48 hours, so as a week went by, we were starting to worry a bit).  He said he was going to overnight us a package with their good faith estimate and all of the many other important papers to sign.  We still have not received the package, but we've been reassured by our sales rep that this is a particularly busy time of year, and since we are not closing until May and have very good credit, they aren't really worried about us right now.

Last but not least, our Guardian meeting is set for Friday.  We've already chosen what we want from them, and it is nothing elaborate, so at least that one should be easy!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week 2 - Signing the Contract

Things have moved quickly since unexpectedly deciding to build our dream home, a Strauss, last week.

We put a hold on our lot on Sunday and placed our "hold" sticker on the community map.

We looked through the model and the open Strauss again on Monday.

We came in for our 4+ hour meeting to sign the sale papers and to begin choosing our options and upgrades on Wednesday.  (We will share when all are finalized.)  We put our "sold" sticker on the community map, but since it was late in the evening by the time we were done, we weren't able to put the "sold" sign on our lot.

We went back over the weekend to look through the model again, look at some color samples, begin planning our furniture, and just to overall dream a bit.  We also brought our baby boy to take a family picture as we placed the "sold" sign on our lot.

We have heard from the flooring people but not NVR or Guardian yet.  We will be meeting at the flooring place next Sunday to choose our colors.

We are expecting a busy couple of weeks ahead!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 1 - Finding our Forever Home

Welcome to our blog!  We are so excited about building our new Strauss with Ryan Homes, and we've been inspired and greatly helped already by all of the great Ryan Homes building blogs out there.  We are hoping we may be able to provide some information that is just as helpful to someone else as well as document our building journey.

We named our blog Sinfonia Domestica because one of the first things that just "felt right" about the Strauss was that it was named after the favorite composer of my husband, a classical musician.  Sinfonia Domestica is a symphony written by Strauss for a large orchestra.  The music is all about his harmonious life with his family, particularly his wife and young son.  This really seemed like a special connection to us as we currently have a 7 (and half or so) month old son whom we adore, and we also have a daughter on the way!

We have been looking for a home for our growing family for a while now, but we've wanted to really wait until we found our perfect home, our forever home.  We've seen many houses, and we just have never gotten that feeling.  We had ruled out new construction early on due to both our budget and the scarcity of new construction in our area.  Over Thanksgiving weekend, during which we had purposefully taken a break from the ever-more-stressful house hunting, on a whim, we happened upon a new Ryan Homes townhouse community in the area we had been hoping to move to and simply thought it might be fun to look through the model and dream a bit without the stress of "actually looking".  We were unexpectedly in love at first sight.  We knew almost immediately we had found our dream house, and when we found out it was something we could actually afford, well, it just felt right - a dream come true.

Our Ryan Homes townhouse community is relatively new and selling at a rapid pace.  While we were looking through the model, we personally witnessed at least two other couples choosing lots and putting down deposits.  We looked through the model, a Mozart, extensively.  After we got all of the information and floorplans, we knew we wanted a Strauss for the extra living space it would provide for our growing family.  Our extremely helpful (and busy!) sales rep let us know that while there was not a model of the Strauss, there was a recently completed Strauss with many of the options we wanted that was being readied for closing, and he let us look through it.  We knew we had definitely found our forever home after seeing that house.  We looked through and discussed the details for a couple of hours, and then we went home to think some more.  We were back before close that evening to officially choose our lot and to put down a deposit on our family's forever home.