Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A quick update

It's been a little over a month since the last post so I thought I would give an update. Our house has been on the market for a month. We have had several showings and received an offer however they came in too low and were unwilling to make any upward movement even though we showed a willingness to make concessions. We have another showing tomorrow as well as two open houses this weekend so hopefully good news is to follow. Eli could come any day now so we are on baby watch. Everyone else's progress looks great, very exciting, hope to have more of our own to share soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baby Stepping towards the future

So the bathroom remodel on our current house should be complete Friday. I know I am way late on posting pics so rather than seeing a day by day progression you will get them all in one swoop. Honestly I would have uploaded them if I could do it from my iPad but for whatever reason blogger won't upload pics from here so I need to get on my laptop...1st world problems. This weekend our realtor and really a friend as well Emily will be putting the lock box on the house and next week the house should hit the market.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ahhh life in the rental

At least that's what I'm calling it. I am talking about our current home and no it's not a rental. We have lived here for two years and it's a great house and is our first house but we outgrew it very quickly. I am emotionally invested in the dirt pile in our new neighborhood so I jokingly refer to our house as the rental. Right now our bathrooms are torn up we have a contractor redoing them and they are doing a great job but we have to drive to my parents house to shower in the mornings. This was a project we decided on prior to deciding to build with Ryan so we just decided to continue with the job just on a scaled back basis to help resale. We also have various other projects going on to get the house ready for market and packing so it is work work work around here. I will get some pictures of the bathroom remodel up soon and hopefully soon we will be hearing from NVR. We were told the other day it is almost out of underwriting.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Ebb and Flow

We are smack in the middle of one of the wait periods in "hurry up and wait." For a while things were fast and furious. Now.....nothing. All decisions have been made, we are waiting for official approval from NVR, not that we expect any issues, and we are a couple days from the bathroom renovation beginning on the current home before putting it on the market. I pass the time reading and re-reading everyone's blogs looking for any info I may have missed. Prior to our decision to build this new house which kind of happened on a whim I used to scour Cruise Critic and Royal Caribbean's website looking for our next cruise. Perhaps I should go back to that to help pass the time. I'm done ranting.....for now.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

We have an address....

After just being known as Lot 199 for the last two weeks we are now officially 1551 Sefton Dr.

Our Home: The Complete Rundown

After two weeks of deliberation we have decided on the following
Venice Elevation E (alternate full brick front with shake gables)
Morning Room
Finished Lower Level
42" Rushmore Maple Butterscotch Cabinets
Labrador Granite Laminate Countertops
American Elite Plank Laminate Flooring "Farm Fence" from foyer to family room(non-standard),powder room,morning room,kitchen,mudroom
Level C California Berber Simple Touch carpet "Capri" in Study, Family Room, Stairwells, Upstairs, Finished Lower Level
10lb carpet pad throughout
Black Cherry stained handrail
Andover White double vanity in master bath
Andover White vanity in hall bath
Recessed lights in kitchen, lower level, and family room
Gas fireplace with slate surround
2 piece rough in for 1/2 bath in lower level
Gas range with overhead microwave
5 Ceiling Fan rough-ins
200 Amp Service Panel
Dedicated circuit for deep freeze
Laundry tub in unfinished storage
2 additional outlets for workshop space in unfinished storage
Gas line off morning room to run gas grill and outdoor gas fire pit (non-standard option)
Bronze door hardware
Central Vacuum
Lyriq 4 room audio system with outdoor speaker
Guardian Smart Connections data and cable hardwire
Sherwin Williams interior paint package

Final Decision Day

Well today marks the end of our 14 day change period. We met Heidi out at Parks of Whitewater for our exterior color selections. I of course thought it was going to be a stressful experience but fortunately much like everything else it was painless and relatively easy. We are doing the Venice elevation E which is brand new and to this point there aren't any color renderings or construction photos to pull ideas from. The elevation we are doing has a full brick front with shake on the gables and siding for the sides and back.
Again there are no good photos to post so here is the black and white 
Below are our choices for the exterior:

Brick: Farmington
Siding: Stone Mountain Clay
Shake: Canyon
Front Door: Fine Wine
Trim: White

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Guardian...(yeah we dropped some flow here)

So going into this meeting we knew that we would be spending some money, it was just a matter of how much. Leah's dream has always been a home with a central vacuum so once we realized that a central vac would be presented to us in this meeting we were fish in a barrel. It was going to happen. And, well it did. Let me backtrack just a second the Guardian rep was Brett and contrary to what many others had experienced with their respective reps there was absolutely zero pressure placed on us to buy anything so any money that we spent was entirely on our own merit. He did very well only concentrating on the things that were important to us. I will say this for those who feel they are getting the high pressure environment, remember that you are on a time frame and their job is to help you stay on that time. It either makes sense to you to purchase their products or it doesn't I don't see reason to make three and four trips back. Just have an idea of what your current cost situation is before the meeting and you will know whether or not you can make this work. Then again we aren't "sleep on it" people. If we see something we like and it makes financial sense we don't force ourselves to delay what we want. We also chose to do the Smart Connections. That is after Brett and Leah explained to me how it works. I mentioned that I may have to turn in my man card because hardwiring and a/v stuff just doesn't do it for me. The Smart Connections were a spontaneous decision but once again it made sense and fit the budget. The last thing we purchased was the Lyriq four room in home audio. With this package you get 4 pairs of speakers to place throughout the home as well as four volume controls with a master and local audio input. We are going to do a pair in the 2nd floor hallway, on the main floor between the kitchen and family room, another pair in the finished lower level, and lastly an outdoor speaker which will be nice with the eventual outdoor entertaining space. This will be very nice to have whether we are cleaning the house, entertaining, or to have Christmas music playing for the kids as they drift off to sleep on Christmas eve as well as throughout the holiday season. As much as I would like to give you prices I have found that they do vary from market to market. There are some prices that were consistent with what I found and others were much different. There should be some intrigue for those of you who haven't had your guardian meeting. Sunday we meet with Heidi and nail down final color selections and any final changes we need/want to make. I will then give the final rundown of options. After that we make final prep to put the current house on the market. Then all eyes are on Emily to help us sell.

Rite Rug Flooring

Wednesday evening was our trip to Rite-Rug. I will admit going into this meeting I wasn't sure if the smooth sailing we had experienced to this point would continue. Between the two of us Leah is the much easier going when it comes to these types of decisions and I stress about them. Kim at Rite-Rug was great to work with we did not feel rush and were able to quickly make our decisions in about forty minutes. The one piece of advice I would share at this stage is if you are going to do the upgraded pad just go for the top grade. In the Venice it is $500 more to do the 10lb versus the 8lb and it comes with a lifetime warranty and waterproof seal that ensures nothing with every seep into the pad or subfloor and it makes it very easy to completely clean carpets and extend their life. Here are our selections.

These are the Rushmore Maple Butterscotch Cabinets. Since we are not fans of Granite we are doing the Labrador Granite Laminate Countertop with the American Home Elite "Farm Fence" Laminate floors. This flooring will run through the kitchen, morning room, powder room, and the foyer which we are extended down the hall to the family room.

Here is the floor with the handrail which is Black Cherry and the carpet. This is Level C California Berber the color is Capri.
Here is a better shot of the carpet next to the handrail. In order to keep continuity we are doing the same carpet throughout the house.

For the upstairs master bath we are doing the Andover White Cabinets with the base level vinyl Initiator 66204. We actually really like the base vinyl for this space it will work well with our idea for decor.

This combination is for the hall bath and laundry room floor. Again just the base vinyl initiator 66180 with the Andover white. Just a nice light white look that is easy to change looks as kids grow or tastes change.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Tonight was our official meeting with Beth at NVR. If there is one thing that I learned this evening it was DO NOT DEPOSIT MONEY in your accounts, unless it's payroll. This point was hammered home more than anything else. It does make some sense.I had a suspicion that was confirmed that a lot of terrorism money had been filtered through the housing market so it is important to keep tabs on how people are acquiring their funds. It isn't that you can't deposit just be prepared to document the source if you decide to do so. I can certainly understand the frustrations that some people have with NVR. They have certain procedures and requirements in place that we didn't experience with our first home purchase. However this is their business model that they are comfortable with so it's a matter of simply respecting the process and working closely with them to ensure both sides stay happy and comfortable. The good news is that were we able to lock in a rate tonight we would receive the current best available interest rate. As everyone who is building with Ryan knows we have to wait until the house is under roof to lock in so in the mean time we float and hope. Nothing is on the docket for tomorrow but we have Rite-Rug Wednesday, Guardian Thursday, and final changes and exterior color selections with Heidi on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This is our expanse of dirt...

We could build a house on this lot or start an Alpaca farm. It's a toss up. In any event here we are. I obviously am on the right and Leah is on the left. Eli is in the picture as well disguised as a baby bump. We have a whole host of house related appointments next week. Monday we meet with NVR to do the official loan paperwork, Tuesday the bathroom remodel begins on our current house. Wednesday is the trip to Rite-Rug, Thursday we will attempt to escape Guardian without blowing Eli's college fund and next Sunday we meet with Heidi for final color and option selection. After that we are hoping for a quick sale of our current house and on to the big dig. Blog at you soon.

Monday, June 18, 2012

In the blink of an eye....

Or maybe 90 minutes we committed to building our dream home with Ryan Homes by completing our contingency tonight. As far as options are concerned we are doing the following.
 The elevation will be decided between alternate (full) brick front C or Alternate brick front E with shake. I really like the E but it is brand new with only blue print drawings.
Morning Room
Finished Basement w/ 3 piece full bath rough in
42" Rushmore Square Maple Glaze Butterscotch Cabinets
Gourmet Island
Standard Laminate in Labrador Granite (not a fan of granite)
Gas Range
Water Line rough-in for fridge we purchase
Microwave above range
Slate mantle fireplace w/blower
Recessed lights in kitchen/basement/family room eyeball lights
Bronze door hardware and light fixtures
Andover white cabinets in upstairs hall and master baths
Double bowl vanity in master
Interior paint package
Dedicated circuit for deep freeze
Utility sink in storage area
5 ceiling fan rough-ins
Upgraded carpet and padding throughout the home
Upgraded pergo laminate flooring in entry,powder room, kitchen, morning room
Possible 200 amp electrical panel
Up next is NVR, Rite-Rug, and color selection with Heidi. Then Emily takes center stage with our current home listing. We will sprinkle an anticipated expensive trip to Guardian in there but I will fill you in on that when the time comes.

We begin our tale....

this evening,actually yesterday. First off let me introduce you to the main characters in this Venice tale. Ken, which is me, my wife Leah, our realtor Emily, Heidi our Ryan Homes Rep and Beth with NVR mortgage. Along the way we will also meet our PM I believe his name is Paul and at some point Elijah Gerald Renner. Eli is our son who will debut on this blog sometime in October once he arrives. As I mentioned our tale actually begins yesterday. We placed a hold on the lot of our choice in the community "Parks of Whitewater" located in Harrison Ohio. The blog title "A little bit of Venice in the country" comes from the fact that we are moving to an area with corn fields all around and it is a bit rural. It is perfect because we can still be in downtown Cincinnati in 20 minutes and my wife can live in an area with the small town feel similar to what she grew up in in  Michigan. We got great news from Heidi today that we are receiving even more in incentives than we had initially planned and Beth informed Heidi that all our NVR qualification looked great. This evening we go to sign our contingency which will lock our pricing on construction and options to avoid increases in the new phase. Our existing home goes on the market the beginning of next month. Emily seems to think it may be a fairly easy sell. Once we go to closing on the existing , the ground will break on the dream home. So, that's a little introduction of where we are. I will update everyone as to how tonight goes and then release the list of options once we have that set in pencil. My goal is to make this as comprehensive as possible because these blogs have been extremely valuable in making informed decisions to this point. Talk to everyone soon.