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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Has It Been 4 Months Already?

Hiya folks,

I know, I know. You don't have to say it. I've been pretty bad at keeping ya'll updated.  I will seriously try to get some pics up soon though. I can't believe it is almost time to celebrate Christmas in our new home. Where has time gone? Believe it or not, we are only 90% unpacked from our move lol...slackers we have been. Not to mention it is football season and between that and work and our guardian Rommel, time is a little more scarce then before.

Things for the most part have been pretty good. Ryan Homes are going up everywhere it seems. They've probably added at least 10 new homes since summer. I know in the last blog entry, I had some issues with my vent Registers. AirTron did come out and fix them and all is well. As far as the heating and cooling issues we had with the hot air upstairs in the summer, well AirTron also fixed that for us. We actually still have our dampers on the AC unit set for summer. I suppose I will switch the dampers to winter setting to keep more warm air downstairs. I wonder if it is even necessary? We keep the temp set between 67-69 degrees and it feels fine, even when its cold out.
Also, if you think you can just go to Lowes or Home Depot for an air filter, you might be surprised that it needs to be ordered, and they aren't cheap. Luckily, you don't have to change the filter often. Once or twice per year

The main issue we are having right now, besides the house settling and nail pops becoming more and more evident, especially in the basement ceiling, is that our powder room toilet tank doesn't always fill up after flushing without jiggling the handle vigorously. I will be calling the plumber who installed it this week. It is getting on my nerves to say the least. 

There is an abundance of wildlife in and around the neighborhood which we always enjoy watching. Every time I'm in the kitchen, I find myself looking outside in hopes of seeing deer or turkey or anything that will visit. Well, since I'm at work,on the night shift and I better be somewhat productive, I'll just post a few pics of some wildlife and our growing Guardian :) 

Pic of Turkeys taken from master bedroom. Had to take it with blinds down because believe it or not, they have very good hearing and spook easy

More turkeys on lot across the street this fall. We counted 13 altogether.

Rommel aka "Rommi or Rommski" just taking a break from playing fetch

Two does that paid us a visit in the back yard. This is frequent occurrence. Hunting could be so easy if I wanted lol

Rommi with his "sister" Harley. They've actually become closer than any cat and dog should

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas :) 

**Note** Be careful with garland on the mantle. The fireplace puts out  a lot of heat and actually started to melt some plastic hooks holding it up.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Check Your Vents During Your Final Walk-Thru

Sooooo, I'm back again with just a small concern. Most of you guys have read about final walk-thru's of houses and what to look for. I'll be honest, in all the excitement, it is easy to overlook some things. After all, you just want to move in your house that you have been watching anxiously being put together. Beware however, especially with change of season to check AC Vents and Registers. That is one thing that we overlooked on our walk-thru the house, mainly because the company that installed our HVAC unit, did some half-ass'd duct work. They installed a boot that was too shallow for two of our registers, one in the Master Bath and one in the mudroom. With the register fully open, it would not fit over the opening the way it was meant to. It would sit off the ground about a 1/4-1/2 inch. However, if you closed the register vent, it would sit in it perfectly. We called AirTron to come out and either give us new registers or to fix the duct work so it is not so shallow, allowing the register to sit perfectly and open. The technician came out and even he was brain boggled as to why it was installed in that fashion and that it should never have been done that way. We didnt initially catch it because the vents were closed, so word to the wise: CHECK EVERY VENT REGISTER as soon as possible before the final walk-thru, that they are open and the workmanship is good.

Below are some pics of what it looks like in our Master Bath when the vent is open and a pic of the shallow boot duct work. Now you could probably live with just closing the slats, but why would someone want too? It affects overall airflow and efficieny. You're making a big investment and paying for the house for 30 years. It should be perfect, right?

This is how it looks when the register is open

Shallow boot sloping. (It should be at least an inch deeper on left to allow open register and sit perfectly on top)

Another picture of register when slat is open.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

30 Day Post-Settlement

Just when you thought I was gone, I decided to make an appearance :) ...Wow, time sure has flown by. I can't believe we've been in for almost 6 weeks now. Last Friday we had our 30 Day Post Settlement inspection and repairs. This went very fast to be honest. We really didn't have anything major to repair. Just some painting and some odds and ends. We don't have significant settlement cracks or and so far just a few nail pops in the basement ceiling only. We will wait til the 10 month mark to take car of those.

Some of the things we wanted addressed:

  • Front door was hard to close and required us to push or pull hard to latch and seal
  • Shower door sticks and doesn't close with ease at the top corner
  • Painting the marked up walls
  • Moving towel rack in Master Bath from above toilet to the side wall below window
  • Shower needs to be re-grouted above shower head to fill small hole
  • Carpet 
  • AC Airflow
  • Vent Registers/boots
  • Yard
The painter showed up and touched up all the blue tape spots that we marked and filled any holes we put in the walls from moving (yes, it happens). It did not take long at all. Less than an hour. You will be surprised how much you see and find at the last minute while they paint and have them touch up.

We did have to call AirTron and have a tech come out to adjust our dampers and help us mark them to more evenly distribute the air in the house. It was always hot as balls upstairs in teh bedrooms and had us using fans at night. I don't know why they set the dampers the way they do or that there is no manual that shows how how to get more air pushed up stairs to cool it off and be at least with a degree or so difference vs. sweating your ass off. Well it's fixed now and in the winter you just have to reverse the dampers accordingly.  Another issue was is the way they installed the boots by the vent registers. In our house, there are 2 registers that will need attention. Since we have 1 year warranty and service, Air Tron will need to either replace with new vents or boots. When the vents are fully open, it sticks up off the floor about 1/2-3/4 inches. Why they installed the boots that way is beyond me... Taking the short cut is going to cost them more if they need to fix it. I'll try to take a picture later what I'm talking about and post it below.

We still need to have the carpet guy come out because the seam came up in the dining room/foyer area. It will need to be glued down or something. That will happen next Monday hopefully  I love my berber carpet, but you can definitely see the seams in spots.

The grass is coming along slowly. Some parts of the yard barely have grass, and some parts washed out in the few storms we had. They will be coming out in October to reseed for us, so we are just taking it easy on our water bill and wait til the cooler weather arrives.

Lastly, I must shamefully admit that we still have packed boxes that we haven't touched. It's nothing major or anything we need right this minute, so it can wait a while longer. In the mean time, we will just watch others stalk their newly constructed homes in the neighborhood the same way we did ours. I have to say, some days I do miss the excitement of seeing my house go up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Satisfied, But.....Is There An Energy Efficient Tradeoff?

OK, OK, I haven't been updating as much because the novelty has worn off reporting something new everyday when the house was being built. I actually look at other houses being built in the neighborhood and say "I remember being at that stage, and how eager those other buyers must be."

Anyway,  I know I'm only about 10 days in the house, but I must ask:  Is it hotter in everyone else's bedrooms/second floor and rather nice on the main level and basement? It really feels like there is a significant difference upstairs vs. downstairs. I suppose this is a tradeoff to be energy efficient, but we will see when we get our first bill. Anything less than $100 would be a god send! Personally, I read on another blog that perhaps the dampers in the attic need to be adjusted to control airflow. That was in a Sienna model. Not sure if it applies to the Florence. I have a coworker who owns a Venice and he also experiences warmer temps upstairs. Could it be because there are not enough vents? Could it be because maybe 2 units are needed to cool these bigger houses? I'm no HVAC guru, but I do know the whole house is not the same temperature. I think I might close a couple vents down stairs and hopefully the airflow will go upstairs.

In other news, the unpacking still continues. I must admit, I have slowed down considerably moving boxes from the garage to the basement storage. We pretty much are about 80% done. Nothing in the boxes is time critical or needed at the moment. We are pretty happy living in the new house. There is lots of water pressure for showers which is nice, but the trade off is hot water doesn't last very long. The double bowl vanity is also nice. I like having my own sink to shave in and we actually have room so both of  us can brush our teeth at the same time.

The past couple days, usually in the morning we have been getting visitors from a flock of 3 Turkeys, who like to rummage through our grass seed and rake our straw. I was wondering why the straw was piled up in certain spots. If it weren't for the HOA, we might have been having some open faced Turkey sandwiches....maybe one day :)

Oh, and one more thing. What is with all the spiders, especially in the basement unfinished storage? I swear I have killed some big ones already. I assume it is just because we built during summer and, well, that's when bugs are prevalent and they made our basement their home. I'm going to need to buy some Raid or something soon I think. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

We Closed On Time...Moving Has Us Busy Busy Busy

I'm at work, and what better time to catch up on my blog? Well, we closed on the 29th of July on time!! Everything went well. It was quick and painless. I was probably finished in about 45 minutes or less. The only hiccup was they forgot to give me my settlement check that they owed me and I forgot to ask for it in my excitement lol..... I had to go back for it. I must say, even though NVR was a pain in the beginning with their intrusive nature with regards to my finances, my LO and Loan Processor (Patti and Jaime) were actually pretty awesome. Other than minor things here and there, I'm pretty happy about how our PM's Brett and Sam got everything done as scheduled.

 It has been a very busy week for us, so I don't really have too much to update, but I will post pics once we are settled and have gotten rid of most of our boxes and have things in their proper places. We spent the first 2 days moving primarily boxes and boxes of stuff in our cars. 15 trips in my car and Jen's van to be exact. Our moving strategy was to off load all our boxes in the garage and start unpacking the kitchen first, followed by bedroom stuff, clothes and moving anything to unfinished storage last (which we still need to do most of). I guess in short, we wanted to keep the house clutter free of boxes as much as possible so that there would be plenty of space when we moved the furniture on the 3rd day with the UHaul truck. It took 2 trips to move all our furniture. On Friday we had our family room couch - n -love seat and  a dining room set delivered, since we will use the front living room as our dining room. Comcast Cable (internet) was hooked up the day after closing so we at least had Netflix to watch at night and DirecTV came and installed service the day after we finished moving. Once we finish unpacking, I guess we will start marking stuff with blue tape for Ryan Homes to fix on our 30 day inspection.

And about those two utility companies...DirecTV lied to us and said we could get NFL Sunday Ticket free since we are upgrading to the Genie. Then I get a bill for it and  we call them. They claim that it is the NFL Sunday Ticket Max for a year that we get free and we could cancel next year. I don't need Max. All I want to do is watch my Dallas Cowboys!! Beware when you talk with them because they will mislead you!

Heads Up---If you are building in a new development, you may want to contact your local cable/internet provider and make sure that they have run cable on your street. They didn't have any run on our street since it is pretty new As soon as you have an address, I would let them know your projected move in date so that they can hook it up. Ours had to be ran from a box with the cable above ground. It will probably be a few weeks before they "bury" it. Also found out that Ryan Homes typically keeps the water and electric for about 3 days after settlement, so water on their dime as much as you can to get your yard going. Normally I don't like a lot of rain, but now is the time to do a rain dance so that our grass will take off and turn from straw to green lush.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Final Walk-Through

Friday was the the second biggest day I have waited for. The final walk through went pretty well. There was still a lot of activity going on at the house. Cleaners, painters, trim name it, they were there. The walk thru pre-settlement demonstration only lasted about an hour and a half. There really wasn't anything major to gripe about. Overall, Ryan Homes did a great job and our PM's Brett and Sam came thru for us. Besides having about 50 flies in the house from the door being open, I really enjoyed the house in its 99.9% completed form. Jen and I simply did not want to leave because it almost felt like closing time. I even decided to go ahead and use the bathroom for the first time. :-)

Besides some minor scratches and dings that I know will be fixed at 30 day inspection, the one thing that still needed to be fixed was the fireplace that had some air in the gas line, which prevented it from lighting. . I didn't get a chance to see it lit but I will be checking it again Monday or Tuesday before I close. The plumber is supposed to fix it by time we close, so no worries.  We ran the dishwasher, which was pretty quiet. (wonder if it will still be quiet with dishes in it), turned on the oven and stove and used the microwave. Everything worked fine. The one thing I did not like however was the towel rack in the Master Bath. I actually wish it were on the wall under neath the window vs. above the toilet. We like to be able to grab the towel off the rack from inside the shower and not have to completely get out and walk over to toilet. That will mostly get changed at the 30 day inspection. We;ll see how it goes. Sometimes change is good. Other than that, every was great. I can't wait to close and get the keys to our new home. 2 more days!! :)

Not a lot of pics, but i'll try to post more later.

Fireplace w/slate




Steps toward basement

Upstairs Bath

Master Bath. Would like to possibly move towel rack to underneath the window

2nd BR

Dinette/Family Room

4th BR



Our new favorite neighbors Venice crib from the 2nd BR

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Landscaping Means "Almost Done"

This afternoon I got my weekly update from the PM and it simply said  " See you on Friday".  To me that says they will be finished on time for the Walk-Thru. Now that is the confidence I like to see from my PMs. I saw the plumbers working in the house finishing up doing what they do. Appliances look to be in place from what I was able to see peaking in the windows this evenings drive by. Protective plastic wrap was removed from the carpet and floors. I feel like the house is almost done. The Landscapers planted some bushes, shrubs and a tree in my front yard. They still need to lay some seed and hay...Other than that, what else is there left?

Need a mail box, front door needs painting and Guardian needs to come back I think and put a cover plate for a future wireless radio and speakers. I'm sure there is probably some drywall needing some TLC to fix holes and no doubt trim and a good cleaning is in order.

Now anyone who follows this blog and my take on trees knows that I fancy flowering trees. The tree I got was a Honey Locust. Not sure how I feel about it yet. I mean, that tree gets kinda big.  I really had my heart set on a cherry, dogwood or red bud. I am hoping they give us another flowering tree for the side of the house.

After shrubs planted 

One more week and I will be doing my Carlton Dance...maybe this how I act after settlement

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Got Appliances...Time To Pack Up

Coming down the home stretch now. Friday we got our appliances, minus the dryer which will be delivered Monday. Apparently it got banged up or something, so it needed to be swapped out. No big deal. As long as it is in by the end of the week I'll be happy. Looks like gas was hooked up for our fireplace also. The only thing left is for the plumbers to do their thing and some last minute trim touch ups, paint, closet shelves, cleaning etc. It is really, really close now. Probably looking at 90% complete. I'm off work til next weekend, so I'll be busy packing and finalizing/transferring some utilities changes for the new house. We did get to feel the carpet and walk on it. It isn't exactly the softest I've ever felt. I can see maybe changing it further down the road in the basement. Damnit, I should have upgraded or added more padding. I do like the Berber Carpet though in the rest of the house. I am hoping it holds up to the wear and tear of 2 cats, a dog and our kiddos. Here's just a few more pics I took while doing a quick walk thru Friday.



Basement rough-in
This poor dog was apparently abandoned and dropped off at our house and neighbors house and it hung around waiting for someone to let it in for 2 days. Finally called Animal control who came by and picked her up. She was old and full of worms according to Animal Control Officer. I hope they are able to find it a good home.


Jen and her imaginary toilet

Kitchen /Dinette Tropical Cherry flooring

Berber Carpet

Friday, July 18, 2014

Good News: Cleared To Close...

It's 2:11 a.m. and I'm here at work reading blogs and it occurred to me I forgot I got some good news today. My NVR loan processor called me today and said that we are "cleared to close" on the 29th. I just need to provide her my next pay stub this prior to closing. Our PM also provided some good news. Appliances are scheduled to be delivered today. He also confirmed we are still on schedule for our Pre-Settlement Walk Through/Demonstration next Friday, July 25th. Originally I was scheduled to have it on the 28th, followed by our settlement on the 29th, but since I was scheduled to work that day, our PM was able to fit us in early.  I gotta say, he's been pretty flexible with me when it comes to all our scheduled meetings since I'm a shift worker. 

So far this week they have paved our driveway, installed flooring, touched up more trim and yesterday they were putting down the carpets when I stopped by briefly. I didn't take any pictures because I generally try not to be a distraction to workers, but I will as soon as I get a chance. I can't wait to see the finished product. It's so close to being done it almost feels like the week before Christmas. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Let There Be Light"

I saw something different in the house as I stopped by for my quick sneak peak. Not normally the religious type, but it seemed fitting to me as I walked thru the house admiring the work of the electricians. Not normally one to speak openly about religion and hardly a bible thumper, I couldn't help but think Genesis 1:3, the First Day, where God said "Let there be light", and there was light.  I saw lights on in the house and the first time, the house seemed alive. I have been used to walking in a dark and powerless basement, relying on the flash of my phone to take pictures. Today it all changed. It feels like a corner has been turned.  Two weeks to go until settlement. It's so close now and time can't go fast enough in my book.

Foyer light

Light fixture for dinette

Lights on in Basement

Pic sent from our PM

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rommel The Explorer

Not much to report on weekends. Saturday, the electricians were putting in all the light fixtures and electrical sockets.  Sundays are a down day on the construction front, so this will be a boring post for most. I decided to do a drive by and just let our little 3 month old Guardian Rommel aka "Rommski" explore his future turf and yard off leash. I'm sure he would have enjoyed it better had there been grass. Can't believe how big he has gotten!

He's a good listener and comes running when called

Just had to pick up a stick

Friday, July 11, 2014

Check Out My Backside

Just a quick update. Painters should be finishing up with perhaps the final coat today. Spoke with them for about 5 minutes. Boy, painting has come along way. What ever happened to rollers and Mr. Miagi paint the fence methods? Apparently it takes an hour or so to paint the entire house when it is sprayed. Sweet!!  Just took a couple pics from behind the house showing the grade and future backyard. Can't wait to see grass and patio in the future.