Sunday, July 27, 2014

Update: Before and After Kitchen Photos w/ Lowes Stainless Steel Appliances

The first thing we did when we moved in was upgrade the standard Black Appliances that we got from Ryan Homes.  We did not want to pay for them for 30 years in our mortgage plus we saved quite a bit by getting them on sale at Lowes.  We were blessed enough to sell the Stove and Dishwasher within 1 day of listing them on Facebook Fleamarket and Craigslist!  Sold the Stove for $325 and the Dishwasher for $260.

For now we have the kitchen table in the center of the kitchen where the island would normally go.  So the next big project will be to get the Gourmet Chef Island in the Kitchen.  This one may take some time but hoping to have it by the end of the year. 

I must admit, at first, I was worried that there would be no room for all the pots and pans and small appliances.  But there is ample space to fit EVERYTHING between the kitchen cabinets and the large pantry!  I love love love this kitchen!

Before with Ryans Black Standard Appliances

After with Lowes Stainless Steel Frigidaire Appliances

After with Lowes Stainless Steel Frigidaire Appliances

We went with Frigidaire Gallery line of Stainless Steel Smudge Proof Appliances - All Energy Star:
  •  Frigidaire Gallery 26-cu ft Side-by-Side Refrigerator with Single Ice Maker
  •  Frigidaire Gallery 1.7-cu ft Over-the-Range Microwave with Sensor Cooking Controls
  •  Frigidaire Gallery Smooth Surface Freestanding 5-Element 5.8-cu ft Self-Cleaning Convection  Electric Range
  • Frigidaire Gallery 53-Decibel Built-In Dishwasher with Hard Food Disposer

Bad Starter Lawn Job PLUS My DIY Sprinkler System

I must admit we have not done much with the yard due to the fact that Ryan Landscapers did a crappy job with our starter lawn.  There are huge flat boulder rocks and large tree branches still embedded in the dirt.  Some of our shrubs they planted are dying already, but we plan to redo the landscaping anyway so not too concerned about that.

But as far as the lawn is concerned, I informed my PM and he is going to have them come back out and redo it properly and get the rocks and branches out and reseed once it cools down a bit.

In the mean time, we ordered a DIY Sprinkler system setup that seems to work pretty well so we can start properly watering the lawn.  I had a heck of a time trying to get the hose onto those fan sprinklers and then once I did get it on, I couldn't seem to get it to cover the entire front just doesn't have the coverage required or maybe I'm just dum when it comes to sprinklers and didn't have it set right.  Soooo needless to say after spending nearly an hour trying to screw the dum hose on and cutting my knuckles in the process and it STILL DIDN'T WORK RIGHT....I gave up!!!

After a day or so of calming down and revisiting the lawn ordeal.  I said, when all else fails and you don't know what to do or how else to do it - Youtube it LOL!! ;) 

So the setup I'm going with consist of the following:

(2) Orbitz Digital 2 Outlet HT Timers - 1 For Garage and 1 for Backyard (
(3) Rainbird 25 Impact Sprinkler Heads (
(3) Orbitz 58197N Step Bases for Garden Hose and Sprinkler (Amazon)
(3)  Melnor Metal Quick Connection Set (Home Depot)

All seems fairly easy to setup. So I went to Lowes and they didn't have anything that I needed!  UGGGHHH!  They had the timers but all the packages were opened and damaged.  So I had to order everything online except the Melnor Connectors those are at Home Depot.

So if you're interested or struggling like me, which I'm sure your not LOL, I got the setup idea from watching the below Youtube Videos.  Seems pretty simple.  I will share the video or photos once I set it all up in a week or so  :)

Videos I Watched:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Noisy Main Vent by Garage Driving me CRAZY!

My mom had this same problem in her Sienna.  The vent that is located right by the garage door, right above the Coat Closet is sooooo LOUD!  Like not a little loud, but real loud!  It sounds like a big industrial fan blowing!  I told my PM the first day we moved in and he told me it's because it's energy star and it's suppose to sound like that.  YEAH RIGHT LOL!!  I don't think so!  I'm sorry but I've lived in bigger homes and smaller homes and I've never heard a vent be this loud!

So before you close, make sure you stay in your house long enough during your walk through to notice if your Vent by the garage sounds like a big high powered fan and if it does make them fix it right away.  It has 2 levels of noise, one being worse the then other.  The first level it's not as loud but still annoying, then when it really kicks on, oh boy, get your ear plugs (shaking my head). 

Now I guess I'm expected to wait until my 30 days if I want to complain again....I think NOT!  I'm confident that my second complaint won't be handled the same way and that they have the HVAC people look into it.  It's just really annoying, you can hear it all the way in the Kitchen and Family room.  A few other people who have Romes already told me it's not normal.  So I think I will be calling them this coming week to come check it out again.  I seriously hope they can found out what the problem is and quiet it down.

Spent 4 Hours Raking up Hay and Rocks! What a PAIN!

So since our closing was delayed it gave our grass a chance to grow.  We still have to Reseed and Till some of the rocks out of the front yard though.  So today me and my wonderful son who just loves to help his momma (rolling my eyes) LOL, spent about 3-4 hours raking up hay and also alot of rocks that were left in the yard.  Sheesh, they could do a better job with getting the bigger rocks out!  And that hay is just a pain in the butt!  I do not like yard work so I was screaming every time I saw a bug and complaining the entire time LOL.  Needless to say I'm not looking forward to doing the sides and back of the house LOL!

Mistake with Guardian Wiring! BEWARE & CHECK at Pre Drywall Meeting!

Yesterday Comcast came to do the Prewire for my Business Internet.  So when he went to the side of the house to find the wires they were not there!  He came to the conclusion that no one put the wires on the outside of the house prior to the Siding and Drywall going up and that the wires were stuck behind the drywall!  He said the only way he could do it  was to drill through my siding and he said it wouldn't be as clean as if they were to have done it properly.  I was panicked and immediately called my PM.  Luckily he was right up the street in my plan so he rushed right over and saved the day!

Initially he thought they were stuck behind the siding.  He popped a few siding pieces, nothing!    However, he knew where they were supposed to be. So he went in my garage and sliced open the drywall right below my Electrical Panel and there they were!   So Guardian forgot to pop them through prior to the siding going up!  He said he never saw that happen before.   So he drill a hole and popped them through and problem solved.  He will come back to repair the drywall next week.  My PM is the BEST!  :)

So when you go to your Pre Drywall Meeting MAKE SURE that Guardian left your wires on the outside of your home.  They are usually over by the where your Air Condition etc is located.  If you don't know where they are suppose to be, just ask your PM and make sure they are there!  If my PM wouldn't have showed up so quickly I would have had to wait another week to get internet!

Ps.  Darla - That's why the comcast guy was snooping around your yard trying to see how they did your wires lol...sorry! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

It's Official - Cleared to Close on July 9th!

OMG! We just got the Official word that we are all clear to Close on July 9th!  Our move is set for July 10th!  Super excited beyond words!  It's finally here!!!!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Coming Down the Home Stretch! Final Paperwork Arrived!

So I mentioned earlier we were waiting to receive some paperwork in the mail which took
FOREVER!  So it FINALLY ARRIVED the other day and our Mortgage is now with the Underwriters for its final approval.  All conditions have been met.  So we hope to get the final go ahead to close by sometime next week.  Unfortunately, it probably won't be in enough time for us to close on July 3rd as originally planned.  So our LO has tentatively scheduled the closing for July 9th with hopes that he can move it up a little sooner if they wrap everything up by Monday or Tuesday.  Our movers are scheduled for July 11th and we have started to pack!  God is so AMAZING!  I feel Blessed and Highly Favored!  :) 

We're Coming Down the Home Stretch!
This Picture depicts how I feel perfectly LOL!

This Journey is Finally Coming to an End!   Never Doubt the
Power or Faithfulness of Our God!  He will never let you down!

I Love this Song! Listened to it Many a Nights!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pre-Settlement Demonstration - All Went Well

Our Pre-Settlement Demonstration was on June 4th and went very well.  We are pleased with the final results and had no major complaints or issues.  My PM has been amazing!  He has communicated with us every step of the way. 

He gave us our ig Ryan Homes binder which has tons of good information in it about our home as well on how to maintain the appliances, furnace, water heater, etc.

I put a few pictures below and all of our pictures into a video since it makes the page super long uploading 30+ Photos.  I can't wait to move!  I'm so excited!

Here are The Rest Of Our Rome Pictures in a Video:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

NVR Final Conditions Letter - At what Point Did you Get it?

So for anyone who is further along then us or who has already closed - at what point did you get your final conditions letter and lock your rate with NVR?  We're still waiting to hear from them on final financials required, balance due at closing, lock rate for mortgage etc.

 Let The Waiting Game Begin!
As we Wait, and Wait, and Wait LOL! Funny Pic!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Our Current Situation - Lack of Space is Driving me Nuts!

This temporary housing thing SUCKS with a Capital S!!!  Everytime I go grocery shopping, I'm quickly reminded of just how little space we have and it's driving me NUTS!

On the flip side, being that we are downsizing from Heartland's Nantucket II which had insane space, having to live in this Patio Home has been 10 months of rehab in bringing us back down to reality!  And for me personally, it has been an amazing experience in the sense that I've learned so much about life in general and it's strengthened my faith just that much more, and it's also allowing me to appreciate our Rome to the fullest!  Whereas before this experience, I was feeling like we were losing so much by selling our house and deciding to downsize!  Well now I know we didn't lose ANYTHING!  We have GAINED SO MUCH all the way around, and the Rome is PERFECT and I'm ready to GO!  

I've come a long way though LOL!  Because when we first moved, I cried like a baby the first 2 weeks in this Patio poor family, dealing with my melt downs and crying spells over this or that LOL!  Looking back on it I can just do nothing but Laugh!  God has a way of getting you ready for things LOL!  I remember the first week, I saw a centipede in our bedroom...OMG...boy did I cry that night.  I DO NOT do Spiders LOL! Then the next day I saw another one in the kitchen!  I cried again!  At that point, I said, God if you let me not see anymore Centipedes I will stop my crying and constant complaining about this patio home.  NOTE: I said constant complaining, I didn't say I would totally stop complaining LOL!  Anyway, He got the point - because from that prayer forward I didn't see anymore centipedes!  LOL!

10 months in, this journey has now made me appreciate the little things in life like Garbage Disposals, Peep Holes in the Front Door, Refrigerators with Ice and Water that doesn't taste like freakin GARLIC, Furnaces that Work in the winter, and just the everyday things that most people take for granted because this place LACKS IT ALL!!!  I call this place Perfume on a Pig!  It looks pretty on the outside but it really isn't!   I'm sick of dumping food in the garbage because we have no garbage disposal, im sick of yelling like I'm a maniac when someone rings the doorbell because there's no window or peep hole on the dum door, and I'm sick of storing food on the kitchen table because there's not adequate cabinets and the Pantry is a JOKE!!

 So July 2nd, please hurry up and get here!  Ok I'm done complaining.  LOL! Oh, here are some pictures for your amusement LOL!

No Room in Cabinets for all Our Food! So our kitchen table has become a make shift storage area comprised of a Costco box in the back to give it some stability LOL!

Whoever Designed this PANTRY is an IDIOT!  You tell me how we're suppose to reach food that's in back of the first row without taking everything out smh!  This is by far the most irritating feature of this kitchen!

This Freezer/Refrigerator Sucks! It opens backwards! And just don't even shop for more then a weeks worth of food at a time or you'll get home and seriously regret it LOL!

Kitchen is super tiny!  I HATE IT!  I can't wait to enjoy my new kitchen.  I have been on a 10 month hiatus from cooking! I vowed to not cook in this kitchen when we moved in...another one of my crying spells LOL.  Thank God my honey and boys love to cook!  They have been holding us down in the kitchen.  I have cooked a few times and that has consisted of  Spaghetti and Hot Sausage Meals and that's it LOL!  I just really can't do this kitchen! So I have alot of making up to do - I promised them I would cook 5 Days a Week once we move and I'm looking forward to it!  LOL :)

We gave our first floor Master to our youngest son because I don't like to sleep on the first floor.  So yes, this is the closet we had to use and it is a HOT MESS!  I'm a very neat and organized person and very particular when it comes to our closet.  However looking at this Mess you would never guess LOL!   Normally everything is put together based on colors, seasons etc.  Well not in this closet - I threw my hands up - just fit it in there and be glad it fits LOL!  And as you see, we literally jam packed the essentials into this closet!  Needless to say, the majority of our clothes had to remain in boxes or in my sons Master Closet LOL!  Those Rome dual Master Bedroom Closets are looking lovely right about now!  I can't wait to organize our closets! :)

Moving Companies & Cost: How to SAVE BIG on Your Move!

This post is for those who wish to cut their moving expenses as much as possible!  Our goal is to keep our money in our pocket whenever possible.  These are things we have done in the past and plan to do with this move as well to save money.  So maybe these tips can help you too! :)

Schedule Early and do your Research:

You should be scheduling your movers 1-2 months in advance.  Especially if you are moving during the spring/summer months.  They book up super fast during that time of year!

I strongly advise you to do some research online before selecting your movers.  Research at least 4 different Moving Companies and check out their rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau).  You'd be surprised how some of the most popular movers have an F Rating.  The most complaints we came across were movers breaking items and not wanting to replace them etc. So do your research!  Once you do that - schedule for at least 3-4 different Moving Companies to come out and give you a Free Estimate.  This is crucial.  You will be utterly surprised at the difference in Estimates you will get!  Our quotes ranged from a company charging $1000 more then others to as much as 50% more, which is ridiculous!  Example one moving company quoted us $5500 and another $2000.  Big difference in price!  So YES, check around!  And schedule early!  Most of the less expensive movers will fill up very quickly.  You don't want to be stuck using the most expensive moving company.

Bigger isn't Always Better - Don't Dismiss the Little Guys:

Don't be afraid of the smaller name moving companies.  We found that many of them actually had better ratings then some of the big guys and cost ALOT LESS!  We hired a Moving company from Pittsburgh called Gardner Moving and they brought a 5 man crew, were very professional and actually ended up finishing under estimate.  So we were very pleased and are using them this time around too.  Our estimated moving cost is around $1700 and that includes packing 3 Large Flat Screen TVs, 2 Glass Curio Cabinets, 2 Large Glass Tops for Tables, 15 Wardrobe Boxes, plus Dissembling and Reassembling 3 Large Beds.

Boxes, Boxes, Boxes:

For free moving boxes, check with your local Dicks Sporting Goods, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Other Grocery Stores, Dollar General, and Department Stores - many times they will have free boxes available.  It's best to call ahead to check.  

Other places to get free or cheap boxes is on Craigslist and Facebook.

For Cheap or Low Cost Boxes - Check on Craigslist, Facebook and if all else fails...Lowes has cheap boxes - Small to Medium are less then $1 and the Large ones are like $1.15.

Rent your Wardrobe Boxes instead of Buying them!  To rent our wardrobe boxes from the movers it was only $5 compared to $15 to buy them.  If you really want to buy the boxes, check on Craigslist first!  We snagged them last year when we moved for just $5.

Cut Cost by Moving Boxes and Smaller Items Yourself!

In addition to our moving company - the weekend before our move - We are going to rent a Uhaul this time around to cut cost.  The 10' - 17' Uhaul Trucks all cost the same which is $29.95 plus .99 Cents per mile. We are not moving that far away so total miles is like 40 for there and back.  We also added 2 Dollys to our order.  So the cost will be around $100 total to rent the Uhaul and dollies.  

We plan to load it with as many of our boxes and smaller items as we can like lamps, glass top smaller tables, glass shelves, smaller flat screen TVs, plants, etc.  

Move Expensive Items Yourself:

We will also open box up our computers and laptops and move them ourselves.  I wouldn't dare but these on a moving truck.  Nothing against them, just my preference.  Mainly for the fact that I don't feel like packing them with bubble wrap etc, that just seems like a pain in the butt.  I would recommend doing the same if you have expensive jewelry etc.  Just box it up and move it yourself in your car for peace of mind.

 This will cut down on our moving cost as our mover charges by the hour.

IMPORTANT:  The 10' Uhaul Truck does not have an EZ-Load Ramp on it so I would advise not to get that size truck!  We learned that the hard way last year when moving my son and friend were not happy LOL!  So take it from me, it'll make your life so much easier with the EZ-Load Ramp when unloading the boxes with the dolly.

MOVING SALE - Get Rid of What You Don't Need and Make a Profit:

It makes no sense to pay movers to move junk or stuff you no longer want or need!  When we downsized from our last house - We had a HUGE Moving Sale!  We knew certain furniture pieces wouldn't fit in our new home plus we didn't want to pay for storage for a year for things that wouldn't fit in our temporary home!  So we sold as much as we could!  That in itself is another post LOL! So stay tuned for that post and tips on how we were able to make an amazing $12,000 at our Moving Sale!!  :)

Other Places to Sell:

Oh we got real creative - What we didn't sell at the Moving Sale - We sold on the Pittsburgh Facebook Fleamarket.  Most cities and townships have one so replace city/township name with your own.  It's free and allows you to post pictures etc.  I set up 6 foot tables in my garage and people would literally find me via my free facebook ad, and call to schedule an appt and come out after work and shop through the tables I had setup in the garage LOL.  Fun stuff!  This to me was safer then Craigslist as we could put a face with the person and know they were legit.

You can sell things on eBay too.  But since I sell on eBay anything that was eBay worthy was already not sitting out in my Moving Sale Lol!! 

Donate Items You Can't Sell:

We literally donated about 25 bags to our local Goodwill LOL!  Plus was able to write off the donations at tax time.  So whatever doesn't sell at your moving Sale - donate it to the Goodwill or Thrift Store and write it off at tax time :)

Clearly Mark Your Boxes Unless You Want a NIGHTMARE!

Although all our boxes were clearly marked, with our previous move to our Heartland Nantucket, I had told the guys to just dump all the boxes in our Kitchen and Morning Room! Why! Why! Why! LOL! Boy did I regret doing that.  It was a nightmare to say the least. Mounds and mounds of boxes piled 5 and 6 feet tall LOL! That was a goofball move on my part trying to save a few bucks by with the time LOL!  BIG MISTAKE!

So make sure you mark the room where your boxes go Clearly for them to understand which room it is with BIG BLACK MAGIC MARKER on the Front of the Box.  Plus if you have kids, put their names on the boxes too!  This will save you so much time and confusion when you go to unpack!  

Another reason why I think I told them to dump all the boxes in the kitchen is because I got sick of them saying which room is this or where does this go 100 times! LOL!
So another GOOD TIP!  On 8x10 Pieces of White Paper - Write your room names in BIG BLACK MARKER on the paper to correspond with your boxes, and the day before the move - tape it to the outside of each room at the New House so your movers will know which boxes go in which room and can quickly get them to the rooms.  After all, your typically being charged by the hour so we want them to be able to just keep the flow going.  So don't just write Janie's Room - the movers do not know who your little Janie is LOL. If you do this - make sure to have a piece of paper saying Janie's Room on the outside of Janie's room!  :)

This little tip will save you time and money.

Protect Your Flooring!

 Be sure to tell the Movers to cover all your flooring with either plastic or drop clothes so that they don't scratch or dirty up your flooring during your move. PS. Thanks for the reminder Darla lol :)

Keep Your Receipts for Tax Write Off:

You may qualify to write off your moving expenses.  So be sure to keep all your receipts!  Especially if moving a home office.

Don't Forget to Tip for the Movers :)

We tipped each mover about $20- 25 each.  Average tips should be 5% of your total bill.  This is optional of course, but they don't make much so they really appreciate the tip. So if you have it in the budget, it's nice to do so :)

OK Guys and Gals - I think these are all the tips I can think of for now!  If I think of more, I will let you know.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pre-Settlement Date is Set!

Our Pre-Settlement date is set for Wednesday, June 4th, 2014.  If our closing did not have to be delayed due to us being in a lease that doesn't end until August, we could have moved in next week :(

So after Pre-Settlement our house will sit until July 2nd when we close and we have movers scheduled for July 7th!!  Almost 30 days away!

The Punch Out team is there finishing everything up this week through the weekend.  The house must be ready for Inspection on Monday.  So I can't wait to see it come Sunday night when we drive by.  I believe he said the landscaping will be done as well before then.

So for those who don't know, during the Pre-Settlement meeting - they will demonstrate all of the features and benefits of our new home.  We will be there along with our Project Manager.  They will demonstrate how to operate and maintain all the appliances, furnace, thermostat, etc.

If you have any questions about your home, now is the time you want to ask.  It's advised not to take small children along as your full attention is required during this process.

Typically this meeting takes place 2 days before your Closing aka Settlement date.  Since our closing is delayed - it is still taking place as Ryan has certain deadlines for home completion that they must still meet regardless of the delayed closing date.

I will update you further after the meeting.


Moving Trucks DO NOT PARK IN NEW DRIVEWAY - New driveways can not support the weight of a moving truck without causing possible cracks and/or damage and that would not be covered under warranty!  So remember to tell them to park on the street!

Broken Windows - DO NOT Panic!

So during week 9 as we walked through our home we noticed there were at least 3 broken windows.  I was freaking out and immediately told my SR.  Apparently sometimes the contractors aren't so careful and this happens often LOL!  She assured me they would be fixed prior to the Pre Settlement meeting which they were.

So if you walk through and notice cracked windows - just make note of them but DON'T PANIC - Ryan will make sure they are replaced prior to your Pre Settlement meeting.  :)

Update Weeks 9 thru 10 - Flooring, Cabinets, Carpet, Appliances - ALL DONE

Sorry for the late update guys.  Week 9 was actually the Week of the 18th.   Our house is pretty much done.  The punch out guy is there now putting on the final touches.

Week 9 - They installed our flooring, kitchen cabinets, and first coat of paint.  All the hall and kitchen flooring was covered and protected by cardboard.  Carpet was installed last in Week 10.

Week 10 - Our house is pretty much done.  So during this week they installed the Carpet, Kitchen Appliances, and Faucets. 

The Punch Out guy is there now putting on the final touches.  He is the man who basically inspects the house before the inspection aka Pre Settlement meeting and makes sure everything is done and wraps up what was not done.  Everything is pretty much in except for the shoe mold, 2nd coat of paint, White Column on Porch, Mirror in Hall Bathroom upstairs, and a few other minor things.

Living Room

Powder Room

Dining Room

Powder Room

First Floor Office

Family Room

Kitchen Dishwasher - Standard Black

Kitchen - Standard Black Range

Double Bowl Stainless Steel Standard Sink 

(I was disappointed this has no hole for a sprayer - so we will have to upgrade the faucet instead)

Master Bedroom and Sitting Area

1st Master Bedroom Closet

1st Master Bedroom Closet - Other Side

Master Bathroom with Double Bowl Sinks

Master Bathroom Shower

Master Bathroom Toilet

Master Bathroom Garden Tub

2nd Master Bedroom Closet off the Bathroom - This one is all Mine! LOL!

2nd Master Bedroom Closet - Other Side

Hall Bathroom

Hall Bathroom 
DIY Project: Small Cbinet will be replace with a Larger Cabinet/Counter Top ASAP.

Hall Closet
I was so happy it didn't have that pole down the middle :)

Laundry Room

Upstairs Hallway

Bedroom 3 - I think LOL

Bedroom 3 Closet - I think

4th Bedroom - This will be my 2nd Office

4th Bedroom - Closet

Hall with View of Loft with 2 Foot Extension from Elevation C



Our Backyard

Our Backyard