Wish List

This is the Wish List of things we plan to upgrade later after we close.  We made the mistake before of adding these upgrades during the building process which drove our sale price up by nearly $150,000 in Upgrades alone!  Not this time, we are building smart!  Our goal is to keep our cost down!  We want our sale price to be as low as possible!  This time we are only going to do structural upgrades or upgrades that would be very difficult to add later.  Now that hind site is 20/20 it makes ZERO sense to pay for these upgrades for 30 years in your mortgage +interest when you can just add them later at far less the cost!

When you ponder over your upgrades, which we have done many times, the most IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER and ASK YOURSELF, is this - Is this Upgrade worth adding now and paying for with Interest for the next 30 YEARS!  And how much will that cost you over that 30 year period!  Once you've made a decision and rationalized it in your head - write it down.  We have a Pre-Sale Cost Estimate Sheet so we use that to go through with a fine tooth comb and decide what we need now and what can go on the Wish List for later.  Most SRs will sit down with you prior to when you are actually ready and do this Cost Estimate Sheet with you so you can decide if its affordable for you to build or not.  I will discuss this in another post.  So our list is below.

Our Wish List to Add/Upgrade After Closing:

Garage Door Opener (Home Depot/Lowes $120-$240 and Install is $119 or DIY) 

Kitchen Gourmet Island (Home Depot/Lowes $4000 or less.) - Met w/Rep easily add later - just have Ryan do a roughin for your electrical outlets and place your lighting over where island will be. This option cost $3,495. 

Appliances Range/Microwave (Home Depot/Lowes $800 on high end for both!  Ryan charges $1495 for upgrade) - We are going to see about getting an appliance credit with Ryan.  We would rather buy our own appliances and not pay for them for 30 years in a mortgage! 

Fireplace (The Fireplace Store) - Spoke with Rep and this is what they specialize in - installing    fireplaces! Both gas and electric. For gas, they install the gas line, outside venting, install your& surround as simple or fancy as your little heart desires! Prices on average Start at $2000+. For what Ryan is charging for Gas Fireplace and Slate surround we can get twice the value as far as quality later. 

Double Bowl Sink/Cabinet in Hall Bathroom (Home Depot/Lowes) - You can buy what you want and get much nicer quality for what they are charging and giving you for $995. We may see how much to just rough-in the plumbing for the double bowl. 

Hardwood Floors in Foyer, Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen and Morning Room (Twin  Flooring, Molyneaux, Lowes, Home Depot - Undecided on Contractor) - But definitely adding later!   This alone will save us $7,175 from being rolled into our mortgage for the next 30 years! 

Finished Basement (Contractor Undecided) - We will be doing this later.  However, we will have them do the 3 Piece Plumbing Rough-in in the Basement for $1,395.

*Note:  When comparing upgrade cost, keep in mind, every community and every model is different.  Prices can vary from state to state, city to city and model to model.

We plan to replace the Wood Balusters with Metal Spindles in the future.  I just found this neat video on how to do so.  Now I am not this tech savy or creative and neither is my guy, so we would just hire someone to do this LOL.

DIY Iron Spindles: Staircase Remodel Video:

Things I Love - Window Shopping:

$2,146 - Home Depot for Hall Bathroom

$149 - Ikea MALM Desk, white

$139 - Ikea Corner workstation, white

Ikea - $129.99 MICKE Computer work station, white

Ikea - $79 MICKE Desk with printer storage, white

Ikea - $159 BILLY Bookcase with doors, white

Ikea - $179 BESTĂ… Storage combination w doors/drawers, Vara white

Sliding Glass Door Security Bar - $28
(Call me Paranoied but this is a Must Have for our Sliding Glass Door LOL)

$879 Home Depot for Hall Bathroom

$279 - Ikea HEMNES Desk, white stain

$2,146 - Home Depot for Hall Bathroom
$79.00 - Ikea Billy Bookcase for my Office :)

$149 - Ikea White Work Station for my Office

$39 - Ikea Bookcase

$50 - Ikea LILLĂ…NGEN Wall cabinet with 1 door, white


  1. We are on the same page! We also skipped those things that you mentioned and just added structural options/upgrades. We are building a Ryan home in Southearstern Virginia and we almost have the same time frame as yours. Here's our blog http://roadtopalermo.blogspot.com/

  2. Congrats! I love the Palermo as well. We seriously considered it. I tried to join your blog but you don't have that feature.

  3. Thanks and congrats to you too! Especially for resisting the urge to upgrade lol! Sorry, I'm a newbie to blogging and don't know all the features. I do have the follow by email option at the bottom of my blog :)

  4. Congrats Jennifer! I'm a newbie to blogs as well but thank you for the great information. This is an exciting but nerve wrecking experience. We are purchasing a Rome as well and trying not to break the bank. Any additions like flooring, alarm system etc we will pay out of pocket to keep the sales price/ mortgage low. Just like you we are awaiting loan approval.

  5. Hi Russel: Thank you and Congrats to you as well! Smart move! The last home we built we went way overboard with upgrades and we really regretted it years later. This time were doing it the smart way! :)

    1. Hey Jennifer! I just read your selections list-great choices! We chose Elevation A with brick front at no cost. We have our pre-wire meeting next week. Is it true that you only get one phone jack for free in the entire house? I'm glad you mentioned the NVR incentive because our's is going towards closing cost. I would rather it go towards the final sales price. Is this a question to ask the SR or the NVR agent?

    2. Hi Russel: Thanks. If you want your incentive to be used toward something else just tell your SR.

      For your pre-wire meeting - Every community is different. So you want to check with your SR or Guardian to see what is included for free. They should both be able to give you that information. In our community, we get 1 Telephone and 5 Cable Outlets free. In our area additional Phone Jacks and Cable Outlets are $95 each.

      Keep in mind too that normally Guardian gives you a Standard Security System they say Free but you have to pay a $250 install fee. Ours included 4 door contacts, 1 motion detector, 1 siren, and1 heat (which I think is smoke detector). We opted to just add on to the system later because to add all doors and windows was like over $1000 in the mortgage. It's easy for them to come right after closing and add the window sensors etc. and if you currently have a system and call Guardian now you can get a discount once you close on the additions at almost a 40% savings.

    3. Okay thanks! I wish I could just transfer my current Guardian system to the new house-lol. I think we will be taking your advice and doing the same. Thanks again for having this blog!

  6. I know that would have been nice if they would let us do that LOL! And You're welcome :)

  7. I was told by my SR today that if I pay for options out of pocket, the cost is still added to the sales price. When I purchased my first home 10 years ago the buyer just cut a check to Guardian or the flooring company and the sales price was not touched. If they add my out of pocket to the sales price that would mean my down payment and closing cost percentage would change correct? This caught me off guard. Now I will use that NVR incentive not for closing but for those out of pocket options to help lower the price or will that get added as well?

  8. Hi Russell: You are right! This was changed in the last couple of years because people were building really expensive homes for example $600,000 homes and paying for all there extras out of pocket which may have amounted to say $200,000 so that the home sale price would only show for $400,000 thus avoiding being taxed at the $600,000 price when the house was appraised. So they kind of ruined it for the little guys who really need to keep those cost off.

    You can check with your SR if you can use that incentive towards those things. I'm not sure about anything outside of structural upgrades, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

    The way I was told they calculate is for every $1000 you add - it adds about $7 to your mortgage payment. As far as affecting the percentage - that won't change - like if you are putting 5% down - you still have to put 5% down. Now if you add to the sale price then yes, your down payment amount will go up but it shouldn't go up that much, your down payment is the % X your Sale price - so yes, anything added to your sales price will affect it. So for example if your house is $300,000 x 5% down is $15,000. But say you add $25,000 in options - now sale price is $325,000 x 5% is $16,250 so it increased slightly.

    I was able to keep my Guardian bill to $1600. Mainly because I hung 3 TV which was about $1000.

    Are you upgrading flooring? I tell you what - it's tempting not to - but I walked out of that flooring meeting with $0 in upgrades because I know in 4-5 years I can just replace that carpet and add hardwood at anytime without having to pay for a $10,000 flooring bill for the next 30 years plus interest. So you may consider taking that off and just upgrading later on your own if you added that on.

    I went over that cost estimate sheet with a fine tooth and anything that we could do without or add later - was crossed off. We ended up saving about $30,000 when it was all said and done.

  9. PS. Keep in mind if you increase your down payment even if past the 5% it wont reduce the price of your Sale Price - However it will reduce the price of your Mortgage Price. Hence those extras wont be in your mortgage.

  10. Wow, thanks for the info. We were going to pay for the upgraded carpet out of pocket but we will rethink that option now. The hardwood floor on the first floor except the morning room and family room was a free incentive. With your carpet what did they charge for the padding or was that included for the standard carpet?

  11. You're welcome. We stuck with the standard carpet and standard padding so there was no extra charge. I believe the standard padding was 6 pound padding which I felt was a decent padding.

    They try to sell the upgraded padding by saying how it does better with stains however if you get a good carpet stain remover you won't have to worry about that.

    Here are my selections with photo http://buildingromemodelwithryanhomes.blogspot.com/2014/02/flooring-selections-for-our-rome.html

  12. Hey Jennifer, how goes it? Since our last conversation I found out that I can move my NVR incentive that was used for closing and use it against the sales price. My SR said she never had anyone to ask to do this before. I laughed and said I'm the first. I know I will have to pay more out of pocket at closing but "lower sales price" is our goal.It seems my SR is trying to convince me not to go this route- She was saying she doesn't understand "why everyone is caught up on the sales price" It's common sense and business sence to me. My SR doesn't have too many years under her belt so now I double check everything she tells me that's not in writing. For example, she told me that Ryan Homes has a refer a friend program where your friend will receive 1k and the buyer will also receive 1k. After reading the contract I asked her if she could send me something in writing that states I (the buyer) would also receive 1k at closing. Now she is back-tracking and has to ask her manager if the program is still running. I see a problem arising-lol. It's not a huge deal but buyers beware the SR is in it for the seller and will tell you just about anything to convince you to purchase.
    Question the 250 install fee to Guardian is that out of pocket or rolled in to the sales price?

  13. Hi Russel: I crashed my benz last week - no one was hurt Thank God! You can see that here: http://buildingromemodelwithryanhomes.blogspot.com - Other then that STILL WAITING for NVR! LOL!! We have to keep our sense of humor right! It's better to laugh during the wait to stop my losing your mind. LOL!

    Are you still Waiting for Your Mortgage Approval? If so, how long have you been waiting?

    And you're right sometimes you have to watch, as SR are sales people and I've never met a sales person who does not care about the sales price as most work off commission...food for thought. Although I must say, my SR was very helpful in advising me on what I could do later and what would be hard to do later and should be done now. So I guess it depends on the SR's personality. I have seen some who will tell you that you must do things now which clearly could be done later! (Shaking my head and rolling my eyes).

    Funny about the friend referral program, good thing you asked about it in writing. Odd that now she must check. It's clear her intentions there LOL.

    In my state, everything from Guardian is rolled into the Sales Prices - the only way to get it off is to INCREASE your DOWNPAYMENT by the amount of your Guardian Invoice. That is what we are doing. By doing so, it will still increase your sales price, however will lower your Mortgage Loan Price and not increase your monthly payment.

    Check with your SR to see if they will allow you to pay your Guardian Bill outside of the mortgage. From what I understand, you are no longer allowed to pay for anything outside of the mortgage.

    Let me know what they say for your state.

    1. Oh my goodness, I am so glad that no one was hurt! You are the second person I know that had an accident. My other friend broke is collar bone so count your Blessings that you walked away with out injury.
      I haven't been approved yet, we had our loan application meeting on Feb 10th. The loan officer called for additional info and said that the process seemed to be going well. My SR did tell me that the flooring and Guardian expenses would be rolled into the Sales price but I will ask if the service charge applies as well.

  14. Thanks Russell. Wishing your friend a speedy recovery! Let me know when you're approved! This has been a LONG GRUELING WAIT...comparable to a SLOW TORTURE LOL!!! We are in our 5th week of waiting. Alot of back and forth with our Loan Officer for this or that. I seriously hope an approval comes soon as this has been emotionally draining. I'm ready to move on to the next step. Hopefully you are not self employed and your wait won't nearly take this long!

  15. Ps. All I can do to occupy my time is to keep adding new items to my Wish List page LOL :)

  16. Hey there! They have been asking me for additional information as well. I'm not self employed but the wait is still long. I found out from Guardian that the service charge is rolled into the sales price. We had our Guardian appointment scheduled for today but it was cancelled due to the blizzard. I contacted the flooring company (TAC flooring) and they told me to refer to the master selection sheet for prices. When I look at the sheet it looks like even the base/initiator carpet and padding have a cost :0(
    Our meeting is next week and I hope I can be like you and walk out of there with a 0 balance but from the sheet it looks like they will try to nickle and dime us.
    I cut out the basement recess lights because I can put those in later. That saved me about 1,500.

  17. Hey Russell: Opps sorry I missed this update. Well that's good you saved the $1500 on the recess lights. Anything that can be done later is best to take out of the mortgage. How is it going? Did they break ground yet?