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House Update #2 -- Our pre-construction meeting

Howdie to all of you who are following along in our home building process! We really didn’t think we’d be posting another one of these updates for a few more weeks but today was a big day.

To give y’all some back story on today, we have felt a bit uneasy about one thing in this whole process. Everything has seriously been a dream, from our first meeting with our sales rep (Sharon) to getting approved and working with our loan officer (Liz), it has really been a blessing and so easy. If you read our last update, you know that we were walking into this thing a little nervous and gun shy. We have just been searching and pursuing so many different things that we were nervous that another door would be slammed in our faces. But God has been so faithful and has not only given us green lights, but you know that feeling when you’re driving on a road all alone, no one in the lanes next to you, green lights as far as you can see? Yeah, that’s how this feels. Such ease. But there was this one thing: our lot. When we arrived at our sales meeting in January, we knew they would only be opening up a few lots at a time. Ryan Homes likes to build in sections, so they only allow you to purchase a home on specific lots until they open the next section. Usually by then, the price on the home would go up. We knew we wanted to get in at the beginning price so we only had 5 or so options for lots. The one we chose was on the corner next to a retention pond (this will always remain this way so we can know for sure that we will never have neighbors on our right, so nice). We walked away so sure of our decision and so excited. But as I continued to pour over our lot and ya know, drive by and what not, I started to think, “it’s just not very big”. Will we have enough space in our backyard to fence in for Mia? Will we even have enough room for a patio? Where will the house go? I just couldn’t picture it. Our lot is verrrry wide (which means more space between us and our one neighbor), but a narrow area in the back that was making me nervous.

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And we were also a little worried about the plan for water drainage since the back of our lot is sloping down towards the back of the house. So we set up the meeting to talk about our concerns, and while we were chatting about meeting, our project manager suggested rolling our “pre-construction” meeting into our time so we don’t have to come out twice (little does he know, I’m out there more than a few times a week haha).

When we arrived today, Justin (project manager) walked us to the lot and explained everyyyything that was happening with our lot. They had flagged the house site at this point too which was super helpful in seeing where our house would be and how much of the land it would take up.

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The front right flags are marking our driveway and corners of our garage. The left two flags and the back flags mark the corners and footprint of our house. There is definitely a narrow space between the black fencing and the back of our house but what I didn’t consider was the land that is behind the black fence is also ours. And there is a significant amount of space back there. They are also grading our land to have a “swale” which will direct any water away from our home. So we are SO happy & excited.

Back at the model home, we had our meeting where we just went through all the pre-construction details. He confirmed all of our upgrades and showed us things like: our electrical map for the house, color schemes, blue prints, where certain key items are located within the house, smart home features that they include, and our estimated dates. This is the part we were soooo surprised about!!! We had planned on them breaking ground in March. But Justin told us today that they surprisingly got our permits early and that they would be ready to break ground next week. WHAT. This pushes our completion date up from June to May. Freaking out just a little bit over here.

We will continue to update you guys & I’m excited to share our design plans once we finalize everything. The home is pretty cookie cutter so we’re taking a few weeks when we close to renovate certain areas and really give it the character we want it to have.

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House Update #1 -- We are building a house with Ryan Homes!

Guys. I can’t believe I get to write this. This has been the lonnnngest process. SERIOUSLY. I feel like we’ve been house hunting & manipulating our financing for like a year and a half straight. Buying a house when you’re self employed is NO JOKE. But, truly, we can just stand firm in the fact that God is super faithful and promises to not withhold any good thing from us. I kept telling myself this through the process, “He promises no good thing to be withheld", so if it’s being withheld, it’s not a good thing”.

But ya’ll. This is a gooooood thing. And we can finally say it— we bought a house! We’re building a house? We’re building & buying a house!!

I won’t bore you with all the details that make this end to the journey really sweet. But here’s the jist of it. We had been looking to buy a home for a long time it seemed. We fell in love with three different homes and things fell through three different times. All while waffling between buying & building. We LOVE the idea of building a custom home on some land in the boonies (and I really believe we will do this at some point in our lives). We had a builder picked out, a floor plan, most of our finishes and specifications, but every time we pursued a lot, it just seemed like something wasn’t right. Either the price was pushing us over our budget or the lot wasn’t exactly what we had in mind. Either way, we pursued this for many many months before letting this go and going back to square one. During this whole process, we walked through a model home in Charlottesville with Ryan Homes. The neighborhood was really sweet, the houses were cookie cutter but really open and inviting. We were impressed but we were knee deep in the building process (and this particular neighborhood was farther than we wanted to be) and this was just for kicks and giggles (so we thought). On our way out of the model, the sales rep let us know that there would be an exact same neighborhood going up in Waynesboro, where we currently live. From that day forward, we always had this tucked away in our mind as an option but it seemed like such a long time until the neighborhood would even exist, so we continued on.

Well, in that process, we hit every red light. We had ever door shut (more like, slammed). But I’m so glad it did. The neighborhood finally started making headway and we signed up for email notifications. We were slowly getting more and more excited about the potential of this being our home. And by the time they sent us the email to make our sales appointment, we were ready. It seemed like we drove through the neighborhood every day while they were building the model homes and fell more in love every single time.

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We had already been through the model in Charlottesville and fell in love with the neighborhood, so by the time our sales appointment came around, we were ready. We knew this was it. We just wanted specifics on what OUR home would be.

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So those are the background details but here is where we’re going for our FUTURE. Pinch me.

Our floor plan is a 1918 sqft, 2 story home with 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. It’s pretty simple but here are the things we love most…

  1. We love the open floor plan. We had been looking for something open, manipulating our builders floor plan to achieve this or knock down walls in any existing home that we walked through. But in this home, we’re getting this right off the bat.

  2. We love having four bedrooms. Room to grow and host and live spaciously. One of the bedrooms will be used as an office space while we need it. But every other house that we fell in love with only had three bedrooms so that extra room is such a bonus.

  3. We love that it’s new construction. But it’s also not a build that we need to manage. When we were looking at older homes, we knew from the very beginning that we were not the “old home” type. People might cringe at that, but we have lived in 3 older homes and it’s just our thing. When we were looking at building a custom home, the process was totally doable but a bit daunting. It was a lot to manage, from the loan process, to construction, to picking out EVERYTHING and deciding EVERYTHING in the home, it was ALOT. I would love to do that someday. But for now, while we’re the busiest we’ve ever been, I like that the builders are just going to build our home the way that it is and we can move in an customize it the way that we want.

  4. We love that we’ll have a two car garage. Literally this was not on our list at all, not something that we thought we would get and it’s such a BONUS.

  5. We love the little space off of the garage. They have it set up as a little office in the model home but for two full time work-at-homers, that space is useless as an office. Over the years, we’re excited to transform it into a mudroom by moving the door from the garage and tiling the floor. This house is a blank slate.

  6. We love that we upgraded to white shaker cabinets. The model home has black cabinets but we chose to upgrade to white which will go in the bathrooms and kitchen. We’ve got plans on updating all of this when we move in to make it feel more high end and not so contractor grade but we’ll save that for another day!

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This particular neighborhood has the exterior color scheme already picked out per lot. So as we were deciding between lots, we had the color schemes in our mind as well. We were in-between two lots: one that had a light gray/dark gray exterior color scheme but was in the middle of two lots (aka, two neighbors. Not a big deal but in comparison, it was something to consider). The other lot was a corner lot (next to an empty space that they will use for storm water retention so that lot will never have a neighbor), angled away from the other homes and had a wider landscape. The exterior color for this lot was beigey and dark green. Not my favorite, but I think it’ll look more classic and clean than the gray. With all that considered, we chose the corner lot, lot 35!

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This will be the same color scheme as our house, but ours will have shutters.

For those of you wondering what the process looked like (maybe you’re just into this stuff or maybe you’re looking at doing the same thing yourself!) here’s how it went down for us.

  1. We went to our sales appointment and we were able to walk through the model again. Our sales rep gave us all the information, but since we were already sold on it & knew most of the info from our walk through in Charlottesville, we didn’t have to go into much before picking out our finishes and lot.

  2. She then showed us the available lots (they only open a few at a time) and their color schemes. We walked the lots and decided what we thought would be best for us. We added the upgrade for the shaker white cabinets as well.

  3. She then priced everything out for us and gave us a variety of scenarios for downpayment, monthly payment, loan programs, etc. so we knew exactly what we were looking at as far as affordability.

  4. When everything looked good, we took another lap around the house to make sure we were 100%, then we signed the purchase agreement.

It was all super simple and easy to understand. The Ryan Homes team has been surprisingly wonderful to work with and the process has literally been SUCH a joy. I never thought I would say that about buying a house. We left with tears in our eyes… just so excited and so relieved all at the same time.

Our next step was meeting with a loan officer (about a week later) to get our loan application into underwriting. This was the most nerve-racking part for both of us since we’ve already been through the process and really had to fight our way through, only to be denied because of our years in our business. SO, when the email came through about two days later that we had been approved, my heart literally stopped. Best moment ever. We are buying this home. It will be ours and we are so excited.

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More updates to come— design ideas, construction progress & more!

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