Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Agent Walk-Thru

Today was our agent walk-thru.  Our realtor was bringing about 12 or so other agents through our house over a four-hour period to see the house and property ... and hopefully so that they can bring us a buyer and FAST! 

Tomorrow is feedback day from the showings.  I am looking forward to that call.

In the meantime, we've been daydreaming about the Florence with Ryan Homes every single spare second that we have.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Not Too Much Going On

Nothing too much to report on right now.  We had two more showings on Thursday and one on Friday, bringing us to a grand total of seven within five days of the listing being online with pictures.  I am anxious to hear the feedback when we receive our weekly update call on Wednesday.  We continue to live in the cleanest, most well-kept house I've ever lived in, just in case the phone rings with a showing request.  We need to be able to evacuate quickly!

We checked out a couple builders other than Ryan Homes tonight.  We felt it very necessary to continue to do our due diligence and make sure that we've looked at other locations, models and builders, just so that we are completely confident in whatever our end decision is.  Since we've not signed any contracts with Ryan Homes / Heisley Park, now is the perfect time to shop around.

Conclusion: we're pretty confident in our decision to go with Ryan Homes at Heisley Park.  One new development looked nice from the exterior, but the houses themselves had very little to offer.  They were nice and pretty - but nothing that really 'wowed' us - and nothing that bought us much more room than we have now.  Plus, they were about $50k more all said and done than the Florence with Ryan Homes.  Ouch.

We did look at some Barrington homes - one model that is for sale, in particular.  Now it was amazing, but out of our price range.  The plus to it is that they are willing to throw in any of the furnishings that you want, and it is completely decorated (very tastefully, I must say) and absolutely ready to go.  It has a TON of customizations and was just beautiful.  I've always liked it from the outside and am excited I finally got to see the interior.  We did grab some literature from them and drove around to look at the neighborhood.  Very nice, but again - I don't believe it is in our price range - or if it was, we'd have a pretty simplistic house, I assume.

Meanwhile, we've both been searching online listings for pre-existing homes ... and for the same price that we can build a pretty decked out house for, we can't find anything that equally impresses us. 

We drove back out to Heisley Park to look at lots again.  380.  We think this may be our lucky number, if it is still available once our house sells. 

Please sell, house ... please sell!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Woohoo! Another Showing!

I just received a phonecall from the Centralized Showing Service (CSS) - a realtor wants to show our house from 4:45 - 6:00pm tonight.  Woohoo!  Now the rearranging of schedules begins, figuring out who will leave work to get our dog, Wendell, and straighten a few things up ... then come back for the other person ... then head to my in-law's for Riley.  It may be time to stop carpooling to work for a little while ...

Keep those fingers crossed!!

It Gets Expensive Here ... and FUN!

I am a few days late on this, but I wanted to provide a look into the upgrades that we are currently planning for the new house.  I do have pricing and would be willing to share it with you if you're someone considering Ryan Homes in the same area ... that way you can have an idea of what to expect (although I understand their pricing could change rather frequently, so only use this as a guide). I am going to keep that out of this post otherwise.

This is certainly where things add up and add up fast, but it is also the FUN part! We could possibly add to - or remove from - this list during the time between now and when our house sells, but from what I understand from our consultant, once we sign papers to start building, we have 14 days to lock in all of our upgrades or we then incur a fee for each change made thereafter. This is another reason I wanted us to start talking about this stuff NOW - it gives us a lot of time to go back and forth on decisions and really get a grasp on what we truly want for our new home.

First, I was VERY excited to hear that 9' ceilings now come standard in the Florence model. This is an upgrade we had planned to add on anyhow, so knowing that it is included in the base price was very exciting! Additionally, it is believed that drywalling in the garage is included now as well (whereas otherwise it would be $450 to finish, and we'd just leave that as a project for Kevin to do at a later time).

Structural Upgrades
  • Partial Brick Exterior
  • Morning Room - This required no further discussion between Kevin and myself - we knew that this was a must for us. This includes the morning room itself plus two additional windows on the side (add'l cost for these) that would otherwise be a solid wall.
  • Finished Basement - Again, no brainer for us. We come from a finished basement and it is a must. We couldn't do it by ourselves for the price, so we'd prefer it to be all done when we move in! BONUS ALERT - We're being given an incentive of a FREE FINISHED BASEMENT!! So this is now 'included'. Helllooooo savings! =)
  • Full Bathroom in Basement
Kitchen Upgrades
  • Gourmet Island
  • 8" double bowl sink - Standard is 6" and I come from an 8" and must have it!
  • 42" cabinets - Includes an upgrade to cherry cabinets. Currently deciding between Cherry Bordeaux or Cherry Spice, both dark. We could possibly downgrade a bit to 30" cabinets ... but I worry about how that would look with 9' ceilings.
  • Granite Countertops - Includes granite on the gourmet island as well
  • Upgraded Appliances - This includes stainless steel dishwasher, range, and microwave.
  • Upgraded Refrigerator
  • Gas Range Hook-Up
Main Floor Living Room Upgrades
  • Marble Fireplace - We are still going back and forth on this. Right now we're also considering upgrading to a stone surround fireplace with stone hearth. Not sure where we'll land on this, so I am showing it as we first decided for now.  UPDATE:  We ended up going with the stone surround fireplace with stone hearth. 
Owner's Suite Upgrades
  • Owner's Suite Upgraded Bathroom - This allows us to have a garden tub surrounded in ceramic tile, separate from the shower (with two walls of ceramic tile and glass walls).
  • Added jets to garden tub
  • Upgraded vanity cabinets
  • Granite countertop in Master Bathroom
General Upgrades
  • Garage door opener (seemed a bit crazy to me that this is an 'upgrade')
  • Upgrade vanity cabinets in all other bathrooms
  • Interior door hardware - All hardware will be oil rubbed bronze
  • Recessed Basement Lights
  • Recessed Kitchen Lights
  • Floor drain in garage - Perfect to allow all that snow that falls off of our cars to just drain away. 
  • Faucet fixtures in Bathrooms - All bathroom fixtures will be oil rubbed bronze
  • Upgraded Kitchen faucet
  • Utility tub in basement storage - I am big on having a place to rinse out paint brushes, wash the dog, etc.
  • Pine Railing with wooden spindles on staircase
  • Ceiling fan rough-ins (2) - Morning room and master bedroom
  • Celing light rough-ins (3) - Bedroom #2, #3 and Dining Room
Additional Upgrades Not Yet Priced

There are still some things that we will be adding that we don't yet have prices for. This includes:
  • Additional coach light on the end of the garage (only one is included and would leave it looking unbalanced)
  • Special wiring for hung televisions and entertainment components (DVRs, etc)
  • Flooring upgrades (hardwood in dining room, foyer, and main floor powder room; ceramic tile in kitchen, laundry, and morning room; carpet upgrades throughout remainder of the house)
  • Customized finished addition in basement - We are still awaiting the quote on this, but are having it done regardless (we know the price range, just not exact number). When they finish the basement, there is a portion of it left unfinished for storage. There is quite a hefty amount of storage, and while I would never complain about extra storage space, we can use some of the area in a better way. So we're having a section off to the side be finished off, with glass French doors installed in the middle. Basically, one part of it will be a poker/game room and the other part will be Riley's play room. Once we no longer need a play room, it will most likely be converted into a workout room or office.

Another showing ...

We had another showing yesterday afternoon.  I received the call asking for authorization to show around 8:00am yesterday morning - so it provided a good, optimistic start to the day.  I am looking forward to tomorrow when a member of our realtor's staff calls to go over feedback received from the showings, as well as statistics as to hits on the website, etc.  We've still only been listed for a week ... and only three days with pictures.  So I need to keep my head up.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


A friend suggested listing our house on Craigslist as well.  As much as we use Craigslist as a means to sell other items, I never even thought about ever posting a link to the house listing on there.  I love the suggestion - and I listed our information on there just about ten minutes ago.  Here's hoping for some calls today to show the house!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Our First Showing

Today was the very first showing of our house.  We're exhausted.  Assuming that preparing for the first showing would be the most difficult one, we powered through getting extra things packed up and out of the way, finishing the last painting touches, etc.  I think I slept about 4.5 hours last night.  And I can't complain - Kevin did much more physically demanding work than I did.

I have absolutely no clue how the 9:30am showing went.  Here is what I do know:
  • The people did show up.  This was confirmed during the third drive by that I did during the showing period.  Psycho?  Maybe a little.  =)
  • This showing was not done by an agent that works at our realtor's office, so my realtor wasn't able to give me any immediate feedback (he will have some by Wednesday).
Shortly after the showing when we returned to our house, we received a call asking for authorization of another showing at 1:30pm.  Jackpot!  The house was already in immaculate condition from being all ready for the morning's showing.  Of course, Riley was taking an incredible nap and I had to wake her from it.  Figures.

We were literally JUST shutting the car door to pull out of the driveway when a car pulled in.  A woman quickly stepped out and I saw two other people sitting in her car.  She was the realtor.  She introduced herself to me and then noted that this couple thought that this listing was on "new Jeremy".  Half of our street was developed in the 60s/70s ... the other half in the 80s or so.  Apparently 1980 = new.  So it turned out they weren't interested in seeing the house.  Okay, I thought, but the realtor still wanted to be shown around, as she thinks she has someone who would be interested.  I thought it was kind of odd - and snotty, if you ask me - that the people simply waited in the realtor's car while she and I spent 5-10 minutes inside the house.  You'd think that they'd at least come look since they were waiting anyhow.  Whatever.  What I focused on was that she thinks she may have someone who could be interested, so I pray to hear from her again.

Thus the end of the view and a half of our house today.  I am wondering what tomorrow will bring, being a Sunday.  I know that this could be a very long road, and I am afraid that I may be disappointed if things don't move quickly, because I know in my heart that I've convinced myself that they will.

Lastly, just before blogging, I noticed that the pictures that were taken of the house on Thursday are now online.  I am disappointed.  I just feel like the pictures don't nearly do the house justice.  I am worried that this could seriously impact potentially interested parties.  Thankfully, Kevin disagrees.  He thinks the pictures are great and that I am over-analyzing.  This made me feel better - maybe I am just a little emotional or something, who knows.

I'm exhausted.  Riley must be feeling it, too, because she was in bed nearly an hour before she normally goes down.  I am following her lead and heading to bed as well.  Tomorrow I hope to write about the upgrades we have selected for the house.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Stagers Were Here Today

The staging team arrived bright and early this morning to look through the house and give us some suggestions as to what we could do with colors, furniture arrangements, etc to really draw a buyer in even more.  It was really neat to see some of their past work and hear their opinions on our house.

1.  The first thing out of their mouths were raving reviews about the exterior of the house.  "It has great curb appeal; it's beautiful - you don't need to do a thing".  That made us feel really good.

2.  They recognized our affinity for the color brown.  They suggested we add some color splashes here and there through the house to make the rooms pop even more.  We love neutrals and it shows.  I've already been shopping this morning and a beautiful deep shade of red is interwoven through the main rooms now.  Love it.

3.  They actually didn't suggest I put all of Riley's toys into storage, which I was completely expecting.  Since there is a definitive area of our basement designated as a play area, they just suggested we put everything in there - and it is actually okay to be 'cluttered' since it is a child's area.

4.  Sadly, and although I knew it was coming, we had to remove every single picture in our house (other than artwork).  Wow, it looks empty without Riley staring back at me from the walls!  But it really does allow the eye to view the space as even larger than it is.

We will be working with these ladies again in the near future - we've decided we'll most likely consult with them to pick out our entire color palette for the new house.  Tomorrow morning is our first showing.  I have no idea who the agent is who is showing it - for all I know, it could be our own realtor.  I kind of hope it is, since he is working in our best interest, of course!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

There's a Lot Going On!

I have quite the full update today.  This morning began with our realtor's photographer coming by the house to take pictures for the online listing.  I couldn't help but laugh when he asked me how many kids we had as he and I trucked toys from one room to another to get them out of the pictures.  (I've finally realized that Riley is on toy overload).  The pictures should be up on the Howard Hanna site tonight or tomorrow, and they should trickle down to the other 80+ sites that we're listed on by Sunday evening.  It was a gorgeous blue sky day today, so I am really excited to see the outdoor shots.

Next, I received a call this afternoon while at work.  It was the Centralized Scheduling Service (CSS) that our realtor uses to book and coordinate all showings.  I was in disbelief - an agent wants to show our house this Saturday morning.  And pictures aren't even up yet!  I have to imagine that this person drove by and saw we had put the house up for sale ... or their curiosity has been peaked by the great description John DeSantis put on his site.  Either way, I am extremely excited for Saturday.  We still want to give our bedroom a fresh coat of paint prior, so we'll be painting the day away tomorrow.

Lastly, we had our meeting with Ryan Homes this evening.  We were there for 2.5 hours and I am happy to hear that we accomplished everything that we wanted to do - and a little more.  Beth - our Ryan Homes sales person - is such a joy to work with.  We are really happy to be working with her.  It was exciting to tell her that we have decided 100% that we'll be building the Florence model.  The main thing we wanted to do tonight was go through every single possible upgrade option and select which we would want.  We want to have nearly an exact price in front of us.  We fine tuned our list a little more when we got home.  Wow, can those upgrades get expensive fast.  More on that in the next few days.

We also looked at cabinet samples, faucet options, and interior door choices - and Kevin and I were able to come to a common agreement very quickly on each.  Good thing we share the same taste for those types of things.  This is where I am happy that we're building with a builder such as Ryan and not a completely custom builder.  I need to have limited options - otherwise I don't know how I'd ever make a decision.  We haven't yet decided on stone, siding and shutter color - that will come in the future, as will flooring decisions.

Lastly, we looked at lots.  I am pretty sure that we have our lots narrowed down to three.  Two are corner lots (which come at an additional $5000 premium), one is not.  None would have houses directly behind us, though, which is a huge plus.

Wow - that is a LOT.  Tomorrow is a big day to get some things wrapped up here before the showing on Saturday.  The stager comes tomorrow morning - perfect timing for her to be able to suggest some better setups and arrangements for our house to be shown.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just Some Ideas ...

I had some Kohl's Cash burning a hole in my pocket, so I jumped over there at lunch today.  Trying my best to not spend on anything unnecessary, I stayed within my Kohls Cash limit and picked up two ultra plush bath towels.  I refuse to let them be used before we set foot in our new home, so they'll be packed away promptly. 

While there, a few house decorations caught my eye.  Insisting that I want to very carefully plan out all of the decor in the new house, I decided to snap a few pictures of things that I liked. 

Clocks.  I love wall clocks, although we have NONE hanging in our current home.  Seeing as how the basement will be used for playing games and watching games, I think I like this for down there:

And I think I like these two for the main floor living room:

Wall art.  Big, beautiful wall art is certainly in no short supply in all of the model homes.  It is something our home lacks, but I believe that to be because it just doesn't 'fit'.  Here are a few pieces that caught my eye.  The circular art piece would be nice in a bathroom or dining room, perhaps.

Lastly, shower curtains and accessories.  I happened to walk past these on my way to the towels and this one in particular caught my eye for the hallway full bath on the 2nd level.  I think I would like to do something a little more fun for the basement full bath.

Oh.  And oversized candle sticks and hurricanes.  Must have some somewhere.

Welcome to our Adventure!

Sell.  Move.  Build.

If all goes well, these three steps will be consuming our lives for the next several months.  My husband and I have been married nearly five years and have a 15-month-old daughter.  My husband owned our current home when I met him.  He purchased it from the estate when his grandmother passed away and he has since gutted and renovated almost every square inch of it, truly transforming it into a home for his girls.

But we're ready to take that next step.  So we're selling.  And we're building.  Since we don't trust the current housing market / economy enough to take the risk of a second mortgage in order to begin building before selling, there will most likely be another step that comes in between the two - a temporary move.  More details on that later.

I have already written a few posts about the beginning of our Sell. Move. Build. journey here, on my other blog, but felt that it was unfair to hijack that blog for something as large as this.  So join us on our journey of the unknown as we pray to sell our house and embark on building the house of our dreams with Ryan Homes!