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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Precon Results

Yesterday I had my preconstruction meeting, which lasted about 2 1/2 hrs.  We met at a Rome model located a few blocks from my lot, where I was greeted by my SR and introduced to my PM.

Dealing with my SR can feel a little like playing chess at times, strategically raising questions about cost, options, timelines, and what not, but to his credit, I remind myself of the great job he's done thus far orchestrating the affair toward an outcome we all can benefit from (more about this later).

My PM, I relate to very well.  If there is a tangible way to describe it, seeing eye-to-eye may be the result of the similarities between of our jobs, and the level of dedication I recognize toward offering quality over quantity.  I'm in the IT industry.  I develop complex internet-centric software applications.  I seek to harness new technologies and deliver an experience that simplifies the complexity it is driven from.  This construct appears similar to a PM role in the home building industry.  It so happens, in this case, my PM provided a clear expression of his desire to build an interesting, quality home, and also showed regard for communication as a focus to allow this outcome to be possible.

As expected with each meeting, I received more papers, one such is the plat depicted below.  Additionally, I received a lengthy Selection Acknowledgement Report, which covers ever last detail into the construction of my home, and a carbon-copy of the Preconstruction Meeting punch list, which is a document with numerous check boxes stating I was witness to meeting and topics covered.

Adjusted Plat - Home Placement

After going through the punch list, my PM and my SR walked the model house, talking about some of the features.  I had the opportunity to mention a couple contention points that are of high importance to me, to include:
  • A well graded lot 
  • Level basement
  • Properly sealed tubs and showers
  • Solid second-floor construction (no squeaky floors) 
We talked about ways the unfinished basement could be converted into an additional bedroom, while still retaining space for the HVAC.  My PM was willing to entertain the possibility of keeping the electrical box in the basement, near the tank-less water heater.  He also talked about the height required by various refrigerators, and how that may impact the placement of cabinets above. And last to my recollection, we talked about placing the irrigation control panel in the garage, where it is easier to get to.  All great points!

After, going through the model, we headed out to the lot and took a look at my home placement.  I was very pleased with the artists depiction of the home as it's placed on the plat.  Very symmetrical!  Just like last time, I was also very pleased with the size of the lot.  It has a huge span of curb-appeal, with underground irrigation and sod placed near 3/4 of the way back into the property, cutting off about at the backside of the house.  The rest of the backyard will be seeded and strawed.  The elevation is reversed, the driveway will be concrete, and climb a small lip to a fairly level entry into the garage.  The back of the house, the morning room, will be more like an evening room facing WSW, and with the sun furthest South of West in the winter, will provide lots of ambient light through the barren trees.

My PM heard my plea to retain trees, and courteously asked if there were any I'd like to keep.  Previously, back at the model, we rehashed the discussion about needing to remove trees because of the likelihood they'd perish months after settlement, probable cause, because they wouldn't withstand the harsh changes to the landscape during grading and laying the foundation.  I get that.  But, I'm willing to exonerate Ryan Homes for any negligence because there is a chance a few may survive.  What is important, is that my PM was willing to work with me.  Honestly, I couldn't say at that time, which trees I wanted to keep.  So as it stands now, he can clear what he needs in the front, but try to keep as many as possible toward the back where privacy and scenery is desired.

Very cool!

Points that came out that were hence unrealized... well some were clarified just prior to the meeting:
  • Having a rail banister in the stairwell was an upgrade
  • The kitchen did not include a backsplash
  • The driveway would not be concrete
For these items, I'm a little disappointed, but I can accept them as items I could have inquired about ahead of time.  That said, the banister is not a big deal.  The kitchen backsplash I can do myself.  The concrete driveway I wheeled-and-dealed on.

More about my SR...

OK, an awkward discussion point came out at the precon meeting where my SR informed me of his knowledge of my blog.  How was he informed?  My LO told him about it.  So it appears NVR is now present to my publicly-expressed perception of Ryan Homes.  In the meeting, I graciously offered to take anything down, or strike out any comments/names if requested.  He asked, out of courtesy, if there were any friction points that I try to resolve it first through him before writing about it online, and then stated he was glad I had all good things to say about him, his cutie stand-in, and his other assistant.  OK, that sounds fair.  But for my readers, and future readers, and other fellow blog writers, and future writers, this is a tale akin to David & Goliath, or perhaps less biblical, aphorisms like The Pen is Mightier than the Sword.  There is no doubt that perception detailing the quality of a mega-builder like Ryan Homes could impact their business in either a positive manner or a negative manner.  As gargantuan as RH is, especially in today's climate, and the ever deflating value of the dollar, I don't expect the loss of potential business to be a casual affair for them.  And while NVR may have "conveniences", I believe they also have padded prices that are obscured such that the less savvy (like myself) are likely to be duped into believing it's somehow a necessary part of the process, or like the "incentive" that somehow it's a good deal. To be candid, while it's going to be nice having a morning room, and I am sure I will love it, the incentive to get it is an insult, a feeling like trickery.  But I've talked about all that here, so hopefully RH will review their business model, and treat their clients the same way they wish to be treated.  The real point of this discussion, however, is to say I'm beginning to see my publicly-expressed perception is really a counter-weight to the 800 lb. Ryan Homes gorilla, to help ensure we all arrive at settlement clear and satisfied and with good conscience. Stated another way, and as was discussed during the meeting, this is about "balance".  If we can all proceed with reason, good faith will arise, and I will glad to canvas the internet with my personal positive dealings with Ryan Homes, ranking them with excellence and honors.  With that said, no need to wait, I wish to give my tremendous thanks to my SR for making the deal happen, living up to his word, taking an extra step when I was being difficult, and genuinely expressing an interest in his welfare as a representative of his employer.  Thank you!

Now back to the precon.

Tomorrow, I should have a staked-out lot with specific clarity how the my home will be positioned.  I will try to decide if some trees will get to stay.  Given a better picture into the placement, I should also have an updated set of Chief Architect renderings showing how the lot may be graded, and with these, my PM will contribute ideas, and use them to help shape the landscape around my home.  Now that is awesome!

I think the fun is about to begin... Nuff for now, thanks for reading!


  1. We all know they are reading the blogs. Our SR told us about the blog. That's how I got started. We are free to say what we want. If we are not getting the service we deserve or getting what we paid for we have every right to express our feelings. They won't have anything to worry about if they do the right thing.

  2. Isz Wisz, as usual your posts are very insightful and informative. Have you decided whether or not the rail bannister is something you really want--it makes a HUGE difference! I am assuming you have the wall instead of the rail bannister for installation. This can be a last minute change order with a fee. If you are concerned about little people swinging or sliding on the bannister than it would be okay; however, if it is a deal breaker I would submit the request. During our pre con mtg, we were also told that RH is reading our blogs. If you take a look at your stats on your blog, check each line carefully and you will find how often they visit your site.

    BTW-did you get your break ground and settlement dates? This was the only thing you did not mention?

    1. Can't wait to see your Elevation N being built! You also have a very nice LOT #96 with plenty of yard. Congrats!

    2. Sadly, I am not wanting to increase the cost any further. A banister will add another $1,000+, and yes I agree it will look a lot better, but I'm not feeling like it's worth it.

    3. Oops! LOT #95 Elevation N :-)

      I hear you! The cost is similar in our community too! If you did change your mind, don't forget to check the math it could be the difference of an additional $10 per month. Actually, you probably already did the math. You are so good with your analysis.

      I really wanted to have them only because we have espresso hardwood floors on the first level and I wanted to see the color moving upwards to the second level since the ROME doesn't come with a open two story foyer.

    4. It's possible I may hardwood the second floor one day, or parts of it. If I do that, I'd probably bust out the capped wall and add a banister.

      My break ground date I wasn't sure about, but I think it's supposed to be this next Monday. I don't think that will occur with the Hurricane potential.

      My settlement date is not known either, and at present, I don't care to know it. I've expressed several times that I'm not willing to settle until the end of Feb, or early Mar. My PM expects completion to occur end of Jan, or early Feb., but there is opportunity for slippage.

      In spite of my time requirement, I'm not hasty and would rather have a job well done, than a job done on time.

    5. Update... RickandNadase looks like math is not required. I'd expressed an interest to have the extra set of windows in the morning room removed in favor of privacy and to add something like a hutch, or art, or something. Today I requested a 1:1 trade out, banister for windows. I get what I want, SR keeps price point... win, win.


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