Sunday, May 22, 2016

Building with Dan Ryan Builders

Since we sold our house accidentally, we knew we were going to have to make some serious decisions very quickly.  We had been in talks with Dan Ryan Builders for awhile but we hadn't committed because we just didn't think we would need to rush into anything (HA!)(HAHAHAHA!!).  We had to decided:

Which plan of homes we preferred (one with bigger lots but further away from civilization or one with teeny lots but VERY convenient location)
Which LOT in each of those plans
Which house/floor plan
How much we were willing to spend

The lot we decided on is great - over half an acre and relatively flat with NO trees (our current lot is 1.25 acres but we probably have only half of that which we actually use) BUT it also had a few drawbacks (not on a cul-de-sac; at the bottom of a small hill; next to a small pump house)(These were all negatives in Greg's mind - my mind said...???)

The process of building with a track builder is different than what we did in the past.  When we built our home, we utilized a "Build to Own" concept which meant that WE (meaning Greg) were the General Contractors - we took care of all of the scheduling and so that we could afford the house of our dreams, we did a lot of the finish work (with A LOT of help from family and friends) - flooring, painting, trim work.  This doesn't sound like much but HOOBOY, is it EVER!  We (meaning Greg) wanted wood trim so we had to stain and finish every.single.piece.of.wood.  Every door.  Every window.  Every piece of window trim.  Every piece of door trim.  Every piece of baseboard.  All of the quarter round (I didn't even know what that WAS back then).  SO.MUCH.STAINING! 

But it looked beautiful.

This time, we are going with a turn-key approach.  We want to do as little work ourselves as possible.  Because we BOTH remember what it was like.  However, we have never done it this way before and I feel the need to document it, both for us and for whoever else might be considering this process.

Step 1:  We signed the papers designating which lot and floor plan we wanted.  This was a "good faith estimate" based on very limited choices (Did we want Elevation 1 or 5? Did we want to add any upgrades?)(Here's a hint: Almost everything is an "upgrade").

Step 2:  We picked out everything else (this happens on a separate day).  This is - LITERALLY - everything else:  Cabinets, flooring, exterior colors and trim, etc.  And it took HOURS!  We had mostly decided what we wanted beforehand but then we had to put it all together using "samples" and decide if it was going to look right.  We had my SIL and her husband come and referee help. (Funny story:  The rep for DRB had been a sales rep at THEIR housing plan when they built THEIR house 12 years ago!)  Luckily, Greg and I have been doing this marriage thing for awhile now and we each had the areas that were important to us (Me: the kitchen; Greg: Everything else).

So far, things are going well.  Our Pre-Construction meeting was scheduled and has since been moved UP because they plan to break ground this week.  I will continue to update and probably reminisce about the only home our little family has ever known together. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Accidentally Sold

So.  We accidentally sold our house.

I'm sure that's not a common statement, but - for the most part - it's true.  How?  Let me explain...

We had been discussing moving closer to school/work for awhile (years, really) because we both commute over 100 miles a day (not counting anything extra).  That's a lot of time spent behind the wheel.  A LOT.  But in recent months we had ramped up from just "talking about" moving to "planning".  We had started making what we thought were necessary repairs and updates.  We were looking into possibly building a new home (This was more Greg - I have pretty vivid memories of building this place and while I absolutely love our house, I didn't want the drama that goes with building) and talking about finding a realtor to help us out.

I was, of course, training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.  In early March, I was out for a run when I just happened to pass by a woman taking photos of a house that had been recently listed.  I back-tracked and asked if she was a realtor.  She was and after telling her our current situation, she gave me her card.  I promptly took it home and put it on the door thinking that at least I had a local contact.

In the meantime, I worked cafeteria duty with a fellow basketball parent who is also a realtor (I didn't know this until that day).  He gave me his card and because it was someone I know and trusted, we decided that - WHEN THE TIME CAME - we would use him. 

I had started getting pamphlets and such from the first realtor (we'll call her Lisa)(because that's her name) but I ignored them knowing we were going to use a different guy.  A couple of days after Easter, while my kids were all still home from school on Easter break and I was hiding working in the computer room (diffusing Abundance oil, I might add), there was a knock at the door.  It was Lisa.  She looked genuinely surprised that I was home (she had a bag she had planned to leave with more goodies in it - pens, business card, etc.).  She asked when we thought we would be ready to list.  I stammered and hemmed and hawed and she just flat out said, "I have two people who would like to see this place.  One of them is only available THIS THURSDAY. He's the new pastor at my church and needs a place ASAP" (emphasis mine).  You guys.  My kids had been home for 5 days straight.  My husband had more "projects" going on trying to prep the house than I can count.  What I'm saying is HELL NO was I ready to let someone "show" it.  She asked me to give her a call if I changed my mind (FAT CHANCE) and left.

I called Rick (our actual realtor).  He felt that she was probably just fishing for a listing and there wasn't actually someone that interested but just to be on the safe side, he made plans to come up and take a look at our place and give us his opinion.  I mean, we've never done this before and we had almost no idea what our home was worth.  I should mention that I am really good at Pinterest.  I had my own ideas. LOL!

Rick did his job and we had plans and a timeframe and we were moving steadily forward towards listing in mid-to-late May. 

In the meantime I had casually mentioned to a couple of moms (after Mass) that we were starting to seriously think about selling/moving.  One of them hooked me up with the Prayer to St. Joseph.  You guys, do NOT mess with St. Joe.

Rick then called on a Wednesday and said, "Remember that pastor? He really wants to see your place!  Tomorrow..."

Now, Greg was out of town (Denver) and I was pretty sure that even if I didn't sleep there was no way I could have it show-worthy in less than 24 hours.  But you know what?  I've decided that I don't say "yes" to chance or opportunity nearly as much as I should.  So I played my favorite game:  What's the Worst that Could Happen?  If they like it, great.  Maybe we'll sell it without actually listing it.  If they hate it, we get feedback knowing that it wasn't really ready to be sold anyways.

I wore myself out trying to get everything cleaned up and ready.  I moved furniture.  I cleaned and polished.  I hid stuff in places that I STILL can't find.   I put Citrus Fresh in every diffuser.  And I showed a very nice couple my home.

They made an acceptable offer the very next day.

Holy $#@!  We sold our house.  With very little doing on our part.  Someone once told me that coincidence is God working anonymously.  This has the Hand of God all over it. 

We accepted their offer on my birthday - April 23, 2016. 

We signed the papers to build a new home on Greg's birthday - May 8, 2016.