Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A talk with a Ryan Homes VP

 I received a phone call today from Dave, a VP of something here in North East Ohio, who wanted to talk to me about an email I sent to crelations@nvrinc.com.  Now before I get into the conversation I should probably explain why I sent the email. 

  A little while ago, I was on Ryan Home’s Facebook page and I came across a posting they made saying, “The time to stop renting is now. Rental prices are way up (and that’s only good news if you’re a landlord). Come visit the beautiful and affordable options at Ryan Homes.”, to which I had commented “Just expect to hear the word "No" a lot when requesting very basic items, including features that you see in the model or blogs of other Ryan Home builders.”  In response to this comment, whoever monitors their Facebook page responded saying that Ryan Homes strives to make every customer happy, and encouraged me to contact them at the above email address, so I did.

  Now I didn’t expect to get anything out of this or be able to change their minds on any of the change request denials that we received, but I figured if they made the effort to contact me, I’d do the same in return.  Well, long story short, after a 26 minute long conversation, I got exactly what I was expecting, no approvals on any of my change requests.  What I did get was a long lecture on just who/what Ryan Homes is, which is an “assembly line” (Dave’s words, not mine) home builder and it is simply not possible for them to make room for anyone’s requests.  Dave went on to explain that basically Ryan Homes is very focused on their demographics, and if you want anything close to a “high end” home, you were better off using a custom home builder, and to this point he offered to give us back all of the money we put down and we could all go our separate ways.

  I was shocked by the refund offer, since I was not trying to get out of the deal, but it does leave me torn and confused.  My wife and I both love the Jefferson floor plan with the elevation C.  It checks off almost all of the boxes on our dream house list, a large master suite, 4 bedrooms, office, dining room, media room in the basement (with the big bonus of this lot being a walkout), and a lot that backs up to a tree line, but there are a few places it falls short.  I’d really like the office to be closer to the garage entrance (because of my work, I carry lots of things in and out), I’d prefer two walk in closets instead of just one, a guest bedroom with an attached bathroom, a two story family room, and a few other things.  And before anyone asks why we didn’t choose the Waverly, or some other floor plan that might have met some of these wants, it had nothing to do with money, it simply came down to “feel”.  We both enjoyed being inside the Jefferson model more than any other we toured (and we toured a lot), the way it flowed from room to room, it felt right, not perfect, but right.  As to why we didn’t go with a custom builder, it was multiple factors.  We liked the fact we could see the “finished” product by touring a model, Ryan Homes would be able to build much quicker than a customer builder, and it felt less daunting.  The idea of finding a sizable lot in a convenient location to our jobs, working with an architect and engineer to design the layout, and then finding a builder that I could trust seemed daunting, so Ryan Homes was the easier way out.  The offer does say a lot about the company wanting their customers to be “happy”, but it also makes me question to whom they are attempting to sell homes.  If the first time my wife and I toured a model, the sales rep came out and said, “Welcome to Ryan Homes.  We specialize in building homes as quickly and cheaply as possible, so you won’t get many options, but it will be a great value.”, then we would have known that Ryan Homes wasn’t for us.  Instead they dazzle you with fully decked out homes featuring upgrades/options that you can’t get, no matter how much you are willing to spend. 

  I hope this post doesn’t offend any former, current, or future Ryan Homes builders, because that is definitely NOT my intent.  My wife and I had agreed, before this phone call, that maybe we could live with putting in granite into the bathrooms, changing the kitchen faucet and a few other things all after closing, and we may still proceed as planned.  We both know that the Jefferson isn’t our complete dream house nor will it be our last home, but will it be “good enough” for now if we just build it as Ryan Homes demands without our personal touches.  That’s the question we will be asking ourselves tonight.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wohoo...we are getting the shower shelf!

  We got confirmation that they can and will do the "shelf" in the shower.  They are charging us $250 for this upgrade, which is both more and less than what others have been charged, but it's fine by me.  To be honest, I would have paid a lot more just for this basic upgrade.

  Now I just need to work on the rest of the requests that have been denied....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is Ryan Homes coming around on some of our requests?

  I have been in touch with the sales manager since my last posting.  He claims to be working on the pricing of the "shelf" area for the shower in the master bath, and I will be keeping my fingers crossed until I see it in writing.  He said he would look into a couple of other things that I requested and were initially denied, so we will have to wait and see.  Getting these changes will go a long ways in improving my feelings towards Ryan Homes, but the truth is that these requests should have never been denied.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ryan Homes loves to use the word "No"

  I am starting to get angry, strike that, I AM angry, about all the simple requests/upgrades that we want to do, but are simply told "No".  In this posting, I will go over some of these things.

  From the beginning, my wife and I had fallen in love with the Jefferson model.  We had seen the elevation C variant, with brick and stone front.  When we told them that was what we wanted, they came back and said "No", you can do siding and stone, but not brick and stone.  Despite the fact that there is someone who is also blogging their Jefferson build who just got brick and stone and we have seen it done numerous times in Ryan developments here in Ohio.  It’s not a true brick structure, but rather just a brick facade, not much different than adding the partial stone facade.  So why is this "No"?  Ryan Homes doesn't have an answer.

  I really wanted a 9' door for the optional third bay in the garage.  I had told them this before we signed the documents, and they told me that it might be possible, well the following week, it was "No".  Ryan homes don’t want to mess with the structural change required to fit the 9' door.  Not, this is how much it would cost and therefore not realistic, just simply "No", they won't do it.  This wasn't a huge deal, but it was something that I really wanted.

  Then it came to the interior selections/options where I was truly left scratching my head for the things I was told "No".  Let’s start with the granite selections.  The granite options, all whopping 4 of them, for the bathroom are a complete joke.  They are the cheapest granites offered by the industry for a reason because of their lack of desirability.  We asked if we could instead use one of the Kitchen granite choices which were much nicer, of course we expected that this would be more expensive, but Ryan Homes came back with "No".  No reason as to why "No", just simply "No".  Okay Ryan Homes, screw your bathroom granite, I'll just go with the cultured marble and rip it all out right after closing.

  Then we had to choose the faucet for the Kitchen sink, once again they were all crappy choices.  Don't get me wrong, they do use name brand Delta/Moen faucets, but the styling is limited to the simple single handle/faucet combination.  No 3/4 piece (separate handle, sprayer, soap dispenser) that are commonly used today, just the throwback ugly single faucets.  So I asked if we could simply provide them a much better faucet ourselves, and they said "No".  Now I understand that they have to warranty their work on something like that, but they aren't the ones warranting the faucet, that’s up to the manufacturer.  I don't even mind getting approval of the type/brand of faucet that I give them so they know it’s of high quality, but once again it’s simply "No".  Now I’m left with purchasing their crappy faucet, paying their contractor through the purchase price of our new home to install it, and then ripping it out, and paying for another plumber to put the new one back in.  Plus, they don't even offer an oil-rubbed bronze option.  What?!?  We are getting oil-rubbed bronze everywhere else, why can't we also get it in our kitchen?  Crazy!

  Now let’s move to the upstairs hall bath.  We inquired about getting the shower/tub area tiled instead of the one piece fiberglass that they use.  The flooring people had told us that they had seen this done before in Ryan Homes and even gave us the pricing to have it done upon Ryan Home approval.  So we ask, and of course they said, "No".  This one I was okay with, I felt it was stupid that this wasn't an option, but it isn't a make or break thing.

  Now let’s move to the bathroom in the master where they told us "No" twice.  The first when we asked about getting a heated tile floor.  According to them, no one had ever asked to get this done, which I found preposterous, so they would have to get back to me, which they did with a "No".  Then we wanted to make sure that our glass doors around the shower area would be the same as we had seen in other newly built Jeffersons.  In these newer builds, they moved the back glass towards the tub, enclosing a small portion of the tiled tub surround creating a small shelf/bench.  This was very important, because without it, you are left with no where else to put anything except on the floor of the shower, and that is not acceptable.  Of course, they sell things to hang off the shower head or over the doors, but that quite frankly looks like crap.  So we requested that our sales rep verify that this was indeed the current standard way they did it, and if not, to make sure that we get the same option that other Jefferson builders selected to get this.  We even sent her pictures from those other Jeffersons so she could see what we are talking about.  So to say the least, I was shocked when she came back and told us "No".  No reason as to why ours will not be the same as the other new builds, just simply "No".  This one REALLY pisses me off.

  Carrying on with the bathroom theme, we requested that the upstairs full bath have one type of cabinet while the basement half bath had another.  They even said "No" to that!  The basement bath is an option completely on its own, so why can't I select the cabinet completely on its own?  Our sales rep's reason for this one, they just don't have an option for that.  Then make it an option!  There is no way that I am the first one to request a different cabinet for the half bath in the basement from the full bath on the second floor!  Then my wife requested that they put in the mirrored glass front medicine cabinets are embedded in the wall, just as we had seen at the Jefferson model in PA, once again their response has been "No".  Their reason, we simply don't do that here in Ohio.  Apparently, people in Ohio have no need for medicine cabinets.

  The last "No" that I am going to complain about might be turning into a "Yes", but I'm not counting on it.  Our basement will be a walkout with the door coming off the finished area under the morning room.  On the back wall of this finished area, we requested a double window, exactly as we had seen in a Jefferson model home in PA.  They told us "No" at first because of the way our lot was going to be graded, and this made no sense to me.  I requested that they talk to the project manager to review how they are going to grade the back portion of our future house because if what they are telling me is true, the idiots are going to be grading the yard so it slopes all toward my back door.  This would just be asking for water problems so I'm sure they must be wrong.  After expressing my concerns to the sales rep after the initial "No", she looked further into it and now we are waiting for the topography plat to be completed before they can say "Yes" or "No".

  I understand that not all requests can be accommodated, and that Ryan Homes is able to deliver a quality (I hope!) product with very competitive price by using efficiency of scale.  So I understand not getting the 9' garage door because you'd have to redesign the ceiling joists to accommodate the increased span or moving footers.  A lot of their cuts are done at a factory and then assembled in jigs so changing wall dimensions would cause them to increase their costs, but to tell me no on a faucet that requires no more labor from your subcontractors, or because your office has failed to add a line to specify a cabinet choice for the basement bathroom is asinine.

  In the end, Ryan Home claims that they keep costs down by limiting customizations, and I respect that for major structures, but that just raises questions as to why I am not allowed to get things that are available and commonly used, such as the brick and stone front.  Doesn't this contradict the whole Ryan Home corporate policy?  Even their website touts how Ryan will help you "personalize" your home, but I am beginning to think that they don't know what that word even means.  My wife and I are still looking forward to building this new house, but Ryan Homes has definitely destroyed some of the excitement we had at the beginning.

  I'd like to end this rather negative post on a good note, and say that we have spoken with several families that have built with Ryan recently and ALL of them said that it was an overall good experience.  I just hope that in the end, I can say the same.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Easily Distracted - Decorating Dreams Already!

Ever since we started this whole house-building business, I have been even more easily distracted than I was before (and that's saying something).  Plus, I have a five-day weekend coming up -- and our final selection deadline -- so that's not really helping at all.  I sit at work and think about what the house will look like, and how we will decorate it, and what the landscaping will be like (and when we'll even get to entertain the idea of landscaping), and how we'll set up the bedrooms.

That last bit is what I keep thinking about.

I want to turn the smallest bedroom upstairs into my office/craft room.  The husband gets the first floor office, since he actually works out of the home and needs the dedicated space.  I am willing to share my office with my craft space, and some kind of guest sleeping arrangement.  So, that's what I'm thinking about: should I get a sleeper sofa or a Murphy bed for that room?  The nice thing about a sleeper sofa is it gives me more space to sit and work on projects.  The nice thing about a Murphy bed is it allows the bed to be completely tucked away and opens up more floor space.  I'm going to start looking into pricing differences soon, but I'm just not sure what to do.  Plus, how do I want to set up the room to function as an office/craft room for the majority of the time?  Will I need to keep dedicated work-related space, and then also dedicated craft/general spaces?  Should these blend somehow (keeping in mind that I'm easily distracted, and may choose to give up on work and do crafts instead)?  I own a microscope for home work (though it's old and I rarely bring cases home to work on), but most of the time I'm preparing lectures on my laptop or just reading journals and studying.  Therefore, I need to plan to have a spot for my scope and my laptop, and perhaps enough room for both at the same time if I'm signing out cases from home.  Currently, I don't own a sewing machine (though that may change after I move in -- need to have curtains, and my mom's an excellent seamstress, so I'm hoping she can teach me a few things), and my main crafts are knit/crochet and cross-stitch.  I rarely make jewelry, paper-related crafts, and general crafts.  I would also like this room to function as a place to store wrapping paper and greeting/holiday cards, as well as allow me to wrap gifts and write thank you's, etc.  You know, standard home office stuff.  This is a lot to ask of an 11' x 12' room.

To help me with these decorating decisions, I found a website (and iPhone/iPad app) called houzz.com.  Oh my goodness, it's worse than Pinterest-crack.  I honestly stayed up way too late last night, flipping through professionally-designed office & craft room photos.  So many beautiful ideas!  I'm sure I'll have to wait until we're actually living there before I have a good sense of what I want to do, but I've always been one to daydream.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Exterior Drama

Several days ago, I posted pics of our siding and stone color choices.  Thankfully, someone (thank you so much, CMM!) alerted us to the fact that Autumn Beige can look pink in certain lighting [check it out yourself].  Oh my!  Were we happy to get that info now!

Of course, that meant making a few extra trips back to our community's model to look at the siding again in natural light (much more informative than the basement).  We started to think about Stone Mountain Clay and Sandy Tan.  Then we found out that we might not be able to get the black shutters/wine door/white trim combo we wanted with the Sandy Tan (we would have to do brown shutters for the wine door and white trim, or do black shutters and get almond trim and a black door--no biggie, but not exactly what we wanted).  Well, we drove around the community, looking at siding and stone combos, only to find out that almost no one had siding/stone color choices that were still available to us (well, we ARE one of the first houses in phase III, so I'm not really surprised).  There were other communities that may have the same siding that is available to us, but we had an appt. with our SR to finalize things today and we were out of town on Friday/Saturday (took another short trip to south of Pittsburgh to see the Jefferson model in person again -- it's a drive, but oh-so-worth-it to visit our dream house).  So, that put us in a bit of a time-crunch.  Plus, our final selections must be in by 6/16 -- just several short days from now.

Luckily, there was one house with Buff stone, and another house with Stone Mountain Clay siding.  So, after our Guardian appt. on Thursday we drove back to our dirt patch, parked, and started walking around the neighborhood.  Thankfully, one of the owners (the Stone Mountain Clay house) was home and was more than happy to talk to us about his house and his experience.  We're still asking a lot of questions, and it's so nice to hear that people are very happy with their house and the whole experience overall.  They chose the Aspen stone for their front and fireplace (which we also got to see), and it looked really great together.  Unfortunately, they have a "cottage style" house, which we can't choose with the Jefferson.  Too bad!  It looks awesome and we really love that style of house.  Then we met one of the owners of the Buff stone house, who was also very nice and open to talking to us.  I'll admit I felt like a creep at first, walking slowly past people's houses while intently staring at their exteriors.  Fortunately, once we mentioned what we were up to and why we were totally taking mental pictures of their house, the owners were friendly and didn't call the cops on us.

We're both completely sold on the Stone Mountain Clay siding, and we were leaning toward the Aspen stone.  I wanted to see the Buff house (ha ha) in the sunlight this weekend -- it was completely in shadow Thursday because of the time of day, and I don't feel like I got a great sense of how it looked.  Plus, that owner found stone pavers that almost completely matched the Buff stone at a local store, and his front flowerbed looked great.  Something to think about for the future. Today it was in the sunlight and still looked good. Good thing too, since apparently now (since May) the color/designer folks have taken away the option of Aspen with Stone Mountain Clay siding. So, we may end up with Buff after all that. No big deal, since we can still get our red door/white trim/black shutters combo.

I'm getting more excited with each meeting we have with our SR (who, by the way, is so totally patient with us and my crazy, oft-repeated questions and strong need for confirmation over and over again). I just wish we didn't have to wait so long.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The real scoop on the pricing of a Ryan home

I'd like to share some information that I had to learn first hand when it comes to figuring out what the final cost is going to be when building with Ryan homes.  I am going to try to explain how the price keeps going up and up with every meeting you will have, and you will have a TON of meetings, even before ground breaking.

  My wife and I wanted to build the Jefferson for several years, ever since we went through a model in the Tallmadge area.  While we had gone through much larger homes and more expensive homes, we kept coming back to the Jefferson.  So when we were told that they were opening up a new phase in the area we wanted to build we jumped, and jumped fast.

  On one of the very first days that the phase was available to be sold, we made an appointment and met with the SR.  We picked out a lot and the SR went through all of the upgrades/options that we wanted and gave us a price close to $360,000, before incentives, and right around $331,000 after incentives and the 5% down that would be required.  So in summary, we would be financing $331,000, or so I thought which they estimated would work out to about $2300.00mo with insurance and property taxes.  My wife and I were fine with this price and agreed to meet back with her the following week to sign the purchase agreement papers.
  While we waited for our paper signing meeting to come up, we realized that there were options that the SR didn't go over during the first quote that we simply could not live without.  We contacted our SR and she said she would add them in, so the price went up thousands more.  On the signing day, I decided that I wasn't happy with just the incentives that they were offering and basically demanded that they take another $10,000 off the price. They made some changes and gave us discounts very close to that number, unfortunately this did not offset the costs of the changes that we wanted so the price crept even higher than the $360,000!  And on top of all that, the SR gave us the "master option" list, which had even more options to go over before our next meeting.

  A couple of weeks later we met with the flooring people.  This is where things started to get REALLY expensive.  The flooring package that they price into the quote is a joke, and they don't even try to give you an estimate during that process, and now I know why.  The selection for the flooring is limited, despite what you might have read anywhere else, and at least in the North East Ohio area, your choices are pretty limited.  You are pretty much forced to select the highest grade of carpet unless you want stuff that isn't even good enough to wrap those cat tree things in.  Then my wife and I had to pick out a solid wood for the vast majority of our main floor (only the family room will have carpet), and we quickly eliminated it down to a couple of choices, which was of course the most expensive group that they had.  Now I guess you could have chosen the cheaper packages, but with a solid wood floor, it's something that should last for 25+ years, so now isn't the time to be only "ok" with your selection.  Then came the tile for the bathrooms, once again the included package looked like leftovers from a clearance sale at Kmart.  The good news is that we found tile that we absolutely LOVED in the group right below the most expensive tile package.  The bad news is that the carpet (which isn't great quality despite being the highest level they offered), the solid wood floors, and the tile package has now added an additional $28,000.00 to our purchase price, so now we are sitting close to $390,000!

  We then meet with our SR the following day to go over color choices and electrical.  We picked out the cabinet wood and color for the bathrooms and kitchen.  Since we had initially quoted out cherry cabinets everywhere and ended up only keeping the cherry in the kitchen and putting various maples in the bathrooms, we saved a small bit of money.  Then we had to pick the granite for the bathrooms. Well all FOUR, yes only 4, choices were garbage.  So we went with cultured marble instead and will simply replace later on, but this did save us some money once again.  The problem is that we decided to upgrade from the white balusters to iron balusters, so there went some of the savings.  Then we had to pick the faucet package, of course the base package was complete garbage so we upgraded that and the same with the lighting package.  This resulted in us spending all of the savings from dropping the granite and changing out some of the cabinets, and actually ended up with netting an additional $2k in cost.  Then we came to the electrical portion of our meeting.  They don't give you very many recessed lights, outside of the kitchen, basement, and hallways when you select the "recessed light" package.  After all said and done, we managed to add 51 recessed lights through out the house at $150ea -- that added up fast.  Throw in a couple of flood lights for out back and some extra outlets in the garage and we had added another $8,000 in upgrades.

  So now we sit at close $400,000 if not more than that, when we haven't really added anything more than what I was expecting to get at the $360,000 price.  Now to be fair, I knew the flooring and extra electrical work that I would want would add some cost, but I was thinking closer to $15,000.

  The scary part is that we still have to do our meeting with Guardian, which I'm sure will be another $10,000 and waiting to hear back about even more options that we realized were in the model that we wanted and yet were not listed on any option sheet, including the "master option" sheet.  I will be surprised if we don't end up in the $420-425K range before we are done.

Nervous about NVR mortgage company and appraisal

  I have been worried about using NVR Mortgage company ever since I started researching building with Ryan Homes.  While there are definitely a lot complaints about the building process and final product, the worst and most numerous complaints tend to be about their mortgage arm.  Over the past weekend my wife and I were showing off the lot to my sister and her husband when some of our future neighbors came by to say hi and introduce themselves.  The gentleman and his wife were both nice and very forthcoming with information regarding their feelings about building with Ryan, and in fact their current home was the second home that they have built with Ryan.  The good news is that they were happy with both of their building experiences, but they did have a few choice words when it came to the NVR mortgage.

  According to them NVR dropped the ball numerous times on their first home build and as a result of NVR's mistakes, they got stuck with a higher interest rate than what they were expecting.  This upset them so much that they refused to use NVR for their second home and went with their own mortgage lender.  They had been smart in negotiating that all of their incentives would be strictly based on their home purchase and NOT with using NVR, unlike ours.  Then they told me their problem with what is my current biggest fear: the appraisal.  The appraisal that was performed right before their closing came in $47,000.00 below their purchase price!  Ryan homes did agree to drop $17,000.00 off of their purchase price to help close the gap, but that still left them with picking up the extra $30,000.00 out of their own pocket.

  Why this worries me is that I had inquired about how often that happens with Ryan before we signed the contract and was told that it almost never happens...unless you load up a home with a lot of upgrades, which we have.  The neighbors had built the Waverly model, which is much larger (read: more expensive) than the Jefferson that we are building with a very large number of upgrades, just like us.  In fact, I won't be suprised if our agreed to purchase prices are within a few thousand of each other after we finish with the last few changes and Guardian upgrades.  The only thing that I can hope for is that since our basement is a walkout and is therefore added into the final square footage tally (approx 4500sqft) , that our appraisal will still come in close to our purchase price compared to the neighbors' 4100sqft since their finished basement wasn't added.  If not, Ryan better be prepared to come WAY down from the purchase price.

In closing of this WAY too long post, if you are thinking about building with Ryan homes, make sure you get ALL of your incentives, no matter who you use for financing and then I would ask to see any appraisals in that allotment that fit closely to the model you want to build with ALL of your desired upgrades.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Flooring And Color Choices

Finally!  This weekend we got to choose our flooring, cabinets, and outside color choices.  This has really made me look forward to December (but oh my, it's so far away!).

Below are poorly executed photos of the flooring, cabinets, kitchen counters, and outside house colors we chose.  I'm excited that we got to this stage, but I know we have so much longer to wait (today is 194 days until our estimated closing date).  Choosing the flooring wasn't quite so hard, since we had only so many options, and most of the carpets were not our style.  There were a lot of wood flooring options, as well as quite a few tile choices for the bathrooms.  However, we knew we didn't want oak flooring or light-colored tile.  So, that knocked out quite a few choices immediately. 

For our flooring, we wanted hardwood throughout the main floor, except for the laundry room and family room.  We wanted carpet for the family room (makes it cozier) and ceramic tile in the laundry room (didn't want to ruin the hardwoods with water or salt dragged in from the garage).  The master bathroom, upstairs hall bathroom, and basement powder room will all have ceramic tile floor.  Carpet everywhere else (basement and all the bedrooms).  I didn't take pictures of the carpet because - guess what?  It's light tan!  I know, it's practically what we already have in our current house.

Handrail & stairs - Traditional Cherry; Flooring - Cocoa Brown Maple

Cabinets (from top to bottom) - Wyoming Cherry Spice (Kitchen); Espresso (Master bath and basement powder room); Andover Maple Spice (Upstairs hall bath) 

Kitchen granite - Santa Cecilia

Example of what the Master bath cabinet will look like on the bathroom tile

Master Bathroom tile - floor, shower/bath surround, and accent tile

Close up of the awesome accent tile for our Master Bathroom

Front door, siding, and shutters - just like our current house! 

Outside and fireplace stone (Buff), siding (Autumn Beige), and shutters (black)

We are hoping to have different cabinets in the upstairs hall bath and the basement powder room, but supposedly they are supposed to be the same.  Our SR is looking into it, so here's hoping.  Otherwise, we'll just choose the espresso cabinets for all.  We didn't get a photo of the tile we chose for the upstairs hall bath and the laundry room (same tile, kind of brown-tan, and close to what we have in our current kitchen).  We have also asked our SR to look into having our hall bath shower tiled - normally it's a fiberglass insert, but we would like to have a regular tub with a tiled surround.  Supposedly my husband read someplace where other people had that done in their house, and our flooring specialist said she had seen that before too.  Here's hoping on that front as well.

There's so many more things to talk about, but I have to stop thinking about the house, and get back to real-life work-related stuff.  But let me leave you with this, our sold sign photo: