Friday, March 30, 2012

Color Selections

Selecting the colors for our Ryan Home in Cobblestone (Pittsburgh Suburb).  Selecting our elevation (L) was the easiest part for us because we love the cottage look.  The difficult part was selecting the colors!  Ryan has not built our elevation before and doesn't even have a rendering of it so that is a bit stressful...
We have to select colors for:

  • The stone
    • This was very difficult.  We selected based upon the stone samples we saw at our communities model as well as another communities model.  We then searched online and drove around various Ryan communities and discovered that the stone that was being delivered was very different than the model.  After seeing the stone choice, our number 1 choice was ruled out because our neighbor has it but we found a very close second only to find out it's no longer offered.  Our Ryan Sales Rep Wes worked his butt off and got us our stone though!  It will cost an extra $350 but it's worth it to us.
  • The siding
    • The siding we were set on is Graphite Gray - guess what our neighbors has...  Yes Graphite Gray so that ruled it out.  We selected Georgian Gray which we like as well, but that causes another problem as you'll read under board & batten.
  • The board & batten - TBD
    • Since our neighbor has Graphite Gray, we cannot have that color siding so we have to select Georgian Gray.  The board & batten is supposed to be a contrasting element but unfortunately the only choice offered with Georgian Gray siding is Georgian Gray board & batten.  I know this sounds strange but it's true.  I found the supplier (Plygem - Variform product line) and their marketing material shows Graphite Gray board & batten so our Sales Rep Wes is on another mission for us - to get us the Graphite Gray board & batten.  Hopefully the Ryan team see's it isn't fair to only offer us 1 color selection for the siding and board & batten and that 1 neighbors siding selection shouldn't eliminate multiple color options for us.  If we can't get Graphite Gray through Ryan, we're considering asking to have no board & batten installed and we will then purchase it ourselves after closing and install it or tear off what Ryan installs and replace it with Graphite Gray.  So far the Ryan team has been fantastic and has been very flexible and helpful so our fingers are crossed  I still wonder if we could pay our neighbor to change his siding selection from Graphite Gray...  Maybe he'd like a shiny new iPad 3 lol
  • The trim
    • The trim we selected is white which was very easy - we want contrasting colors and the white looks great on other homes.
  • The shutters - TBD
    • This depends on the board & batten situation but we're leaning toward Gray or Black 
  • The front door - TBD
    • This depends on the board & batten situation but we're leaning toward Black or Dark Brown
  • The interior
    • That was easy - Our options are: any color we want as long as it's white (Just like how Ford gave Model-T buyers their color option - Black).  Technically you can have the walls changed from White to another color but that color is used throughout the whole house and the cost is nearly $3,000.  Obviously tinting your paint and spraying the whole house wouldn't cost anywhere near $3,000 so the message we get from this is Ryan really would like you to have white walls ;)    

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ryan Homes vs S&A Homes

There are two builders in Cobblestone - Ryan Homes and S&A.  Since we spent a lot of time researching both builders, we thought it would be helpful to share the information we've discovered, create a comparison and explain how we made our decision to build with Ryan over S&A.  One thing to keep in mind is that each company has great marketing material but you have to make sure you compare apples to apples and ask questions of each builder to make sure you understand everything.  We approached this process being completely open minded and spent time with each builder in model homes, reviewing their building practices, the costs involved and we spent MANY hours researching things ranging from each builders basement waterproofing method to how far apart studs or joists are placed.  This post is a great starting point but this is a huge investment - take your time and ask the right questions, talk to folks building in Cobblestone or folks who have built there.  Even though there are a number of communities being built by  both builders, each community will have different folks managing the construction of your house and may also have completely different crews doing the building.  The people on your builders team in your community make a huge difference.  All of our concrete research told us to go with Ryan but so did the human interaction we've had.  We had a much better feeling with the sales reps at Ryan and the project manager that will oversee our house being built has many years of experience and we feel very comfortable with him and the entire Ryan team.  Now let's get into the details of what we found out about each builder and how we made the decision to build with Ryan...

Note: We're compiling this information now and reviewing our notes as we build this post so it will take us a few days to complete it fully.

Comparing each company

  • Ryan homes is a much larger builder than S&A homes, has been in business longer, has built more homes and builds in more states and regions.  
  • Both builders are concerned with energy efficiency (we'll provide more details below in its own section)
  • Since Ryan homes is a much larger builder, they appear to be more efficient when building (which equates to faster deliveries) and is also able to use their size to gain better material pricing which is then passed on to consumers.  Since Ryan builds so many houses each year (over 300,000 in the last 60 years according to their website), they are able to obtain volume pricing on nearly everything and they pass the savings on to us.
  • Both builders are open and encourage homeowners to play an active role in building them home.  This means showing up to scheduled meetings but also nearly any other time to inspect the work being done.  You can also bring your own independent home inspector to have another expert opinion on how the house is built.  I'm wondering if Mike Holmes is available for a Holmes Inspection?

Number of lots in Cobblestone for each builder

Energy efficiency

Standard features vs upgrades

Sales reps & Sales process

Online research

Comparing marketing collateral & their talking points

Disclaimer:  This blog is based upon conversations with both builders, independent research done online and is not affiliated with Ryan homes or S&A homes in any manner nor were we influenced by either builder and we have not been compensated in any way.  We are simply sharing the information that we gathered through the process.  If you feel anything is incorrect, please let us know asap.