Third time (yes, even tho John keeps saying it’s the 4th time) a charm?

So, you’ve heard about the Uptmore debacle…you’ve heard about Ryland’s inability to build our house (tho apparently they are QUITE able to cash our check–still waiting on the money to get back to us). I may have briefly mentioned that Sitterle was considered in Triana, but they determined that we would have to have 12 (!) stairs from the garage into the house on the only lot where they could build the one-story. So that’s kind of like 3a.

Enter 3b. Sitterle does build on your lot…Nicole said she would send our info to Brooke and Kirk, who handle that part of the business. Initial email from Brooke is promising–they have a base price for the floorplan (gasp!), they can make changes, of course, and she provides a spec sheet of what features go in the house (gasp again!). I mean, a price right away? I can know what’s included? It’s like a dream come true!

Do you like how I worked a Disneyworld picture into the blog? 😉

So, Paula, our intrepid realtor (Paula, I would put your webpage here if you would only send me a link!), got a list of lots for us to review. We picked out a few and met her on Saturday to view them. The first lot a rerun, we had looked at it before. It sloped quite a bit. Onward, we went to one up in the ridge where the previous lot was located. It looked better, not too much slope but there appeared to be drainage in the front. We walked next door to talk to the neighbors about putting their pool in, whether they had gas, how they liked the neighborhood, etc. After a little while of chatting, they mentioned that the lot across the street might be up for sale. The owner lived on the other side of it and had asked the neighbors about buying it. See, see what you can gain by chatting with people and being nice? 🙂

So we trotted on over to the owner’s house–it was hot and we were very warm when we arrived. We knocked and his wife (we suspected and now know) opened the door. She got much happier when she heard we were interested in the lot and gave John her husband’s information!

We looked at some other lots after that, but really none were as nice as that one. Paula and I especially liked the one next to a house with a sign that said “Family Visitor Center”…it was scary. I wish I had taken a picture for this blog! Then there was the one that was a huge gully with a tiny flat-ish area. It had a huge spider web–with what looked like a brown recluse to me!

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As you’ll see later–that was just a teeny, tiny spider! 😉

We met with Brooke that week, she suggested an alternate floor plan and said we could view it out in boofoo Egypt (better known as 281 North of 1604). So, the next weekend, we first met with the lot owner so he could show us around…or at least into the lot. It’s very densely vegetated. We tramped around in our jeans and long sleeved shirts (me anyway) and were hot…but it did look like a nice lot with oak trees in the back and lots of wildflowers and trees.

Then we drove off to look at the model–which turned into a long drawn out thing as the person who “manned” the house was out. We spent an hour or so getting the feel of the layout, including the changes Brooke had suggested and measuring a few things. We definitely liked the floor plan–very open and roomy. And that utility room! I’m not sure what’s going in there, but it’s huge!

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…dun dun dun. John met the builder out at the lot and they checked it out for putting the house on it–all seems good. Then, they both saw this sight and pulled out their phones to take a picture. Apparently they should have taken a video.

Our Memorial Day weekend vow to NOT do any house stuff

And how we failed at it miserably:

Friday night: We are good…no house talk, no looking at house plans. We play World of Warcraft instead.

Saturday: We start out so good. Kerrville was having their Every Festival In One Weekend weekend. We almost didn’t go–Kerrville is about an hour away and there’s always the “what if it sucks” phenomena for things that are further away. But we thought positive thoughts and went anyway. Our first stop was at the Inn of the Hills for an arts and crafts show. The inn itself was very cool. Here’s a picture of the stairs in their hallway.

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How cool is that? The arts and craft fair was just a little lame, but hey, there were 2 others going on elsewhere in the city. So we headed for downtown (about 2 blocks away). The weather was very nice–overcast with some brief showers every now and then. The downtown arts and crafts were much nicer. I would post a picture of what we bought, but my picture source (John) somehow did not take any pictures. 😦 But we bought a metal flower for the garden and a picture of gardens and a very castle-y place which is apparently near Cambridge, MA. The picture was printed on metallic paper, which gave a very unusual shimmering effect to all of her work. She actually had some pictures from a Chihuly exhibit we had gone to in the Dallas Arboretum. For those of you not familiar with Chihuly (shame on you!), here are some of his works:

Part way through the arts and crafts, we became hungry and went to lunch at a place called Grape Juice…which is adult grape juice! We almost left because there was a menu on the table with about 6 items on it–luckily I read something about it being in addition to the normal menu. Whew! Because the food was awesome (sing the Lego Movie song now). 😀 We had antelope hummus (which was hummus with spiced antelope meat and feta on top, yum), lamb t-bones, and smothered chips (with melted blue cheese, bacon, more yum). The waiter recommended a grenacha and a zin which were both exceedingly good…and he brought us a sample before we bought them. Highly recommend the place!

grape juice menu1After perusing the rest of the crafts, we decided we had had a great time and would skip the wine and brew fest (especially since one glass of wine is usually all I can drink and I’d already had one!). So we headed for home. Part way there, John says, “Maybe we should stop and look at the Gehan homes on 10”. I replied with “Yeah, I was thinking that too…but I thought we weren’t doing house stuff!” John’s argument was he was thinking about house stuff anyway so we might as well go look. We did like the Gehan houses–we had looked at them before–but up IH-10 was not our preferred location. Also the lots that were available for the particular house we liked (which was coincidentally the model–the model is the one which people tend to build since they can physically see it) were closer to the highway–lots of road noise. I wasn’t very happy with that…and Gehan isn’t building anywhere we like.

Sunday: So Sunday rolled around–I made French Toast for breakfast…always a hit. After reading the paper, I emailed the Sitterle person for Triana and asked about the lots they had available. We had originally liked their Perugia–but they weren’t building any more there since there were 2 available. I know, you’re thinking “why don’t they just buy one of those?”. Well, apparently we are the ONLY people in the world who want a media room on the first floor–the Perugia could be modified to make a bedroom into a media room, but neither of the available two had a media room. The Berkshire was similar to the Perugia and had a game room option on the first floor–which could be converted to a media room. She answered me right away and said there was a Berkshire in Aviara that we could come to see and if we would just let her know, she’d set it up with the owners. So we headed to Triana to view the Berkshire.

sitterle berkshire floor plan

The game room gets closed in with double doors from the breakfast area and a single door to the hall with the powder bath. We loved the people’s house–the flow was similar to the Perugia, but no jack and jill bath and no walking thru the utility room from the garage! Yay! Now we just have to see if Sitterle will make us a deal…

How did we do on our vow? Failed miserably, of course. 😀

As a corollary, the Sitterle people were very nice. We met them at the lot today and determined where the house would have to be. Unfortunately, the only lot available would require somewhere between 9 and 13 stairs from the garage into the house. No point in going from a 2-story to a 1-story if I have to go up a flight of stairs every time I go into the house! So, we’re back to square one…unless John calls this an out. :/

square one

The first (and maybe final) snag–just 2 days later!

You know when you read a contract to sign and there are weird clauses in there that you just know are only there because someone once sued them for that very thing? I found this one in the Ryland Homes contract.

View Not Guaranteed:  You acknowledge that Your right to a view will stop at Your property line. By signing this agreement, You acknowledge that Ryland makes no guarantees on what may be built or changed on adjacent real estate (sic).

We just laughed about that one. Then a few pages later, I found this wording:

Position of house on lot: Ryland may move or change the position of the house upon the lot. This includes turning the house, changing the orientation of the house, etc.

I wasn’t laughing about that one. We had a particular lot and a position on the lot which allowed enough space for the pool behind the covered patio. No one was moving the house or turning it without my approval! I pointed this out to the sales lady and she said, “Oh, we would never do that!” I said, “I like you and I’d like to believe that you would not do that. However, this is a contract and I am not comfortable with that language in my contract.” John backed me up on that as did our realtor, Paula. So Ryland added an amendment to the contract.

Yesterday, the sales lady called and said the lot fit people did not want to put the side entry garage floor plan on that lot. She said they didn’t think WE would like it? She suggested we move to the one (!) other lot where the house can be built, which is a corner lot. Or change the house to a front entry garage…which results in entering the house through the laundry room, something I explicitly did not want and which results in a smaller laundry room AND a tandem garage instead of three separate bays. I told her that neither of those options were acceptable to me. She said that of course we would not be held to the contract if it did not work out–darn right!!

Still waiting on the results…

Dum dum dum…it’s semi-official

I know, you’re all wondering–what in the heck happened to the house building blog. Well, we wavered, we vacillated, we flipflopped, we changed our minds (sometimes a couple of times in one day). We’ll just wait, just forget it, let’s buy an existing house…on and on and on. Finally, we calmed down some and thought about what we wanted. We decided we did kind of want a community (as long as it is, of course, just the right kind of community), but we also wanted a little seclusion.

Triana out in Helotes seemed to fit the picture we had. There’s a pool and a playground, but every row of houses has at least 30′ of green space behind their back fence. And Ryland (gasp!) had the floor plan we liked the best, was running a good promotion, and had an awesome lot for our new house.

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The lot is on a cul de sac, so should be nice and secluded, plus behind it is the Triana’s (name of the people who sold the land to the developer) home ranch–pretty large. We like our floor plan and asked for just a couple small changes–we’ll see how amenable they are to making them. Plus, we made them write into our contract that we can back out (and get our money back) after we see the upgrade pricing at the design center (hence the semi-official-ness). We also like the elevation and the side entry garage.

This is the floor plan we're getting

This is the floor plan we’re getting

Front elevation

Front elevation

Will John and Lynne change their mind? Will John tell the saleslady that she must not want to sell us a house if she won’t make the changes we want? Will Lynne be able to pick out kitchen cabinets for an amount she feels is reasonable? Will John be snide when told each additional outlet he wants to add is $65 (probably)? Stay tuned for more updates from the bat cave…