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.


Ryland decides we’re not going to build a house with them

Yes that’s right…after making us spend 5 1/2 hours signing a contract (don’t get me started, this length of time was not because we’re slow readers or signers but more the lack of organization on their side), 4 days later we were told that they “don’t think we would like the house on that lot” and “the house would fit very nicely on that (ugly) corner lot”. And then came back to say that the builder just “doesn’t think it would work out and we wouldn’t be happy”. Nice how they know what makes us happy, huh?

So, another builder doesn’t want to build with us…we’re getting a complex. We haven’t done anything wrong, seriously! But this, of course, makes me feel that people are thinking “hmmm…two builders don’t want to build with them, it must be them…there is sooo something wrong with them!” Maybe so, but really I think it’s just we know what we want–but maybe what we want no one makes?

When I think about people building new houses, I’m pretty sure they are just trusting that the builder will do everything right. Because most of the builders seem to give you a tentative price which is subject to change until you pick things out at the design center. I’m unwilling to have that kind of uncertainty–especially when Ryland couldn’t even tell me what the price differences would be for various cabinet and flooring categories.

We visited a Gehan community this weekend and they actually can give you that information. Like if you go to cabinet level D, it’s $6500 more and level F is $8000. So at least you know the maximum the upgrade charge can be. But I digress, I seem to recall that I was busy bashing Ryland. 😀 I’m sure they build perfectly fine homes, but I think in this case, they are building outside of their normal price range and don’t understand how the other builders at that price point work. Or if they did, surely they would change?

We actually think Ryland really just figured out what the foundation would be for the plan we picked on that specific lot and decided they weren’t going to make enough money. 😉

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…

Confusion, unhappiness, and a general crazed feeling


I think we’ve hit a go/no go decision point. John and I are crazed, frantic, annoyed, upset, confused, unhappy, scared, irritated, and just go on naming other words that mean we want to pull our hair out, run screaming through the room, and then cry…a lot.

The lot is supposed to close by Monday–not happening. The pool people are concerned with the cost of building a pool behind the house. No one can think outside of the box and use any problem solving skills–like what if you swing the pool to the left side rather than the right. Since the right is where the slope starts heading down, down, down!

Then, Friday we get a price from the builder…it’s quite a bit more than we had expected. They act as if they never heard us give them our budget. To make matters worse, the builder’s nephew died on Friday (and I’m sympathetic, really I am) so we can’t meet to discuss options for lowering the price until Wednesday—after our option period expires. 😕

Luckily, our realtor (who had to have emergency surgery, but is still emailing and calling us from the hospital! Paula, rest up!) says we just have to provide them the extension on the option paperwork before Monday. It’s then not our problem that the sellers are out of town (again!). Why did we want to build a house?