A Compilation of Tips & Ideas

Written by:  Thomas (ravennaspeed.blogspot.com)
Edited & Arranged by:   Meegan (meegsfamily.blogspot.com)

**Disclaimer of all responsibility**
This compiled list is for informational purposes only.  All items should be approved by a Ryan Homes representative, until ownership is officially transferred to the home buyer.  Doing any of these things outside of the rules and regulations will mean that you will be doing them at your own risk, and could negate any warranties.  This site, or its owners, takes no responsibility for any items on this list or any potential outcomes.  If this is not acceptable to you, do not read further and you must leave this page.
Whew, glad that is out of the way!
First off I am not going to take the full credit for this list or even the majority of it.  I did take a list from a blogger friend’s site, which also had more input from other bloggers as well.  I tweaked it somewhat and added my own.  They know who they are and I appreciate the work that each of them put into the process.  I figure that if we get enough people posting lists like this it will benefit the community as a whole in the long run.  It is a work in progress and I will add more as time goes on.  If others would like to add to the list or think of ways to make it better please feel free to post suggestions in the comment area.
Also I have added reference links for some to give credit to those ideas.  If you would like me to add a link or remove one please let me know.
The key thing to remember is if you want something different than what Ryan Homes is offering,  just ask them and they may oblige.  Often they will say yes, for a cost, for reasonable changes when they have enough time before the actual build process.

1)           Pictures:
-                Find a spot on the curb across the street from your house and take a picture from there each time so that you can see the timeline progression of the house build later on .
-                The more pictures the better, digital is cheap!
-                Take pictures of the small things, even if they seem mundane.

2)          Light switch placement:
-                Ask if switches can be setup to operate garage coach lights from the front door.
-                Move the garage door light switch to the inside of the house on the opposite of the wall usually
-                Make sure that they are not in a place where you will want to place furniture
-                Check to see that they are not placed in undesirable places like in-between windows
-                Basement light switch at the top of the stairs
-                Reference link http://ravennarant.blogspot.com/2012/02/light-switches.html

3)          Electrical outlets tied to wall switches:
-                Confirm the placement of the outlets so that they are not in a place that will be unacceptable after the furniture is moved in
-                Note (See “under cabinet lighting”)-if you pay for a switched outlet to be put in a cabinet, you can have a wall switch and skip the toggle.

4)          Kitchens:
Getting a Kitchen Island
-                Add an outlet to both sides of it.  Get the standard one outlet and add a second one on the opposite side for laptop charging cable, phone chargers, etc.
-                Depending on your model, you may be able to move the island over and extend the countertop to give your family additional seating in the kitchen.  Costs a little extra.
-                Ask RH to extend counter top over edge of island for extra seating
The base kitchen faucet does not come with a sprayer
-                Get the upgraded faucet with the sprayer built in
-                Negotiate with Ryan to get a basic sprayer upfront for a charge of around $68
-                Initial Post http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/05/now-kitchen-faucet.html
-                Follow-up Post http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/05/kitchen-faucet-tweak-update.html
Installing Under cabinet lighting
-                Buy the puck kit for $30-ish and install yourself. They come with a toggle switch you can opt to install. Mount it behind the front edge of a cabinet and run them in line. Then run the power cord up between two cabinets, drill a hole in the top of the one over the micro. Cut the end off and hook up a 90degree plug. Then just plug it in to the micro outlet and you're good to go.
-                Note-if you pay for a switched outlet to be put in a cabinet, you can have a wall switch and skip the toggle.
Cabinet Organization
-                Hate stacking pots & pans, ugly trash cans, Check out the pull out shelves from Rev-a-Shelf.
-                Have cabinets over fridge built out (flush with fridge) for easier cabinet access.
Wire Shelves (especially in pantry)
-                Consider the way that they are put up and if they are where you want them
-                If you want a closet organizer that you will put up soon after you move in ask them to not put up the shelves
-                Install a closet rod using hooks that use the existing shelves
-                Find some rigid clear plastic sheets to place over the shelves in the pantry area so that smaller items do not tip over

5)          Bathrooms:
-                Depending on your tastes, have vanity lights installed pointing down.  This will light your counter, rather than lighting the ceiling, and prevent dust from collecting in the bottom of the glass cups.
-                If you want to have a specific faucet handle ask Ryan if they will accommodate the request
-                Can get faucets with levered handles that turn on and off rather than the base ones that just rotate
-                Initial Post http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/04/shower-faucet.html
-                Follow-up Post http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/05/shower-faucet-update.html
-                Humidity sensor switch for the bathroom fans, Automatically turns on and off the fans so that moisture does not stay in the bathrooms and reduces the chances of moisture and mold issues

6)          Basement:
-                Water softener rough-in, this is more cost effective to have the plumbing put in during the build.  Rough-in should be piped so that the outside bibs do not get softwater and therefore will reduce water costs and extend the life of the softener
-                Location of the basement windows, could ask that an egress window and a standard window swap locations
Dual heat option
-                Installs a heat pump for better energy efficiency during winter
-                The gas furnace is still the same size/output as a standalone gas furnace
-                http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/05/dual-heat-means-full-size-of-each-one.html
Water heater efficiency and life extension
-                Install a water heater blanket, add insulation to pipes carrying hot water
-                Drain one gallon of water from the bottom of the tank to take out sediment
-                http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/05/cover-yourself-with-blanket.html
Add a tube running from the attic to the basement.
-                Ask Ryan to install a 2” tube before finalizing the purchase
-                Some have run a 3/4" flexible smurf tube
-                Can setup an attic antenna and run the cable to the basement to the main hookup panel
-                Can be used with roof mounted satellite dishes as well
-                Ask for 2 basement-to-attic tubes. One for low-voltage wiring, one for regular.
-                Running rear speakers
-                Put in a low voltage electrical box in the family room on the TV wall with some smurf tube going into the basement.
-                Put another box and tube on the opposite wall for the other speaker.
-                Run speaker wire down to the basement, strap it across and back up into the family room

7)          TV mount over the fireplace or other location:
-                Run a PVC pipe from the side to where you want it above the fireplace. When you install it, run a string and tape it off. That way, after move in, you just tie the string off to the cables and pull. Don't forget to get Ryan to put in an outlet.
-                Screw in some chunks of 2x6 between studs to have a solid mounting point

8)         Second floor laundry:
-                Get the dryer exhaust vent put high enough to hook up AFTER you have pushed the dryer in place.
-                Screw some chucks of 2x6 or 2x8 between the joists under the washer
-                Add anti-vibe feet
-                Put foam pool tubes between the washer and wall/dryer to limit vibration
-                Reference Links:  http://myryanhome.blogspot.com/2012/02/i-got-shakes.htm

9)          Security:
-                Many alternatives are cheaper than Guardian and have UL listed service without long term commitments
-                Initial Post http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/04/home-alarm-system.html
-                Follow-up Post http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/04/guardian-meeting.html
-                Have the flood light moved up between the master bedroom window on the second floor and the corner of the house.  This will allow the light to be adjusted when you want from that window and it will have more coverage of the back yard.
-                Reference Link http://ravennaroad.blogspot.com/2012/04/saturday-421.html
Patio door lock bar, for after the build is complete,                                                     http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/05/patio-door-weak-point.html

10)     Garage:
-                Exterior garage insulation package from Ryan, this will insulate the walls as well as the ceiling
-                Install extra garage door insulation using kits that work with the existing door
-                http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/05/extra-garage-door-insulation.html
-                Put an epoxy floor coating on your garage floor before it is used and is still clean
-                http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/05/garage-epoxy-floor-coating.html
-                See if a garage drain option is available (it is not in some areas)
-                Consider a laundry tub in the garage to wash off items before going into the house                                                                          (Reference Link http://ravennarant.blogspot.com/2011/08/9-laundry-tub.html)

11)       Driveway:
-                Put a 1" PVC pipe below the driveway and sidewalk before the concrete is set
-                Can be used for an invisible dog fence, sprinkler system, or low voltage light wiring
-                Ask the concrete contractor to pour an extra 2' concrete on either side of the driveway.

12)      Paint:
                 Search for your door or wall paint by the product number online so that you know what to get if you need to do any touch-ups down the road.  In some cases this may be Sherwin-Williams paint.

13)      There are  empty unused spaces in the home that can be used for other things like cabinets or additional shelves       http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/04/triangle-of-empty-space.html

14)      What type of ceiling finish
-                Generally the ceilings come with a texture called slapbrush
-                Can ask for an upgrade to a smooth ceiling or a knockdown texture

15)      Fireplaces can affect the available deck or patio space with the external enclosure if put on the back of the house

16)      Run a gas line to rear of home, for gas grill

17)      Landscaping & Interior:
Hose bibs
-                Two are provided at the plumbers discretion
-                Define where the hose bibs should be placed
-                Consider getting additional hose bibs (watch placement considering decks or patios)
o      3 on the sides towards the front and one in the back center or 4 bibs on all sides
-                Confirm the exact placement of your house
-                If it is not in a good location there may be a possibility that it can be moved within the lot area
-                Initial Post http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/05/pushed-too-far.html
-                Follow-up Post http://ravennaspeed.blogspot.com/2012/05/pulled-back-to-center.html
Grading & Location
-                Confirm grading of your lot and how it will be graded against the house so there is not a steep incline in key areas
-                Talk with the landscaper beforehand to choose some specific types of trees and where they might be located
-                Could also discuss where the other plants are located as well on the lot


  1. Hopefully you could able to post the finish pictures of your place. I'm very much eager to see it.


  2. These are absolutely marvelous tips and ideas for building a house! Most people don't consider all the details within each room and aspect of their modular house they're building. The garage ideas will help us the most, thanks!
    Celine | http://www.hartmodularhomes.ca/en/

  3. Move the garage door light switch to the inside of the house on the opposite of the ... garagedoorsinsulation.blogspot.com