Ryland Homes Connects First-Time Buyers with the Townhome of Their Dreams

January 25, 2011

Joe Augello and girlfriend Mercedes Ogorek fell in love at first site with the Amherst townhome at Gilberts Town Center upon their visit to the Ryland Homes community last July. After scrutinizing their finances and determining they were a bit short, however, they had to quickly dial down their excitement. But a fortuitous phone call just a few months later threw their dreams of homeownership a lifeline, and before long the young sweethearts were able to claim an Amherst of their very own.

Previously, Mercedes and Joe had been living together in his parent’s single-family home in Gilberts for over a year, but they hungered for a place of their own—one that was nearby and close in proximity to friends and family. After doing their homework, they learned they could probably buy a new construction residence and pay about the same in a monthly mortgage as they would if they chose to rent an apartment. The choice quickly became clear: buy new or bust.

Joe Augello, Mercedes Ogorek and Flash.

“Instead of throwing money away on rent payments that we’d never see again, we wanted to build equity in a home, which we’ve always thought of as a smart investment. And we didn’t want to inherit someone else’s problems either by buying a resale home,” said Joe, 21.

They were long aware of Ryland Homes’ Gilberts Town Center community nearby, featuring detached residences as well as low-maintenance townhomes. So their first “kick the tires” trip was to that location, which proved to be a wise choice. Immediately, they were impressed.

“We walked through their Amherst model and liked it right away. It had a warm, comfortable feel to it that fit our lifestyles,” said Mercedes, 20. “And the entire community was inviting, friendly and well-designed. There were jogging paths, and the grounds were neat, tidy and nicely landscaped.”

Unfortunately, the sweethearts didn’t quite have the monetary means to make it happen at that time. They toured a few other builders’ subdivisions, but couldn’t find anything that matched the quality and value they discovered at Gilberts Town Center. Discouraged, they put their hopes of owning their first home on hiatus.

But in November, “we got a surprise phone call from Todd Lesher, the sales counselor we had met with back in July,” said Joe. “To our amazement, he said he had an Amherst townhome that was not only ready for early occupancy, but which met our budget, thanks in part to the fact that we had been saving our money since our summer visit. Think about that luck—it was the exact floorplan we wanted, we could afford it, and we didn’t have to wait to move in.”

Overjoyed, the couple decided to purchase before someone else beat them to it. They took delivery in late December and have quickly settled in to a home they describe as “more cozy and comfortable” than they first imagined.

“Our townhome has two bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a nice-sized living room that opens up to a kitchen equipped with an island, and a loft that offers a lot of flexible living space,” Mercedes said. “The loft, in fact, is my favorite room. Right now we have it set up as a home office with a computer workstation, but we plan to make it a second entertainment area soon.”

Their current entertainment area, of course, is the ample living room — Joe’s favorite space and the perfect spot for their new 55-inch flat-screen TV.

“I love the volume ceilings and the extra-large windows in our living room. It really gives you a feeling of depth and light,” he said.

The couple’s new digs also includes a finished basement which is used as an additional bedroom: the perfect spot to host an overnight guest. That lower level room “could be entertainment area number three before long,” joked Mercedes.

In addition to their indoor amenities, Gilberts Town Center also provides an array of perks beyond Joe and Mercedes’ front door. They don’t have to worry about chores like raking leaves or shoveling snow—that’s all taken care of by their homeowners’ association in the low-maintenance community. The plentiful walking/jogging paths are appreciated by their puppy Flash, a Shih-Tzu who has quickly become a neighborhood mascot. And the neighbors within the building and throughout the community have impressed Mercedes and Joe with their kindness and hospitality.

The couple have a lot to look forward to in the near future. For starters, they’ll host a housewarming party in the coming weeks. Later this year, they each plan to go back to school to earn their bachelor’s degrees. Meanwhile, the commutes to their jobs in Schaumburg and Oak Brook are quicker and easier than ever, thanks to their convenient new home address.

“We couldn’t have picked a better builder. Todd and his team at Ryland made our buying experience a happy and satisfying one,” said Mercedes. “They were so well organized, efficient and responsive to our questions. Ryland really makes it easy for first-time purchasers like us.”

Gilberts Town Center offers seven different thoughtfully designed, urban-style townhome floor plans that each provide three levels: a kitchen, nine-foot ceilings, family room and/or living/dining rooms and bath on the main floor; bedrooms and extra baths upstairs; and finished basement or flex room (per plan), laundry room and two-car garage downstairs.

Standard amenities include Thermacrete concrete common walls for sound minimization; low-E energy efficient windows to help filter out harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays for heating and cooling efficiency; and a generously sized cantilever deck.

In addition, townhome fee-simple ownership assessments are only $165 a month and cover landscaping, mowing, snow removal, city water/septic service, and waste removal.

“Most association fees do not cover water and septic service, so those are two bills you don’t have to pay right off the bat,” Todd said. “Also, a huge benefit to our buyers is that we are entitled as fee-simple ownership. This allows purchasers to use FHA financing for a multi-family purchase.”

Two of the seven designs are all-new, both featuring two bedrooms, one-and-a-half baths and two-car garage: The Foxhall, with 1,345 square feet, base priced from $164,990; and The Georgetown, spanning 1,450 square feet, base priced from $169,990.

“Many of our customers were requesting plans that were slightly smaller and priced under $170,000, so we catered to that demand and introduced The Georgetown and Foxhall,” said Todd. “In fact, we’re beginning to build one of each that will both be move-in ready by April.”

Ryland also recently broke ground on a new six-unit building and currently have two townhomes that are move-in ready, Todd added. These two early delivery residences include:

•       One Amherst, including two bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a finished basement and 1,889 square feet—priced at $171,979.
•       One Chatham, with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a finished basement and 1,766 square feet—priced at $184,850.

Gilberts Town Center “offers a country-fresh atmosphere with easy access to Schaumburg, O’Hare and Chicago,” said Saylor Stam, vice president of sales and marketing, Ryland Homes Chicago Division. “This is a family centered neighborhood built around the scenic Lake Gilberts that offers acres and acres of open natural space and wetlands.”

Homeowners enjoy two miles of bike/walking/jogging paths; Gilberts Town Center community park featuring a two-tiered pavilion that overlooks Lake Gilberts; a giant playground; a convenient location one mile from Randall Road, five minutes from I-90 and eight-minutes away from the Big Timber Metra train station in Elgin; and close proximity to Algonquin Commons, area shops and restaurants.

Hours at Gilberts Town Center are Mondays noon to 6 p.m.; Tuesdays through Fridays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To reach the community, take I-90 West, exit Randall Rd., head north (right) to Rt. 72/Higgins Rd., head west (left) to Center Dr. (approximately 2.5 miles west of Randall Rd.), and proceed north (right) to the sales center. For more information on the single-family homes, phone (847) 844-8800. For more details on the townhomes, call (847) 551-3399.

Visit www.Ryland.com to learn more about any Ryland Homes communities in the Chicagoland area, including:

Single-family communities

•       Beacon Pointe in Hoffman Estates — from $329,990
•       Blackberry Crossing West in Montgomery — Landmark Series from $182,990; Premier Series from $227,990
•       Bryn Mawr in Crystal Lake — from $249,990
•       Gilberts Town Center in Gilberts — from $224,990
•       Herrington Estates in Bolingbrook – from $269,990
•       Lancaster Falls in Volo — Landmark Series from $189,990; Premier Series from $251,990
•       Talamore in Huntley — Landmark Series from $199,990; Hartford Series from $239,990
•       Tuscan Woods in Elgin — from $269,990

Townhome communities

•       Cedar Grove Townhomes in Elgin — urban-style rowhomes from $199,990
•       Gilberts Town Center in Gilberts — urban-style rowhomes from $164,990
•       Emerald Bay Townhomes in Round Lake — classic townhomes from $119,990
•       Lakewood Springs Townhomes in Plano — classic townhomes from $129,990
•       Talamore Townhomes in Huntley — classic townhomes from $129,990
•       Patriot Place Townhomes in Bolingbrook — villas from $219,990

About The Author

Read All Stories By Walsh Communications

Lynn Walsh is the President at Walsh Communications, LLC. Walsh Communications is a full-service public relations, marketing and advertising agency for home builders and real estate-related industries.

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