Friday, August 29, 2014

Life in Suzhou, China

Check out my new blog:

I will update this blog with my travels around China in early September, 2014.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Wow, it has been over two months since I sold my house but I have been so busy.  I didn't have anytime to post this.  My new life is outside of the United States, and I love my new job and the carefree life of living in an apartment.

So, I owned my house for about 18 months and this is what I have to say:

Overall, I think the desire to own a house is  deeply rooted inside us somehow.  I am very much a home body.  I love to stay at home.  With that said, my house was beautiful, but I could see it needing a lot of work over the course of my lifetime and I wasn't sure I wanted to be the person to do that.  I think if you are super wealthy, or if you have a family, ownership takes on new meaning; but for me, I prefer to rent.  Renting allows a whole lot more freedom to move when you're ready, you get to move more often to try different neighborhoods/cities/regions/countries (LOL).  People say it is more expensive, but I'm not sure that's true.  I suppose it probably is more expensive per square foot, but since houses are usually larger than apartments, I think renting is overall less expensive.

I'm not sure I would buy again to be honest.  It all depends, but if I did  buy again, I think I would buy a super cheap fixer upper.  I couldn't imagine building a new home again unless I won the lottery.  Building a new home was an adventure, it was fun, but overall, I think there is more value in older homes, than newer.

New homes also have the issue of neighborhood, my neighbors were really nice, but to be honest, it just wasn't the right 'fit'.  Really take your time to make sure you like the type of area you are moving into.  I moved into a nice, quiet, suburban area, and part of me really yearned for that bucolic quiet.  But, a smaller part than I thought...I now live in a city of twelve million people near Shanghai, China (which has twenty-six million people) and I really like living in a larger city.

So, everyone asks about the quality of Ryan Homes.  Well, there is truth to the complaints, the quality is fair, but I think we all want more than a 'fair' house, we want our castle.  I realized I would have to settle on renting someone else's castle.  If you like the model, and can easily afford the house, Ryan homes are fine.  Go for it, but if you desire to be practical, buy an existing home on the cheap and fix it up.  Or, save some serious dough and rent!

I don't see why I would continue to update this blog since I no longer own the house.  But, please check out my new blog:

Life continues...

Monday, April 8, 2013

One Year Drywall Work Complete

The drywall repair man stopped by today to fix those nail 'pops' and small tears in drywall throughout my house.  He spent a good portion of the day in the house, fixing all the little things I noticed, plus he was a little more picky than I was and repaired quite a few more things.  Overall the work seems nice.  He even gave me some extra wall paint because his matched my walls better than the wall paint I had.

A lot of Ryan Homes owners in my area complain about nail pops and cracks in their drywall.  You can read about this in blogs too.  Again, I think this all goes back to the fact that Ryan Homes is a 'value' builder; they strive to find a balance between cost and quality.  Of course, as consumers, we want our products to be near perfect and we don't understand why things are the way they are.  I could have easily spent twice as much money having a custom builder build this same house.  The wood framing might have been a little better, I might have a few less floor squeaks, and the finish quality, the trim, cabinetry, carpeting would have all been better.  But the house would cost twice as much, it wouldn't have fit into my budget.  Overall, I'm still very happy with my house, it isn't perfect, the floors do squeak, but I know they can fixed. 

So, just over one year into my house and I still think it's great.  One last thing, there are times I'm annoyed when things go wrong with the house, but overall Ryan Homes customer service has been very good.  No complaints, they really do seem to stand behind their houses.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Still winter, but spring is in the air

It's been about a month since Ryan Homes stopped by to complete the 10 month inspection.  Everything went well.  They fixed the bad floor joist, the creaks and squeaks in the floors, and agreed to come out in late spring or early summer to repair the concrete porch which is scaling. 

I still have a month or so to go before the drywall service so no word on that yet, but my neighbor said he was happy with the workmanship at his house.  So nearly a year has passed, I love the house.  It does have a fair amount of floor creaks/squeaks but so did the model home.  Overall I think the house is representative of the model in terms of quality, and while I want a house built like a fortress, I am very happy with my house. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

10 Month Review Next Week

I have my 10 month review next week and actually I have a lot of things for Ryan Homes to work on.  Most of the work deals with squeaky, loose floors that move as I walk over them.  As of now,there aren't any electrical or plumbing issues that I know of.  I did just notice a large bulge in my siding so a nail must have popped out.  I will update in a few weeks after I have some time to live in the house and see how the repairs go.  Check in then...

I'm posting some pictures of the house so you can get a sense of room sizes.  The Sorrento plan has generous sized bedrooms and closets, the only real drawback is the small living room and the total lack of an entry space.  I know in the past I spoke about choosing a Sorrento over a Sienna.  As long as the Sienna is in your budget, I would definitely recommend that floor plan, the large open entry and mud room may seem trivial, but as you live in the house (especially if you always have guests over) the added space is a great thing to have.  If you do build a Sorrento, learn from my mistake:  do not put carpet in the living room, put solid surface flooring on the entire first floor.  You can add an area rug in the middle of the living room to have a soft feel under your feet while watching TV.

I still love the navy blue door!

I think this room should be painted a light grey, time will tell...

I really love the kitchen, simple, clean, functional.

I'm so glad I didn't put the second sink in, now I have space on the counter top.  I really love the grey paint in this room.

Guest bedroom, no wall color yet, maybe I'll get to painting before I move out...

I really love the large kitchen, it gives me a 'morning room' area to sit and enjoy coffee, or put up a Christmas tree.

Living room and entry from kitchen.

I love my washer/dryer.  If I stay in my house, I will eventually put a counter top over the machines, install more shelving, and of course paint!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sebo, a great way to keep your new home clean

I am not the type of person who has the always have the very best of anything, but I really like to have things that work well.  My old vacuum cleaner was pretty inexpensive and I've taken great care of it, but you can sort of smell the dust after vacuuming so I decided after I saved some money I would invest in a good quality vacuum cleaner.  I spent about two months researching and testing different models and in the end I eliminated some popular brands such as Dyson, Kirby, Rainbow, Electrolux, and all the less expensive brands.  I ended up considering Sebo and Miele, both German made vacuum cleaners.  I was really leaning toward the Sebo line because I had used them before and I know they work well.  I ended up getting a Sebo Felix and it is really amazing!  Not cheap, but as long as it lasts 8-10 years it is well worth the money.  The house smells clean after vacuuming and wow does it do an amazing job cleaning my white carpets.  You can see the difference in the carpet after vacuuming it, it is noticeably cleaner.  If you're in the market for a new vacuum, check out Sebo! 

                 (Thank you google images for the picture, I didn't have time to take my own.)