Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Pics...

Here are some new pictures of the house.  As I sort things out, I will update with the best pictures I can take.  I hope you enjoy.  One of the things I like best about my house it that for a small house (1400 sq. ft.) it can be arranged in a way that offers plenty of space for a single couple, or small family.  Off course there are sacrifices in a small house, cottage like entrance instead of a formal hallway, no formal rooms to speak of; but the efficient design allows most rooms to be as functional as rooms in much more expensive houses.
       The small entryway is quaint and cottage like.  It would be great to have the much larger entry hall the Sienna model offers, but for all the extra tens of thousands of dollars, it didn't seem worth it.  I can deal with cottage cute.
       One thing the Sorrento floor plan does offer is a comfortable kitchen/dining area.  I went with solid surface flooring in both areas to open up the space and create the sense of one large room (rather than the illusion of two smaller rooms by carpeting the dinette area).  I also opted to not add the island.  I knew there was enough space in the open kitchen area to put the table and that gives me the dinette area which is the size of a Ryan Homes Morning Room.  The best of both worlds on a tight budget.  Can you imagine how nice this room could be with great hardwood or tile flooring, upgraded cabinets and granite countertops?  If you have a little more money, this room can be amazing.  I will have to wait for my budget to allow such things, for now I'm happy with what I have.

     Here you can see the living room from the kitchen/morning room area.  No, it isn't a large room, though it holds just as much furniture as the great room in the Sienna model, but it is smaller, and it does have that cottage like entrance.  Overall, if you have the right furniture, and you aren't a fill-every-inch with something kind of person, there is plenty of space to create a cozy but open feeling.

      Overall my thoughts are this:  If Ryan homes offers the Sienna in your area for a few thousand more than the Sorrento (I know it is about 10k more in many communities) then go for the larger model.  You get an extra car space in the garage, a second floor (instead of first floor) laundry room, and a second bathroom in addition to the large entry hall.  But when I bought this house, the difference was 30k and that was too much to pay for what you get.  If Ryan homes is offering a great deal on the Sorrento (I bought when they were closing out a street and it was the only house that could fit on the last two lots), then go with the smaller house and use some of the savings to purchase their finished basement package which offers a TON of extra space for a home theater/exercise room, or an amazing family room that is larger than anything you could get with the more expensive Sienna.  This is a very efficient, but comfortable package.  Why waste the space and heat/AC on hallway space anyway?

Friday, April 20, 2012

30 Day Meeting

I met with my PM today to go through our 30 day review.  He was able to fix two doors that wouldn't close, and we went through and looked at some things that were missed, some squeaky floors, and the paint on the carpet.  I didn't go into any of the sloppy paint/drywall issues as I will slowly fix these myself, (I think I do a better job than the contractors) and anything serious will be dealt with at the 10 month drywall service anyway.  We decided to wait on the flooring work for a couple months to give the house some more time to dry out.  I'm hoping by waiting I will only have to deal with the repair crew coming into my house once to tear things up. As I've said before, I really like the house, even with all the little issues.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Keeps getting better

If you follow my blog you can probably tell that I'm a critical person.  I was raised in a family of critical complainers and while I try not to be a 'complainer' (and I am) I can't help but be critical.  I'm a perfectionist and I want things perfect!  So I feel it is important to be as objective as possible about my experience with Ryan Homes.  So far I really like my house, and I'm quite satisfied with Ryan Homes too. 

Yes the house has some minor imperfections, but it is also a very nice house.  The more I clean the house, the more I realize a lot of the dust in the painted trim/doors was probably in the air and fell onto the wet paint.  Most of it can be firmly washed off of the trim.  There are still some areas that are simply rough, and the drips on the doors/trim/carpet is just not acceptable.  I'm sure this will be addressed soon.  But overall the house seems fine. 

The only major concern I have for the house is the somewhat 'soft' first floor.  After my piano was moved into the house, I noticed that the floor under the piano was sagging a little.  I know this can happen with a piano and I'm looking into how I can strengthen the floor.  Currently I'm looking into 'bridging' the floor joists in the basement.  Has anyone done this to your house?  Did it work?  The online verdict is unclear; according to research it is clearly not necessary, but according to contractor blogs, bridging does a great job stiffening floors.  I have an email into my PM and I will wait for his thoughts, from there I will decided whether to hire a contractor to put in the cross bracing or solid bracing. 

What else can I say?  I really, really like the house!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Carpet Care

Ryan Homes and Shaw Carpets both offer excellent advice on their websites.  I spent hours and too much money using 'professional' cleaning products to remove my cat's surprise gift.  In the end what worked best?  1 part white vinegar to 1 part water sprayed onto stain and blotted up with a clean white cloth.  Works like a charm!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting Settled

Hello Everyone,

Well, it's been a month since I closed on the house, and about 3 weeks since we moved in.   Things are falling into place.  The driveway was laid this past week, the garage door opener was installed today, the ceiling fans are in, and now I'm in the phase of re-moving the furniture around to find the best setup for now.  Of course I have dreams of what I would like to do, rows of built in bookcases, fancy new furniture, nice paint colors, etc.  but until this house has had some time to settle I'm not interested in making these investments.  As things stand now, the house seems fine, there are a number of areas where the drywall/paint workmanship is sub par, but overall it is nice.  I have to keep reminding myself that the workmanship is much better in this new house than it was in any of the existing houses I looked at.  I do have too many squeaky/creaky/floating floors.  The walk in closet floats, the bathroom squeaks/floats, the hallway creaks in a few areas, the kitchen makes creaking sounds everywhere you walk; I'm not sure how much of this will get fixed; I know it is normal for a wood framed house to creak, and even flex a little as loads transfer (i.e. as I walk along the floor) but to me this house does it a little too much.  I truly hope Ryan Homes can fix this. 

Aside from these issues, the house is really nice.  One word of caution to anyone thinking of building a new home- the quality of materials isn't the best.  This isn't just Ryan homes, most builders use 'Builder's Grade' materials, they look nice, and if you're very gingerly with them they will last a long time.  Again, how many existing houses don't have similar quality materials?  Only the really well built/well remodeled ones have better materials.  Give me some time to decide what I think about the quality, I need more time to live in this house and break it in. 
Well, as homes go, this one is nice, not perfect, but nice.  I don't think I could have found anything quite as nice for the money I paid, but this isn't exactly the best built house either.  There's a lot of small stuff, detail work, that wasn't done right.  Now I have to decide how hard I want to be with my PM when he stops by to check in on things.  Should I really complain about every little detail?  Unsure in my cozy Sorrento...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lowes has done right

What a blessing it was to come home from church today and see the Lowe's deliverymen putting our washer and dryer in.  They informed me that none of the three dryer vents I had purchased would work, explained what I needed, and gave me the time to go to the local Lowe's store (5 minute drive) to pick it up.  Then they finished it all for me.  I did have to do a lot of cleaning, but that's what you get when it is raining outside and you have a stone driveway instead of cement/asphalt.  I also had to do some minor stuff they forgot to do, but what a relief it is to be able to do laundry.  I purchased the Frigidaire Affinity HE washer and dryer on Black Friday and I have to say I'm happy with the way they work.  I hope my good first impression lasts. 

(I'll post my own picture someday soon.  Thank you Ad-Mark)

In other news, a couple friends were at my house on Friday while the land was being leveled for final grading and told me the grading machine 'hit' the house.  I put my boots on today and took a look and indeed, it did hit and break my brand new siding on the back corner.  Oh well, one thing for Ryan Homes to fix.

I'm curious about 'moving' floors.  I'm not surprised the linoleum floor in the kitchen has some movement to it, but I am shocked at how many spots throughout the house float.  The sub floor is coming up from the joists as you walk over it.  I was such a stickler while the house was under construction to make sure there were NO squeaks or loose sub flooring that I'm surprised how quickly it is separating.  Another thing Ryan Homes will need to fix- I'm not accepting this kind of flooring on a one month old house. 

I'm also curious about finishing details with other new Ryan houses.  As I continue to clean the house, I've noticed that the painters did a sloppy job.  They apparently didn't dust the trim and doors and simply painted over the dust.  I have a lot of sanding to do to get the trim where it should be, very disappointed with this.  Also, there are over a dozen paint drips on my carpet, (does anyone know how to get paint out of carpet?).  I'm still getting the paint of the vinyl floors and kitchen cabinets.  There are also several bad tape seams in the drywall.  I know Ryan Homes is a 'value' builder; but that shouldn't mean the workmanship is poor.  As my uncle who retired from General Motors used to say, 'The Japanese car builders use lower quality parts in their cars, I can't figure out why their cars are more reliable'; the morale here is this: lower quality parts can make an excellent product as long as they're put together well.  Sometime I wonder about how well put together my house is.  Right now I'm willing to do the finish work myself, but Ryan Homes will need to fix the squeaking/moving floors, and address the tape seams in the drywall.  I'm already going to be sanding too much door trim, too many doors, and some baseboard to smooth out the imperfections.  I'm also going to sand some walls and touch up corners, ceilings, etc.  They can fix the bigger things.