Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ryan Homes Quality

So there are a lot of websites and blogs that bash Ryan Homes.  I spent a lot of time researching Ryan Homes in the Buffalo market before I signed on the dotted line and I was fairly confident I would get a decent house.  Six months of living in this house has confirmed that I have a 'decent' house, but I can see where a lot of the complaints come from. 

Ryan Homes has great floor plans.  I think that, combined with a really attractive price for new construction draws a lot of traffic into their models.  They have a good business model to make a great profit, which makes investors happy.  But I'm not sure they build the kind of house I believe we should be investing our hard earned money into.  The house is decent, don't get me wrong; but the framing is so so, the materials are so so, the land development is so so, the HOA is problematic, the soft floors are problematic, the windows are so so, the finish work is so so, and the list goes on and on.  I can't think of anything about this house, or the building experience that was exceptional (except for nice employees).  So a mediocre house for a more than mediocre price.  If I had to do it again, I would buy an existing house that was made of better stock and fix that house up to meet my needs.  Unless you absolutely cannot go without a specific Ryan Homes floor plan, I strongly encourage you to look at a better quality existing house for a lower price point (figuring you will want to spend a lot of money updating the house).  I know I could have found a great little cape cod in a quaint neighborhood without all the fuss of the HOA for at least 20K less.  Perhaps I would have needed to initially go without all the updates to keep the house in my budget, or perhaps I would have a higher monthly payment due to splurging on all the updates at once.  Either way, I would have a house with a whole lot of character that I knew was structurally sound.  I hope this house will prove to be sound, but with all the little cracks in the foundation walls, the crack in my garage pad, and the hollow sound I get when I walk across the slabs, in addition to all the soft floors, squeaky floors, and drywall issues and I'm not sure just where this house is going at the moment. 


One serious downside of new construction is the low quality of the materials used.  Modern wood may meet code requirements, but it is softer than older wood and the structure pays the price for this somehow.  Modern siding is simply put cheap, low quality.  Modern vinyl windows are nothing to write home about either.  Overall, while I still love this house for it's efficient floorplan, I really have to say I regret my decision to build new.  I just don't think it is the 'value' it should be.  The quality just isn't good enough to justify the price. 


So many Americans are absolutley sure owning a home is a great investment and a great idea.  I can say with certainty that unless you have children and need to settle down in a certain area, owning a home is not a neccesity, and it certainly is not an investment.  Homes cost way too much money to be worth the investment.  It would be far better to rent a modest, cheap apartment and put the rest of the money in savings or some type of investment to earn interest. 


As I said, if I had to do it over again and I still chose to buy a house (which I wouldn't) I would buy an existing house for a lower price and update that house.  Of course you can make the decision for yourself, and you can experience the poor quality of craftsmanship, the poor materials, and all the delights of building new yourself.  Some people seem to love it (I'm not sure why, I have better things to do with my time than fix something that should have been done right to begin with). 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fixing bouncy floors...

I'm in the process of assessing how to fix my bouncy floors.  My house is not about to fall down, but Ryan Homes builds to code and this usually means floors will have more vibration, spring, bounce, deflection, acceleration, whatever you want to call it.  My words:  the floor moves when people walk and I would like to eliminate as much of the deflection as possible.  So now I need to figure out how to fix it.  Tom Silva from 'This Old House' suggested a method that adds a 2X4 flange to the underside of the floor joists.  Has anyone tried this?  Does it help?  I've also read about a product from Luxor Corp. out of Vancouver, BC called IBS 2000.  Essentially a type of retrofit cross bracing system that is designed to absorb a lot of the deflection and eliminate much of the acceleration and vibration in the floor.  Ironically Ryan Homes has used this product in the Capital District in the past.  Again, can anyone offer any opinion of this product?  It isn't too expensive, but I hate to throw money away.  I don't mind paying to fix my floors, but whatever method is used, it better work.  If you have any experience fixing bouncy floors, drop me a line.  Thanks.

Bouncy floors and other odd defects...

O.K. so before I go into my blog let me say this:  I hope I don't become one of those people who HATE their Ryan Home!  Now let me say this:  I still love my house....BUT:

Does anyone else feel their floors are too bouncy?  Did I miss some memo that you need to install all hardwood and tile flooring to have the nice, stiff floors found in the models?  Am I crazy to want a floor that doesn't float when my guests walk across it? 

Squeaks:  I hate all the rattles and squeaks I hear as I walk across the floors of my 6 month 5 day old house.  I'm also begining to feel the 'distance' I've read PMs create after the deal is closed.  I've been asking my PM for a piece of wood for well over a month and for quite a while he was 'going to drop it off on my porch'- WAITING OVER A MONTH! I'm still waiting to be able to close my bedroom door at night and have a very seriously cracking floor joist repaired.

You should see the cracks and tears in my drywall, it is hideous!  It is embarassing to invite my friends over to the house.  I don't want them to see the cracks and tears and then think to themselves 'What an idiot he was to build that house'.  I know R.H. says they will fix the drywall after a year, but this is ridiculous.  Maybe I will post a few pictures for you to see.  [Full discolsure:  Ryan Homes does communicate to buyers that it is common to have drywall related cracks and tears.  I just seem to have more than most of my neighbors experienced.]

Cracking concrete anyone?  I have four cracks in my basement foundation as well as a large crack in my garage floor.  My neighbor down the street has the same crack in his garage floor too.  This is in addition to the expected cracks in the expansion joints. How many of us are so lucky to possess these cracks?  I'm curious...

Windows that don't want to lock closed?  My PM made a point to ask me to 'lock' my windows closed everytime I close them.  Well, I try to do this, but some of them just don't want to click into place.  At this point I'm well aware of 'builder grade' materials and to be honest, I think many of them suck.

Bubbling siding?  Now, thankfully I don't have this issue, but many, many homes in my community do and I think it looks horrible.  Who would want to buy a house in a community full of houses that have bad siding?

I'm curious, what sort of odd defects does your Ryan Home have?  Drop me a line and let me know.