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). 

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