Friday, June 30, 2017

One Year Later

So it's been just over a year that we've been in our new Milan and overall we're still happy with it.  But that's not to say we haven't had our struggles.  During the past year, we've had issues ranging from improper lot grading/water drainage to nail pops.  I decided to write up a sort of "one year review" on Ryan Homes in the way that our issues were handled.  I'm breaking this into two sections.  First, the warranty - what it is and what it covers.  Second, our issues - what they were and how they were resolved.  In this section I've bolded and underlined the main points that others should be aware of (to make reading easier).  On my next blog post I will give my review on NVR customer service itself, so keep checking back for that!

For questions about your warranty or to reach NVR customer service...

Phone:  703-956-4000


1 Year

Everything + Labor (think bumper-to-bumper coverage on a new car).

2 Year

Installation of mechanical systems, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC (think of this as everything behind the walls that you don't see).

Anything that is NOT mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or HVAC... forget it.... they won't touch it after the 1 year expires and customer service has no trouble telling you that either.

10 Year

All structural material and labor, including footings, beams, trusses, bearing walls, girders, lintels, and fasteners.

Vendor Based (non-Ryan Homes)

So this is where that extra 5 years of warranty you got with that level 2 upgraded carpet comes into play.  Many items in your home's construction actually still carry a warranty after the 1 or 2 year marks, even though Ryan Homes will no longer service them.  The process to execute such a warranty would be that you would be responsible for contacting the vendor that produced and/or installed the faulty material/equipment.  This shouldn't be too hard as Ryan Homes is REQUIRED (by law) to provide point of contact information for all vendors who produced anything or installed anything used in your home.  If you're missing that information - call Ryan Homes customer service hotline.

Secondly, follow a system when dealing with warranties.  Because chances are you don't know exactly what carries a vendor warranty and for how long.  Here's an easy way to never have to worry about keeping track of any of that.  First, call Ryan Homes customer service line and ask for the defective thing to be fixed.  They will most likely tell you "no".  But then ask them if it's under vendor warranty.  They might dodge this question or answer it.  Either way, the important thing is to ask for the vendor warranty contact information.  If they give it to you, call the vendor and put in a warranty request with them.  IF THEY DON'T GIVE IT TO YOU... tell them they are violating law by not having that information and ask to speak to a regional manager and tell them since you don't know who to call because of they're incompetence, that you expect RYAN HOMES TO FIX IT.

Nearly everything in your home should be under SOME kind of vendor warranty...  DON'T ASSUME YOU HAVE TO PAY OUT OF POCKET RIGHT AWAY.

Our Issues

We're thankful there weren't too many.  Our PM actually built us a GREAT HOME for which we are thankful.  Here's a list of what we did experience though (in a somewhat chronological order):

  • Creaking floors in the first floor living room where the carpet meets the hardwood in the kitchen - they attempted to resolve but only made it worse, so we bit the bullet on this one because we didn't want them pulling carpet and subflooring up anymore than they already had, possibly making an even worse problem.
  • They forgot to install some crown molding - easily fixed!
  • Loose stair boards - easily fixed!
  • A basement light not wired correctly and therefore not working - easily fixed!
  • One of our in-ceiling speakers not wired correctly and therefore not working - easily fixed!
  • One of our network/data ports on our wall mount TV pre-wire not wired correctly and therefore not working - took half a day to fix this because the Guardian tech they sent out kept telling me the connection test was fine... but he was running a voltage test instead of the test where they make sure all the right wires are terminating into the right receptacles on the data port (yes it is very specific wiring).  After couple hours I made him run that test and BOOM... the tool reported a MISWIRE.  SHOCKER.
  • Front and garage doors not latching properly - easily fixed!
  • Caulk was settling and revealing unsightly seams in some of the molding - fixed with... you guessed it.. MORE CAULK (and now at the time of writing this that caulk has since settled and there is yet again an unsightly problem).
  • Sump pump was pumping water out to the side yard which wasn't draining away properly and was pooling - fixed... they actually installed an underground drain pipe and connected it to my sump so now all the sump water gets pumped into this pipe which empties behind our lot into a creek bed.
  • Minor nail pops... but lots of them, even in the ceiling - though easily fixed during our one year service visit.
  • Improper lot grading... we had standing water on the side of the house, and a canyon in the back where the draining water had literally cut through the yard so fast that it canyonized it.  This was made worse by the fact that our back yard was not seeded properly.  The yard was maybe 40% covered by grass.  It looked more like a desert scene.  They had to come back and re-grade our lot twice, but the drainage is better now.  They laid sod in the back where water drains through to help prevent canyoning, which seems to be effective.  However, after they re-graded, they re-seeded the yard and it still looks TERRIBLE.  The company that Ryan Homes uses in our area, Green Pro, is absolutely awful.  Their workers take no pride in what they do and you can tell they're minimum-wage, careless, and possibly illegal workers.  After being re-graded and seeded TWICE, our back yard still looks like a desert scene.
  • Going off of the above, the quality of landscaping has been our biggest problem BY FAR... Green Pro installed sod in the front yard that had been sitting in our street for a whole day in the hot sun, so it was severely dried out once they actually laid it.  It took much more watering than it should in order to bring it back to life and sustain it.  They did a piss-poor job of seeding/strawing the back yard - the seeding was too sparse and they missed entire areas of grass altogether.  As a result, we have patches of grass and mostly dirt in our back yard.  We called to have this addressed and a regional manager came to our house to look at the yard.  He reluctantly agreed to have it re-seeded, but told us that this was up to Ryan Homes standard because more than 50% of the yard was covered with grass.  But Green Pro re-seeded it, which helped only a little.  It still looks like a desert one year later and I'm not happy with it at all, but Ryan Homes customer service will not address it now because we're past our one year mark.  Even though we've repeatedly complained about it, and it was never even close to being the yard we we're promised when we agreed to build the house.  WHAT A SHAM.  What else?  Oh, Green Pro sucks at installing trees.  They installed BOTH trees in our front yard crooked so both trees were leaning and looked terrible.  Lucky for us, one died and they replaced it and actually managed to install the replacement tree straight.  The other one is still crooked a year later.  Green Pro told me, after they installed it, that it would straighten up over the next year.  Well it didn't.  In fact it got worse.  So I called Ryan Homes customer service about it and was told it's not their problem because they don't warranty landscaping.  So now we're just stuck with a terrible looking tree in our yard.  Yay for us.

ryan homes yard grass landscaping
In the end, this is what we were left with... what Ryan Homes calls a "starter yard"

ryan homes milan yard starter grass landscaping
Look at this beautiful wasteland you get with your nice, new Ryan Home!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2017


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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Landscaping is in

Ryan Homes Milan Landscaping
Taken the day Green Pro installed the landscaping

ryan homes milan
One year after installation of landscaping... a flag pole, some mulch bed bordering, and a hell of a lot of watering later....

We have landscaping now, and it looks good from a distance, but the company that did it, Green Pro, was not very detail-oriented.

I don't have close ups of the problem areas, but here is what we had trouble with so others will know what to watch out for:
  • Gaps greater than 1" between the sod strips
  • Insufficient amount of mulch
  • Insufficient amount of seed (in the back where they seeded instead of sodded)
  • Insufficient amount of straw to cover seed
  • They don't call you to let you know that the landscaping is complete... sod dies within days if it is not watered immediately.... what if you're on vacation??
  • Quality of sod was not great - it was very dry as they let it sit on the street for a day prior to installing it
  • Both trees they planted were not centered in the holes - both were "leaning"
  • Quality of trees/shrubs is mediocre - the one tree (shown in the first photo above, replaced in the second photo) didn't survive it's first winter

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

We Closed!

It's official...

We CLOSED on the home and I can finally post the final pictures of our new Milan.  Though, I'm not closing this blog yet because I plan to continue to blog about our experiences post-closing... specifically critiques on how Ryan Homes handles issues that will arise.  I've been told they kind of suck at post-closing support.  I hope for our sake that that is over-exaggerated, but we'll see.

The Closing

We closed on the house on April 6, 2016 at about 11:03am EST.  The entire process to close took only about an hour and away we went with the keys.

We did have some paperwork that was incorrect, though.  They had put in that we wanted the expanded title insurance option and closing costs protection, when we actually just wanted the standard title insurance.  This was a difference of about $500.  A minor difference in the closing costs, but still, our cashier's check was in the amount shown due on our last Good Faith Estimate, so that's all we had.  Fortunately, the process to get the paperwork corrected only took about 15 minutes and the closing costs actually came out to LESS than what we had expected, so we were entitled to a refund of about $45 (yay, us).

After that, it was smooth sailing.  I wasted no time in going to the house to go in as the first time with it actually being "ours."


Apologies, but time was short to get things moved so didn't have time to take many "just walked in the door to a new house" photos.  Also, the lighting was bad too.  I'll get some new ones up soon once everything is setup in the house.  Also, at this point we didn't have landscaping, so no photos of that, but I'll write up a separate post once I find the pictures of that.

The keys are mine now!!

That's Santa Cecilia granite they're sitting on

Outside... no landscaping yet, but that will come

Kitchen with Cherry Bordeaux cabinets, Santa Cecilia granite, and Cherry Oak 2" wood flooring

I freaking love this sink... I've always wanted an under mounted sink with a goose neck faucet, and now I have it!!!

The included appliances (sans dishwasher).... not the greatest but at least stainless steel

Showing how our wood floor mesh with the carpet which is "Northern Cliffs"

Morning room... one of my favorite rooms in the whole hosue

Family room w/ gas fire place and that's "Tropical Brown" granite around the fire place.  Also notice the HDMI/Data pre-wiring.  That was a must for me.

Formal dining room... we paid extra for the trim package that gave us chair railing in here... love it.

Foyer shown here with 1 1/4" Cherry Oak hardwood.  That's a coat closet and then the study on the left there.  Love the french doors that came with the study.

Front door.  So far, we're the only house on the street that has a front door like this with the large window.

Doors to the study

The study

Stairs to the second floor... that's Dark Cherry railing w/ white balusters.

Next to stairs, thermostat and alarm panel

Going up?

Upstairs looking down... love this railing.

Second floor bath... should've done the double vanity in here.. oh well.

Don't really like how close they put the toilet to the tub... looks weird.

Second floor loft

Master bath double vanity

Master bath vanity sink and lights

Master bath shower... this is what comes with the First upgrade package

Soaking tub again with the #1 upgrade package

Mud room

From the mud room, left is basement, right is garage

Love this basement door

Basement stairwell

Basement rec room (with the extra window shown that they put in for us)

Basement rec room... unfinished bath on left, and unfinished media room on right

The signature Ryan Homes light pole

Outside with the exterior lights on

Friday, March 25, 2016

Almost there...

We've got Counter-tops and Appliances!

On our visit today we found that Ryan Homes had installed our granite counter-tops (santa cecilia) and our appliances.  Our impromptu visit consisted of a lot of discussion with Andrew, our PM, about the possibility of having shelving installed in the laundry room, which he agreed to do.  THANKS ANDREW.  They've also begun to lay carpet as of this post, and are stair railing is also stained now.  Didn't get any photos of this, but it looks great.  I'll try to get photos of it in the next post.  For the most part, trim is done and there is only one more coat of paint to go.  Because of time constraints, I was only able to get a shot of the kitchen today (see below).

The one issue we found out is that the counter-top installers cracked the piece of granite that is supposed to connect the breakfast bar to the counter-top... basically a granite back-splash that goes behind the sink.  Was told they had to order a new piece and it would be installed soon.

We're a week and a half from closing!

Here's what's left:

  • Finish trim
  • One coat of paint
  • Finish carpet
  • Faucets
  • Cabinet knobs

Here's the ONE picture from today:

milan kitchen santa cecilia counter-tops ge appliances
"santa cecilia" granite counter-tops and GE appliances installed

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Exterior Work Continued

Siding, Stone, and Shutters

Over the past week, I've been able to get about one photo a day of Ryan Homes finishing up the exterior of the house.  It has really come a long way and, as of the this post, they seem to be pretty much wrapped up.  The only thing left to do is for them to paint our front door (it will be black).  It all looks great - my only concern is some of the trim (purely decorative) pieces on the final photo look a bit "off" from where they should be.  Also, it seems like a long piece of white trim is missing on the porch between the siding and the stone.  The white piece coming down just above the porch looks like it should continue all the way through the porch. Every photo I've seen of the Milan version 6 has this trim piece that seems to be "missing" on ours.  I'll be following up with my PM about these things and will post any updates.

ryan homes milan exterior trim
siding done - they're finishing trim and stone here

ryan homes milan exterior stone
another angle

ryan homes cottage shutters
stone and trim complete, shutters on the left side of the house - the color we chose for those is "dark berry"

ryan homes shutters dark berry
another angle in the morning light

ryan homes milan porch
afternoon light - they also had the partial stone pillar on the porch done

ryan homes milan porch pillar
another angle

ryan homes milan
and, finally, the right side shutters are on, and our front door (still unpainted) is on, and they the porch pillar is fully complete.  looks great!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Post Drywall Work

Cabinets, Wet-zone Flooring, and Fireplace

This past week, they've been working hard and we now have cabinets, wet-zone flooring (hardwood and vinyl) installed in the house.  The fireplace granite surround and mantle were also put in.  I must say, I am really happy about the work and even more happier about finally seeing our flooring/cabinet/color selections coming together.  They look even better than I had imagined!  It took them about a week to get all this done.  We now have toilets in the house too but I didn't get any pictures of those or the bathrooms.  The upstairs secondary bath is all but done (sans the sink), and the master bath still needs a sink and a glass shower door.

The interior doors have also arrived and are sitting in the garage awaiting installation - they look great!

One thing I'll say after seeing the bathrooms come together is I wish we would've upgraded the master bath to tile and a fully-glass shower.  We originally had this selected but cut it out at the last minute trying to save costs, but hindsight is always 20/20 - if we had known then what we know now, we would've kept the upgrades.  I guess this will just have to be one of the many projects on my ever-growing list of things to do after closing.  Speaking of closing.... we're only two and a half weeks away!  Yay!

Here's some pictures we were able to get...

ryan homes kitchen cabinets wyoming cherry bordeaux
kitchen cabinets installed - color is wyoming cherry bordeaux

ryan homes wide hardwood cabinets cherry
kitchen from family room... the hardwood is covered (thankfully) but you can see how it will mesh with the cabinets in the this photo

ryan homes fireplace tropical brown granite
Fireplace granite surround and mantle - got the "tropical brown" granic

ryan homes milan kitchen
cabinets close-up

ryan homes milan kitchen island
the kitchen island

ryan homes kitchen
full shot of kitchen

ryan homes cottage interior doors
interior doors in the garage


ryan homes milan family room fireplace complete
family room

ryan homes wide oak cherry hardwood
close-up of the hardwood and cabinets

another close-up to see how the colors mesh

love it!