Saturday, January 12, 2013

I've Been Gone For A While, But I Can Explain...

So, I have been absent from Blog Land for quiet sometime, but trust me, I can explain.  I have been doing some MAJOR stressing out.  With less than two weeks away from closing, we have hit some bumps in the road.

The first major issue was our exterior stone.  As I had mentioned in my last post, I was so excited that our workers were working through the cold/snow.  In fact, when visiting that day we asked if they would be doing the interior stone work on our fireplace and they replied, "No, they leave that up to the professionals".  We laughed it off then, but now we understand what they meant.  After the stone work was completed it looked like total crud.  Horrible, awful, hideous!  Turns out they didn't properly cover the stone and the grout ended up freezing before it properly dried.  When we called our PM to tell him, he answered the phone and said, "Yeah, I know.  The stone looks like crap."  He was on top of it and was going to get a true 'professional' come out a fix it.  Yay PM!  We love you! :)  So we stressed a little, but it was quickly handled by our PM.  In his exact words, "Ryan Homes will not stand for this."  In fact, the "professional" is supposed to be fixing our stone today.  Hopefully I can blog on the redo soon!

The next big house stress of the past couple weeks has just been the fact that they have so much to do at our house:  interior stone work (update: now it is completed! Pictures to come soon), exterior trim paint, final grading of yard, concrete driveway/porch poured (update: done!), counter top installation (see below), appliance installation, carpet installation, paint/trim touch-ups, and final cleaning.  Even though as I am now typing this, some of these things have been completed, you can imagine our stress with all these things needing to still been done with less than two weeks until closing.  Today they are suppose to be working on not only fixing the exterior stone but also installing the carpet, and working on touch-ups.  I will update you on my next blog soon to come!

Our last and final big stress has been about our counter tops.  We had ordered the upgraded Formica FX180 in Antique Mascarello.  This upgrade approximately cost us $1,000.  During the selection process we were having a hard time deciding upon our counter tops.  We knew we couldn't afford granite at about $4,000 and we weren't thrilled with the entry level Formica.  Our SR suggested an upgraded Formica which would give you a more granite-like look (with etchings and shimmer).  I also could have SWORN that he said with the upgraded Formica you also got a more professional edge.  So, when making our decision, we thought that with the special edge and the more granite-like look, the upgraded Formica would be a good choice for us.  Here is a picture below from another Ryan Homes Blog from Rachel at Building Our Verona.  Notice the edge detail.

Enter Last Week: When visiting the house one day after work, we noticed that our counter tops were finally delivered!  Yay!  They were beautiful, wonderful, and everything I hoped for (on our budget of course!)  As we were driving home, I said to my husband, "You know what, our counter top didn't have the special edge, did it?"   Sure enough it didn't.  It was a normal, plain-old straight edge counter top.  We immediately called the PM and told him of our dilemma and he said he would make a few phone calls and get back to us.  Well, turns out the manufacturer of the counter top said it would be impossible to do this edge on our counter tops.  Major stress and freak-out mode!  What!?!  We paid $1,000 to get this upgrade and a large part of our decision was the fact we would have this edge detail.  So we called our realtor (who was in Hawaii...jealous!) and asked her if she remembered our SR talking about the said edge detail.  She said she vaguely did.  My husband and I could have sworn that he did.  Whether he did or didn't isn't relative now though.  Our selection process happened months ago, and we have no written record of the edge detail.  Bummer.

Yet, our SR and PM knew we were unhappy.  And with a large builder like Ryan Homes, they really don't want their customers to be unhappy.  This whole issue was not our PM's fault, and possibly not even our SR's fault,  it is more of our fault.  We heard we were getting something, and didn't make sure it was in writing.  Hopefully this is a lesson learned for those of you going through the selection process right now.

Anyway, here we are unhappy with our counter tops that we paid $1,000 for.  After some emails going back and forth between our SR and realtor, our SR called and asked what could Ryan Homes do to make this better. husband and I thought and thought over what would make up for our $1,000 loss.  At this point the house is almost done.  The only thing we could think of that would make up for $1,000 and hadn't been done yet was sodding the backyard.  In our area Ryan Homes will sod the front, but only seed/straw the back.  We knew from building our old house (with another builder) that this was around $800.  Fair enough, we thought.  So, we proposed this to our SR and he said he had to talk to his boss and see if they could do that.  Well, he called back and said they couldn't do the sod.  "The problem is with the counter top," he said, "Everyday when you walk into that kitchen you are going to be unhappy with the counter top.  What can we do to make you happy with the counter top?"  My husband was on the phone with our SR at the time, and just couldn't understand or think of what he was trying to get at.  What could we do to make the counter tops better?  We already were told that this special edge was impossible and you can't upgrade the Formica anymore than what we already did.  Finally, my husband just asked him, "What do you have in mind? I need some help here."  Finally one way or another, the word granite began to come up in conversation.  After a quick call to his boss, our SR confirmed that Ryan Homes would give us level 1 granite for free in replacement of the counter top issue.  YAY!!!!  So, yesterday after work we went by the model home where our SR works out of and chose our new granite: Baltic Brown.

The SR is going to try and get our granite counter top installed by this week and hopefully before we close in 10 days!  I am so happy and so unexpectedly surprised.  I did not expect to get granite counter tops at all.  I knew how expensive they were and it didn't even cross my mind to ask for something so expensive to replace what we had.  Although we are still in the process with Ryan Homes, I can comfortably say so far that this has been a great experience building with them.  Not just the counter top issue and resolution, but everything from our PM to communication, Ryan Homes has done everything (or has at least tried really hard to attempt) to meet our needs as customers.  I hope that there are more people out there who feel the same way as me, because if you have ever searched "Ryan Homes" on the internet there are some negative and scathing things out there.

Sorry for this being so long, but I wanted to speak the truth and express how I was treated as a customer.  By the way, in no way am I affiliated with Ryan Homes.  This is strictly my view as a (happy) customer.

10 days until closing! WoooHoooo! :)