Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking for answers!!! Help!

Please look at our footer pictures? Does anyone have full gravel all the way around the footers as well as full gravel (5inch layer) throughout where the basement slab will be poured.?? I would love to know. As most of you know we are building outside a Ryan development offsite build....which I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND TO ANYONE....they have basically put us on the back burner and seem to be trying to cut corners .... We noticed at two other development sites they are building on that everyone gets a thick layer of gravel poured all the way around the footers as well as inside the footers so the basement concrete will have something to sit on.... If you look at our pics, we didn't get any gravel on the inside of the footer and very thin layer around the perimeter of the footers... When we confronted both our Pm and his manager they both said opposite things. Our pm said that we didn't need it and his manager said it was coming at some point...basically since we are off site they didn't bother to bring it over and obviously didn't think we would know...who would think we were stalking out other people's builds in other developments! Lol! But we did.. And took pics to show the difference.... I'm sooooo sick of their excuses!!! Do you have a nice layer of gravel layer before your basement floors are poured??? Please let us know.???


I read all these blogs and feel a little jealousy creeping up inside me because of all these positive comments and stories of how everyone's experience went with Ryan homes and how much they love their project manager. We just can't say the same thing here. It's been an awful trip for us and each time we meet with upper management, they use the same phrase they must learn in training...." well if we are not the right fit for you as builders we can refund your money back"..........WHAT...?? What kind of customer service is that.. WE are asking them to resolve issues, tell us the truth ect.... And instead of ANY APOLOGIES for their continual lies and mistakes they come back with that line. They must not be used to customers actually making them accountable here in Syracuse!!!'s sad that it's come to this because we really like their design of the home, unfortunately they have AWFUL MANAGEMENT HERE and have ZERO accountability for anything they do wrong!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Walls up...but issues remain!

So today my fiance drove by our site on her way to work and noticed that there was nobody there working AGAIN!... so she called the PM and learned that he had no idea that nobody was there this morning....and he had no idea that only minimal work had been done yesterday....  So basically he had told us last week that we would see quit a bit of work this week, including footers, walls, waterproofing.... as things stood this morning this was not all going to happen.... so after a little discussion (maybe a little yelling too) the PM got the right crew over to our place and assured us that the foundation walls would be up today.

Well his word was good... the walls are up .... now we know that things easily slip and we want to make sure our PM stays informed and up to date with the day to day goings on at our site.   So tomorrow we have a meeting with our PM to discuss the grading of the land and a few other things...namely the schedule slipping and the repeated non work days at our site.... We're hoping that after tomorrows meeting we will all have a clear understanding of the road ahead over the next couple months and to make sure schedules are met.

Below are a few pics of the new foundation walls as well as a couple pics of the newly delivered lumber...which by the way came yesterday and if the foundation walls hadn't gone up today and with the holiday weekend coming might be siting on the front lawn for who knows how long...

The walls are encased in modular metal casings its pretty cool how the all fit together.  The walls are about 8 feet hight and it looks like they will be about 8 inches thick.... we noticed that other homes have a nice layer of gravel spread on the interior which we guess serves as a bed for the foundation slab.... since ours doesnt seem to have any stone, this will be something we'll be discussing with the PM tomorrow.

As an engineer I really appreciated the delivered lumber.... its all pre fabricated! walls with attached plywood...the crew just has to put it together like big erector set.... I guess at their factory or warehouse, they punch in the house type and then the whole house is automatically manufactured packaged and loaded onto an truck and delivered right to our front door :)  I bet Ryan can save so much money doing it this way... or that is they can make so mcuh extra money of of us doing it this way :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Footers Are In!

So the footers are in... The did it in a day which we thought was pretty cool. I got to say the footprint of the house looks a little small but I guess as things get build up it will look better. We're hoping to see the basements walls go in later this week :)

In the above picture the weird looking dirt pile in the middle is where the garage is going to be...behind it and to the left in the picture is the family room... at the back of the house and in the center of the picture is the morning room and to the back right is the dinning room and the office.   The front door is toward the bottom right corner of the picture.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Ok... It's been part of last week and now today with no machines at the lot, no men soda cans thrown to the ground.....not one person there.... We called the PM he offered us an explanation that he made a mistake in paperwork. That in turn screwed up the foundation workers schedule and now we are waiting for their company to have an opening so they can come and put the footers in....has anyone else run into this? Stretches of time where no one is working on the home? We are worried that if rates keep creeping back up we will miss the opportunity to lock in at such a low rate.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our Big New Dirt Pile

They've dug our hole!!!.... While there's not much to see, we are clearly moving forward! they've put in the general location of the driveway and have dug a hole that kind of resembles the shape of our house. We are stunned by the size of the dirt pile.... where are they going to put all this dirt once the house is up??? We snapped a few pics today on the way home from work.... We're hoping they start on the footings before the weekend :)

Its hard to actually see the size of the hole, but its basically about 3 feet deep in the back at the morning room and about 7 or 8 feet deep at the front.  So we're guessing the back of the house will be elevated off the ground about 4 feet or so which is what we wanted.  In the second picture you can see the beginnings of some plumbing.  Its not entirely obvious from the pics but because the hill leading up to the house is so steep they dug the driveway down about two feet at the top to make a more level driveway.  This will lower our garage about a foot or two and we're a little worried about how this will effect the overall look of the house. We asked if a retaining wall would be necessary, they said a retaining wall wouldn't be necessary and that the land should grade nicely... a couple steps might be necessary however to get up to the the front door or around to the other side of the garage.  I guess that's all hard to see right now with just a big dirt we'll see.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

And so they begin.....

Just a short and sweet blog.... Machines are finally here ...woods are being cleared...and hole is being dug!... There was one minor bump in the road today regarding our back elevation vs. our driveway pitch. We are asking for the house to be elevated in the back and the driveway not to be too steep. We understand since the house will sit on a large hill this might be difficult. Our pm is trying to work this through to come up with some middle ground!! Will post pics soon...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ryan homes...our new BFF ...for now!

So here is the great news....... After several discussions with our project manager, our sales rep's manager and their managers ...they have agreed to keep their word and CLEAR THE ENTIRE LOT...our lot will be cleared approx 75 ft ( at the furthest point)back from the back of the home. Also they have agreed to move the house over 5 ft without charging us another survey fee..... We are happy that we are finally on the same page and in agreement without debate today!!! They start clearing next Tuesday!! Yayyyyyy! I also want to give a shout out to our great new soon to be neighbors Irena and Rob. They built their home two years ago with Ryan. They have been great to us, filling us in and helping us with this process!!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


So as you know we discovered a Victoria falls model out in Rochester. Rochester is about an hour from us so we decided to take a road trip out there and check it out. The Victoria elevation that we went to see is the 'E' while ours is the 'D' so the outside looked a little different but once we got inside it looked really familiar. So this one has all the options and cost about 400k, it was beautiful! check out the pics below and a lot more in the "Model Pictures" tab!

Here's how the day went: We called ahead to let the SR know we were coming and asked if they could print out all of the options that were in the house as well as all the paint colors that where used. The outside of the house being elevation E is bit different than ours but the back is essentially the same. Here's a few pics of the outside and the trek deck on the back.

When we walked into the house from the garage office, we where immediately impressed by the size and openness of the kitchen, family room and morning room space. The kitchen was amazing.... the main cabinets where Rushmore Square Maple Glaze Butterscotch and the island cabinet color was Expresso... a combination that looks a little washed out in pictures we've seen of other kitchens but in real life it looks really striking. The floor was sugar creek cherry and looked great with the cabinets.

Some other first impressions:

- We loved the pendant lights and were so glad we got them last second. - We want to get a fan in the family room.
- We thought this model looked really great without the windows on either side of the fireplace ... maybe we didn't need to get them.
- We thought the two tone cabinets looked so great together... maybe we should've got our cabinets like them.
- We loved that the house was raised up a bit. The first floor is about 5 feet off the ground. Our lot is on a slight hill so we're hoping for at least a few feet of elevation.
- We love the kitchen arrangement with the double oven and cook top and are really glad we got that.

Ok, the next thing we checked out was the staircase, and just like in all the other Victorias we've seen the staircase is a center piece and the upgrading oak staircase with direct steps and balusters looks amazing.

 Next up was the living room which we have converted to an office. we're glad we got the office... but maybe we should have got 4 recessed lights to bring some extra light in there...

the dining room had both of the bump outs and we definitely think ours, which doesn't have any bump outs, is going to be a little undersized. I guess we're ok with it as most of our dining will be in the morning room area. The bump outs would have been nice, we just couldn't justify spending another 7 grand on a room we'll rarely use.

We headed upstairs next. We noticed that the foyer light looked really great and was another upgrade that we wish we had. Walking into the master bedroom we noticed that it was a little narrower than we had expected but not bad. the two closets where nice sized and should give us both plenty of room for all our stuff. One of the closest even has its own window. The master bath looked great too. It would be so much better if they could figure out a way to get rid of that access panel.

Walking across the open hallway to the other bedrooms is a cool experience... the other bed rooms and full bath are pretty standard and basically met our expectations.

 Going back downstairs we headed for the basement. So this is where a lot of money was spent. Just about the entire basement was finished, there was a full bath, large sitting area and a separate theater room that was really awesome with a projection screen and recliner movie chairs. The basement was also an extra foot deep, 9' instead of 8'. they also had several framed windows in the basement that let in a lot of light and made the space look a lot more livable.

Heading back upstairs we checked out the last room, the laundry which is extended. We know we need the extra storage space in the garage but the extended laundry would have been nice. The Rushmore color cabinets were in the laundry room and looked great once again.

Now this Victoria Falls being the model was beautifully decorated. They matched the furniture with the decorations and the paint colors fantastically as they usually do. We can only hope we can do as great a job on our home.... By the way the paint colors you see in all the pics where from Sherman Williams:
1) believable buff
2) Latte
3) Languid Blue

We ended the day with a trip to the local Melting Pop restaurant (our first time) :)

Friday, August 10, 2012


Here we go again.....for all you bloggers starting to build, you want to read this!!!!....our pm calls us today with all bad news.First he says that he tried to obtain the permits today and the permit guy was on vacation until the 20th! So no digging which pushes our closing date even further out! he stated that it costs them soooo much money to restake where the home will be and probably wouldn't be able to move the house over 7 ft....I asked him why we were not informed our property line sat 11 ft away from the home next to ours and he walked his way around my question. Basically our pm walked the lot for the first time today and said that our community would not be in agreement with clearing our entire lot due to covenants.I asked why we were not informed that when the sales rep manager told us personally that they would CLEAR our ENTIRE lot!!!! Ryan homes have basically built every home on our street so they are well aware of what can and cannot be done in the community. I asked for our community's contact person and informed him I would call myself. I asked pm why Ryan manager would tell us yes without checking first. Why are we hearing about it now after all is said and done!!!! He had no idea.....then he went into saying cautiously ..if community agrees that lot can be cleared..they meaning Ryan homes usually clear only 25 feet back from the house it wouldn't be able to be cleared anyways.....he tells me that it's not cost effective to clear an additional 50 ft back and usually they wouldn't agree to it BLAH BLAH BLAH.........I stated that it was their issue and their company shouldn't tell us one thing to make a sale!! To end it all he emailed his manager, sales rep, sales rep manager and managers manager to get answers!!! To be continued............Honestly ....this is the is the rest of the 3 months going to turn out.....

Thursday, August 9, 2012


The SR sent us these from his newly built Victoria falls!! We will visit this weekend and post more pics ..but check out our Victoria model tab and see!!! I just love the staircase!!!

26ft from neighbors ????

So another problem..... No surprise! We went by the lot today and the pm stated that stakes would be in the ground to see where the home would be located on our lot. Well the house next door to our lot is new and still for sale and they have their lawn mowed down. We assumed they were mowing up to the property line, but apparently not. Their home is only 11 ft from our property line... Then Ryan came in there and staked our house only 15 ft from our property line! So our house is basically 26 ft away from the neighbors.....obviously I will be calling pm first thing tomorrow morning to see if they can move house position 7-8 ft the other direction... Every house in our neighborhood is approx 33-35 ft away from the next...unfortunately the house built next to ours is extra long coming in at 64 ft! Lol! Just our luck!Guess we will see how this turns out! Wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Soooooo sneaky

Ok.... So we meet with the project manager and our main electrician who will be working on the house. I thought it was strange that we were able to meet with the electrician, but now I know why because they offered us a "one time change order with him". He brought these books with all these other options that Ryan never offered us.....recessed lights in the soffits outside, different lighting packages, some high tech gadget that dims and brightens lights in your kitchen according to your settings.. All with a nice touch pad!!! Pendants over the island, future tube for the house, ect ect..... Well we did a really good job saying no , but of course we broke and ended up with the pendants over the island, fireplace blower, 5.1 surround system in family room with in ceiling speakers and flood lights.....and I thought I was going to stay firm with NO MORE UPGRADES!!! Owell.... On a good note... There is a Victoria falls model in the next county over from us that we will be visiting this get ready for some pics!!!

Timeline Update....

Ok, so our ability to make our selection has been really difficult... we've gone back and forth on so many things.... I hope this is par for the course for everybody... its been crazy.

So here's how things stand

1) House - Graphite Gray - white trim, black shutters and black door.
2) Carpet - This is ongoing, the carpet guy from Rochester is coming in next week with all is large samples
3) Cabinets - Wyoming Bordoux
4) Kitchen Counters - not worth mentioning... we're going to change it to granite ASAP.
5) Upstaris Bathroom Tile - Alabaster

As far as our customizations;
1) We're going to have Ryan move the laundary hookup to the far wall as you enter teh laundry room.  This is so we can see the washer dryer head on as we enter teh laundry room... The extra cost is $375.

Additional Down/Upgrades
1) We think we're going to down grade the carpet from level C to level B and then get the stone fireplace.

We'd like to get all this squared away so that we can get on the building schedule.... We've got to make our final final choices this week... We're hoping to break ground in the first or second week of August.