Thursday, July 14, 2016

It's Hot as Heck

Hey yall! Long time, no blog! 😃😃😃😃 The house is coming along nicely. I've discovered a lot of things in the past year that I need to update you on. This post tonight, is about the HVAC. In Virginia, it's about 95 degrees today. My finished attic is also 95 degrees. It's completely unliveable. We closed on this house about 2 years and 1 month ago, almost to the day. The system is only under warranty for two years. It's apparently a damper issue. I had to call MEP, the folks RH work with about this. It's going to cost hundreds apparently to repair. I'm so disappointed. I hope the issue is repaired under a manufacturers warranty, or that a faulty install is to blame and it it can be fixed for free. I can't imagine dumping money into this system 2 years into a new construction house.  We have automatic dampers. If you can avoid them, do it. Apparently they have control boards and so forth, which break more often than they should. The folks I spoke to have said they've been dealing with 3rd floor issues all day. It's the worst! They said the thermostat shouldn't be placed where it is and we may need to move it. This is NEW CONSTRUCTION. Im so frustrated. We have children without a room because of this. Why build a new home if it's still going to break so soon? I hope we get to the bottom of it and we hope that someone steps up to repair this without it costing us an arm and a leg. I'll keep everyone posted.

Other things I have discovered! The dishwasher that comes standard is LOUD.  It always has been. Sell it and buy a new one. It drives me nuts. Also, upgrade to double ovens. I wish I had. Insulate the FROG access doors during the building process. That room is HOT.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Just Moving Along....

This past month, things have by moving along.

-My back yard has been dug up to fix the grading issue. I'm really hoping we get new grass soon, because the kids are itching to get out and play.

-My crawl space is missing drainage tubes and they have to dig up the front yard to try to find it or replace it.

-My molding pieces that were not installed like the original plan showed were installed yesterday, an entire year after we moved in. Nonetheless, they look good.

-The drywall team should be here today to finish up my 10 month drywall service. They have fixed a ton of nail pops and caulked the cracking caulk around the house.

-The FROG is burning up. The kids have nose bleeds and everything in there. The other rooms are nice and cool. I don't even know what to do about it, but I'll have to figure it out.

-My tree in the back is still dead. The others look like they may come back. Keep in mind. ...this is the second dead tree in that spot. No matter what RH says, I can't kill a tree. A tree planted too deep or too shallow is the mistake of the landscaper, not the homeowner.

-My balusters still haven't been replaced. The sad part is. ...if corporate would look through this blog, they would see how much crap we've been through and fix it because it's the right thing to do. Who buys a new house with improper grading?  Without a crawl drainage system? With broken columns on the porch? With exterior detail molding missing? With MICE because of a gaping hole under the fireplace? With dead trees? The list goes on. Why would they think that the rails aren't just one more thing added to the list of things screwed up during the build? It's annoying to say the least.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'll keep you posted on any new updates. There are several new Ryan Home communities going up in our area. There are several small local builders too. After speaking with some of the folks who bought from a local builder, I wish we had gone that route. A lot of times with large companies, you are just one person out of thousands. I don't like that. There are some great RH employees we've encountered and others who don't give a damn. Unfortunately, there are things even the good ones couldn't help with. Again, because of this big corporate machine behind it. I wouldn't choose to go this route again. Lesson learned. If you all looking to build want to know how the builder is, talk to the neighbors before you do it. They are the best ones to tell you cause they just went through it. Learn from their mistakes. That's it for now, take care everyone.

Backyard, waiting for new sod. 
Notice my one dead tree. Maybe I'll put a swing set there? 
Those pieces were supposed to go in BEFORE we moved in. Like other things, they were left out. Thank you Drew for fixing this...and quite a few other things. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Update on Repairs

This past week, things have been getting repaired. I'll have to post a list of things, because there are wrote a few that have needed repaired since we moved in. It's frustrating that so many things have been overlooked or poorly done, but I'm glad it's been taken care of.

The one thing they are still refusing to make right is the balusters in the attic. It's still a plain wall, even though I paid for the upgrade. Apparently, nobody thinks they should do the right thing and fix this. If you all pay for ANY upgrades, make them write in the contact the scope of the upgrade so that you aren't left getting screwed over. For example, if it's an upgrade to get a sodded lawn, make them put in the contract which specific area that covers because you can't assume that means they will do the entire yard, even if that's what they say out of their mouths. If you pay an upgrade fee for raised toilets, get in writing which toilets specifically will be raised. Otherwise, they can come back after the fact and say they only meant 2 out of 3 toilets, even though their own contract doesn't say that. It's not right, it's kind of deceptive on their part, but that's what is happened to us. Be careful. If you choose to build with RH, take my advice on this!

Other than that, my yard grading is being fixed. That's a great thing. Also, our mortar on the porch had holes, so that was fixed. The water lines in the bathroom had to be replaced. My fireplace wasn't properly installed, so that had to be fixed and the soot had to be cleaned off of the outside of my home. My bathroom fan, broke and they took out the upgraded sensor and put in a plain crappy switch. That's not what I paid for. My caulking was fixed in the kitchen and bathrooms. My fireplace needed to be reinforced. And several boards had lifted and needed to be screwed back in place. Also, there is plastic from the roof shingles constantly flapping that shouldn't be there. That's getting fixed. My front porch light sensor was blown...AGAIN. We are on number three now. It's just been a bit much. The mouse holes are fixed.

Some big issues have been....the crawl space drainage system pipe is missing. What the heck? The pipe is under the house, but we can't find the spot where it drains out. Also, get this....My house is missing some of the architectural-looking decorative pieces outside of the house. How did that happen? Like other things, someone dropped the ball. They will be added, I'm happy about that but I'm annoyed that it wasn't caught before closing. Oh, and remember the tree issue? Guess what, another one is dead! One of the new ones. I've had some folks mention that it's planted too deep. The nursery should have a warranty on their trees. It needs to be replaced.

I'm over the whole new house thing. It has not been fun for us. We've had a lot of issues with the house, a lot of contractors in the house needing to do repairs over the year. I'm not impressed. I'm frustrated with the process. It's almost over though. We've been lucky to have a good couple of guys who literally have been going around fixing mistakes the other guys before them made. They are helpful, until corporate tells them they can't do things for us. The next step for us is drywall repair. I've heard it can be messy. We will see. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ten Month Inspection and Baluster Upgrade Issue

It's that time! Actually we are pretty late with it, but nonetheless, tomorrow...our issues will be corrected. A major part of the correction began today with fixing a bad water issue outside. I'm very happy that is getting repaired, I just hope that the fix works this time. My sod looks awful but my trees look good! I tried adding some color to the flower bed but it's so hot here that everything is growing poorly. I'll keep everyone posted on issues we had our first year in and how they were  handled, or not handled.

One major thing that we were told won't be handled is the balusters. That's a major issue for us, and one of the guys from the district office called to tell me that we won't be getting them. I would tread very lightly with upgrades. We were told all three floors would have the metal balusters. The price was something like $2000. Maybe it was $1500? That was the price offered when we were planning to have a two level house. When we switched to a three level house, the number of balusters was cut at least in half for two floors. We were told the third floor would have balusters, but they were not put in. I asked for half of my money to be refunded or the issue to be corrected. They denied us. If you only did half the work, why take the entire amount of money? The guy we spoke to said the upgrades aren't prorated. That seems wrong to me. If I got more wood flooring, I would be charged based on the amount of the area. But things like balusters....They can charge a flat rate? That's dead wrong. I'm not at all happy about it. It doesn't seem like a big deal to some folks, but I'll post photos soon to show you all the difference. There is a reason we paid for them. It changes the space in a big way. Anyway, keep an eye out for my follow up post about the things that are fixed and about the photos of balusters. I'm thinking we should've skipped that and a few other "upgrades". As a consumer, you just end up stuck. It's hard to fight against a large company when it's just you. I'm tired of fighting. Right is right, wrong is wrong. Not giving me what I paid for is...wrong. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Follow Up Post...

Hey everyone, so I said I would follow up on my last post, so here goes.
RH sent out their contractors very quickly after I made the service call. They showed up a day earlier than they should have, but I let them do their thing anyway. They went around, measured air flow in and out of the vents and returns, took the temp of each room and so on. They pretty much said the house heats and cools okay, but the vents and dampers needed to be adjusted, which they did for me. And get joke. When I described the problem to one of the contractors about how some rooms are hot and others are cold, their response was, "It is not our equipment, it is your house. It is RH design of your house. We can not fix that. Talk to them about changing the design of your house." Really, dude??? Did he really say that? These  people don't know what to say out of their mouths to customers.
Now, we have had a problem with the thermostats blanking out in the house since the first month we were here. I have called them twice to fix it. First time they said, its an electrical issue so I asked that the electrician come out. This time they said my filters are too thick for the system. We purchased a few CASES of these nice, white, hypoallergenic filters (my kids have dust allergies). They told me to get the blue, cheap ones instead. The annoying thing is that even when we had the blue ones, it still blanked out. So, we are two service calls into this. One person says one thing. The next person says its something else. In the meantime, two of my thermostats still go blank at random times. I will have to go buy the other filters. So, do yourself a favor...make sure that you buy the cheap blue filters for your new home.
While we are on the topic of HVAC, it was really cold here a few days this past winter. My entire heating unit shut off and would not come back on for several hours at one point. I called, and they had contractors come out several hours later to fix it. By the time the contractor arrived, I guess my fireplace melted the pipes and it clicked back on. I asked how I can prevent it in the future...I was told that there is no way. That is a bit scary, I have to say... I prefer not to have my heat go out on the days when I need it most. Thank God we are one of the lucky folks who have dual units.
In yet even more HVAC news, there was a ticking noise we heard nightly. RH sent out their contractors and they cut a hole in my ceiling to find the source of the noise. Apparently, the straps holding up the metal things that carry heat and causing it to rub against something and it makes a knocking noise. Interesting. Unfortunately, that noise is back now. But they are willing to fix it,  so that's a plus.
While here, RH guys fixed my gutter vibration issue. I am thankful for that, cause it was really loud. They put rubber behind it, which seemed to solve the problem. Also, a lot of small issues were addressed like closet doors sticking, gaps at the front and garage door, my front porch light wasn't working because of a photo cell sensor had gone bad and some water issues. That light sensor worked but has since gone out again. Also, they showed me some winterizing things that needed to be done. I can appreciate that.
We are also having some grading issues, which are trying to be worked out. My yard gets swampy after it rains. They tried raising the low spaces that were low, but it's still a mess. I'll talk to them about that.
**This post was written a few weeks ago and I forgot to post it, so sorry if some things are outdated. We are now to the point of our ten month meeting. I have a list of things that need to be worked on. Thankfully, it is mostly minor things. We are settling into the house. Is they're any thing that I should make sure not to miss?
Overall, I wish I had been a more informed consumer when purchasing this house. I think if I had to do it again, I would buy a previously built house. I caution you to make sure you know exactly what you are getting when selecting upgrades. Some things were not worth the money. Some things were not done as expected. I'll be posting a better update about issues we have had about upgrades and how you can try to protect yourself. More on that later. Until then, take care!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hello Everyone! Any Advice?

Hello everyone! I hope you are all staying warm during this crazy cold winter. The house is.... coming along. I wanted to get some feedback from you all regarding some issues before I call RH. I have an entire list of things for them to fix, but I wanted to your thoughts on these items.

Do any of you have hot and cold extremes in your homes? My living room and downstairs library are both very cold, and so are my master bedroom and FROG. If I put my thermostat on 72-73, the kids bedrooms becoming really hot, but the other rooms on the other side of the house are flat out cold. I know some people say you can adjust the dampers, but we were told ours are automatic, and I have no idea where they are. RH came to check this out once but they said it wasn't an issue. I live here every day, all day. It is definitely an issue. It was also a problem in the summer. I'm thinking I will need to hire a company to get to the bottom of this. We have two heating units and this is still an issue. Thoughts? Advice? Anyone? :-) My thermostats keep blanking out also. Have you all experienced this? RH also came to check this out before, but were unable to find a problem.

Another issue is a crazy loud vibrating noise when its windy. It is LOUD. I am not sure if the gutters are loose or what, but anyone else have this problem? It literally wakes up my entire house. The vent outside of the kitchen microwave is really loud and annoying too. If anyone has this issue, have you found any solution? If so, please share.

Other than that, we have a few large settlement cracks, several nail pops, caulk pulling away from the walls, a gutter that feel off, and some places with questionable workmanship (paint mainly).. but overall, nothing too terrible. I plan to go online and try to get some issues resolved, but I'm wondering if anyone else has any ideas for fixing my problems first. We have installed light fixtures and blinds throughout the house. I am looking at ideas to make the house look a little less. ..ryanish.... and a little more me. I'll post pictures once I find some thing. I'm thinking a set of barn doors would be gorgeous! Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you all. Take care!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Update Time!

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. Things have been going up quickly in the neighborhood. We are moved on to a new phase of this whole process. After the thirty day fixes, you dont really hear from the PM you built with. A new guy comes in to deal with issues. That has been fine for us. There are surveys that are given at various times. Be honest on them. RH pays attention to them. Anyhow, I'm just checking in with a few updates.

Things are going well on the home front for the most part. I never thought much about the noise before moving here. The trucks idling and riding through the neighborhood at 6-630am is a bit much for me. They even do it on weekends. The workers are bad about speeding through the neighborhood and about blocking the entrance and exit roads. It's extremely frustrating. The school bus has been having issues lately because she gets here, and there are trucks in the road doing various things. She will often have to wait several minutes or try to make a tight u-turn. Yesterday, there was a sewage truck blocking the road. Today, it was a truck delivering cinder blocks. The school bus comes at 6:45am. I'm serious when i say. .... work and noise start early! On the plus side, the dumpsters have been moved out of the street and onto the lot they are working on. That's nice. If only the workers would be as considerate, things would be nice. I'm constantly having cigarette butts and loud men yelling in the front of the house. Its pretty annoying, to say the least. 
Some good news is...we have not had any creepy crawlers since the hole was patched. I'm glad that is resolved.
Our utility bills while using the heating system have been lower than expected, which is a nice surprise.
We had a few minor issues, one with electrical and one with the thermostat blanking out at random times. RH sent out folks to check it out within a few days. One issue was resolved, the other we are keeping an eye on.
The house has been settling. There are random nail pops and cracks in the walls. It's nothing that is alarming but just expect it to happen. We will get it fixed after ten months.
The third floor option is a must have! It is awesome to have the extra space up there. My only gripe is that I wish there was a storage room up there.
The fireplace is a must have! It is really nice and warms the room well. Ours is gas and I'm so glad we got it. It was totally worth the upgrade! Just be sure the gas line is sealed. I do wish it had a fan option on it, but even without it, I like it. Besides, all homes need a mantle!
The metal rails on the steps are another thing you must have! They open up the space nicely. They are expensive, but what isn't?
The dishwasher offered in the standard package is garbage. It's loud. There is no timer on it. That thing runs for hours and you can hear it upstairs in the master bedroom. If you choose to upgrade any appliance, make it this one.
Also, there is a vent or something behind the microwave. That thing is loud! Every time the wind blows, it flaps. I keep thinking that there is something over there. This will take some getting used to. I wish I could tape it down.
One last thing.... If you have the option for gas, go with it! Gas stove, gas dryer, gas fireplace and gas grill line. I dont regret any of it! In my opinion, these things are worth upgrading!

Last, upgrade, upgrade, upgrade the kitchen! I have a few neighbors who didn't and they regret it. If you dont add the island AND peninsula, there is dead space in the kitchen. This is true also for the Ravenna model. Definitely upgrade the island! Besides, having the extra eating space, prep space and plugs is really nice for  entertaining and cooking. 

That's about it for now. If anyone has any specific questions about the Verona model or anything, just leave it in the comments. Happy holidays!