Thursday, January 21, 2016

Six Months


Well, we've been in the house six months.  I promised various content months ago and never got around to it.  Hopefully that opportunity comes as I have more I'd like to share, but life tends to get busy after building a home.

Our old house didn't sell in the time we had it on the market.  When the Syracuse, NY snowfall was nearing we decided to lease the house out.  I found a fantastic tenant and we actually organized a rent-to-own style deal that has advantages for both sides.  I would highly encourage looking into this as an owner if you're struggling to sell your house.  This works much more in our favor than a simple sale would have.

The new house has overall been very positive.  We have had a multitude of parties and group events and the floorplan of the Bateman is perfect for large gatherings.  When I get around to the A/V post I have wanted to do I will detail our design but I am very happy with the way things came out.  We do, however, need a larger TV.  A 60" looks very tiny in the large space and the room division leads to sitting too far back for such a small screen.  We will likely put a 75" in that space which should be adequate for normal daily viewing.

We have typical settlement issues with cracks in moldings and trim and a few floor squeaks that are close to unbearable, but that is all 10-month stuff that should be taken care of.  We have had two service calls so far - one for a leak from a toilet in the upstairs bath and another for our furnace.  The blower motor in our furnace seemingly had a bolt holding it on that wasn't torqued to spec at the factory.  It came loose and when the blower fired up it was spinning around and rattling inside the squirrel cage.  It was concerning as it sounded like a jet engine and shearing metal all at the same time.  While the HVAC company wasn't too happy about a warranty service call at 9pm, that is the nature of selling furnaces in Central New York.  After some moaning and groaning the on-call technician came over and took care of the issue.  Luckily we caught it early and it didn't need any additional parts.

We're still working on our final decisions for rooms, furniture and overall design.  We're busy people and are not able to spend a ton of time on these items. In the time that we do have free, we're typically trying to decompress and catch up with one another.  My wife is a teacher and I am the general manager at a busy night club in addition to owning the A/V company.

The Survey

I want to encourage everyone reading my blog to do Ryan Homes a favor and honestly respond to the surveys.  Much of your build process will not be a "10" - and the company needs that information.  As buyers we are pressured from nearly the beginning of our sales interaction to keep in mind that they need our 10's.  You don't earn a 10 by asking for it - you earn it based on your actions.  One also isn't able to say, "Let me know if there is anything else I need to do to earn your 10."  This puts the responsibility on the customer and simply isn't appropriate.

I have come to the conclusion that one of two things is going on with the survey.  Either Ryan Homes is oblivious to the fact that their structure leads to inflated scores, or that they have intentionally built the system this way to artificially keep scores higher for marketing purposes.  Either way, pressuring a new homeowner into a particular score when that homeowner is also under the belief that the score directly affects compensation for their SR and PM is unacceptable.  We shouldn't be forced to choose between a 7 and a 10 and have a thought in the back of our mind about our PM not being paid for something.  While I'm fine with them getting paid based on the survey, that should never be a concern of the customer and the general public should in no way be aware of how their simple answers on a survey may effect the quality of life of someone they just worked with for three months.

Our experiences varied throughout the process, and I admit that my survey scores were inflated.  Not only for the above reasons, but also for the simple fact that I need to live in this home, in this community where the contractors, SR and PM work daily, and I need to continue to interact with these people.  Once my survey had been completed, most of my additional communication with the PM was sparse.  I became unimportant.  I just don't feel that the RH survey process is well designed nor is it useful in the current system they have.


  1. Yes, I completely agree with your comments about the survey -- I've often thought I'd like to take the time to write an open letter to Ryan Homes management about how they're not really getting meaningful data. There's a lot of evidence that when presented with a scale (like 1-10, as RH does), people always just pick extremes. People either go with a 1 or a 10, very few go in the middle. So really, they could just ask people thumbs up or thumbs down, and they'd still end up with the same data. Anyway, I guess my overall point is they need a different way of eliciting feedback that's more honest. It's also ludicrous to think that people are really going to score a PM poorly, when as you said these are the same people who are ultimately going to be able to schedule repairs and fixes. I gave many (not all) 10s, but I left a TON of comments. Haven't heard anything in response, not from the folks who got 10s, nor the folks who got scored poorly.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more. I'm so frustrated with the overall process and structure that they have set up. I should have never been told that someone's pay rests in my hands or how I score them.

    In our welcome packet we were given a name and phone number of someone to call if we weren't 100% satisfied or would recommend NV/Ryan homes as a builder and I intend to make that phone call. Very early on it was clear that management was not setting PM's up for success by spreading them way to thin over the property, allowing corners to be cut with poor quality sub-contractors work and no time for work to be checked or inspected. It's a huge problem when you are walking into your pre-drywall meeting and your PM tells you they haven't walked or inspected anything prior to our meeting. I will say our PM was constantly trying to make us happy. For every issue we brought to his attention - progress was made and the problem was fixed if it was within his control. But I feel giving him a 10 won't clearly articulate how many issues through the construction process we had and this is the person who is my best shot at getting it fixed.

    If you head over to my blog you can read about or experience :

  3. Thanks for sharing your blog. I completely agree. We are building our home with RH and are scheduled for April 13th close. But throughout the process we have been told about the "Survey" and that it does affect their pay. I'm sure the survey gives them a little added bonus. However, they should not remind us every step of the way about the survey. I have a feeling that when it comes time to fill out the survey, they are going hand it to us with pictures of their families in wearing nothing but rags and filthy.

    I would also appreciate if you could share my blog as well.

  4. please contact me back at if you are still responding to this post. Just have a few questions I would love to ask. We have one going up now. Thanks