Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Floor Concerns Continue & basment update

I was hoping I would have an update by now regarding my floor.  On August 30th, Ryan Homes brought a structural engineer to examine why my floor is no longer level and what the exposure is.  Ryan Homes noted that they wont do anything until they hear from their engineering firm.

During the meeting, the owner of the engineering firm made several comments that there were errors made in building my house.  He laid blame on the framing crew as they were in position to catch this error.  He also said it could have been those who installed the beam and maybe the foundation subs.

The issue is that my I-beam the supports the house internally between the living room and dining room was not installed correctly.  One side of the I-beam sits on the foundation and is level with the sill.  The other end of the I-beam sits 3/4 of an inch above the foundation and sill.  The last joist sitting on the I-beam is 3/4 of an inch above the next joist that is sitting on the foundation.  The result is a major slant in the floor above in the kitchen.

This is amazing that someone did not catch this during construction.  The framing crew should have noticed a gap and that their panels were not level.  As the engineer confirmed, they messed this up.

Our house is structurally sound and isn't going to lean or fall over.  The issue is that our floor has a section that has a major slate and it is felt along the two joists for 6 feet.

I basically see 4 options for Ryan Homes
1) Do nothing - It doesn't sound like Ryan will choose this but it is still an option we need to evaluate.  Doing nothing means I have to live with an unlevel floor and that it will most likely affect the resale valuae of the house.
2) Lift flooring and add leveling compound - This option involves putting something like a thinset mortor down on the floor.  This liquid uses gravity to fill in the low sspots and become level.  The disadvantage is that the compound means you cant install hardwood floors and if we ever change floors, this leveling compound might get ripped up.  It also wont fix the floor under the island or the wall where the Hvac runs in.  The floor still wont be level but the 3/4 of an inch over 2 feet would be spread over 8 feet and less noticable.
3) Lift subfloor and add shims to level - This is similar to the adding leveling compound except it would involve removing the tongue and groove plywood.  It would spread the 3/4 difference over 8 feet.  This would allow us to add hardwood sometime later.  This could cause other problems like squeeky floors since the floors will be cut and put back down and not as tight as the tongue and groove.  They also wont do the area under the island or the floor in the wall area where the Hvac ductwork is.  The house would still have a section not level.
4) Lower the I-beam to match the foundation sill - This is an option they did not seem to like,  This would involve lowering the I-beam so the house is level.  This would crack drywall above the house and could cause the 2nd floor to now have a dip in the floor.  This could also cause doors to stick and windows to break.  While this would cause issues, from speaking to others, this is how it should be fixed.

Hopefully Ryan Homes and the Engineer will provide me a report soon and their options.


So over the past few months, I have been working in the basement.  I originally started with some rough sketches for rooms.  I figured I could install a storage room, a work out room, a media room, a bar wine room, bathroom and small workshop storage area.  I started by buying some lumber each week.  I would wall in a panel and wedge it into place.  This involved me taking sections of my basement apart which has been fun but disturbing at times.  I can see the good and bad of my home builder.  1) I love that they built a drop ceiling section where all the utilities are pulled through, but 2) They stalled their framing for the drop ceiling over the drywall installed.

Here are a few pictures of my work so far.... not bad for a girl eh

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mice Infestation

We have found wild life in our basement.  We have found both a dead mouse and a dead bird.  We also have a mouse infestation around the outside of our foundation.  You can see their little tunnels all over the sides of the house where the stone meets the ground.  We got alarmed when we started to find dead animals in our basement.

We mentioned this to the PM who had two of his guys fix a few other small items on the house.  Both walked the outside and one walked the inside and could not find a hole.  He said he could not find a hole and since the basement ceiling has drywall on it, he couldn't see anything.


I have been slowly working on building out the basement.  I have been framing walls and trying to get ready to do a rough in with electrical.  While I was removing drywall to run wiring, I found a hole in the foundation for the AC compressor that was not filled in.  Considering it is sealed to the vinyl siding with a flexable sealant, the mice getting in must somehow be crawling under the vinyl and into the hole I discovered.

Here is what it looks like:

I plan to spray foam it full of expansion foam and stop a potential entry point to the house for the mice.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

10 Month Review

We are just about at our 10 month point with our new home.  We are both enjoying our home and the much needed space.  We aren't struggling with closet space and fighting over the bathroom.  It's been super nice to have a garage big enough for an SUV.  We even had a party and loved how big and open the house is.  It's a nice house so far, but it's not great and its not finished.

When we had our final walk through it was basically how things work in the house and where things are at.  We went over items like the importance of draining your outside water lines before winter and how to do that.  Our PM said this wasn't the time to review and "blue tape" things to fix.  That as we live here we'd notice things and he would address them or the service center will address them.

Here is where we stand with these things as of today:

1) FIREPLACE - It is nice having the fireplace in winter.  It worked well for a period of time until one day it wouldn't ignite.  This was one of our earliest complaints.  A service tech came while my wife was working at home and fixed it.  The fireplace people commented on how Ryan must have installed it because there were a few things installed wrong.  They fixed it and it has been working so this issue was resolved.

2) LEAKING SHOWER DOOR - Our master bathroom has a shower with an enclosed glass area.  The door would leak water all over the corner of the bathroom floor.  The sub had to come back several times but eventually they got the sealant in the right place and the leak stopped.  We haven't seen the leak in months.  This issue was resolved.

3) WIFI HOME AUDIO - When we moved in there was no documentation on how to use the system via our phones.  Eventually Guardian helped us with the app and the system worked nice for a few weeks back in 2015.  Sadly, when Guardian came to fix the speaker issue (installed speaker in wrong spot outside) they WIFI system stopped working.  We have not been able to play music via our phones as advertised by Ryan and Guardian.  I have been complaining about this for months.  Guardian did send a tech out on the weekend but he was a security guy and not a audio guy.  He rebooted the system and it worked for 5 minutes and then stopped.  He determined it was bad hardware and provided me with a phone number to call LeGrand customer support.  Basically Guardian pass the responsibility of fixing the Audio WIFI to me.  I called LeGrand who had me on hold for 20 minutes before asking for my name and phone number and disconnecting me.  I have called them three more times with no response.  The hardware vender has not responded.  In frustration and no action from the project manager or the Guardian sales person, I opted to log an issue with Ryan's customer service.  This got me a call from Guardian who said they would send me a technician in the evening between 4 yo 7.  I left work early and sat at home waiting for Guardian.  The evening passed with Guardian not showing up and not even calling.  I have since opened another issue with Ryan and sent an email to all parties.  As of today no one has reached back out to me.  UPDATE - Guardian sent out a more experienced tech who replaced some of the panels and downloaded a patch to the software.  He got the system working.  We have been enjoying the WiFi music as intended when it has stopped working again for our Android device.  Our Apple device still works.  ISSUE PARTIALLY RESOLVED

4) COLD AIR LEAK - During the winter we discovered a major draft coming from the stone fireplace.  Since the fireplace stopped working, there was no heat to mask the cold air blowing in.  This was back when the PM was working with us on some issues and he agreed it felt bad.  His plan was in the spring to open it up from the outside and re-insulate.  They forgot about it in the spring and I reminded them.  I took a day off from work to get them to come fix things with the house.  This was one of the items they did.  They cut the side open and found only a small amount of insulation.  They used spray foam insulation on the corners and where the gas line comes up from the basement.  The interior was then filled with loose insulation.  They close it back up and it looks fine.  Since it is not winter it is difficult to know if they resolved the problem, but based on what I could see of their work.....it appears addressed. Issue resolved.

5) UN-LEVEL STONE - Our fireplace has several large stone slabs that one can sit up.  Apparently someone sat on one of them while the concrete was wet and the stone was not level.  We discovered it with a 3 foot candle stick for the holidays.  Our PM had the stone work guys come back and reset the slab.  It appears to be level now. Issues resolved.

6) STONE TO GRADE - There are several spots where it looks like the masons just didn't put any stone to cover the concrete wall.  It's odd because the stone to the left and right are to grade, but spots are not.  We asked our PM about this and he has done nothing.  I have logged an issue with Ryan Homes service and they have reached out to me, but they have done nothing.  This should be an easy fix for them to do as it does not need us to be home.  UPDATE - The customer service guy who we have been workng with since logging these issues had the missing stone added instead of throwing dirt and raising the lawn like they did on neighbors houses. ISSUE RESOLVED

7) UNLEVEL FLOOR - This is one of the more alarming issues I have with my new house.  There is a major dip in the floor.  I never noticed it much but then gradually I have been feeling it when I adjust the thermostat.  I remember checking it months ago and it did not seem this bad and it must be getting worse.  I contacted the PM about it and he ignored it.  I did get one of the general laborers who fixed the insulation on the fireplace and he said it is slopped and would speak to the PM.  The PM has ignored my requests.  I decided to log an issue with Ryan Homes Service but they have yet to confirm a day to come look at this.  While I am not an architect, I suspect this is a problem caused by the change Ryan Homes made to not take the I-beam from wall to wall in the basement.  I raised concerns to Ryan Homes about this shown here: http://thelovelyladieslandon.blogspot.com/2015/08/foundation-concerns.html

The dip appears to be right in front of the cold air return where the I-Beam ends.  I suspect the floor dips here because there is no support under it.  I have been planning to build a wall in the basement that would support this some, but at this time things are on hold until Ryan Homes Service can come to the house when we are there.  If you look at the picture below, you can see the floor is out of level by an entire bubble.  ISSUE REMAINS

8) DENTED MICROWAVE - We didn't notice this at first and in fact we didn't notice this for months but the side of our microwave is dented in.  It looks like it came from a scratch and dent store, or was a 2nd removed from another house.  I mentioned this to the PM who has ignored it.  I logged an issue with Ryan Homes who says it only has a 30 day warranty on cosmetic issues.  While this is hardly noticeable, considering the price of the house I expect new appliances that are not dented.  I suspect this wont be addressed and a loosing fight.  ISSUE RESOLVED

9) DISH WASHER - When we first moved in we ate a lot of fast food just because we were overwhelmed with moving and unpacking.  Soon we started cooking and using the dish washer.  We quickly discovered that the dish washer would run but nothing would come out clean.  I often had to wash things by hand.  WE complained to our PM who replaced it with a different model and I suspect they put the dish washer in one of the houses being built after ours.  The new dish washer works better, but there are times when it should clean better than it does.  ISSUE RESOVLED

10) MISC. SMALL ISSUES - We had some small issues when we moved in which is expected.  Here is a list of smaller issues and what Ryan Homes did for them:
Basement light - We have a basement light that doesn't shut off as it was supposed to be a pull chain and it isn't.
Garage Trim - The wooden trim around the garage door is not plum.  The boards around garage entrances is bowed and looks really bad.
Small Garage Door top Trim - While I was hanging X-mas lights, I noticed that they didn't finish painting the top of the trim of the small garage door.  You cant see it from the road, but it's obvious that they stopped half way.
Sticking Doors - We have a few internal doors starting to stick.  I'll suggest we wait on addressing these until the house settles more.
Morning Room Door - The door stays shut if it is locked or closed hard, but the door can be opened by a strong gust of wind.
DataComm Box – There are more components in the data comm box that needs power than the outlet installed  in the bottom of the box.  The data comm box needs another outlet installed for the other components.  (Resolved by adding an extension cord and not another outlet)
Missing Paint - We had a section of the wall between the windows totally not painted.  We found various other spots where the painters missed.

11) ITEMS RYAN HOMES HAS IGNORED - I have a small list of items I have mentioned to the PM that have just been forgotten about our ignored.  I have not pressed on these since we have bigger issues we'd rather them focus on.
Garage door sealer - The trim also around the garage door has gaps in places between the trim and the wall.  Shouldn't this have some chalking in it to seal out water?

12) BASEMENT CEILING DRYWALL - During our pre-construction meeting, I asked the PM if the basement was truly left unfinished.  He noted that they hang drywall on the ceiling.  I told him I planned to finish it and would need to drop all the drywall to run wiring for lights, ventilation, and I'd like to reuse the drywall installed since it would roughly be cut to the correct size.  The PM checked into it and said that the drywall ceiling would be screwed in and not plastered at the seams.  He said I would have no problem trying to drop the drywall.  A month ago I started to work in the basement and wanted to drop a section of drywall and start framing in a wall.  There is a section of the basement ceiling where all the wiring and plumbing run through.  This dropped with no problem.  When I went to the general area of the basement ceiling, I found that after I pulled all the screws, the drywall would not drop at all.  It turned out that the Drywall was liquid nailed to the joist.  This makes it nearly impossible to remove without break the sheet and creating a mess.  I mentioned this to the new PM and he basically ignored it and didn't offer any solution.  My only choice it to cut holes where I need them and hang a 2nd sheet over the ceiling they glued.  This is a good example of bad communication with Ryan Homes.  ISSUE REMAINS

13) GRASS - We have spent a ton of money on trying to grow grass.  The top soil is filled with rocks and some spots packed clay.  We have gone through 50 pounds of grass seed, rented an aerator, put out patch of shredded mulch, and its been nearly impossible.  

14) TORN UP YARD - We have been in our house nearly 10 months and we have worked hard to get grass to grow.  A section of our yard was torn up to connect utilities to a house being built.  They replaced the soil which has huge rocks in it and they never seeded the area.  I requested that they fix it but they have ignored it. A few weeks ago I spoke to our service manager who said this issue was not from Ryan Homes but the utility company.  I have to call the Utility Company and ask them to fix the issue.  ISSUE REMAINS

15) SIDING COMING OFF - We have a section of siding that was under our morning room window and it is coming off of the house.  I told this to the PM several times and he did have a guy come reattach it.  It started falling off the house again.  Here is what it looks like.  ISSUE RESOLVED

16) FURNACE PIPES - During the pre-con, I asked the PM what side the furnace will be located on.  This is because we have a huge side yard on the left of our house and didn't want to see a furnace if we had a patio there.  The other side of the house has a small 20 foot space between houses and seemed like a good place to install the AC compressor.  During the construction process, our PM got replaced and didn't give the new PM any notes.  This resulted in him putting the AC compressor on the wrong side of the house.  He moved it when I asked him, but left all the pipes.  So instead of having the pipes and AC compressor in the same location as other houses, we have pipes on one side (Big yard side we wanted to use as a patio) and the AC compressor on the other.  We did not ask Ryan Homes to fix this because we are more worried about the dip in the floor and would rather have that fixed.  ISSUE UNRESOLVED

Our house with pipes and no AC compressor

They moved our AC compressor but not the pipes

The house being built next to us has AC compressor and Pipes

Neighbor Example

I will update this as things are either addressed or ignored.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Open Items and into a Routine

We are approaching our third full month at the Landon.  It's nice to call home and we are still decorating it and making it our space.  I've found time to play some x-box in the study and my fiance happy in the great room watching Gilmore Girls.  Even our dogs are feeling at home and understanding the rules of the new house.  We all are finding our routine.

We still have some things to move from the old house and I haven't started to finish the basement.  I was able to make a bicycle pully rack while we are both super busy.

While we are generally happier with our new home, specially compared to our old 60 year old small starter house, we still have a lot of things that need addressed.  Ryan Homes still has some things they need to address.

Gas Fireplace - Our fireplace has stopped working all together.  Sometimes it might light for a minute or two but then immediately go out.

Fireplace Stonework - We have several issues with our stonework.  First is there is a stone with concrete stuck on the front of it.  These are man make stones so there is some concrete left over from another stone stuck to it.  We also get an extremely cold draft from the stone base and slabs.  It is as if they never insulated the inside around the fireplace.  This fireplace is a big hole in the wall and it shouldn't be letting as much cold air in as it does.  Lastly, we have one of the slabs installed so out of level that it looks like our fireplace is crooked and running downhill.  It looks really bad.  Hopefully they can fix this slab and spray expanding foam insulation around the fireplace inside.

Morning Room Door - Our door continues to not latch or struggles to latch.  If you dont lock the deadbolt a strong wind from outside will push open the door.  The door plate needs moved.  They also left the door knob on so loose that it moves around and has scratched all the paint on around the doorknob area.

Dishwasher - They must have put the cheapest dishwasher they make into this house.  It leaves our dishes dirty.  We basically have to wash our dishes by hand prior to washing them in the dishwasher. It does such a bad job that it's a joke that Ryan Homes can consider this a functional dishwasher.  Our PM said he would swap it out and he had nothing but complaints about this model.

Guardian Speakers and Network - Guardian never finished their installation.  They installed two wires on the outside of the house but nothing is installed out there.  They never installed the external speaker.  We have speakers in the great room, but none of them work with the MP3 outlet.  I can't even get them to buzz so I dont think they have power.  The data panel in the basement has items placed in the box but never plugged in.  They did a really crappy installation and their sales person has stopped communicating with us.  Our PM even said they have been doing crappy work.  I wrote a letter to their CEO asking for someone to contact me about the work they never completed.  They called to schedule a tech and never apologized for the crappy work they did.

We have a bunch of small things as well.
Missed painted areas
Mystery Leak in shower door
Basement light that stays on 100% of the time
Various drywall patches
Sticky Door

We have Ryan Homes sending back a crew on the 5th to fix all these things.  Hopefully they all get addressed.

We still haven't received any other offers from the other house.  This is really odd since the house had 2 deals fall apart and one deal missed since it was under contract.  I can see the webtraffic is high and we had tons of people save the house online.  We also installed a new furnace and electrical panel since they were inspection issues.  What is sad is people are commenting it needs too much work when it has a updated kitchen, main bath, all new windows, updated furnace and electrical panel.  Not to mention I doubled the joists on the deck for double support and poured a new concrete cap to the fireplace.  The hardwood floors could use a good sanding and the walls a fresh coat of paint, but that's common with a house 60 years old.  I feel like buyers are being picky on the looks and missing key updated infrastructure and location.

Monday, December 14, 2015

30 Day Check in

We have been in our new house for 30 days and we still have tons of boxes all over the place.  Our life is settling in and we have slowed down unpacking as 90% the mission critical things have unpacked and blinds hung on the important windows.  Our new house is becoming a home.

Old House - Our old house is still on the market but nothing seems to be happening because of the weather and time of the year.  The old house is still getting tons of online traffic and the number of saves on Zillow has gone from 62 to 88 in the first month of having the new agent.  I had the furnace replaced and the fusebox is scheduled for replacing this week.  I was sure a new furnace would help sell the house but the recent feedback is it's too small.  I don't think the house is meant to be a mansion but a great starter home.  It needs some work which makes it affordable, cheapest house in the nicest neighborhood, and close to everything.  Please keep us in your prayer that someone loves it as much as I did and starts a life there.

NVR - They totally sold our loan and have not heard back from them since.

The Landon - I send out PM an email for some things we noticed need addressed.  Nothing is major which is nice.

1) Guardian never finished their install.  The panel in the basement had an outlet installed and Guardian install a network switch but didn't look like they plugged it in.  They also never installed the outside speakers.  We also cant use our speakers from an MP3 player like in the models which was a specific question we asked.
2) We have 1 door sticking really bad.  This isn't a big issue as the door just needs planed.  I am sure its from the shifting of the house.  I expect more.
3) Our morning room door doesn't shut easy.  It doesn't catch and hold.  Literally we have had windy days open the door if its not locked.
4) The painters didn't finish painting some trim over the garage.  They painted 70% of the trim and left the right side white.  I saw this when I was up on a ladder hanging lights.  I guess since no one can see it they didn't finish it.
5) We have tons of spots where the drywall wasn't sanded smooth before painting.  I can see waves and seams which is common when rushing drywall.  It's an easy fix we are going to wait on for our drywall fix at 10 months.
6) We have a circuit breaker that must pop out when it trips.  It doesn't stay mounted in the box.
7) We have a basement light that wont shut off.  It was supposed to have a pull cord but it doesn't.

About a week ago, our husky decided to pull up some carpet when we were not home.  We keep our dogs locked in the office when we are not home.  Our dog shredded a corner of the carpet, pulled it back, and ripped up the pad under it.  We had it repaired today by a repair man who noted that the installers didn't install the carpet correctly.  I suspect they didn't stretch the carpet and get it on the tacks really tight.  The carpet is super easy to lift off the carpet tacks.  Our repair man said the carpet was installed poorly as properly installed carpet is hard for a dog to pull off the tacks.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Chaos Continues

So we have been in the Landon for over a week and we are still settling in.  Things are so still very hectic and exhausting.

NVR - I haven't heard anything else from them in the form of the mortgage or the settlement.

Ryan Homes - Our PM called me one evening to check in on us.  He said he was worried when he never heard from us.  We've been so busy with moving and boxes we haven't had a chance to do much.  I did point out that our front light doesn't turn on and we have a basement light that doesn't shut off.  He said he would take care of them when the electrician comes to install the garage light they missed.

Guardian - I have not heard or seen these guys yet.  They still need to install the speaker in the back of my house.  Also, the model had speakers that you could plug an MP3 player into and play over them.  I see that plug but the speakers don't play.  Hopefully they will fix the speaker and let us know how to play from an MP3 player.

Landon - Our home is starting to feel like home.  We are unpacking more and more resulting in more things we used to have around us in life back in their place.  My fiance hung a lot of pictures up this past weekend and I put together the dresser.  We had a few incidents.  Our husky decided to chew a corner of the wall so we have trim now that is chewed on and she scratched a door with her paws.  We had delivery men replacing a bad washer from Best Buy rip the washer leak pan off the pipe.  This took me hours to replace.  Overall the house is working out nice for us.  The grass has me concerned though as it's too cold for the grass to grow.  I have a feeling our yard will be muddy all winter.

Old Home - We fired our agent and have a new agent.  She is doing more than our past agent did.  I feel bad for our new agent because I am pretty jaded towards this situation.  She recently asked me to repaint more of the inside of the house.  It's frustrating because I just want to move on with our new home and spend my time working on the Landon and not a house we don't call home.  

Monday, November 16, 2015


We closed on Friday and it's been chaos since.  We woke up early Friday morning and picked up a rental truck.  We got home and immediately started packing.  I carried and loaded the truck and my fiance packed boxes.  My father came up and helped take care of a few repairs on the current house that the new realty suggested.

At 11am I signed all the papers.  NVR settlement services were pretty decent and the process took about an hour or more.  I did spend some time reading some of the legal documents such as the note payable.  A few things to keep in mind here.....1) they require full signatures with middle initials and 2) often the date.  They actually take the stack of signed documents to a room for review after execution to make sure your signature is consistent.

I arrived home a little after noon right on schedule for the movers at 1pm.  The movers said they had 2 jobs scheduled with a move in the morning and ours early in the afternoon.  A little after 1pm they called and said they were running late but would arrive before 2pm.  They actually did not show up until 3pm.  They loaded the big furniture with ease in there trucks and by 5pm we were on the road for the Landon.

We arrived at the Landon around 5:45 and everything was dark.  Our sales people left us a nice thank you gift of towels with our a variation of our nicknames for them applied to us.  It was cute.  They also left a small bottle of champagne we never had time to open.  My lovely fiance snuck into the house Thursday night and put up some pictures of her and I at the site during construction.  The house looked beautiful.

Then we unloaded and boxes were just dropped anywhere in side.  By 7:00ish our truck was empty and my father headed off.  7:30 the movers were done and gone.  We were left with a sea of boxes.

Saturday we spent it taking care of the needed items.  My father and I built steps on the back of the house (picture to follow) and my fiance and her family got some stuff moved around.  Her parents gave us an old table and chairs plus a china cabinet.  By 4 the steps were up and 2 loads were moved from storage.  Everyone headed out and we were left to unpack.  Around 6pm some friends stopped past with wine and pizza.  It was much needed but after they left we didn't feel like doing anything else.

Sunday was current house chores.  We headed back and cleaned out the first floor to make sure it was ready for a cleaning person and new realtor.  My old house looked so much bigger empty.  We still have things in a closet in the basement and stuff in the garage, but at least it's not urgent to have them removed.  We also had to empty out a storage unit we prepaid and expired on Sunday.  After 2 trips it was cleared and our garage too full to fit both cars.

This is pretty overwhelming but its coming together.