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Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

Posted by brokerblogger-2009 (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 16, 09 at 14:35

Was it OK for Ryland Homes to fix 100 + things wrong with my new home over a stressful year that wasted a lot of my time?

While tract home buyers can have good experiences, others may not. Some of my neighbors say they only had about 25 problems with their new Ryland home, mine had over 100 documented problems (some serious, IMO). If that wasn't bad enough, many times, I had to get in my car and chase down my first builder as a last resort, who did not return my phone calls or emails about 95% of the time. I lost almost a year's worth of my time in dealing with all that, when I really wanted to get a consultant business started. Then to "add insult to injury", and after being ignored for quite some time in my effort to help make sure that what happened to me doesn't happen to anyone else by giving my professional "customer relations" recommendations, the Charleston SC Ryland Homes Regional management responded to my 3/16/09 Better Business Bureau complaint about my almost one year of lost time by saying: "Ryland has received this complaint and appreciates the recommendations offered by our customer. Since these are recommendations and not actual problems concerning the home purchase or construction of the home no further action will be taken with regard to this complaint." So, while I signed papers saying Ryland has up to 13 months to fix whatever is wrong with my new house, is it OK for Ryland Homes to not at least apologize for delivering a "Cleaner Upper" & "Fixer Upper" house, and making me be an unpaid "Quality Control" person for them for over a year? IMO, this could happen with any tract home builder, and the NAHB is probably aware of the problem but can't or won't influence their members enough to do something about it. I blogged about my breast cancer survivor wife and my stressful experiences at http://www.brokerblogger.com (I have no advertising on my blog, as I believe it would dilute the credibility of my content.)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

I did not make a live link to my blog post, so here it is.

"My Last Ryland Homes Blog Post & My Attempt To Help Ryland Homes!"

Here is a link that might be useful: My Last Ryland Homes Blog Post & My Attempt To Help Ryland Homes!


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

Did you not get the home inspected before move in?
I realize it is a pain, but it could be a lot worse... at least the builder is fixing the things. A lot of builders are bankrupt, or just plain ignoring their past clients.
Hope all items get fixed.


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

Hi "ncrealestateguy",

Yes, I had a building inspector before COE make sure it was to code, but that was not like having a "resale home inspector" that details the house. Another circumstance noted in different blog post of mine is that we moved from TX to SC, and we wanted to close escrow in January, 2008. We saw many things that needed fixing on our short visit before COE, and we were verbally told that they would all be fixed by the time we actually started living there (Original estimated completion date = 12/15/07, Actual "Close of Escrow" delayed by Ryland = 1/18/08, Move In date = 2/3/08). They were not all fixed, and the warped siding on both upper portions of the house took over a year to get fixed.

Ryland Homes is not the worst builder (my 100 + problems were eventually all fixed), but I'm trying to help them become a better builder (even though they don't want my help!). Ryland is financially strong compared to most other tract home builders, IMO. I also believe that if Chad Dreier (COB of Ryland) knew what was going on, he'd make some changes.

Internet reviews of builders and sellers of all kinds will become more important to buyers, as Internet usage increases. Sellers need to realize that both negative and positive reviews that are legitimate with the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth being told can affect their business. Therefore, I want my builder to be successful, as the more houses Ryland sells in my tract and others with totally happy customers, the better it will be for my wife and I.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Last Ryland Homes Blog Post & My Attempt To Help Ryland Homes!


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

If I understand (and correct me if I'm wrong) you're upset because Ryland doesn't want you to give them your professional advice on how to run their business. Or are you suggesting they hire as a consulant? Yet you are persisting in offering your services when they aren't interested?


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

I recall similar posts a couple of years ago from the OP, under a different SN, about another homebuilder - I think it was Levitt - and lengthy, detailed suggestions on how that company could improve its business practices. The OP's comment about his wife is what triggered my recollection. I don't know what the OP's "professional customer relations" expertise may be, but neither of these companies appears to be interested in his services.

I don't understand the OP's response to the question about an inspection: "Yes, I had a building inspector before COE make sure it was to code, but that was not like having a "resale home inspector" that details the house." Does this mean there was not a full blown, multi-hour thorough inspection by a certified inspector hired by the OP? The reply sounds as if the only "inspection" was the typical walk-through done by the city or county building department. Even the best of inspectors won't catch all problems, but surely one could have whittled down that list of 100+ items.

Finally, what is the real point of the OP's post? It seems to be to coerce Ryland into hiring the OP as a consultant to make use of his intarwebs skilz.


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

Hi "mary md7",

Please read my blog post and my intent and what I'm asking of Ryland Homes will come crystal clear. I'm not looking to make money, but something needs to be done to protect consumers from a lot of stress and aggravation when they are looking to enjoy their new home. Ryland Homes response to my BBB complaint made me say: "I take that to mean that Ryland Homes believes that what happened to my wife and I was "normal", and that all homebuyers should expect that 100 plus problems can happen during their first year warranty!"

Hi rockmanor,

Please read my blog post and my intent and what I'm asking will come crystal clear. Rather than getting angry, or asking for selfish compensation from my builder, I want to help them.
To answer your question: "Does this mean there was not a full blown, multi-hour thorough inspection by a certified inspector hired by the OP?", that is correct. I could not have put off COE anyway, unless I wanted to spend a lot of money on motels and storage fees. Many people are caught in that same dilema, and the builders know it. The initial "Punch List" was about 60 problems, and the rest were discovered as we lived in the house. Many new home buyers, IMO, are caught between a "rock and a hard place" when it comes to a decision of putting off COE until all known(at the time) problems are fixed.

Finally, the real point of the post is what I asked to begin with = "Was it OK for Ryland Homes to fix 100 + things wrong with my new home over a stressful year that wasted a lot of my time?" I'm curious how the professionals here feel about the tract home building industry's attitude about sometimes delivering "Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper" new homes at COE? I personally don't think it is good for the building industry, Realtors (I used to be one), lenders, escrow agents, or anyone associated with the buying and selling of homes. The bottom line is that the more new home buyers, especially Baby Boomers, are afraid to buy a new tract home (at any price), the more they'll stay put where they are, or buy a resale home. In both cases, the overall buying and selling activity could be reduced. Customer service standards for tract home builders need to be raised like the National Association of Home Builders is trying to do with its "NHQ Certified Builder Program" (See Link Below).

Here is a link that might be useful: NHQ Certified Builder Program


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

I assume it was ok with you that the builder fixed over 100 things wrong with your house. If I found 100 things wrong with my house, it would be ok with me if the builder fixed them. I suspect we don't understand your question.


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

Hi sheilajoyce,

Good point, Sheila. I guess I'm assuming that anyone who buys a brand new home that no one has ever lived in before, expects to be delivered a home with only about 25 or less things wrong with it. No builder can build a "perfect house", but I believe that all tract house buyers have expectations that nothing major will be wrong, and that anything wrong will be fixed within two weeks after the initial punch list is turned in, or the reporting of a warranty service request. Consumers should also expect that the repair will be done with quality parts and service (a stainless steel kitchen sink had to be replaced twice for the same functional problem), and that their time will be respected. Too many times we were kept waiting for subcontractors to show up to repair problems, if they showed up at all.

So, while Ryland Homes at least eventually fixed the 100 + problems, my wife and I were NOT enjoying our new home for the first year. My wife and I believe that inherent in the purchase of a new home, there is the right to have the expectation to enjoy it. A new home is a very emotional purchase for anyone, especially Baby Boomers, like us, who were looking forward to celebrating my wife's victory over breast cancer with a successful mastectomy.

Does that make my question more understandable?

See my initial "Punch List" around COE of about 60 things wrong at the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Ryland Homes Initial Repairs


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

"A new home is a very emotional purchase for anyone, especially Baby Boomers, like us, who were looking forward to celebrating my wife's victory over breast cancer with a successful mastectomy.

Does that make my question more understandable?"

Not really. What does your wife's medical history have to do with the builder's performance? You've been talking about it for years, as if readers should be overwhelmed with sympathy for your plight and angry with the builder(s) for not hiring you as their consultant.


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

I didn't read it as the OP wanting to be a consultant. What I understood is that the OP purchased a new house and didn't expect that there would be so many things that needed to be fixed before he could really feel "moved in." I also understand that he feels that there should be some kind of compensation for his time because he was really doing the builder's job. Is this correct?


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

Hi bmrbabe,

You are correct on all points! You must have taken the time to read my blog post. Thank you.

I wonder how many here believe that inherent in the purchase of a new home, is the right to have the expectation to enjoy it during the first year of living in it?

In case anyone wants to see our long list of Warranty Service Requests with some of them having the time lines to get them fixed, see the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Ryland Homes Follow Up


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

Not having read the whole punch list, from what I saw, the requested fixes lookes reasonable to me.
My response to builders who don't think these items are important is: "would you buy a new car that has major scratches all over it"?
Of course not, they say. It is different when it's their money.


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RE: Tract Home 'Cleaner Upper' & 'Fixer Upper'

Hi berniek,

I agree with your "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you" opinion. While the majority of our concerns were cosmetic "scratches",there were major functional problems like an inside the wall leak with minor mold (one week to get fixed without the use of our home office equipment to pay bills online), and warped exterior siding caused by structural "back braces" missing on the inside that took from 1/18/08 to 10/30/08 to get fixed. My second on site builder initially said my house wasn't to code before it got fixed. But, as if the 100 + problems weren't bad enough, many times, I had to get in my car and chase down my first on site builder as a last resort, who did not return my phone calls or emails about 95% of the time. He was replaced by my second on site builder who was more orgainized and efficient.

IMO, the tract home building industry is now set up more to financially reward "cost savings" by their employees, than it is to reward both "cost savings" and "customer satisfaction levels" equally. The current down economy has made things even worse for buyer and seller!

Check out the 6/17/09 comment I got from someone with a worse situation than mine in the "Ryland Homes Blog Post Comment" below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ryland Homes Blog Post Comment


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