Our 1 year home anniversary has come and gone and I thought it would be smart to share a series of post all about our experiences building a new home with Ryan Homes. This is actually our second new home build we have done with Ryan Homes.
Ryan Homes has a lot of backlash about the quality of their homes and more importantly the workmanship. I don’t know if you call it luck or what but obviously as this is our second new build with them their workmanship hasn’t deterred us yet. Building with Ryan Homes is a fun but stressful process. I’m sure building any new construction home is that way but I can only speak for myself and our Ryan Homes experience.
If you aren’t familiar with Ryan Homes they are a builder grade home that is typically built in a 3 month timeline. You have layouts you can choose but depending on your neighborhood you sometimes have very few upgrades you can pick. They are considered a custom home but I would say it’s more of a semi-custom new build. I will touch more on that in my next post.
I wanted to share 6 tips that we did when going through the new home building process. Some things that saved us money and made life easier down the road.
[AFFILIATE LINKS ARE PROVIDED BELOW FOR CONVENIENCE. FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE MY DISCLOSURE HERE.]
Do Not Upgrade Flooring-Do This Instead
Instead of upgrading your flooring with Ryan Homes I highly recommend you hire someone. Home Depot, Lowes or any local flooring company is better than any flooring you will EVER get from Ryan Homes. Trust me once you have owned nicer flooring at a fraction of the cost you will understand.
Our first Ryan Home we had their LVP on our main floor for 4 years before upgrading to Pergo Outlast from Home Depot. As the previous flooring from Ryan Homes served us well it was completely night and day once we saw what we could afford. The second Ryan Home was the same and more of an eye opener to how overpriced their flooring was.
Our current house came with LVP on the main floor (minus the living room), laundry room and all bathrooms. To upgrade the carpet in the living room to the LVP they wanted to charge us $1500 for a tiny space (I’m pretty sure we have one of the smallest living rooms out of all the models). Instead of paying $1500 extra we went to Lowes and purchased Pergo Timbercraft Wheaton Oak for $1300 and replaced the WHOLE main floor including the living room.
We chose to install everything ourselves as we have done this in previous houses and it wasn’t something new to us. If you aren’t the DIY type or just don’t want to deal with the hassle of removing and replacing your floors most places do have a service you can pay extra for to install. When choosing new flooring look at the thickness of the floor, the thicker the better. Ryan Homes LVP is extremely thin and would hurt my feet when barefoot. Our new floors are 12mm thick and have a nice underlayment to protect from water, sound proof and add extra cushion.
Shop Around-Do Not Upgrade Everything
Choosing your selections can be fun and get out of hand real fast! It’s easy to get carried away when your excited about your new build and you’re picking out extras and finishes. Make sure before you sign you are going through that itemized selections list real careful, some sales managers will add extras on that you don’t realize cost you extra.
For example things I chose to take off our finally list was hardware. They wanted to charge us $500 for silver bathroom and kitchen handles. That is outrageous, you can head to Lowes, Home Depot or even Amazon (my personal favorite) and buy cabinet pulls and knobs for a 1/3 of that price. Use this tool if you add your own pulls & knobs, it makes the job a breeze!
Another one we chose not to upgrade was countertops. As much as I miss my lighter countertop I was not paying a extra $3000 for them. You can get a better deal somewhere else for better quality product and workmanship. My plan for the future is to one day switch out our counters but for now I’m in no hurry. Black counters aren’t my favorite but they aren’t horrible.
Upgrades that are worth the money
This is all preference and what we see to be worth the money or not worth the money might not work for you. To us we only upgraded structural items that we didn’t want to deal with down the road. Some upgrades that were worth the money to us were extra windows, gas stove and our covered porch. I am a natural light kind of gal and we had the option to add two extra windows to our living area. That was a no brainer for us!
The gas stove was something my husband had wanted for years. Adding the gas line in our community was only $500. The back porch was probably our biggest addon but so worth it in our opinion. We ended up getting a military discount on our porch which took the cost down to $13,000. I find that very reasonable for a covered structure that is connected to our house with electricity running to it. With inflation and lumber cost I can’t imagine getting a better price.
Other addons I would suggest going for would be a premium lot, finished basement or if your model allows it a 3rd car garage. When we signed, our bonus was a free premium lot and finished basement. If those weren’t already free we would have thought about adding them on.
Add Rough-Ins For Fans & Additional Lighting
When building with Ryan Homes keep in mind that all bedrooms don’t come with lighting in the ceiling. We learned the hard way the first time we built and didn’t include rough-ins in the bedrooms. This time around we paid extra for 4 rough-ins. All bedrooms and our living room we bought fans and installed them ourselves after closing.
Some places I wish we would have added rough-ins were our loft, kitchen island and I wish we would have paid for extra lighting in our living room. I was unaware that they didn’t add lights above the island or in the living room!
Monitor The Building Process
One of the smartest things we did was monitor the building process. I know not everyone can do this if you’re building out of state or if you live far from the building site. Luckly, we were staying 15 minutes from our new construction home that visiting the site every day was super easy.
Every night around 7-8pm we would drive up to our lot and walk thru the house. Visually taking note of what they did and how they did it. I would take pictures if I felt I needed to document it for the future. It did put us at a good advantage when it came to our pre-drywall meeting with our project manager. We already had a list of things we wanted to discuss and make sure they were going to take care of.
Technically they will tell you you’re not aloud on site without your project manager. For most people I think it’s pretty easy to walk your site without them knowing. If you’re going to visit everyday some things to keep in mind are to only visit at night when all workers have went home. Also don’t flip out when you see your site is a hot mess! Most of the time all the things you see that bother you will be taken care of before you have the chance to say anything.
Our project manager knew we were visiting and didn’t seem to mind as long as we were mindful of the workers and didn’t poke around to much.
Take Tons Of Pictures Pre-Drywall
I can’t stress this tip enough! When walking thru your new construction home make sure you are taking tons of pictures before they install the drywall. I would like to think I took a lot of pictures but to be honest I wish I had taken more.
The importance of taking pictures of the insides of your walls is to see where all your electrical and plumping are. For me this was awesome because I am always installing accent walls or hanging shelves in our home. Knowing where your water pipes are can be very important and I have heard of tons of people hitting one due to their stud finder misreading it for a stud.
This was one of those tips that was shared with us on a facebook group and I almost didn’t take any pictures pre-drywall. Take this as you will but I highly suggest you do even if you don’t think it will benefit you. We actually had a time during the winter were our half bathroom pipes froze overnight. I had pictures of the pipes before drywall I was able to show them exactly where they were. In the end we only had to cut a tiny hole in the drywall verse taking down a big section of it.
Join Ryan Homes Facebook Groups
If you’re on Facebook join the Ryan Homes Facebook groups that are out there. They aren’t affiliated with Ryan Homes but it’s nothing but people who are building or have built with them. Joining the Facebook groups was very informative and helped to see other peoples questions that you would have never thought of. They would help one another out to make sure everyone was looking out for certain things during the building process. Also sharing their experiences during and after closing!
I hope this helped with possibly making your building process easier. I love hearing from real people with real reviews when shopping around and jumping into something new! If you are building a Ryan Homes or have built one let me know your thoughts and experiences down below.