Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A talk with a Ryan Homes VP

 I received a phone call today from Dave, a VP of something here in North East Ohio, who wanted to talk to me about an email I sent to crelations@nvrinc.com.  Now before I get into the conversation I should probably explain why I sent the email. 

  A little while ago, I was on Ryan Home’s Facebook page and I came across a posting they made saying, “The time to stop renting is now. Rental prices are way up (and that’s only good news if you’re a landlord). Come visit the beautiful and affordable options at Ryan Homes.”, to which I had commented “Just expect to hear the word "No" a lot when requesting very basic items, including features that you see in the model or blogs of other Ryan Home builders.”  In response to this comment, whoever monitors their Facebook page responded saying that Ryan Homes strives to make every customer happy, and encouraged me to contact them at the above email address, so I did.

  Now I didn’t expect to get anything out of this or be able to change their minds on any of the change request denials that we received, but I figured if they made the effort to contact me, I’d do the same in return.  Well, long story short, after a 26 minute long conversation, I got exactly what I was expecting, no approvals on any of my change requests.  What I did get was a long lecture on just who/what Ryan Homes is, which is an “assembly line” (Dave’s words, not mine) home builder and it is simply not possible for them to make room for anyone’s requests.  Dave went on to explain that basically Ryan Homes is very focused on their demographics, and if you want anything close to a “high end” home, you were better off using a custom home builder, and to this point he offered to give us back all of the money we put down and we could all go our separate ways.

  I was shocked by the refund offer, since I was not trying to get out of the deal, but it does leave me torn and confused.  My wife and I both love the Jefferson floor plan with the elevation C.  It checks off almost all of the boxes on our dream house list, a large master suite, 4 bedrooms, office, dining room, media room in the basement (with the big bonus of this lot being a walkout), and a lot that backs up to a tree line, but there are a few places it falls short.  I’d really like the office to be closer to the garage entrance (because of my work, I carry lots of things in and out), I’d prefer two walk in closets instead of just one, a guest bedroom with an attached bathroom, a two story family room, and a few other things.  And before anyone asks why we didn’t choose the Waverly, or some other floor plan that might have met some of these wants, it had nothing to do with money, it simply came down to “feel”.  We both enjoyed being inside the Jefferson model more than any other we toured (and we toured a lot), the way it flowed from room to room, it felt right, not perfect, but right.  As to why we didn’t go with a custom builder, it was multiple factors.  We liked the fact we could see the “finished” product by touring a model, Ryan Homes would be able to build much quicker than a customer builder, and it felt less daunting.  The idea of finding a sizable lot in a convenient location to our jobs, working with an architect and engineer to design the layout, and then finding a builder that I could trust seemed daunting, so Ryan Homes was the easier way out.  The offer does say a lot about the company wanting their customers to be “happy”, but it also makes me question to whom they are attempting to sell homes.  If the first time my wife and I toured a model, the sales rep came out and said, “Welcome to Ryan Homes.  We specialize in building homes as quickly and cheaply as possible, so you won’t get many options, but it will be a great value.”, then we would have known that Ryan Homes wasn’t for us.  Instead they dazzle you with fully decked out homes featuring upgrades/options that you can’t get, no matter how much you are willing to spend. 

  I hope this post doesn’t offend any former, current, or future Ryan Homes builders, because that is definitely NOT my intent.  My wife and I had agreed, before this phone call, that maybe we could live with putting in granite into the bathrooms, changing the kitchen faucet and a few other things all after closing, and we may still proceed as planned.  We both know that the Jefferson isn’t our complete dream house nor will it be our last home, but will it be “good enough” for now if we just build it as Ryan Homes demands without our personal touches.  That’s the question we will be asking ourselves tonight.

8 comments:

  1. Very interesting post and response from the Ryan VP. Not that they are giving you everything you wanted here but I will have to say that I am impressed that a VP responded and spoke with you. He must have had enough clout to be able to offer you your money back!

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  2. I am shocked by their response. I'm curious to know what you guys decide to do.

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  3. WOW thats interesting. I know that we went through some struggles in the beginning with Ryan. Our initial lot choice turned out to be a "bad" lot that still can't be built on because of a retention pond. When we turned to Ryan for solutions we got none. When we suggested solutions they pretty much said no to all of them. I will say this we stuck it our because of our sales rep she was fantastic and in my opinion went above and beyond for us considering our situation that we sold our home in one day thinking that our lot would be good to build on by the time we closed on our old house. Not to mention that my wife is pregnant and due the 1st week in October. OUr sales rep knew all this and did fight for us and did help come up with a solution. What I did not care for was the local management above my sales rep. They knew our dilemma and never once reached out to me to say sorry or is there anything we can do. In fact I don't think the regional managers care. However were very happy with our sale rep and the solution that she worked out for us and that is the only reason I did not walk away from it. Good luck and I'm curious to see what you decide. The Jefferson is a great home

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    1. It's really wonderful that your SR did so much to help you out in such a tough time. Our SR has been nothing but fantastic as well. We're both really happy with her. We don't know our PM that well yet, but I hope we can say the same about him. It is unfortunate that no one else reached out to you, but at least your SR has your best interest at heart.

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  4. I remember seeing your comment on their Facebook page. I have a Ryan Home now and we are currently building another one. My husband and I completely agree with you. There were several things that we would have done to make the Avalon the perfect home, but Ryan Homes will only go so far with custom options and they will charge you an arm and a leg for any custom requests. We did look into going with a custom builder that was building in the same neighborhood and it would have cost us over $100,000 more for the same square footage. I also liked the fact that we could walk into a model and see exactly what we were getting. Don't let the VP title fool you. Ryan Homes has many VPs. My sales rep's boss is the sales manager for our area and her boss is the VP of our Maryland division. I give him credit for calling you. I never heard back from the VP in our area when I reached out to him. He had the sales manager call me. I asked to speak to him later in the process and I was directed to the sales manager again. Good luck!

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    1. This was a tough decision, but in the end you mentioned most of the things that made us decide to continue moving forward (the cost, the model). But mainly, I think, it was our lot. It's not perfect by any means, but it's the closest to perfect that we've found. The location is good, I love the tree line in the back, and the size is decent. Plus, the neighborhood is nice and friendly. That, along with the fact that we just really really like the Jefferson floorplan, sealed the deal for us. This likely won't be our "forever" home anyway, so there's always the next one for complete customization.

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  5. You bring up good points. These are all things we considered when buying too. If it wasn't for the "factory" type approach there is no way we could afford the amount of space that we are going to get. We are fixer uppers by heart so getting a Ryan Home and then doing custom things for us makes us a little giddy. We like to get our hands dirty and take a lot of pride in saying "I did that" ...usually followed by "And I saved a LOT of money". We were a little upset at first that we couldn't get some things that we saw in the model (like windows placed in certain areas) but we decided if we really wanted it that bad, we could just figure out how to do it after the fact. Elbow Grease. We love and hate it. I am also impressed that you got a call from a VP. It always says a little more when the higher officer pays you a little respective attention...even if you don't like what he/she says. Great Post!

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    1. I agree with your "elbow grease" statement, and I can relate to your desire to do-it-yourself. We redid a lot in our current house, including replacing all the kitchen cabinets, tiling the kitchen and bathroom floors, tearing out carpet everywhere, and re-drywalling part of the finished basement. Since we've had that experience, however, I vowed to never again live in a house at the same time that I'm remodeling it (I was working, the husband was working, crap was everywhere, and our two cats were stuck in our medium-sized bedroom--food and litter box combined, yum--for a good month or so). It, essentially, was hell and I don't really want to have to go through that again if I don't have to. I mean, we had a toilet sitting in our family room, for crying out loud! That's the main reason why I want to have everything done exactly how I want it NOW, and not have to live through another remodel like that again. It's all about what you personally can handle, and I simply don't have much tolerance for a remodel right now.

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