Our Ryland Home Experience

By caladin@io.com


(Very very under construction)


After extensive research my wife and I have decided to buy a home from Ryland Homes in Austin Texas.


Chris spent tons of time researching floor plans she liked, neighborhoods, school ratings, crime rates and so forth.


We originally planned to move to the south west of Austin, but all the neighborhoods had either poor schools, high crime rates or both. So now we are moving to northwest Pflugerville.


There are tons of good sites out there giving this information


Links to Research


Links to home building Horror stories


A few notes about our Salesman


A few notes about our Builder/Foreman



The purpose of this site is to chronicle both the good and the bad about our experience, and to gather the resources we used to make our decision so that others might gain from our experience… Oh and to show off our new home as it goes along.




Why We Chose Ryland



What initially attracted us to Ryland was the fact that where some other builders had 1 or 2 floor plans Chris liked,

the floor plans available at the development "Blackhawk" by Ryland were all very good for our tastes and purposes.


We have chosen the floor plan "Hawthorn" at the development "Parks of Blackhawk". As we didn't like the location of any of the spec homes, we have decided to have Ryland build us a house on a lot of our choosing.


Link to Park at Blackhawk website


Map of the Park at Blackhawk



We chose to build this house despite Horror Stories we'd read on the web, mostly because the other major builders seemed to have a lot more of them.


Home Inspections


One of the tactics we are using to protect ourselves after reading all the above horror stories is called "Phased Inspections". Basically it means that you hire a private inspector to examine your house at 3-4 critical moments during construction and take his report to the builder and try to get the issues resolved. After searching on the web I found a couple inspectors in Austin that were officers in local home inspection groups and active on home inspectors boards about Ethics. I then asked them if they did phased inspections and, in particular, had expertise in Post Tensioned slabs (The only kind you should have in Texas IMHO, because of the soil) From New Day Inspections I got a recommendation for:


Nev Nicholson

at Aspect Inspections



For phased inspections he charges $98 an hour and it take 1-2 hours for the pre-pour slab inspection, the framing inspection will take longer. I consider this money well spent, but to be honest we haven't had any inspections yet, so I'll have to keep you updated about this inspector in particular. So far they have been willing to work around my schedule, which is nice. I'll let you know how he does in about a week once the foundation work is inspected.


Thur, Sept 2, 2004: We had the first phased inspection today. It took about an hour. The inspector found a couple places where the tension cables were not protected from the concrete, but that was really all he found. He was impressed in general over the preparations taken for the slab.


(12-26-2004) the closing is tomorrow and Nev has finished his inspections, with his help we’ve been able to get Ryland to make the needed changes to our house, I have to say hiring him has been the single best decision I’ve made in  this process. None of the things he’s found were huge, but they all will give me a better stronger safer house and I had piece of mind while the building process was going on.


I strongly suggest phased inspections from a reliable source to anyone who’s looking to build a house. Search the web for your city or state home inspectors association and ask the local head for a recommendation. It worked for me.


The House itself


Photo Time line of our home

You can look at the Floor plan we have chosen online as well.


Interactive Floor plan for the Hawthorn


If you click the links, "W.C. Enclosure", "tub shower" and "Covered patio" you will see the house pretty much as we decided to have it built.


The only major change is that we had them install double doors in to the closets to bedrooms 2 and 3. We were told this would cost $450, but in the end they charged us $500. There were other inaccuracies like this with the numbers we were given by the salesman, so don't be surprised. We added this feature because we thought it would be difficult to get into the corners of the closet once it was full through the narrow single door.


There were also other options that we chose to get quotes for that, when we got the prices from them, I got the impression they chose a price high enough to prevent us from making the change. What I call the "We don't want to do that" price.




In the lower right hand corner of the interactive floor plan page above is a "elevations" button where you can see the exterior elevations of the house. We chose "B". We actually liked "C" better, but were not willing to pay several grand to upgrade and then have to pay another $800 to have the garage be a single door instead of a double door. That just seemed too much on top of the upgrade costs. (like $5k if I remember correctly)



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