Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Long Overdue Update - 2 years (almost) in our new home

Hello readers! I have been totally MIA for a loooong time. Since this is a house building blog, and our house is done, I didn't have much to write about. I still get questions though so I figured I'd do an update versus responding to all individual comments (since I don't think people get notified when I reply anyways).

Basic information

Model: Palermo - Elevation E
Colors: Sandy tan siding and pebble clay shake
Year built: 2014


Overall, the house is holding up really well. We definitely don't have any major complaints. No (real) leaks, no cracks, siding is in good shape, heating and cooling is great, and house is well insulated everywhere.

Small problems

We have noticed some small problems here and there, but nothing too major.

Standard carpeting (lowest level) 
This carpet is garbage. There really is no other way to put it. We are SO happy we upgraded for our main floor. We got the low level upstairs and in our basement. Upstairs is pretty okay as it's pretty low traffic other than just the two of us going to and from our bedroom (we don't have kids). The basement which has a lot of traffic (our dogs love to run around down there at full speed), and the carpet is coming up at one of the seems. We're not really sure what to do to fix it and it gets worse by the day. We're at the point that we need to address it or it's going to get really bad and start peeling up completely. This carpet also stains VERY easily, and is not as easy to clean. We've had a puppy in the new house so accidents were inevitable. Even with a rug cleaner there are some stains we can't remove. We will definitely need to replace both carpets in the near future, but right now we don't care enough to spend the money (and we're saving up for a wedding), especially since no one really sees either of these areas.

Condensation in cabinets
Recently, we noticed some condensation in our cabinets above our microwave. We really never noticed it before, but it caused some of the paint to peel off. It is REALLY hot out where we are and our AC is on a low temp, so that may be what caused it, but it's still pretty annoying. Not sure how this could be addressed, but for now we just try and dry it or leave the doors open sometimes.

Leaking in Morning room
I was hesitant to mention this, because honestly, it was a fluke, but still worth mentioning. We had a freak snowstorm last year with a LOT of wind. This wind allowed the snow to get under a flap that it wouldn't normally get under (I know, I know, I have NO idea what the real words are to describe this, so I apologize!). This caused some leaking in our roof. We had someone look at it and they said it's not a roof leak but because of the snow getting under that flap (again, no idea what the word is called), and it shouldn't continue. We spoke to Ryan Homes about it, and they won't fix it because it's classified under "extreme weather" which is not in their warranty, so just be aware of that. We painted and it looks fine now, and we haven't had any further problems even with some pouring rains.

Loose Hose-bib
Our hose-bib on the right side of our house came loose pretty quickly. It wasn't leaking or anything, but still cause for concern. I'm pretty sure Ryan Homes came out to fix it and it hasn't been a problem since.

Things we're glad we splurged on

Upgraded cabinets - We love our cabinets. They're solid and just look really nice. We also realize that cabinets would be a total pain in the butt to replace later. Expensive upgrade, but to us, it was worth it.

Upgraded carpet on main floor - SO much better than the crappy standard carpet. If you want carpet, do yourself a favor and upgrade now.

Gas- I wouldn't really call this a "splurge" because I don't believe the upgrade was THAT expensive in the grand scheme of things, but it was definitely worth it. We save money monthly, and I just love cooking on a gas stove.

Upgraded appliances - We upgraded our appliance to better models (and to stainless). I think this was worth it because we have had ZERO problems with them. Dishwasher works great. Oven works great. Microwave works great. I've heard a few people have issues with the standard appliances so for us, it was worth upgrading (despite it being way over priced) to avoid the possibility that one of the appliances doesn't work well/might have to be replaced. The stainless upgrade was worth it to me just because I think it looks better.

Morning Room - Seriously, just get it. Most importantly, it ADDS value to your home because of the square footage. Your little upgrades like floors and granite and stuff really do not add much to your home's value. We had friends who put in a GORGEOUS  and EXPENSIVE patio with a built in grill in addition to an extension to their home, and then got their house re-appraised. The only thing that added value to their house (according to the appraisal people) was the extension. The Pinterest or Houzz worthy patio wasn't worth anything according to them. Something to think about. Plus, I think it makes the first floor feel so much more open. I don't even know where we would put a kitchen table if we didn't have that room.

Surround sound rough-ins - Obviously, this isn't for everyone, but we're glad we just had the rough-in's put in. It made our lives SO much easier (and probably cheaper) than having wiring done later when we bought our speakers. If you think you'll definitely get speakers and some point (and with my fiancé, I knew this WOULD happen), then get the rough-ins and save yourself a headache.

Fence - This is not something provided by Ryan Homes, but it was seriously the BEST money we spent on our house since we have dogs. If you have dogs, and you think a fence will be nice, but not sure if it's worth it, get it. Seriously. It was painful writing that check, but SO worth it.

Ceiling fans - Is it annoying that you have to pay over $100 or $200 for a stupid rough-in? Yes. Is it worth it in the end? Yes. It would cost a lot more to put them in later. Plus, the rough-in doesn't HAVE to be for a ceiling fan. We used the rough-in in our morning room to put a chandelier in there. Remember, some of the rooms don't come with any lighting, so those rooms are DARK with no lights. Our great room is a good example of this. If we didn't have a ceiling fan in there with a light, it would be really annoyingly dark. We would have to rely on table lamps alone.

Fireplace - I looove our fireplace. I love putting it on to get really warm in the winter. I love having it to decorate for Christmas. I love the look of it. Totally worth it to me. Makes the great room a lot more homey in my opinion.

Our deck - We absolutely love our deck, and we're so glad we got it right away. We got ours through Ryan Homes because we got a Trex (not their normal knock-off brand) deck for basically 50% off since they kept messing everything up (see previous posts for more details on that). If we didn't get a discount that large, we maybe would have gone through another company after building, but it was easy going through them, and it's well constructed. Only thing that kinda annoys me is that they didn't really ask us our opinion on some changes. For example, we were told we would need 5-6 steps so we chose to have the steps go straight back into the yard. It ended up being more like 12 steps. Since there are so many steps it jets pretty far back into our yard, and, in my opinion, looks kinda stupid. If they would have kept us updated we probably would have chose to change the steps to be parallel to the deck instead. I feel like Ryan Homes were just throwing it up to check it off their to do list while a different company would have kept communication with us throughout, but it is what it is.

Things we maybe would have changed...

 Upgraded flooring - If you've read my other posts, you know I put in my own laminate flooring after we moved in. You may also know that we ended up buying tainted flooring from Lumber Liquidators and now have to worry about whether or not it's toxic (They won their lawsuit by the way and don't have to do a recall even though there is proof these floors are illegal and not safe in accordance to the laws in the United States .. yea... avoid them at all costs). If we could go back in time, I think we would have just done the flooring when we built the house and included the dining room (Carpet in the dining room is weird). It would have saved us a lot of headaches. To be clear though, we would not have gotten the first level of hardwood, but probably would have gone up to C or D. Our friends have level A and it's started looking worn the first year, and they only have a little pug (no crazy long dog nails), and their kids are old enough that they aren't wreaking havoc on the floor.

No carpet - Part of me wishes we just didn't get any carpet on the first floor, and maybe got some area rugs. I don't think I ever really realized just how much dirt is in a carpet and how they hold odor (we have three dogs so we're constantly battling this). Keeping things clean and fresh is possible but it does take a lot of extra work.

Kitchen island - I don't HATE our kitchen island but it is a weird shape, in my opinion. Part of me wishes we would have gotten a better one later or asked if they had a classic shaped one, but oh well. I know a lot of their houses now are offering regular islands so that's good!

Random Tips

Seal your garage floor - We sealed our garage floor with this paint/sealer we got from Sherwin Williams. It's one of those things you should do as soon as you can, since concrete is really porous and gets stained very easily. It's just easier to clean and prevents cracking. It was a fairly easy day project and worth the $50-$100 we spent on it (we painted it on the floor ourselves).

Paint your garage - Now, this isn't for everyone and not absolutely necessary, but my fiancé is so glad he did it, because the ugly walls with the white streaks drove him crazy. We paid someone to do it, and it does look a lot nicer. Mostly, it doesn't look dirty now that it's finished and painted. Good thing to do early so you don't have to pay to have them to clean the walls before they finish them and the paint them. Note: Even though the garage has drywall, it is NOT finished (unless you paid extra), and can't be painted until it's finished.

Seal your driveway - It's fairly cheap and your driveway will last longer (it helps keep it from cracking or crumbling with age).

In the end, we're really happy with the vast majority of our decisions. The house has held up well, and my fiancé wants to live there forever. Definitely, an overall great purchase!


  1. Very helpful! Sealing the garage / driveway hadn't even crossed my mind, so thanks for sharing!

  2. We're building a Palermo now, and now as we sit here waiting for it to be built we realized there is no other closet in the hall for towels and linens. So that leaves only the tiny closet in the laundry. How's that been working out for you?
    I'm wondering now if a stackable washer/dryer might help, but that probably would have required moving where the dryer vent goes.

    1. We didn't go with a Palermo for that reason. Very odd that there is no linen closet next to bathroom. Just that tiny one in the laundry room.

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