And I regret it.
I am out of energy with this home-building experience with K Hovnanian. I’ve gone back and forth on whether to publically discuss the experience we had. But if I can save just one family the heartache that we experienced, then mustering the energy to put this together is worth it.
This is the full review that I wrote for the builder. However, it’s so long that not all of it will copy and paste into their review box.
So there’s your warning.
This was not a great experience. And while I love my home, I often look around and ask myself why didn’t we go with a different builder?
Building this home has been a goal that Joshua and I have worked towards since mid-2017.
Due to some impatience, we built with Ryan Homes in the Spring of 2018. It was easy. Turn key. And while everyone in the construction industry mocks Ryan Homes, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that we received a better-finished product with our Ryan Home than we did with K Hovnanian.
I’ll get there. But let’s start from the beginning.
Sales Experience with K Hovnanian at the Stonecreek Office
In summer 2020, Josh and I began discussing the idea of building the Gable again. Life got in the way, but in February 2021, Mark from the Stone Creek Office reached out to see if we had made any further decisions. We would sign a contingent contract on February 26th that when we found land, we would build the Gable, with the options we picked, for the price on the paper.
I’m sure you all know where this is going.
In March 2021 lumber begins to skyrocket.
Six weeks after signing the contingent contract, Mark calls to say that KHov was pulling our agreement. What is most upsetting is that nowhere on the paperwork was there a stipulation for a timeframe. Mark never said, “you have X days to find land or this contract is null and void.”
The price of the house skyrocketed by over 40k.
First bad experience.
But this was the house we had been dreaming of and working towards for the last five years. So we pushed on.
We picked colors in June. Mark told us it would be 2-3 weeks for our prelim blueprints. It ended up taking over five.
I asked for a phone call with Mark’s boss and Jeremy – Director of Sales called later. Everything was explained to Jeremy. I was told “I sell you the end result, not the process”
As a business owner myself, this is a terrible mentality to have and will always end up with upset, disappointed customers. The process is the experience for the customer and it’s the experience the customer will either rave or rant about.
It was incredibly frustrating to be told to essentially deal with the missed deadline of the blueprints. When we missed a deadline we didn’t know existed, the price of the house went up. But when KHov missed a deadline, it was “deal with it.”
Bad experience number two.
Sadly, our experiences with Mark don’t end in the sales process.
When we were choosing our options, I noticed that the Gable comes standard with three windows in the morning room. On March 7th, I emailed Mark:
“I noticed on the floor plan flyer, it has three windows in the great room where the fireplace is. We don’t want the fire place, but want to keep the two windows like the model is. Does that mean we get a credit for a window?”
He removed the middle window, but we would discover on the second day of framing the spacing was not the same as the model. After much frustration, it was decided by Paul B – Director of Construction that we would have to pay a change order fee to fix Mark’s mistake. Even though I had it in writing what we wanted. But because we didn’t catch it during the Redline Blue Print meeting, it was our fault.
The last I checked, we are the customer, not the expert. When I look at blueprints, I’m looking to see if there are two windows on my blueprints like I want. I shouldn’t have to check the experts to make sure they did their job correctly. And then be penalized when it wasn’t done correctly.
Bad experience number three.
The rest of the framing went smoothly until it was time for the windows to go in. Sean, who was our project manager from October till he left this company in March, caught that the windows in our master bedroom were not double-hung and neither was the window in the laundry room.
The funny part about this window situation – Summer 2021, I would receive a phone call from Mark asking if we wanted the windows in our garage to be double-hung like the rest of the house. Someone caught that the garage windows weren’t double-hung, but never caught that the added windows in the Master and laundry weren’t.
The second funny part in this – I have blueprints that we signed off on with one window in the Master as DH (double-hung) and the other as SH (single hung).
Thankfully, Sean and Sue, fought hard to make sure we weren’t charged another change order fee for another Mark mistake.
Bad experience number four.
Building Process with K Hovnanian
Our building permit was picked up the end of September, but we wouldn’t break ground until November 4th.
The house would then sit for seven and a half weeks until there was any progress again. Framing started on January 11th. In the end, this delay worked in our favor. But I can imagine, that delays like this didn’t work in everyone’s favor.
During the rough-in phase, it was mentioned from a few different subcontractors that Paul B. – Director of Construction sent an email letting everyone know that they were to not do anything extra for the homeowners. This meant that my electrician could not hang any of my light fixtures, or my plumbers couldn’t add my faucets.
After a very frustrating few weeks, Jeremy C. calls me on March 11th. It was decided with Jeremy that the electrician would hang my light fixtures, and we would receive the money we paid to fix Marks mistake on the great room windows back.
Jeremy’s attempt at turning this terrible experience around. While he gets an A for effort, the damage was done. At this point, we just wanted our house completed, and we still didn’t have a completion date.
(We wouldn’t have an official completion date until the week before we took possession of the house.)
The rest of the build process had its ups and downs. Sean quit, and drywall run behind schedule, pushing the rest of the process behind. The painter supposedly came down with Covid, which in turn pushed the completion date again. Then there was some kind of miscommunication with Scott (Sean’s replacement on our project) and the flooring company on when they were going to start. Which in turn pushed back the completion again.
We broke ground on November 4th.
Drywall started on March 1st.
We were told by several employees of K Hovnanian that PMs have 140 days from dig to completion to complete a build. If they miss that 140 days, their bonuses are affected. We were also told that from Drywall to completion is 45 days by both Sean and Scott.
November 4th to April 28th – 175 Days
March 1st to April 28th – 58 Days
Every deadline K Hovnanian gave us was missed. We missed ONE deadline and paid over $40,000 for that missed deadline.
K Hovnanian’s Final Product
We finally took possession of the house on April 28th – 175 days after the dig.
To say that I had a better-finished product with my Ryan Home is an understatement. Here are just a few ways that K Hovnanian was outshined by the “lesser” Ryan Homes:
- We were left with drywall touchups that needed sanding and painted.
- Trim at nearly every door casing is cracked not caulked – one even needed to be completely replaced due to damage.
- Where the tubs meet the drywall, there’s no caulking.
- The trim around the bathroom vanity in the hallway isn’t caulked.
- Caulking around the windows is already cracking and will need to be redone.
- I have pulls on my level four cabinets that are visibility not straight.
- The walls aren’t square.
- The front door has the most awful paint configuration that is K Hovnanian standard. (Sidelights are painted white, while the door is painted black).
- My louvers on the gables are painted, which means at some point they will need a touchup. Why louvers that come already black are not standard is beyond me.
- The AC needed to be fixed (TWICE!) because it wasn’t working.
- We were left with a dirty basement floor and garage floor.
- The furnace had drywall dust in it due to it getting kicked on before paint was on the walls and drywall dust was swept up.
- I already broke one window while knocking on it. My Ryan Home windows withstood a 100-pound Rottweiler bouncing off of them when someone walked through the neighborhood.
- We have dozens of screw pops already that we have to fix because that’s not part of the warranty.
And it’s only been seven weeks since we took possession of the house.
Speaking of “coming standard”, let’s also talk about how Ryan Homes outshines KHov.
Interior doors with KHov look straight out of the 1990s. And knobs? This is 2022, everyone does levers.
This house is supposed to be our forever home. We’ve dreamed and worked hard for this home since first walking through it in 2017. This home is supposed to provide us shelter and store all the best family memories. Yet, when I look at this house, I’m disgusted and disappointed in the final product. I’m upset in the process.
Building our forever was supposed to be one of the greatest joys and accomplishments. Instead, it’s tainted by the experience we received and the disappointing final result with now live with.
The “final result” that Jeremy C. claims he sells is terrible at best.
It’s not hard to see what has happened here.
Interest rates tank, making building a home appealing even with rising material costs. K Hovnanian saw a huge payday and signed on to build too many homes while not having the systems in place to handle the extra work.
There weren’t enough Pre-Construction Managers and Project Managers in place to keep tasks for the jobs falling through the cracks.
Overworked, underpaid, underappreciated employees will get burned out, and when upper management is more worried about profits over people, bad word of mouth begins to spread.
A company that is putting profits over people – not just customers, but their own employees. It’s abundantly clear that there isn’t enough staff in various positions
- Two PCMs between Stonecreek and Youngstown
- Project Managers with 15+ jobs happening at once?!
- How are these employees expected to keep their head above water, let alone stay on top of keeping builds on time?! Here’s why the customer experience is atrocious!
People that should get a substantial raise:
- Sue M (PCM) – she was my saving grace and light in this entire journey. When there were any issues/concerns/questions, I could count on Sue. I felt like she went above and beyond the call to help with our build.
- Sean B. – he did everything in his power to keep our build on track and was hit with hurdle after hurdle from upper management. From the outside looking in, it’s not difficult to see why he would leave this company.
- Wanda in accounting for recognizing my frustration, hearing my frustration, and having someone from the top reach out.
- Copeland Painting for coming in clutch in the 11th hour to paint our house and attempt to keep us somewhat on schedule.
- Scott C. for taking on our project 138 days after dig and trying like hell to stay within that 45 days after drywall started. Scott wasn’t always my favorite person, he had to deliver a lot of bad news, but he was put in a situation that was an uphill battle.
If you’re looking at building a house at any point, I would consider long and hard before giving K Hovnanian your hard-earned money. Until they begin putting people before their profits, the quality of houses they build is going to suffer. The price of the house continues to increase while the quality substantially decreases.