New Construction Quality Varies wildly, depending on who is managing the projects and who is actually doing the work. Some sales people are better than others at being upfront with you about quality and about time frames.
Please tell us about your experiences, good and bad.
There are two rules, that if you follow them, you’ll have a much better experience. First, no matter who the builder is, and what their ratings are, YOU MUST TAKE COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY FOR QUALITY CONTROL. You don’t know if they are trying out some new subs on your house, or if there is a new project manager working your street. Second, if timeframe is critical to you, do not put a contract in on a home that isn’t built yet. JUST DON’T DO IT!
About half the time I’ve worked with homes that are’nt built yet, there have been problems with timing and quality. Sometimes very serious problems. And the worst problems were with custom homes. I could throw out a lot of suspicions as to what is the root cause, but there is really no point. It’s not very constructive to say don’t buy a new home….all homes were new at some point. And the problem isn’t just with production built homes. So I can’t say that spending the extra money for custom equates to spot on quality.
With most products you buy, the production process is very supervised, and oversight is pretty straightforward. Most manufacturers have adopted pretty strict quality checks and we have grown accustomed to pretty consistent quality products. Products are manufactured indoors and operations are fairly repetitive.
With home construction, you have several variables. They are being built outdoors from organic products that flex and change shape with heat and humidity. The work is being performed by workers earning not a lot more than minimum wage, when you take into account inclement weather during which time they don’t get paid. And project managers and municipal building inspectors work very hard and are spread pretty thin.
What’s the morale of the story? Hire a home inspector. Hire the best real estate agent you can find, not the first person that answers your call. And make sure you understand the factors that are beyond the builder’s and sales agent’s control. Chances are, the builder’s sales contract does not have any teeth in it for you if there are avoidable delays, and the consequences if you don’t come through on your side will be very clear, probably cash money.
I have had great experiences with punch lists, and horrible ones. Thank goodness for home inspectors that are masters of minutia. The one’s I’ve worked with rarely miss a thing.
You builders out there, if you’re one of the good guys, my hats off to you. I know you have a tough job. If you’re mad at me, sorry. I can only relay my own personal experiences and I’ll say this, the people I’ve dealt with at Brentwood Homes in Highwood Plantation have been flawless. The punch lists were very manageable and followed through upon very thoroughly. And every time I have someone looking for new construction that’s close to what you offer, I check the MLS and make a call to see what you have avaiable.
I just had a client write a contract on a Centex Home in Carolina Bay, and you’ll be getting the blow by blow on that one. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Please share your experiences with us. We want to hear from you!