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Old 08-10-2019, 02:13 PM
1,215 posts, read 378,223 times
Reputation: 2639


Originally Posted by cougfan View Post
You'll also learn what "builder grade" means when it comes to HVAC

That's one thing I've never understood. Why does a 12 SEER 3 ton builder grade A/C seem so much weaker (takes longer to cool) than a new dealer Lennox or Carrier 12 SEER 3 ton? The specs are exactly the same but that dealer A/C works so much better.
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Old 08-10-2019, 02:28 PM
823 posts, read 485,923 times
Reputation: 2720
Originally Posted by recycled View Post

At present I am living in a 4 story walk up apartment building in Germany built in the 1890s, but recently modernized with insulated windows, excellent hot water wall heating and top quality kitchen / bath fixtures. The exterior walls are about 18" thick masonry, and all the interior walls are also thick masonry. The best thing about thick masonry walls is no noise from neighboring apartments, which is something I always dreaded with apartment living in the US. This old apartment building will probably be here for many generations longer than the new stucco boxes I saw built in Orange County.

Is the point that homes should be built with 18" thick masonry walls to be considered quality or is it that Germans in the 1890s are better builders than current day OC builders?
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:48 AM
Location: Tucson AZ & Leipzig, Germany
2,511 posts, read 7,840,311 times
Reputation: 3927
^^^ No, not saying one is better than the other, or how things should be done today. Just pointing out how much things have changed. Heavy masonry walls in California don't make sense with the earthquake danger. It just seems like for the price you pay for a new home in OC, you might expect something a little better than a stucco/osb/styrofoam box. It also makes me wonder how long some of those new homes will last.
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:09 AM
Location: Katy-zuela
4,908 posts, read 9,074,223 times
Reputation: 2435
Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
I remember one place that had all the glitzy stuff in the kitchen- island, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances. The guest bathroom was built with a crummy pre-fab plastic tub and shower enclosure.
The model home (and to a lesser extent, the included features in that particular community) always feature the glitzy stuff (for that price range) for the looks in the public areas and the master bedroom/bathroom to reduce the cost of building as far as the market will allow. Rarely will a buyer be concerned about the build quality, especially after the initial distraction of the glitzy features.

Originally Posted by Rakin View Post
Try to stick with a family builder not the big Corporate builders.

At least the family builders try to keep their reputation and quality. That's becoming rare.
Good luck finding one! They're being squeezed out-of-business by the big name, Wall Street-funded titans of industry.

Originally Posted by homestead123 View Post
Lmao That^^^^^^^^ times 100.

Your options are then to either have a custom built home, or purchase an older home and have it custom remodel done. All cost big $$$
Here in deregulation-happy Texas, the codes are poor or unenforced. Contractors don't need a license from the state. You can still build a custom home, but that will apply mostly to the floorplan and layout. Same day-laborers from production builders are putting up the framing and building the home under the company's supervision.

Originally Posted by recycled View Post
The selling price of those big stucco boxes was usually upwards of $800K. There was a huge amount of money spent by developers to get the area graded because the terrain was previously very uneven and somewhat hilly. There was an army of scrapers, dozers and graders working for over 6 months before the first crew showed up to start prep work for concrete slab foundations.
My house was built about 15 years ago and it was stick-by-stick with literally a sawmill on site. The lumber was obviously rough cut into standard sizes for transport.

But the beauty of flat places like Houston or the L.A. Basin and valley floors of California is the elimination of the cost of grading from the housing prices in the hilly areas like west Austin/north rim of San Antonio or the foothills/mountains of California.

The other part of the beauty of flat areas is the ease of the reception of broadcast TV and radio signals with an antenna. You can pull the signals in L.A. unless you have a mountain/hill blocking your view of Mt. Wilson--then you're forced to buy cable TV. I wouldn't be able to "cut the cord" if Houston had mountains and don't want to subscribe to Netflix, et al. due to the recurring cost.
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Old 08-19-2019, 01:20 PM
Status: "Goodbye Portland, Hello Las Vegas!" (set 17 days ago)
Location: Henderson, NV
5,914 posts, read 6,104,912 times
Reputation: 6874
It depends on the builder and the community. I mostly agree, but the quality we got from Lennar at our new house is incredible and itís probably because itís one of their top communities in the city, so itís supposed to be luxury housing. The house is way above code in insulation and building materials and it shows. Itís extremely quiet. The finishes we selected for the most part and I spent the money to get the quality I want. The appliances are incredible, a double wide 72Ē fridge thatís the nicest Iíve seen in any home we looked at. They used Lennox for AC and between them and Trane, itís a toss up for who is best. They actually only promised Carrier and apparently decided they needed something better.

The customer service has been top notch too. They also engineered the house for no deadspots with WiFi and installed a lot of smart home features. That being said, I have high standards and money to get what I want so Iíve done and am doing upgrades from putting wooden frames around the mirrors (matching the drawers and cabinets) to putting a glass shower door in the only one of the four bathrooms not to have that (weird, to me) to installing more recessed lighting in 5 areas of the house that didnít have much going on. Iíll tear out their basic sprinkler control and install a smart controller, all light switches will be upgraded to smart switches, etc. I canít fault the builder though, itís the shell of the house and the main construction that matters. I would want to upgrade virtually anything.

I thought the quality of many of the builder homes wasnít great, for sure. But the issue is when you ask this question, whatís the alternative?!? In Las Vegas builders own all of the land. Youíre not going to even find many lots that you can build on. There are a few like Ascaya near us. Youíre looking at $4-5M for a custom home! One day, yeah Iíd love to do that. But right now, no.
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Old 08-19-2019, 02:01 PM
Location: Vienna, VA
312 posts, read 162,232 times
Reputation: 362
I agree with everything except the HVAC, I'll take a cheap unit as long as it's got a Copeland scroll compressor (the same one used in a Lennox, Carrier, and many others). I could care less for thicker metal encasing and brand that does a lot of marketing to appeal to home owners who don't know the first thing about HVAC.
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Old 08-19-2019, 02:20 PM
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,601 posts, read 19,843,804 times
Reputation: 13519
Okay, folks. For all of you that dislike these modern-style homes, what company are you looking to go with for a 4000 square foot house with a price tag of less than $800k?

I’m mainly interested in the DC area, but I’m curious about what other regions offer as well.
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:52 AM
Location: between three Great Lakes.
1,829 posts, read 1,994,351 times
Reputation: 6254
Buy an older house, for cryin' out loud! Don't contribute to the material waste and off-gassing of new "builds."
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:53 PM
Status: "Goodbye Portland, Hello Las Vegas!" (set 17 days ago)
Location: Henderson, NV
5,914 posts, read 6,104,912 times
Reputation: 6874
Eww no thanks! I hate old houses with a passion. I don’t want your used hand-me-down house. I like a new, modern, just built house. An old house is a disaster. Does it have CAT 6A running through the walls? No, it does not. Does it have modern styling? Of course not. There’s nothing worse than an old house. That’s a no from me, dawg.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:55 PM
Location: Round Rock, Texas
10,874 posts, read 10,361,778 times
Reputation: 14466
After dealing with our first and only time with a cookie cutter mass production builder, we said no way. Totally loving our 30 year young non-cookie cutter house, which we have made our own over the years. I guarantee there isn't the same house in our entire neighborhood.
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