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Unread 05-23-2009, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth and Las Vegas
255 posts, read 340,029 times
Reputation: 73
Thanks to everyone for all the great information. This is our first custom home and we are feeling very overwhelmed. Does anyone know of any other builders that do mediterranean homes in the Tarrant/Parker county area? So far we have met with Venetian Custom homes and Trinity Classic homes. We were not too impressed with Trinity. John Askew, Tracy Thomlin and Ellison are other builders in the neighborhood that we are looking at. Looking at these builders' websites, they really don't do the style that we were wanting. We are thinking of building a home around 6500 sqft. We want the exterior to be mediterranean but the interior to be more clean and a bit more contemporary. Once we find a builder that we are comfortable with we were thinking of using that builder's architect/designer to draw up a floor plan based on a combination of some homes that we have seen. Based on the ths.gardenweb.com website that seems to be the best process. I guess after that it sounds like we should have a lawyer draw up a contract for the builder to do cost per square foot. Does anyone know of a ready-made spreadsheet that they recommend to use for housing material costs with all categories included? Has anyone used directbuy for purchasing building materials from the infomercial?
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Unread 05-24-2009, 01:29 AM
 
13,935 posts, read 24,284,439 times
Reputation: 4671
WHERE are you building--John Askew is out in Aledo (and so is Thomlin from what I know) and I did not think Venetian built that far west...
Askew has excellent reputation--

we looked at Lakes of Aledo that he is developing more than a year ago--talked to young builder who had an exceptional house that was in the Home Show that year--loved everything about the floor plan except that it had a raised entry and sunken living area that was poured concrete--just asking for some toddler to fall and split his head open...
of course they could have built a new version of the house w/o that factor--but the lot had a wonderful view of one of the lakes and that could not be replaced...
can't think of his name right now--but it was the house that backed up to the lake with the large boulders at the back of the development--
that builder only builds in Aledo/Granbury area...maybe it is Handcrafted Homes by Distinctive Dreams--name of company not builder
or maybe this one---check out the mediterranean house if it does not link directly to it
JDH Traditional Homes - Image Showcase

Boggs and Whitecotton build in Granbury--but they do Mediterranean homes
Boggs & Whitecotton Custom Homes, Inc.

check out Greg Wright--Wright Builders--in Keller and Southlake--he builds good house
Wright Properties - Designers and Builders of Exquisite Custom Homes
http://www.wrightbuilder.com/exterio...W%20TUSCAN.jpg

Randall Garrett who was president of Tarrant Co Builders assoc last year is good builder I think but don't know if he would be good for doing a real stucco home cause I don't know if he has done any--same way with most of these builders--they have not done traditional exterior-
most builders are not familiar with that exterior and don't have a crew to handle it--only builders maybe active in Westlake--in Vaquero where there seems to be large number of true mediterranean homes--and those are 2MM+ usually...

most of these builders in this area brick their homes...
stucco (real stucco) is an entirely different technique and affects lots of the different aspects of design/construction--not just the stucco exterior solely...

Tom Panno builds good house

and the Elite Custom Homes guy--he builds a really savy energy efficient home--has not really built too many expensive mega homes--but he does a great job--was one of the early builders concerned about using heat pumps and cellulose insulation and radiant barrier/tankless hot water heaters...
has built in NRHills Home Town, bourland Oaks in Keller,


Patrick Duffy--Patrick Homes--builds a great home too from what I have seen and heard...


Brian Braswell builds a beautiful home--more traditional than you probably want but he did a really nice Spanish/Mediterranian in Mansfield a year or so ago...he was building in Mansfield until couple of years ago when he started in Monserrat west of FTW--think he might be spreading himself a little thin...

Scott Watson is architect who builds homes as well--but lowest price is probably 1MM...
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Unread 05-24-2009, 05:12 PM
 
350 posts, read 772,518 times
Reputation: 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
WHERE are you building--John Askew is out in Aledo (and so is Thomlin from what I know) and I did not think Venetian built that far west...
Askew has excellent reputation--

we looked at Lakes of Aledo that he is developing more than a year ago--talked to young builder who had an exceptional house that was in the Home Show that year--loved everything about the floor plan except that it had a raised entry and sunken living area that was poured concrete--just asking for some toddler to fall and split his head open...
of course they could have built a new version of the house w/o that factor--but the lot had a wonderful view of one of the lakes and that could not be replaced...
can't think of his name right now--but it was the house that backed up to the lake with the large boulders at the back of the development--
that builder only builds in Aledo/Granbury area...maybe it is Handcrafted Homes by Distinctive Dreams--name of company not builder
or maybe this one---check out the mediterranean house if it does not link directly to it
JDH Traditional Homes - Image Showcase

Boggs and Whitecotton build in Granbury--but they do Mediterranean homes
Boggs & Whitecotton Custom Homes, Inc.

check out Greg Wright--Wright Builders--in Keller and Southlake--he builds good house
Wright Properties - Designers and Builders of Exquisite Custom Homes
http://www.wrightbuilder.com/exterio...W%20TUSCAN.jpg

Randall Garrett who was president of Tarrant Co Builders assoc last year is good builder I think but don't know if he would be good for doing a real stucco home cause I don't know if he has done any--same way with most of these builders--they have not done traditional exterior-
most builders are not familiar with that exterior and don't have a crew to handle it--only builders maybe active in Westlake--in Vaquero where there seems to be large number of true mediterranean homes--and those are 2MM+ usually...

most of these builders in this area brick their homes...
stucco (real stucco) is an entirely different technique and affects lots of the different aspects of design/construction--not just the stucco exterior solely...

Tom Panno builds good house

and the Elite Custom Homes guy--he builds a really savy energy efficient home--has not really built too many expensive mega homes--but he does a great job--was one of the early builders concerned about using heat pumps and cellulose insulation and radiant barrier/tankless hot water heaters...
has built in NRHills Home Town, bourland Oaks in Keller,


Patrick Duffy--Patrick Homes--builds a great home too from what I have seen and heard...


Brian Braswell builds a beautiful home--more traditional than you probably want but he did a really nice Spanish/Mediterranian in Mansfield a year or so ago...he was building in Mansfield until couple of years ago when he started in Monserrat west of FTW--think he might be spreading himself a little thin...

Scott Watson is architect who builds homes as well--but lowest price is probably 1MM...
Greg Wright does a lot of Tuscan and Mediterranean homes in NE Tarrant, now he's going under Providential Custom Homes at Providential Top Texas Custom Homes Breathless Homes Keller Texas Southlake and North Fort Worth.

I don't know much stock to put in the "Certified Master Builder" thing but he is in that grouping. I've met the guy and he seems to be very well-qualified and he doesn't do cost-plus.
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Unread 05-25-2009, 09:40 AM
 
13,935 posts, read 24,284,439 times
Reputation: 4671
certified master builder is just like any other certification for any kind of professional job--
some people live up to the credentials and some don't
there are plenty of builders in DFW area that have that designation that I would not necessarily want to build a house for me---but it is better than nothing in some ways...

I thought that Providence was a different builder---I think that is (Tyler) LeBlanc guy mentioned on one of the and the link says that it is cooperative group--he was one of the builders I talked with when we considered buying lot and building in Bourland Oaks in Keller---if he is guy I am thinking of was young guy who was building primarily in the Justin area--he certainly knew his stuff--talked like he was committed to building a better than average house--he was also trying to sell me on buying some lots in Hidden Lakes in Keller that had some serious elevation issues
think he was the one who started Providential Homes originally--he had about 3-4 lots in Bourland Oaks he was building on--maybe he got in a bind and joined Greg Wright
this is link that I started when we were considering building that house--and got reply from someone who HAD bought house from Providential Homes in Justing/Avery Ranch -- before he was associated with Greg Wright
??? about a builder
not very positive--


some of the link on that site are pretty interesting---
they do a trade-in program for homes--would be interested to know what type of price those people got on their appraised values and if basically they wound up eating the RE fees on both ends--when they trade-in and the one for actually putting home on market AFTER it is traded-in--that would be a tidy reduction in overall value...

the price per sq foot link does have some good info--and it is correct in that price per sq ft can be ambiguous way to compare properties--which is why you NEVER just use that value--since it is usually set by the seller as a marketing tool...
the idea of TOTAL area under roof is important--some homes do have much more involved in porch/patio/concrete which can make a serious impact on overall construction cost, as can things like lot prep and design costs...so many things can affect overall pricing of home...

for instance--did they really do a J-Calc and an individual HVAC design for that particular house--or just install what they usually do with the impression that it will be good enough
are they really taking the time to make sure that the HVAC and wall sheathing are installed correctly with mastic/taping to ensure tight joins and air-tight envelope reducing energy costs and infiltration...
that does not really COST that much more money but it creates a much better building

The list on that page of the different cost areas of pricing a home is something to start with--most builders can give you a % of overall costs/allowances once the floor plan of the house is decided on...
it is worthless to just estimate an allowance without seeing what type of house you are buidling even though they will say that they can give you a knowledgeable estimate if you give them the basic design concept...
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Unread 05-26-2009, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth and Las Vegas
255 posts, read 340,029 times
Reputation: 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
WHERE are you building--John Askew is out in Aledo (and so is Thomlin from what I know) and I did not think Venetian built that far west...
Askew has excellent reputation--

we looked at Lakes of Aledo that he is developing more than a year ago--talked to young builder who had an exceptional house that was in the Home Show that year--loved everything about the floor plan except that it had a raised entry and sunken living area that was poured concrete--just asking for some toddler to fall and split his head open...
of course they could have built a new version of the house w/o that factor--but the lot had a wonderful view of one of the lakes and that could not be replaced...
can't think of his name right now--but it was the house that backed up to the lake with the large boulders at the back of the development--
that builder only builds in Aledo/Granbury area...maybe it is Handcrafted Homes by Distinctive Dreams--name of company not builder
or maybe this one---check out the mediterranean house if it does not link directly to it
JDH Traditional Homes - Image Showcase

Boggs and Whitecotton build in Granbury--but they do Mediterranean homes
Boggs & Whitecotton Custom Homes, Inc.

check out Greg Wright--Wright Builders--in Keller and Southlake--he builds good house
Wright Properties - Designers and Builders of Exquisite Custom Homes
http://www.wrightbuilder.com/exterio...W%20TUSCAN.jpg

Randall Garrett who was president of Tarrant Co Builders assoc last year is good builder I think but don't know if he would be good for doing a real stucco home cause I don't know if he has done any--same way with most of these builders--they have not done traditional exterior-
most builders are not familiar with that exterior and don't have a crew to handle it--only builders maybe active in Westlake--in Vaquero where there seems to be large number of true mediterranean homes--and those are 2MM+ usually...

most of these builders in this area brick their homes...
stucco (real stucco) is an entirely different technique and affects lots of the different aspects of design/construction--not just the stucco exterior solely...

Tom Panno builds good house

and the Elite Custom Homes guy--he builds a really savy energy efficient home--has not really built too many expensive mega homes--but he does a great job--was one of the early builders concerned about using heat pumps and cellulose insulation and radiant barrier/tankless hot water heaters...
has built in NRHills Home Town, bourland Oaks in Keller,


Patrick Duffy--Patrick Homes--builds a great home too from what I have seen and heard...


Brian Braswell builds a beautiful home--more traditional than you probably want but he did a really nice Spanish/Mediterranian in Mansfield a year or so ago...he was building in Mansfield until couple of years ago when he started in Monserrat west of FTW--think he might be spreading himself a little thin...

Scott Watson is architect who builds homes as well--but lowest price is probably 1MM...
You are a wealth of information. Venetian said he would build out our way but we're not sure if he can build on the lot we want b/c it is owned by another builder - we're checking into that. We are planning on building in Aledo at Bella Flora. John Askew seems to do homes we would like so we are going to investigate him also.
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Unread 05-26-2009, 09:39 AM
 
350 posts, read 772,518 times
Reputation: 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
certified master builder is just like any other certification for any kind of professional job--
some people live up to the credentials and some don't
there are plenty of builders in DFW area that have that designation that I would not necessarily want to build a house for me---but it is better than nothing in some ways...

I thought that Providence was a different builder---I think that is (Tyler) LeBlanc guy mentioned on one of the and the link says that it is cooperative group--he was one of the builders I talked with when we considered buying lot and building in Bourland Oaks in Keller---if he is guy I am thinking of was young guy who was building primarily in the Justin area--he certainly knew his stuff--talked like he was committed to building a better than average house--he was also trying to sell me on buying some lots in Hidden Lakes in Keller that had some serious elevation issues
think he was the one who started Providential Homes originally--he had about 3-4 lots in Bourland Oaks he was building on--maybe he got in a bind and joined Greg Wright
this is link that I started when we were considering building that house--and got reply from someone who HAD bought house from Providential Homes in Justing/Avery Ranch -- before he was associated with Greg Wright
??? about a builder
not very positive--


some of the link on that site are pretty interesting---
they do a trade-in program for homes--would be interested to know what type of price those people got on their appraised values and if basically they wound up eating the RE fees on both ends--when they trade-in and the one for actually putting home on market AFTER it is traded-in--that would be a tidy reduction in overall value...

the price per sq foot link does have some good info--and it is correct in that price per sq ft can be ambiguous way to compare properties--which is why you NEVER just use that value--since it is usually set by the seller as a marketing tool...
the idea of TOTAL area under roof is important--some homes do have much more involved in porch/patio/concrete which can make a serious impact on overall construction cost, as can things like lot prep and design costs...so many things can affect overall pricing of home...

for instance--did they really do a J-Calc and an individual HVAC design for that particular house--or just install what they usually do with the impression that it will be good enough
are they really taking the time to make sure that the HVAC and wall sheathing are installed correctly with mastic/taping to ensure tight joins and air-tight envelope reducing energy costs and infiltration...
that does not really COST that much more money but it creates a much better building

The list on that page of the different cost areas of pricing a home is something to start with--most builders can give you a % of overall costs/allowances once the floor plan of the house is decided on...
it is worthless to just estimate an allowance without seeing what type of house you are buidling even though they will say that they can give you a knowledgeable estimate if you give them the basic design concept...
Greg Wright is the builder, Ty Leblanc is the construction supervisor. Take that for what you want, that's how they are doing it. They developed a couple of neighborhoods in Keller that way, Providence Grove and Adalina at Bloomfield. The latter is all Tuscan-style.
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Unread 05-26-2009, 09:54 AM
 
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Reputation: 4671
Ty LeBlanc used to own Providential Homes --I talked to him more than two years ago when we were considering building home in Keller --whether he is now construction manager for Greg Wright I don't know--

John Askew has been around a long time and from what my realtor said about him he is quality builder but just remember that houses are like children--even when they have the same parents, no two are ever alike
you should educate yourself about the construction process so that when you visit your build site you can tell if there are problems...and there will be some no matter how good the builder or how expensive the house...if you go in knowing and accepting that this process will not be without problems, you might remain sane
that is one good aspect of the garden web site--it lets you vent and keep perspective since there are always people who are worse off than you---
including someone who bought a lot/built a house only to realize at closing that the lot was the wrong lot--and they had built an entire house on someone else' land...
that was messed up royally...
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Unread 02-27-2010, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth and Las Vegas
255 posts, read 340,029 times
Reputation: 73
Well we decided with John Askew and we also had heard he had a great reputation. We are quickly finding out he is only good if a traditional home is what you want. We had expressed to him that we wanted a tuscan home with modern touches. This is outside his comfort zone. He only uses one vendor for counters, flooring, lighting and plumbing and are resistant to going outside these vendors. None of these vendors carry what we're looking for so it has been a struggle to achieve the look we wanted. Also these vendors are vastly overpriced. We have begun purchasing items online to save on our budget and to obtain our style. He is not very happy about this. He greatly underestimated budgets for different subcategories and now we will be considerably over budget if he use his vendors. We are in the process of finding our own tile vendor for flooring and counters. Please let us know if anyone recommends a particular flooring and counter vendor that is reasonably priced.
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Unread 02-28-2010, 09:38 AM
 
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sorry that did not work out--
I guess part of the problem is that many of the houses he built that we saw were spec home--where he was the only person concerned with the budget line--
I also think from my past experiences that most builders will always tell you they can build for your cost per ft and then once you are in the middle and the actual costs go up figure you are tied in and can't get out

you should also consider (and I know this sounds really negative/cut-throat) that YOU are the buyer in hand and they might be expecting you to cover the speculative build/work they have going on with other homes...

without knowing any specifics--I wonder if the contractor AND askew are padding the cost factor so they both make a profit on the raw materials

when we had our house in Bedford done--the contractor basically gave us materials at his cost--no markeup/just labor and any transport time/fee--I know because I paid for most of the tile at HIS cost/discount--and got the AA miles on my credit card...

I know when we were pricing houses by two different builders/two different towns--one of them would have let us get supplies from any place for his install--if there was a price difference we did not pay a markeup--
like if he was pricing 200 for a light fixture and 100 to install--we paid the upgraded cost for fixture but not for the installation--and we did not pay additional builder % for the added cost of the fixture--
same with appliances--did not really cost more up front to install one gas cooktop or more expensive one IF you did the dimensions right from the start...
so he told us that his profit was based on the initial pricing spec--if we upgraded HE would not make more profit from the increase (if you understand the difference)

We used Arizona tile--based just on other side of DFW airport-- and Emser off the Airport Frwy for the bathroom and kitchen tile--and Marazzi tile off Airport Frwy (for flooring)

I know some people think Marazzi is not quite the quality as Emser products but we found a tile we liked there and he got a better discount than at Emser on regular products--Emser had two discounted tiles that were going out but there were not enough tiles to do all our flooring because we increased the tile area to including pulling up some old tile in the kitchen/utility room and replacing it so all tile was uniform--made for a better look--not patchwork...

all of the tile people were nice in the showroom--Emser especially so I thought--Marazzi and Emser don't keep lot of stock at their NRHills showrooms but can get delivery about every other day from the Dallas warehouse...
there are plenty of tile stores beside them along 121 east of FTW--and Marazzi's showroom has mockups done by local tile people so you can see examples and get info about tile contractors...
your best bet is to find someone who is holding stock on tile pattern that is being discontinued and just make sure that you get overage to cover any bad tiles/miscalculations/leftovers

we spent lot of time at Roma Tile -- found a floor tile and built the bathroom/kitchen choices around it--only to find out that it was a discontinued pattern and they did not have enough to tile my area...after that we (I) could not find something I liked to replace it

Roman also carries tile from variety of suppliers like Marazzi, Emser, Dal-Tile--so you can see varieties in one place BUT they did not give my contractor a better price on Emser product than he could get--which caused bit of a problem...Emser was selling to Roma higher than they were to my contractor--made the Roma person pretty mad when my contractor let the cat out of the bag...

Arizona tile has large showroom and lots of tiles--they carry granite too--which Dal-Tile done--not Marazzi--but I got my granite from a showroom source in Dallas/Carrollton which sells to the public and they probably have recommendations for installers

you really need to get good recommendations for tile and granite installers
there are so many mistakes that can happen when the installer does not know what he is doing in calculating the sq ft for the design and understanding the scope of work...or on the installation...

some friends of ours--two separate households==bought granite installation some someone who was giving them a good price--one of the jobs I saw looked good--was not a lot of counter top run but the sink install and the cooktop install were well-done--seams were not that evident...
then about a year after the install both people had their kitchen sinks fall down--the installer just used some sort of mastic--no clips (which lots of them don't like to use)--don't know if they tried and failed to get the granite guy to come out and make right--but the husband of the girl we know better had to get some adhesive and do it himself--which is a difficult job--

we were pretty happy with our contractor--BUT--we were using large floor tiles --like 20 inch ones--
our house was built in the 80s--the builder then was not so concerned with getting a totally level concrete slab as floor basis--we had carpet and sheet vinyl back then--
the contractor did not really take into account the unlevel nature of the floors--although we were redoing the carpet anyway and they could have checked for level nature any time before laying the tile
he did not want to lay a rubber mat over the concrete as I had read tile people do at times--
he had to grind down a couple of spots in the floor and there are couple of spots where tiles abut and there is a definite dip--which are fairly noticible--I think he had one of the guys on his crew helping lay the tiles (it was a tiring, timeconsuming job) take a hand at being the tile setter to get experience--he told me he would use extra setting compound to raise the bed where there was unlevel edges--but they still happened
he could have poured a leveling compound ahead of time as well--but that would have slowed down doing some of the other work they had...so while most of the runs/joins are spot on--there are several spots where the tiles are noticibly not level--
hopefully when we go to sell the house the people looking/buying will be there for short time and not really notice them...

they did a nice job in the shower--he had to rebuilt it because of poor initial construction and termite damage we were not aware of until he pulled the old tile out...
the shower tile and backsplash were well done I think--but couple of problems with him planning the design and taking the electrical outlets into consideration--we got lots of compliments about all of them--and just to look at the floor you don't really notice the problem

if you don't belong to Angie's List you might consider joining to get leads to contractors--
I don't think there are that many specifically in the Aledo area but many contractors need work and might consider traveling an hour to a job site...
I don't know how Askew feels about using contractors that he is not familiar with--as you pointed out most builders tend to use the same ones over and over--he might not be willing to give a warranty for contractors he does not supply...
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