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Old 01-04-2007, 07:48 AM
 
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I am building a home in Churton GRove in Hillsborough and am using Drees. Any feedback on the Drees Company? Things are going OK but I am very concerned with the speed with which my home is being constructed. I did bring out an independent inspector and he told me a few things that they need to change and they appear to be doing so. Anyone else have an opinion?
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Old 01-04-2007, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Wake Forest NC
1,611 posts, read 4,449,040 times
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We are building withtthem in Wake Forest
They are going pretty fast- is that your concern?
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Old 01-04-2007, 02:23 PM
 
5,195 posts, read 11,363,943 times
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Our Drees home is just about finished, we checked out the company as well as you can and found no real problems before deciding to build with them.

Drees rates well with JD Power, BBB and you can search extensively on the web and find very few complaints/problems.

We have been renting in the same town while we build and have visited the site almost daily when a lot of activity was going on, usually after the workers were gone and always out of the way. We have had a very good relationship with the builder/GC on site from day 1 and have been very pleased. We have found a number of small problems but whenever we point them out, they are immediately taken care of.

Our independent inspection is next week, will let you know if anything major turns up.
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Old 01-15-2007, 11:45 PM
 
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You can find sites like this for ANY builder....

I think any builder should be watched, bottom line, Drees has been around for 80 years, they have a good reputation overall and get a lot of referrals and repeat business.

With any large name or tract builder, the most important person is the onsite builder, Churton Grove has a good one in our estimation.

If you have a contractor who is on top of things and on the site daily and cares about the product, that is more than half the battle.

I see many posts about the "quality of laborers" working for tract home builders, who do folks think are working for the custom builders??

Its the same subcontractors and labor pool, so the real key with a company like Drees, or KB, or Pulte or whomever is the onsite builder....

Last edited by AustinTraveler; 01-21-2007 at 07:09 PM.. Reason: Quote related to deleted spam
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Old 01-16-2007, 01:15 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
1,232 posts, read 3,494,986 times
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I've worked with many builders and many were great, and some were great that became flaky, and some just completely sucked. Unfortunately, a number of new homeowners just don't know the building process, so oftentimes, they just don't know the extent of a shoddy job until after they move in to their new home.

Building a home is not for the faint of heart. You must be diligent and stay on top of ALL activity from beginning to end. Any builder taking offense to questions from 'laymans' is a problematic builder since the process is not just delivering a quality product, but delivering great customer service.

Milestone inspections are important, and make sure your inspector is a top notch one who does not have ANY conflict of interest (or alliances) with the builder. Else, hire a second inspector to back up or refute the first inspector's work. Also, work closely with your loan company. I'm sure if you're dissatisfied with the process, they'll have an interest too since they are paying out in increments.

I'm sure you will do well with Drees. I saw the website listed, and I don't doubt their experience was exaggerated or unique (a very well done site, I must say). Don't be afraid to ask for ALL confirmations and changes or assurances in writing. Keep a paper trail.

Also, a comprehensive warranty package is helpful too. Of course, the builder is bonded, I'm sure, so you can always make complaints and file claims.

I'm not a big fan of Drees or KB (I'm a fan of Shea & Restoration Homes, etc), but they'll make a good product. Everyone will have a problem now and again due to some worker screwing up or a onsite contractor disregarding some level of craftsmanship, unbeknownst to the parent company. However, the parent company should do all and above to make sure the experience and end product is satisfactory to you (the account on the Don't Do Drees site is appalling and egregious).

Good luck and congratulations on the processed! Stay strong and keep your eyes, ears and checkbook peeled. It'll be worth it in the end!
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:31 PM
 
251 posts, read 1,060,557 times
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CaliBoy, what a terrific post! A keep for sure. Thanks.

Quote:
Its the same subcontractors and labor pool, so the real key with a company like Drees, or KB, or Pulte or whomever is the onsite builder....
BlueDevilz, do you have any ideas on how I can find out whether the onsite builder is good to work with or not - ahead of signing a contract?
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:38 PM
 
5,195 posts, read 11,363,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipstone View Post
CaliBoy, what a terrific post! A keep for sure. Thanks.



BlueDevilz, do you have any ideas on how I can find out whether the onsite builder is good to work with or not - ahead of signing a contract?
I can only tell you what we did which was to insist we got a chance to sit down and meet with the builder before signing anything, my wife also literally walked around the neighborhood and talked to anyone that was willing about their experience in building and getting problems addressed ( there will always be problems, but how will they be dealt with)

Honestly, a lot of it comes down to luck. Unfortunately, big builders like Drees and others constantly shuffle personnel, train new builders and then move them on to new developments. Problem is you might be comfortable with the builder only to see him leave half way through the project, didn't happen to us, but it did to some people we met who went with other builders in the neighborhood.

Good luck
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
1,610 posts, read 4,440,558 times
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I had never heard of Drees until today when reading this thread. I was curious enough to go to that Don'tDoDrees site and read that horror story. Let me say first that the problems that family encountered are not unique to that builder. When we built our current home 7.5 years ago many similar issues happened: tiled the master shower in the wrong tile, put in wrong bathroom cabinets, put in wrong kitchen sink, misaligned two windows in living room, and many more too numerous to mention. The big difference though is in every single case they fixed the problem with no arguement. The exception to that was that when they laid the granite countertops I didn't even recognize the stone as being what I had chosen. Like the Ohio family, we were shown a tiny piece of the granite that had a consistent color but when it showed up installed there were other colors that we never knew about. When it was installed they made no attempt to match the color/pattern at a seam and it looked like crap. This was at the very end of the schedule and I told them I would not close on the house unless they fixed the problem. So one week before closing we had to go to the stone yard, view all the slabs of that pattern, select one and mark where the cuts were to be made. Then my husband went to fab shop and watched them make the cuts to be sure they were done right. They sure didn't want to do it but they finally saw how serious I was and gave it. Otherwise they fixed every screw-up without argument. My big issue is that the construction super did not stay on-site regularly enough to catch these mistakes before they happened. Also there was a huge waste issue of costly materials like the granite, cabinets, tile etc. and that happens with just about every builder. If more care was taken to get it right the first time then they could reduce the cost of houses significantly but they have to build in the waste factor in the price. We have one more house in us and I plan to virtually live at the site during construction to not let things get out of hand.

Two of our favorite stories about the construction days involved drivng across our lot to plant a tree in one of those giant installation trucks and crushing all the water pipes in the front of the house. The other is one day when the kitchen sink was being delivered both my husband and the builder were out in front of the house and told the guy they had the wrong sink. The guy waited til they left and installed the wrong sink anyway.

As somebody commented, the qualtity of the labor is a big issue. But it could be mitigated greatly by having the construction superintendent pay more attention. At the end of the day, the difference between our situation and that of the Drees horror-story family was the responsiveness of the builder to complaints. Ours was fine, theirs was a nightmare!
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest NC
40 posts, read 130,065 times
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We WERE building with Drees and finally severed ties with them. It was a nightmare! I have sold new construction, I know how the builders need to make a profit, etc. so keep that in mind when I say what I'm going to say. #1 - there was a 200% mark up on most upgrades. When we questioned the reasoning for this, no one could get us a straight answer. As a matter of fact the sales rep started asking them questions about that as well. She couldn't get a straight answer either. #2 - they do not have a comprehensive list of upgrades and costs for those upgrades. We went to the design center and had a horrific time trying to get any cooperation. They did have a website with the selections available for the design center, but it was not updated, did not reflect all of the selections and the pricing was not accurate. #3 - our base price was around $475000 and there was a $25000 lot premium. our final price was over $600000. There were things they told us they would throw in and all we could say was great, considering we're paying a fortune for these upgrades. So after we made all selections, signed on the dotted line and waited for them to get the copies to me, we instead received a call telling us they were charging us for the things they told us they were giving us free. #4 - we had our contract signed in October and they still hadn't submitted our permits at the first of December. As much as we love their homes and the floorplans, we struggled with the 200% markups (we researched it, no exaggeration here), the inconsistencies and the lack of movement on their part to get things rolling.
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Old 01-18-2007, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest NC
1,611 posts, read 4,449,040 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REBL View Post
We WERE building with Drees and finally severed ties with them. .. They did have a website with the selections available for the design center, but it was not updated, did not reflect all of the selections and the pricing was not accurate. #3 - our base price was around $475000 and there was a $25000 lot premium. our final price was over $600000... - we had our contract signed in October and they still hadn't submitted our permits at the first of December. As much as we love their homes and the floorplans, we struggled with the 200% markups (we researched it, no exaggeration here), the inconsistencies and the lack of movement on their part to get things rolling.
We probably dealt with the same design center- the one in Raleigh, right?

My experience is a bit different on some points.
First, when the agent took us around I asked if I could get a house with ... (then named those amenities) and she told me which models I could get, keeping in my range. For example, granite, upgraded ceramic backsplash , lots of ceramic floors & hardwoods can bump you up $30K or more.... much more.
One thing I did learn to ask as I visitted all the developments was to ask, "How much would this model cost, with all the amenities it has?" b/c a base price is usually no tincluding what you see in the model, & the discrepency can be in teh hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Our house will cost almost double the base price but when we were looking, the agent did not discuss the base price, she discussed the range based on the model which we liked so much, and suggested changes to lower or raise the price by $50 K or so.
The first we heard of the base price was when she told me the lot premium was $7K. I was upset, then she told me the base price was like $230K, and that all the numbers she had been quoting me had figured in the lot premium, the granite, the extended bonus room, etc., so I felt better.

So when we sat down to "put the house together", as I added things (& more things!) & reached our $ limit, I said, "oh no, this is going to go over" & she said, "Yes, with what you are adding Now this model will, here is one that is a bit smaller that Won't... " It was essentially the same floorplan, just a smaller entry foyer & laundry room & master bath, but, it knocked $30 K from the price so we were ok.
I was sort of shocked that she did not try to keep me with the other, more expensive plan.
We worked it so we would have about $25K budgeted for the design center.
So, I went there and was utterly overwhelmed. I am so used to remodeling... lving in a space, having a while to think of just what I want, picking doorknods & gutter colors & granite all at once was a bit much! The website did suck, I mean, it was not comprehensive, and I wish you could see the floor choice next to the cabinet choice next to the ... well, you get my drift. I do not know if other builder sites are better. So I printed stuff & cut out pictures & cobbled stuff together on my own, to bring to the design center.
Anyway, on to the actual design center. That woman was very honest & truly helpful. She said she does not work on commision. She admitted that some of the options were outrageous, and, I don't want to write too much, b/c perhaps her employer would not want to know, but she had the decency to suggest (among other things) that I forego the upgraded light fixtures, because I can find better ones myself, & they are so easy to install, & just move in with the free ones. She also made other suggestions which kept our costs down. She spent days (literally) with me picking cabinets & granite & paint colors... and then the other consultant came over for an our or so to help.
She said lots of people come in & follow her advice, for example, if they feel they want a dark cabinet, she will then make 3 or 4 suggestions that flow from that & the client will trust her taste. I guess I was amajor pain!

One thing that was not overpriced was fridges & washers & dryers. (Probably since they are so easily installed by retailers!) We skipped them, though, and she was just fine with that.
We went to contract in September, the permit was granted in November, and they are sheetrocking now. The new homeowners we have met who are in the neighborhood already are very happy.
It is a huge construction site, but there is no blaring music, they keep it pretty low. The streets are rutted, though, and the construction noise will be annoying. We go by at all hours and those crews are always out, even on Sundays. Our area will be done when we move in but I think we will be getting noise from the other phases.
We do have a disagreement about the placement of a closet, that is a long story, though, & I am not sure if they overlooked it or if we did.
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