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Old 01-27-2013, 05:30 AM
 
80 posts, read 142,917 times
Reputation: 37

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We are looking at new single family homes in south OC with price range between $600k-900k from these builders. What's their reputation like (good or bad) in the area? Thanks!

  • Irvine Pacific
  • KB Home
  • Shapell Homes
  • New Home Company
  • Taylor Morrison
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Lafayette, CA
2,518 posts, read 2,926,566 times
Reputation: 616
Quote:
Originally Posted by kookooroo View Post
We are looking at new single family homes in south OC with price range between $600k-900k from these builders. What's their reputation like (good or bad) in the area? Thanks!

  • Irvine Pacific
  • KB Home
  • Shapell Homes
  • New Home Company
  • Taylor Morrison
I've heard very bad things about KB Homes. I looked at a few as an investment property and I eventually decided against it. Poor quality construction. Hard to get a warranty claim against the builder, etc.

Check out this site for videos of KB homes in the news:
KB Home Sucks - Piece of sh** to order new home
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:43 PM
 
2,520 posts, read 4,448,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocGoldstein View Post
I've heard very bad things about KB Homes. I looked at a few as an investment property and I eventually decided against it. Poor quality construction. Hard to get a warranty claim against the builder, etc.

Check out this site for videos of KB homes in the news:
KB Home Sucks - Piece of sh** to order new home
They have the same poor reputation in Colorado. My dad and I have purchased quite a few spec. homes from them in the past as investments or flips; I second your view..horrible construction and warranty.

In addition they rape the landscape and do very little in the way of preserving the integrity of the area in which they build. What kind of home builder cuts down century old cottonwoods and than uses the word lake in their community after they have drained it and turned it into a patch of yuccas. OK, so many of them do, but with KB. it's a sport. Out of your list I have heard the most favorable comments from people who have purchased Irvine Pacific homes.
Never purchased a home from IPH, but have rented from the Irvine Company too many times to count. The negative hype on these boards regarding them is just that..HYPE IMO. People say what you will about IPH on these threads; I have always been treated fairly.

Last edited by Scott5280; 01-27-2013 at 04:03 PM..
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:45 PM
 
7 posts, read 33,995 times
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I can't speak for the brand new properties but I've heard of many properties being less than 10 years old already having water leaks in the walls or in the slab. Also in some places I've been the floor is already creeking, which is an easy fix but I was surprised to hear that in fairly new places.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:21 PM
 
Location: LA/OC
1,027 posts, read 1,412,208 times
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Taylor Morrison? Are you looking at those townhomes in Yorba Linda by any chance? I just stopped by there last week. The idea of a 4-car garage in the $600K range was intriguing.

I would say this, build quality and workmanship are going to vary by area and cost. It's a good thing to be cautious regardless of the reputation of the builder. Some people might figure a home inspection isn't necessary for a new home, but I would recommend it. If there are foundation or other major construction issues, a good home inspector will likely find them.
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:58 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
19,812 posts, read 51,796,501 times
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In general there is not a huge difference between home builders. They are all trying to build the largest possible S.f. with the lowest cost to them. Some builders like Irvine cater to more of a high end market, but that is generally not refelcted in quality of construction. It is more often reflected in visible quality of finishes. Which builder builds truely quality homes? IMO none of them. Quality is no longer available and if you found it you woudl nto buy it because it would be a much smaller house for a much higher price. I blame consumers for this as much as builders. You cannot get premium quality, becasue no one will pay for it anymore. (Some custom homes excepted)

Some builders have learned over the years they will get sued if they push the construction and materials quality too far. However they have all learned that US home buyers do not care at all about quality of construciton in making their purchase. The only concerns are size, price, and what their visitors can see (finishes and features). Quality only becomes a concern years later when the house starts to fall apart. (usually, they do not collapse, just develop problems). For most builders, this translates to a concern about how to avoid getting sued. This comes in several forms. Usually mutiple methods are emplpyed by builders. One method is to form a small company, build a handlful of projects and then close it up and open a different company. When the quality problems appear, there is no one around to sue. Others respond super aggressively to lawuits. They develop a reputation in the legal community as a company that should not be messed with. Others try to improve on quality control without driving up costs too much. This is difficult and risky. If they drive up costs they will either have to increase their price, or reduce the bling. Either one can result in no or slow sales. The difference is often made by a group within the company, rather than company wide. It is very difficult to make and employ a company wide policy on every project. Thus, most builders have mixed reputations.

Builders that cater to the middle and lower end of the market will develop a worse reputation than builders at the higher end. Simply becasue at the lower end they have to cut more corners to build slightly cheaper houses and still provide a sufficient amount of bling to attract modern buyers. A house that does nto ahve stialnelss steel and granite in the kitchen but the builder claims is buiolt with better quliaty control is not going to sell over a cheaper house with stainless and granite (and frequently claims of quality control whether tru or not).

So part of the analysis is the old maxim - you get what you pay for.

The second part is more difficult. All builders have Q.C. problems from time to time. Some have more than others. But that really does not matter to you. If you get into an Irvine Co home with problems, it will not make you any happier to be able to say "But at least KB homes tends to have problems more often than Irvine Company, so I have problems that are less common." (just using random examples, I have no statistics on who has problems more often. I do have some opinions on reputatin, but i am not intersted in posting them sorry. However I cna assure you reputation of the builder in general is not at all a guarantee you will have fewer or no problems. they all have issues.) Thus, reputation is not really a hugely useful criteria. It may slightly reduce the odds of encountering a problem, but it does not help one whit if you have a problem.

Prehaps a better criteria is how they react to problems. Some builders step up to the plate and quickly repair any issues before they get sued. Others just let the insurance companies of their subcontractors (or their wrap up insurance) handle the problem. Like everything else, part of this depends on the level of the home. Higher end homes will get better customer service than the cheap homes. Here though, overall company policy and philosophy can make a huge difference. This philosophy changes from time to time and even from manager to manager.


Your best hope is to try to have your own inspection during construction. That can be expensive. You need to find someone who can watch for shortcuts. Many crews will spread nails or screws out by an extra inch. This saves them maybe $120 per house, but it all adds up. The problem is, it can cost you $400 to catch it.

QC has improved recently, The builders finally learned getting sued constantly is not good for business (most of them). Other builders simply rely on starting up small companies temporarily and then closing them before the lawsuits start. Even good companies do that becuase many of the lawsuits are complete or partial BS, but if you get sued, the cost of defending the case cna put most companies out of busienss if the insurance carrier does not pay for it.

So here is what you need to look for:

1. How long has the company been in business and how large is it. With an established large comapny, at least you know ther will probably be someone around if problems show up down the road.

2. What is their CURRENT policy for dealing with problems. (No do nto go by what the salesmen tell you). Try to find some examples of major problems that were addressed and correct without a lawsuit.

3. Price - the cheaper company is frequently not the better option. All companies have QC problems. Sometimes it is caused by work crews cutting corners, sometimes it is cause bypoor materials (particularly lumber). However the companies that are not beating their subs down in price to the point where there is no profit are less likely to have crews cutting corners.

4. Avoid those cool hillside view lots. Avoid areas that are comepletly new. Hillside lots are more prone to problems caused by soils design or consturction (grading) work.Frequently, the work must be done as the soil condition is exposed and addressed by an engineer and geotech in the field. Some engineers and geotechs are better than others. Such problems are sometimes unrepairable. Further, areas where there has previously been no consturction are like that for a reason. They may be areas so remote no one wanted to live that far away from everything (so maybe they do not have soils issues), or they may be areas where the soil conditions were so bad, no one wanted to risk building there. Yes, a good builder/designer with a good grader can resolve soils problems. However it costs money to resolve soils problems. Thus you get corner cutting, often in soils remediation, sometimes in later construction. No one is going to pay more for a house because the builder says "I know it costs more, but we were extra careful in remediating soils problems becuase this property had really bad soils." If you really must have that coool hillside lot, find out all you can about the soils engineer, geotech and grader. Are they established and experienced? Are theey a signficint company with a history, or a guy working from his garage. What kind of insurance did they have in place?

5. Know for certain who you are working with. Is it really the mother company, or is it a recent start up sub-company with a simlar sounding name. Do not be fooled by BS about taxes etc. The primary reason a company starts a new, seperate company is to avoid potential liability.


Consumers need to get smarter. Developers (builders) are very very smart. They have an advantage, the consumer only wants to be reassured. Thus, they tend to believe what they are told if they are told what they want to hear.

I cannot help much on a company by company basis, but I can tell you it goes a lot further than company reputation. I can also tell you that while pretty mcuh all new houses have some construction problems that will likely manifest anywhere from a few months to ten years, serious problems resulting in lawsuits are not that common anymore. The number was reduced considerably just before the crash, because most builders got smarter. Right now it is reduced to almost zero because, until recently there a no new homes being built and sold, but builders who were around before the crash are still aware tat multiple lawsuits are not good for busienss and they will take steps to avoid them (a very few builders reportedly actually make profit on the defect lawsuits, but that is another subject altogether).

Older homes can also have problems. However they can be somewhat less prone to problems because either they were built before the mass production techniques and cheapening up/corner cutting really got in to full swing, because they were built before lumber and other materials started running out, or got cheapened up to reduce costs, or because the problems have already manifested and been corrected. Of course with an older home (older than 10 years) any warranty or builder liability is probably expired, so you have no one to look to for repair costs. However they were also usually built in the best locations to avoid problems. In the old days instead of engineering away soils problems, they just avoided them.

LAst do not get tricked by warranties. Warranties are not issues to lose money. Frequently either the company will nto be around, or the warranty is full of exclusions and limitations, or it offers you nothing more than that current fix it laws provide. "Oh Boy, I got a 35 year unlimited warranty on my house." - not much good if the comany diasappears two years later.

Last edited by Coldjensens; 01-28-2013 at 04:26 AM..
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:59 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
19,812 posts, read 51,796,501 times
Reputation: 18305
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Van Fossen View Post
Taylor Morrison? Are you looking at those townhomes in Yorba Linda by any chance? I just stopped by there last week. The idea of a 4-car garage in the $600K range was intriguing.

I would say this, build quality and workmanship are going to vary by area and cost. It's a good thing to be cautious regardless of the reputation of the builder. Some people might figure a home inspection isn't necessary for a new home, but I would recommend it. If there are foundation or other major construction issues, a good home inspector will likely find them.
Foundation problems almost always take several years to manifest. Not that I woudl discourage trying to find a good home inspector even for brand new homwes, but they are nto a guarnatee.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:01 PM
 
Location: LA/OC
1,027 posts, read 1,412,208 times
Reputation: 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Foundation problems almost always take several years to manifest. Not that I woudl discourage trying to find a good home inspector even for brand new homwes, but they are nto a guarnatee.
That's true... and kudos to your thorough and insightful post above. Rep'd!
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,179 posts, read 20,368,590 times
Reputation: 10428
I don't know if John Laing is still building in OC, but I have a JL (almost 8 years old now) here in Denver and have had no problems/issues with it. They have a good reputation as a builder, have been around a long time, and they were very receptive to fixing the minor issues that came up (as do with any new house).
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:11 PM
 
94 posts, read 207,291 times
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it's not just the homes. it's the "subcontractors" pouring the concrete and putting the frames together don't work for the builders directly. there's also "new growth" wood used. it's a lot different and less dense than "old growth" wood used decades ago.
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