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Old 01-19-2010, 09:38 PM
 
16 posts, read 33,907 times
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Can anyone share there experience with a custom builder WhiteStone?
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:34 AM
 
432 posts, read 3,109,418 times
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I don't own one, but they've built several of the houses in my neighborhood and the quality seems to be very very good! They look very nice.
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:29 AM
 
28 posts, read 62,919 times
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They look like very nice homes, we were very interested in buying one of their homes several years back, but could not afford one at the time. However, I would warn you about considering them a "custom home" builder. I am building a Highland Home right now and they market themselves as an upscale home builder. Once you sign the contract and move from the salesmen to the project manager, they no longer are "upscale". The project manager made a point of reminding me they build tract homes to "acceptable" standards, which means their goal is to meet building code (and even there I am fighting with them). I think WhiteStone would fall under the same category because WhiteStone has floor plans that you can customize. But they build en masse in clustered subdivisions. So I would consider them a builder that allows you to modify their plans as opposed to custom home builder that starts from a clean slate.

Personally, I would walk through some of their homes under construction. Take someone with you that knows a thing or two about construction. Talk to the neighbors. People LOVE to talk about their bad experiences. And I would definitely hire a third party home inspector for the pre-foundation, pre-drywall, and pre-closing phases. Do not let them talk you into relying on their "third" party inspector. WhiteStone may be that "third" party inspector's only customer. Conflict of Interest?. Highland Homes inspector found 5 problems, my inspector found 41 (four of which should have failed building code). Do not rely on the city inspectors. I see articles that claim a city inspector only has about 10 minutes to inspect a house. What level of effort do you think you are going to get.

Pay attention to the contract you sign. Read about binding arbitration on the internet. It will infuriate you, yet all builders use it. ask to put in a clause about quality of work meeting your expectations or you get your earnest money and any other money back.

As long as you dont allow yourself to get bullied, it will work out. And even though it is a new home, you may want to use a real estate agent. Use that agent as the delivery man of bad news if you have problems with confrontation.

I don't want to scare you, but Highland Homes is considered a good builder and I am still fighting issues.
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:59 AM
 
432 posts, read 3,109,418 times
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I'm afraid all builders are like this. The construction manager of my house threatened to "come and get me" for complaining to his boss about major issues that were not getting resolved.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:29 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
4,149 posts, read 9,310,429 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjornb17 View Post
I'm afraid all builders are like this. The construction manager of my house threatened to "come and get me" for complaining to his boss about major issues that were not getting resolved.
You couldn't be farther from the truth. There are a lot of good builders out there that are truly driven to put up the best product possible, and keep their clients happy at the same time.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:50 AM
 
28 posts, read 62,919 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevcrawford View Post
You couldn't be farther from the truth. There are a lot of good builders out there that are truly driven to put up the best product possible, and keep their clients happy at the same time.
Please provide a list of these builders. Because I tend to agree, not to the same degree, but that you need to stay on top of most builders. Building codes are becoming more and more lenient and there is no incentive for builders to put out a better product. And because of the housing market, builders are having to cut corners.

More lenient building codes, binding arbitration, all equals to homeowners getting inferior products. And unfortunately, most homeowners don't know enough about construction or have the time to do their research to watch their builders.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:52 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
4,149 posts, read 9,310,429 times
Reputation: 3308
Building codes are actually becoming more strict and there's a ton of incentive for builders to put out a better product. It's called money. Pretty much the incentive for everyone to do something well. The builders that cannot continue to offer a good product find themselves going out of business. The market has nothing to do with anything. Are builders slowing down? Yep. Home starts will probably be down through mid-2011 or so, so we can absorb the existing inventory. The builders that survive aren't going to do so by building inferior products. They're going to do so by building a better product. Maybe they'll be making a bit less on each unit, but word of mouth is a very powerful thing, and any builder worth their salt realizes that and works to keep their clients and the Realtor community happy.

I've been involved with more home builds over the years than just about anyone in town. I've worked with most of the builders in town. I've never had a client get into a home and go "well, this is a dump".

I'm not going to provide you with a list of builders for several reasons. First, I don't have the time. Second, even if I did, I don't publicly vent frustrations against anyone. My clients and I talk candidly about builders, but that's ONLY between my clients and I.

Are there bad builders out there? Yep. But there are many more good builders. If someone is having a problem with their builder, it's most likely the case that they didn't:

A: Do their homework to find out more about the building process.
B: Interview multiple builders
C: Get a Realtor or someone with knowledge of the industry in their corner
D: Get 3rd party inspections
E: Research the heck out of the builder they chose to build their home.

If you do your homework and arm yourself with the correct team and knowledge, you'll be fine.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:44 PM
 
432 posts, read 3,109,418 times
Reputation: 408
So if we become your "clients," you'll let us know about this information?

For the record:
A) I work in the industry and know plenty about the building process.
B) Interviewed every single builder in my area and price range.
C) Had a fantastic realtor help me.
D) Got inspections during three main phases of construction.
E) Spent about 4 months before signing and a contract, and the 7 months during construction of the home talking to people in mine and one other neighborhood to learn about their experiences with the builder. Also i did plenty of research online and heard things through word-of-mouth.

In the end I got a fantastic home at an unbelieveable price for the area. But from my experience, and the experieces of many people I know who went with other builders, you will have to fight for yourself throughout the process and even after closing to get things done.



Quote:
Originally Posted by kevcrawford View Post
Building codes are actually becoming more strict and there's a ton of incentive for builders to put out a better product. It's called money. Pretty much the incentive for everyone to do something well. The builders that cannot continue to offer a good product find themselves going out of business. The market has nothing to do with anything. Are builders slowing down? Yep. Home starts will probably be down through mid-2011 or so, so we can absorb the existing inventory. The builders that survive aren't going to do so by building inferior products. They're going to do so by building a better product. Maybe they'll be making a bit less on each unit, but word of mouth is a very powerful thing, and any builder worth their salt realizes that and works to keep their clients and the Realtor community happy.

I've been involved with more home builds over the years than just about anyone in town. I've worked with most of the builders in town. I've never had a client get into a home and go "well, this is a dump".

I'm not going to provide you with a list of builders for several reasons. First, I don't have the time. Second, even if I did, I don't publicly vent frustrations against anyone. My clients and I talk candidly about builders, but that's ONLY between my clients and I.

Are there bad builders out there? Yep. But there are many more good builders. If someone is having a problem with their builder, it's most likely the case that they didn't:

A: Do their homework to find out more about the building process.
B: Interview multiple builders
C: Get a Realtor or someone with knowledge of the industry in their corner
D: Get 3rd party inspections
E: Research the heck out of the builder they chose to build their home.

If you do your homework and arm yourself with the correct team and knowledge, you'll be fine.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:54 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
4,149 posts, read 9,310,429 times
Reputation: 3308
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjornb17 View Post
So if we become your "clients," you'll let us know about this information?

For the record:
A) I work in the industry and know plenty about the building process.
B) Interviewed every single builder in my area and price range.
C) Had a fantastic realtor help me.
D) Got inspections during three main phases of construction.
E) Spent about 4 months before signing and a contract, and the 7 months during construction of the home talking to people in mine and one other neighborhood to learn about their experiences with the builder. Also i did plenty of research online and heard things through word-of-mouth.

In the end I got a fantastic home at an unbelieveable price for the area. But from my experience, and the experieces of many people I know who went with other builders, you will have to fight for yourself throughout the process and even after closing to get things done.
I'm not really sure why you took offense. I stated that I know there are many good builders available.

If you got a fantastic home at an unbelievable price, I'm not sure what you're complaining about. Sounds like you did your homework. Did the people that you know are having problems do that? Probably not.

And about me only sharing with my clients, nothing good would come of me calling out certain builders in public. If I have a problem with them, I'll share it with them and not the world.

You stated there were no good builders. I stated otherwise.

Seems to me that you could have just recommended the builder that built your "fantastic home" and be done with it.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:15 PM
 
432 posts, read 3,109,418 times
Reputation: 408
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevcrawford View Post
I'm not really sure why you took offense. I stated that I know there are many good builders available.

If you got a fantastic home at an unbelievable price, I'm not sure what you're complaining about. Sounds like you did your homework. Did the people that you know are having problems do that? Probably not.

And about me only sharing with my clients, nothing good would come of me calling out certain builders in public. If I have a problem with them, I'll share it with them and not the world.

You stated there were no good builders. I stated otherwise.

Seems to me that you could have just recommended the builder that built your "fantastic home" and be done with it.
I didn't say there were no good home builders... it's just that all builders have their issues
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