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Old 03-06-2018, 11:09 PM
 
2,055 posts, read 3,118,419 times
Reputation: 2905

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Hello everyone....ShakenStirred, your local construction "expert" here, and I have been away awhile, mostly because my business has tripled over the past several months, partly due to just "life," and I simply haven't had time to post and respond to the private messages, so I apologize about that and will get to each of you as quickly as possible.


FYI...Builders right now are facing HUGE challenges with finding quality subs, and the subs are having HUGE challenges finding quality help. The labor shortage is very real right now, so new homebuyers need to be extra careful in selecting a builder at the moment. Build times are longer as well, so bear that in mind. Quality, unfortunately, is getting worse at this time period. Construction defect lawsuits are still churning away, and you want to avoid getting involved in one of these if at all possible.


So to help you the best I can, here's the list and these builders appear in order or quality from best to "least best." There aren't any "bad" builders on this list per se, but some are dropping in the ranks and bear watching.


1. Dostie Homes - Complete turnaround in the past year or so by hiring much higher quality subcontractors, and an intense focus on quality that pushed them to the top of the list this year. While they have never ranked low, quality in the past was sporadic, but their maximum effort to correct that has worked.


2. UniFlorida IV - This contractor is building the Villages of Seloy, a community for older folks in St. Augustine, FL. They pay absolute 100% attention to quality, and we wished they would expand their operations in NE Florida to build for all ages and include single family homes. That being said, retirees moving to the area will definitely want to consider this community for it's quality construction.


3. Pulte Homes - Pulte has gone to extreme measures to improve their quality over the past couple years. Their construction standards are so strict, I would call them overkill, but that's good for the homebuyer. They employ a 3rd party inspection company that does not accept anything less than perfect, and if you're looking for a condo or townhome, Pulte is the ONLY multi-family builder in this area I would recommend at this time. The high quality also carries over to their single family units as well. They have moved way up in the rankings now, and deservedly so. They also build age-restricted communities under the DelWebb name, but the quality is equal.


4. John Merrill Homes - Another rock solid builder of high quality homes of various sizes and styles, this one should be on your short list of potential builders for a custom or semi-custom home.


5. America's Home Place - Although they build a good, solid home, AHP has unfortunately pulled out of their Jacksonville office and moved to Gainesville. But as I understand it, they will still build a home in Clay or St. Johns counties, so if you have your own lot, you should look at their floor plans to see if they have anything you like.


6. Young American Homes - Again, a great builder who focuses on the Fernandina area, but has built homes in Duval county. They probably should be ranked higher, but the first 5 builders on this list are probably actually tied for 1st place, so keep that in mind.


7. Dream Finders Homes - Yes, you read that right, Dream Finders. It's not a mistake. They grew rapidly over the past several years, and they have experienced some major growing pains along the way, but they are finally overcoming those challenges, and have been making drastic improvements to their construction quality, so they make the list for the 1st time ever. Builders can change drastically in a years time frame, and fortunately for Dream Finders, their changes have been all positive.


8. MB Builders - A very small, low volume custom builder who pays a lot of attention to quality. The only reason for the #8 ranking is because of the low volume, the quality ranking is a 1, but if you can get them, it's worth the effort.


9. Bosco Contracting - If you're building at the beaches, Bosco is a must call on your list to get a price from. They also build commercial projects, and they have been a stalwart builder at the beaches area for years. They know their stuff and you are sure to get a quality home from them.


10. David Weekley Homes - Ok, those of you that have followed me know that David Weekley Homes has ranked #1 most years for the past 15 years or so, so this one pains me. Quality has slipped substantially and they are now more focused on getting lower priced subcontractors than they are high quality ones as in years past. It's been sad to watch. You can still get a good home from them in certain communities, but it is highly dependent on the Superintendent doing the job, and the subcontractors that are doing those homes, so they have become a hit or miss builder over the past year or two. We hope for a turnaround here, but until then, they just barely make the top 10.




Honorable Mentions - These are the builders that didn't quite make the top 10, but could still be viable candidates if you cannot find what you want or need from the above list. Again, if you don't see a builder on this list at all, it probably means that I cannot recommend them, or I am not familiar with their quality, so feel free to message me with any questions you might have or ask about any builders you don't see on the list.


HM List: Avreal Development, Bradley's Construction, Cottage Home Company, Dean Russell Construction, Heritage Homes of Jax, Infinity Builders, JC Harward & Associates, Marcus Allen Homes, Riverside Homes, Ultimate Construction.


Hope this helps anyone considering building a new house in NE Florida, and hope all my fellow colleagues on this forum are doing well!


SS

 
Old 03-07-2018, 09:35 AM
 
222 posts, read 157,860 times
Reputation: 123
Thank you SS, your posts are always greatly appreciated.

We're considering relocating to SJ, and your posts have been a good source of information (especially the Zip Construction System ). And even if we don't choose SJ I will probably still use your posts as a reference.

NE40
 
Old 03-07-2018, 11:23 AM
 
Location: PVB
3,695 posts, read 1,983,245 times
Reputation: 4146
What about Arthur Rutenberg?
 
Old 03-08-2018, 09:13 AM
 
376 posts, read 274,315 times
Reputation: 260
This kinds reminds me of auto makers reputations. People still think Honda makes the most reliable cars on the planet but inside info says otherwise.

I still tell everyone to go with Weekley so it's unfortunate to see them fall down the list.
 
Old 03-13-2018, 10:51 AM
 
2,055 posts, read 3,118,419 times
Reputation: 2905
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thundarr457 View Post
What about Arthur Rutenberg?
Which franchise? There are several.

SS
 
Old 03-13-2018, 10:53 AM
 
2,055 posts, read 3,118,419 times
Reputation: 2905
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gromicide View Post
This kinds reminds me of auto makers reputations. People still think Honda makes the most reliable cars on the planet but inside info says otherwise.

I still tell everyone to go with Weekley so it's unfortunate to see them fall down the list.
That's a great analogy. Thanks for chiming in! Yes, it makes me sad too, not to mention many of their great Superintendents have left and the ones that remain are somewhat frustrated with the direction they have taken.

SS
 
Old 03-20-2018, 11:57 AM
 
55 posts, read 134,355 times
Reputation: 32
Does anyone have input on New Atlantic Builders?
 
Old 03-20-2018, 03:38 PM
 
Location: PVB
3,695 posts, read 1,983,245 times
Reputation: 4146
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShakenStirred View Post
Which franchise? There are several.

SS
Mark Refosco
 
Old 03-27-2018, 10:58 AM
 
2,055 posts, read 3,118,419 times
Reputation: 2905
Quote:
Originally Posted by mteele View Post
Does anyone have input on New Atlantic Builders?
Avoid.


SS
 
Old 03-27-2018, 11:01 AM
 
2,055 posts, read 3,118,419 times
Reputation: 2905
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thundarr457 View Post
Mark Refosco
They've had a LOT of turnover both in the office and the field the past couple years. My sources tell me there's been a lot of frustration internally, but I don't have specifics. They've been great in the past, but I'm not sure where they are at this moment in time.


I'd have to call neutral on this one for the time being, and advise you do your own due diligence.


SS
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